Buyers and investors snap up off-plan property in Expo City Dubai

Residents and overseas investors see value in the development to be completed in 2026

A sales agent shows prospective buyers some of the apartments on sale at Expo City. Ruel Pableo for The National
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A mixture of buyers from investors to first-time home owners have booked apartments that will be built overlooking Expo City Dubai attractions.

Properties went on sale on Wednesday, with families showing up at the newly opened sales centre asking for more information about residences to be completed in January 2026.

Existing infrastructure built for Expo 2020, such as the metro station, as well as payment plan options for apartments starting at Dh1.2 million ($330,000) have attracted investors.

For Jayant Gupta, a commodities trader, buying a one-bedroom apartment was a “no-brainer” due to the road and Metro connectivity.

This is how I see the future of all cities, not just Dubai. It’s the beginning of something new
Shayla Chari, prospective buyer

Mr Gupta moved from Singapore to the UAE seven months ago and has invested in town houses and apartments in three other Dubai developments.

He said the option to pay the final 50 per cent over 16 months after handover were attractive.

“Being a seasoned investor, I invest in multiple properties and having a flexible payment plan allows me to invest in more projects. So I can keep my cash safe with me and find more projects to invest in,” said Mr Gupta, who spent less than two hours finalising the purchase of a one-bedroom apartment.

Having lived in Singapore for eight years, Mr Gupta now lives with his family in Dubai.

He had never been to the Expo site before Wednesday and was upbeat about growth in the surrounding area.

“Expo is a brand I know because all Emirates planes had Expo 2020 written across,” he said.

“The Jebel Ali area is developing at a fast pace, the port has always been a success and there is a Jafza [Jebel Ali Free Zone] extension coming up so a lot of corporates will be coming here.

“Location-wise this is a good spot.”

He said investing in Dubai made sense due to a “welcoming environment” where people from different nationalities had made the UAE their home.

The planned new community in Dubai South capitalises on an exceptional property boom in the emirate.

Several off-plan developments, when homes are sold before construction, have been introduced over the past year.

Dubai has experienced record growth with the value of property deals reaching a high of Dh528 billion early this year.

The number of investors has risen by 53 per cent compared to 2021.

Promise of a green home

For first-time buyers, the promise of sustainable housing, pedestrianised zones in a ‘city of tomorrow’ is the draw.

Expo City Dubai is being developed as the country’s first 15-minute city where amenities, attractions and transport will be a quick walk or jog away with dedicated cycle tracks and bike paths.

Shayla Chari, a finance professional, hopes to buy a two-bedroom apartment.

“I love how conscious they are about the environment,” she said.

“This is how I see the future of all cities, not just Dubai. It’s the beginning of something new, where we will learn to value nature and consciously think of the role greenery plays on us mentally and emotionally.”

As an Expo fan, Ms Chari and her family often visit the site.

With more people coming into the country due to new visa rules, Ms Chari believes the demand for property will continue.

“There is an inclination of people to stay here post-retirement,” she said.

“It has become a central city for all nationalities.

“I’m keeping my options open. I’m looking at something I can stay in case I can’t rent it out.”

A showpiece the world knows

Brokers and residents said it was likely apartments would be booked quicker than the villas due to the higher entry point of Dh3.4 for three-bedroom homes at the new Expo Valley compared to lower-priced villas in developments nearby.

But unique offerings such as a wadi and a forest area was the Expo lure.

Vikram Jakhar, a real estate adviser with Upstream Properties, has two clients from overseas who have booked apartments.

Among potential buyers were those with investments in Dubai, consider the UAE their second home and already have property they rent out.

“There is interest among the English, German and French investors overseas because this is not something you can compare to Dubai’s other communities,” he said.

“This was first created as a showpiece for the world and people were mesmerised by what they saw.

“Now they hear of walking around in green zones, no cars on roads and the wadi bringing nature closer to you.

“This place is in its own category also because of the events planned, fan zones, the concert areas.

“It will be a trendy place that people want for the buzz it generates.”

Despite good road connectivity, the remote location is often seen as a disadvantage as most residents prefer to live near their workplace.

Mr Jakhar said he asks hesitant clients to visit the area to make up their mind.

“Many residents prefer to live in well-established communities as they work around that area,” he said.

“This city is not being built to bring people from exiting areas here.

“This will also draw people who have yet to come to Dubai.

“New people are moving into Dubai with companies opening up offices here.

‘I tell them, ‘You need to have a vision, you need to believe in this place, come, see it before you decide.'”

Updated: March 16, 2023, 5:20 AM