UAE property market to see strong rebound in next 18 months, experts say

The growth in the country's real estate sector is driven by government initiatives

Property investors who make the best returns often do so without realising due to a principal called leverage. Courtesy: HMS Homes
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There is a "true rebound" in the UAE’s property market, driven by government initiatives with the market momentum expected to sustain for the next 12 to 18 months as more people buy homes, according to industry experts.

“There is a lot being done in Dubai and in the UAE to ensure longevity of residency and that’s very important for us as developers and that’s really underpinning the real estate recovery that we’ve seen,” Alexander Davies, the chief commercial officer of the Dubai Holding Real Estate told the Cityscape Global Summit on Sunday.

“This is a true rebound and there are very good fundamentals underlying it.”

The sentiment so far is very positive
Dounia Fadi, chief operating officer of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Gulf Properties

Over the past year, the UAE government has introduced a number of measures to support the economy, including visas for retirees and professionals working remotely and the expansion of the 10-year golden visa initiative.

The UAE government also overhauled its commercial companies' law and annulled the requirement for onshore companies to have an Emirati shareholder to attract foreign capital.

Property markets in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have rebounded strongly, as pent-up demand and supportive stimulus measures offered by the government boosted economic activity.

Dubai recorded 37,537 sales transactions worth Dh88.12 billion ($23.99bn) in the eight months of this year, up 22.61 per cent compared with the whole of last year, according to the listings portal Property Finder.

Residential property prices in Dubai increased 4.4 per cent on average in the first eight months of the year, registering the highest annual growth since February 2015, according to real estate consultancy CBRE.

Average residential prices in Abu Dhabi increased 2.2 per cent in the year to August, the CBRE report said. The UAE capital registered Dh16.2bn of property transactions during the third quarter of 2021.

“The sentiment so far is very positive,” Dounia Fadi, chief operating officer of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Gulf Properties, told The National.

“It is not only the sentiment but the numbers as well, which have been rising since the fourth quarter of 2020 and so far it has been really sustainable growth. It didn’t really shoot up to crazy numbers and in tune with the demand we are seeing.

“We have a lot of people within the country looking for properties … the mortgage rates are promising and in the next 12 to 18 months the market will be on the rise,” she said.

The demand is driven by “how Dubai and the UAE government has handled the pandemic and a lot of people are relocating from Europe, the US, India and South Africa. People are moving here because they feel safe and because the pandemic is under well control”, she added.

The UAE, the Arab world’s second-largest economy, has been recording less than 100 coronavirus cases every day for the past few weeks. The country also accelerated the vaccination programme to prevent the pandemic from spreading.

According to official data, more than 21.3 million vaccine doses have been administered since the start of last December.

Ms Fadi also underscored the importance of sustainability in new projects and said there is only one development in Dubai, which is based on renewable energy and “there is a huge demand for that”.

“We do need more supply in that segment (sustainability) and after Cop26 summit, all governments have taken the pledge to do more in that segment,” she said. She also said the Dubai 2040 urban master plan is step in the right direction to boost green space in the emirate.

Earlier this year, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, set forward a plan to overhaul the emirate's urban landscape, dramatically increasing community, economic and recreational areas, as well as nature reserves, by 2040.

As per the plan, areas for economic and recreational activities will grow by one-and-a-half times and the length of beaches will increase by 400 per cent over the next 20 years.

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Updated: November 08, 2021, 6:58 AM