Dubai’s JRD Group has signed a deal with China’s Juwai.com that will allow Dubai-based agents and developers to more easily sell properties to Chinese investors.
JRD Group, which is behind the Justproperty.com portal, said brokers who use its Propspace CRM system can now easily list its properties on Juwai.com, which means “home overseas” that targets customers looking to buy overseas property.
Juwai.com said that Chinese nationals have become the world’s biggest buyers of property, snapping up US$52 billion of property overseas in 2014 – a figure that is expected to rise to $220bn by 2020.
To date, the bulk of this investment has gone into favoured markets in the US, Australia, Canada and the UK (mainly London). However, the chief executive of Juwai.com, Charles Pittar, said that inquiries through his company’s site for UAE properties increased by 15 per cent last year.
JRD Group’s chief executive, Alex Nicholas, said its tie-up would give them “easier access to the influential Chinese investor segment”.
They need to pay a fee to register with Juwai.com, which varies depending on the size of client and the level of engagement. For example, Mr Pittar said that alongside translating listings and placing them on its site, it hosts events and has its own media channels. It also offers advice on how to market to Chinese buyers – something it has already been doing for Dubai-based SPF Realty.
Mr Pittar said Chinese investors typically have four motivations for buying property – as an investment, a luxury home, for education purposes or for immigration status. For those looking at UAE properties, investment and education were key.
“There’s almost a guaranteed return of 8 per cent on an investment into real estate in the UAE, specifically in Dubai. From a Chinese perspective, that is a very good number,” said Mr Pittar. “That would probably outdo most markets in the world.”
He added that UAE campuses of major schools like New York University, American University and Paris Sorbonne were also of interest.
“Education is a massive motivator. Some 20 per cent of the audience we get are looking to buy internationally for their kids to have somewhere safe to live when they study overseas.”
He argued that UAE brokers and developers should work more closely together to promote the country to Chinese buyers and also visit smaller Chinese cities where there is still plenty of demand but less competition.
Fang.com launched its own web portal last month for Chinese buyers looking at Dubai property.
The company, which is owned by Beijing-based SouFun Holdings, said that Chinese buyers bought Dh2.6bn worth of property in the emirate last year – more than double the amount invested in 2014, according to Dubai Land Department figures.
“We have observed growing interest in this part of the world among our Chinese clients,” said Wang Ning, the deputy general manager of SouFun International.
“Our clients are looking beyond traditional destinations like New York and Sydney and are seeking for higher returns on their investments. Dubai naturally becomes Fang’s pick as it offers a much higher, tax-free, rental yield.”
Follow The National's Business section on Twitter