Regulating the housing market

New guidelines for overseas buyers in Dubai strengthen a critical economic sector

The Dubai skyline at Palm Jumeirah's beach. Reem Mohammed / The National
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Property ownership is a popular investment vehicle for many people. And in a place with both a large expatriate population and a global investment appetite, it is no surprise that overseas developers and agents want our attention. Therein lies the usual warning: caveat emptor. Some of these overseas brokers promise great deals that turn out to be too good to be true.

Regulation for the protection of investors is therefore a very good idea. Indeed, one might argue that it is even more so because distance makes it more difficult for investors to complete their due diligence. So new licensing oversight in Dubai is a positive development towards the goal of ensuring that buyers are not taken advantage of when investing in property overseas.

As The National reported, the Dubai Land Department has pushed through a new set of guidelines for brokers advertising and selling overseas properties in the emirate.

The regulations will ensure that brokers have access to land deeds and other documents, proving that the properties they are selling are as described, and that they are legally entitled to sell them.

Buying property in any market involves a fair amount of risk. And while these new guidelines attempt to remove some of the risk, it is impossible to remove it entirely. In other words, those looking to invest in property overseas must not be lured into a false sense of security because of these new guidelines. They must still do their homework and, perhaps more importantly, approach brokers with a healthy dose of scepticism when pondering investment options.

By forcing brokers to be more transparent, the UAE is demonstrating a commitment to best trading practice. Brokers looking to take advantage of buyers are learning that the UAE is not the right place for them to set up shop.