DUBAI: Russians were the top non-resident buyers of residential property in Dubai in the third quarter, consultancy Betterhomes said, as they seek a safe haven from the Ukraine conflict, Russian military conscription and tightening Western sanctions.

Buyers from Britain came in second, though down 43% from the previous quarter, according to its data, followed by India, Germany and France. Russian non-resident buyers increased 11% from the previous quarter.

"Russians fleeing the war, and (with) the recent (military) draft, have been the most prevalent nationality over the summer, and while the war in Ukraine persists, we expect this trend to continue," Betterhomes managing director Richard Waind told Reuters.

So far this year, Russia and Britain have been the biggest origin of investment in Dubai's property market, which has recovered strongly from 2020's downturn though higher mortgage rates and cost of living prices may pose headwinds.

Waind said the weak pound may give some British investors pause but did not expect a big impact on investments of ultra high net worth individuals.

Betterhomes said its third-quarter report used a different methodology covering only non-resident buyers, instead of total buyers. Its previous report had Russians as the fourth biggest buyers in the first half of 2022 after India, Britain and Italy.

The change aims to more clearly indicate countries of origin of inward investment into the Dubai market, Waind said.

Total sales transactions and value were both up 61% in the third quarter from a year earlier, Betterhomes said, with 22,895 units sold at total value of 52.39 billion dirhams ($14.26 billion).

The growth rates indicate prices "were stable and sustainable" although pockets of rapid growth remain in certain key communities, the report said, adding that Palm Jumeirah saw the highest price growth at 10%.

An "imminent" relaunch of Palm Jebel Ali, another man-made island shaped like a palm that had stalled for years, looked set to add "some excitement" in the fourth quarter, Betterhomes said. ($1 = 3.6727 UAE dirham) (Reporting by Yousef Saba, Editing by Angus MacSwan)