The UAE government’s prudent handling of the pandemic, a high vaccination rate and a desire for space have seen overseas buyers, especially Europeans, flocking to Dubai’s real estate market over the first two quarters of 2021.
Richard Waind, Group Managing Director, Better Homes said European buyers are among the top investors buying property in Dubai.
He said: “We saw a 170 percent increase in transactions from European buyers in the first quarter 2021 versus 2020. A combination of lockdown restrictions across Europe, and open for business approach of the UAE has made Dubai a desirable destination for international business owners over the last few months, and many have decided to move in permanently.”
Zhann Jochinke, COO, Property Monitor, said there has been increased buyer activity from Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, France, and the UK, particularly for properties over 10 million UAE dirhams ($2.7 million).
“Dubai’s positive handling of COVID-19, no subsequent lockdowns as seen in other countries, higher rates of vaccination and easy availability and other concerns around post-COVID-19 taxation that are likely afoot in these investors’ home countries but not here have all contributed to increased interest from these buyers, he added.
Realty Force Real Estate Brokers said they saw a 40 percent increase in enquiries from overseas buyers this year compared to the 2020. CEO Riyaz Merchant told Zawya Projects that the Dubai property market had previously seen two massive dips, first in 2009, and second, from 2015 to 2018. But this time, he noted, the market recovery has been more sustainable than in the previous cycles.
“This time, we are seeing a new transition with people coming from every part of Europe to settle here. When money is coming from Europe, it far exceeds the deployment that is coming from Southeast Asia, the Sub-continent, and the Middle East,” he said.
“Earlier, tourists and visitors saw Dubai as a shopping destination but now it is seen as a residential destination, which shows the confidence that people have in the city.”
He pointed out that with the establishment of diplomatic relations between the UAE and Israel, buyers from Israel have shown interest in high-end apartments in Downtown Dubai.
Gaurav Aidasani, Managing Director, Union Square House Real Estate, said luxury beachfront living is a crucial product driver in Dubai.
“You will find facilities here that other parts of the world do not provide. This has attracted investments from Europeans and Russians, who were missing from the market for some time.”
“We are seeing an increase in buyers from areas where there is rigid lockdown. Many people have been selling their assets, diversifying their portfolio, or just picking up holiday homes so that they can shift their base to Dubai. Forty percent of our revenue from the fourth quarter of 2020 to the second quarter of 2021 came from overseas buyers,” he added.
Waind said there had been less activity from the traditionally busy markets of Saudi Arabia, China and the Sub-Continent in recent months as travel restrictions have hindered movement and investment. “We expect these markets to come back strong as travel opens up, and we are already seeing the return of Saudi buyers in some numbers.”
While Chinese buyer activity has recovered from the low levels of 2020, it is still depressed compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to Georg Chmiel, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Juwai IQI Group.
In the first quarter of 2021, Chinese buyer enquiries for UAE property hit their highest level in more than a year, he noted.
“The year-on-year growth rate in Chinese buyer inquiries hit triple digits and reached 209 percent in the first quarter. This early first-quarter search is likely to continue through the remainder of the year,” he said, adding that long-term price appreciation is a key deciding factor for Chinese buyers.
Speaking from a developer viewpoint, Jyotsna Hegde – President of Dubai-based Sobha Realty, said the company’s projects had attracted interest from a vast diaspora of investors from various nationalities in the first quarter of 2021.
“We’ve particularly witnessed a growing interest in buyers from India, China, Europe and Africa. Interestingly, 50 percent of our buyers hail from international markets, while residents make up the remaining 50 percent.”
“Specifically, we’ve witnessed a rise in demand for our villa projects owing to the increasing preference for personal spaces and better access to amenities. Buyers have taken advantage of the low prices and snapped up prime units.”
(Reporting by Hina Navin; Editing by Anoop Menon)
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