UAE residents most enthusiastic property searchers: HSBC

Survey finds residents spend more time looking for homes than in nine other major markets

View of Dubai Marina.

View of Dubai Marina.

Getty Images/Ansonmiao

People in the UAE spend more time reading about and researching property than in nine other major markets, according to a new survey from HSBC.

The bank said in a press release that a survey conducted on its behalf by Toluna found that UAE residents spent an average of 6.6 hours per week researching new homes via property listings websites and magazines - over an hour and-a-half more than in the United States, which is the market with the second-keenest property browsers.

HSBC's Beyond The Bricks survey found that the U.S. residents surveyed spent 4.95 hours per week searching for homes, compared to 3.56 hours for residents in Mexico, 2.65 hours in the United Kingdom and just 1.74 hours in France.

The survey polled 11,932 adults aged 21 and over in 10 markets. Of the 1,058 people surveyed in the UAE, 39 percent already own a home in the country.

Marwan Hadi, head of retail banking and wealth management for HSBC in the UAE said in the press release that the UAE "continues to be a destination of choice for career-minded expats with more and more making it their home".

He said that real estate reforms meant the property industry had "improved greatly over the last few years".

However, although regulation may have improved, the market’s prospects in the short-term remain weak, with oversupply a concern that was flagged by the Institute of International Finance in a paper on Gulf real estate markets last Thursday. (Read more here).

In an emailed response to Zawya on conditions in the UAE property market, real estate consultancy ValuStrat said that an index used by the company to track Dubai property values had displayed a 12.4 percent annual decline over the past 12 months and is currently 27.1 percent below its 2014 peak. Residential values in Abu Dhabi have also dropped by 12.2 percent over the past year, the firm said.

ValuStrat’s head of real estate, Haider Tuaima, said: "As both cities softened an average 1 percent per month, sales volumes continued to rally for the last six months, perhaps with an anticipation of a bottoming-out market. In light of this, we expect this trend in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to continue in the short term followed by a period of stabilisation and recovery."

(Reporting by Michael Fahy; Editing by Mily Chakrabarty)


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