Buying frenzy: UAE's Aldar villas sold out in 48 hours; Emaar sales hit $1.6bln in 3 months

Expats become homeowners, thanks to low interest rates, higher LTV

  
Dubai skyline. Image courtesy Dubai Media Office Twitter handle.

Dubai skyline. Image courtesy Dubai Media Office Twitter handle.

More buyers have poured into the UAE property market this year, with some of the UAE’s leading real estate developers generating billions of dirhams in sales recently. 

Aldar, the biggest property firm in Abu Dhabi, reported on Monday that investors snapped up all 480 residential units in the Noya Viva expansion on Yas Island within 48 hours.

The sales, which generated more than 1 billion dirhams ($272 million), is akin to the massive turnout of buyers in Q4 2020, when townhouses and villas in the first phase of Noya Viva were sold out in four hours.

In Dubai, Emaar Properties confirmed on Tuesday that its first-quarter sales reached six billion dirhams ($1.63 billion), eclipsing the sales of 2.5 billion dirhams a year earlier. 

High investor interest 

Interest in the UAE’s residential property market has surged in recent months, with the demand buoyed by lower prices, a strong preference towards home ownership amid the COVID-19 pandemic and an improvement in sentiments due to massive vaccination campaigns.  

“Coming out of lockdown so quickly, the investment in vaccines and testing, mixed with the city not being straddled with debts to pay back in the future has created a firm foothold for Dubai’s continued growth… This has encouraged many expats already residing in the city to buy homes here and invest in their future,” said Lewis Allsopp, CEO of Allsopp & Allsopp. 

“I believe there will be many people moving to Dubai over the next few years to leave their home countries, due to the rise in interest rates,” he added. 

Busy days 

Data from the Dubai Land Department (DLD) showed that on busiest days, buyers snap up properties worth a total of more than one billion dirhams in less than 24 hours. On Monday alone, Dubai recorded 1.5 billion dirhams in transactions. In the previous week, total deals reached 5.1 billion dirhams. 

“Buyer sentiment has never been higher. The leadership of the UAE has shown such forward thinking and have executed plans quickly and precisely for the betterment of the city,” said Allsopp. 

“New visas have been implemented making it easier for expats to call the UAE home and the ground-breaking decision to introduce citizenship is adding a huge amount of confidence among the expat community.”

Who are the buyers? 

According to Aldar, buyers at their latest development come from 33 countries, although 61 percent of their units have been purchased by UAE nationals. About 26 percent of the buyers at its Noya Viva community are also women, while 42 percent of all its customers are under 40 years old. 

There are also residents who have opted to invest in ready units for investment purposes. 

“[These buyers] can see the opportunity that is arising in certain communities across the city. We have also had a lot of interest from overseas buyers who are looking to make the move to the UAE or have been encouraged by the UAE’s resilience throughout the pandemic and its plans to continue to grow and advance with the launch of the Dubai 2040 masterplan,” Allsopp said. 

The UAE’s property market had been subdued prior to the health outbreak, with prices and rents falling due to a huge supply glut.  

The market has yet to recover to its pre-pandemic levels, but industry sources are confident that the massive vaccination campaign, coupled with the hosting of the upcoming World Expo in Dubai, could help accelerate the pace of recovery. 

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria) 

Cleofe.maceda@refinitiv.com 

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