Dubai’s property market is made up of a diverse investor base, with over 200 nationalities investing in the 18 months to June 2017. The market has drawn significant Chinese investment, and the country now ranks sixth-highest for inbound property investment, having been eighth-highest as recently as May last year. A policy shift that grants Chinese nationals visas on arrival in Dubai has been a key driver of this, as well as the increased connectivity permitted by direct flights to 13 Chinese cities.
Similarly, with direct access to Dubai now available from 12 US cities, an increase in tourism should result in increased investment from US nationals. The current weakness of the US dollar, against which the dirham is pegged, presents buying opportunities for other international investors, too. Purchases denominated in the British pound and the euro are still benefitting from a relative discount, while those made in Russian roubles can secure property 12.5 per cent* cheaper than a year ago.
Meanwhile, the UAE government’s commitment to stimulating the local economy as well as recent visa and foreign ownership changes, will no doubt benefit property prices in the long run. 43 per cent of its 2018 budget is earmarked to develop important sectors such as infrastructure and transport, as well as public services and the development of a knowledge-based economy. This commitment will very likely result in overall economic stimulation and growth in the property market.
That said, the viability of international property investment into Dubai should be taken in context of other global opportunities. As a direct contrast to Dubai’s emerging market, exploring one of the world’s most mature property markets, London, will make for a useful comparison.
*Knight Frank Research is the source for the data
The author is Shehzad Hameed,
Head of Retail Banking,
Standard Chartered, UAE.