Category Archives: Reports

Property investors upbeat

Investors are upbeat on UAE real estate as demand for residential and commercial space is expected to remain strong in the coming years with new projects coming into the market, according to new reports.

Leading fund managers, property consultants and executives said demand for real estate projects will increase as the economy improves, population figures rise and tourism increases.

Al Masah Capital, an alternative asset manager, said Dubai’s real estate market is ripe for investment as it enjoyed good growth in the residential and hospitality segments last year.

“Residential development continued to remain high in Dubai on higher sales prices, while the hospitality segment remained robust through the year with a rise in daily and occupancy rates,” the Cayman Islands-based company with an office in Dubai said in its Mena – Alternative Investment Strategy 2013 report.

In another report, Business Monitor International, or BMI, said government-backed investments, especially in transport infrastructure, will support the UAE’s real estate sector as well as the construction sector. In its first-quarter report on UAE real estate, BMI said a clear regulatory environment and governing of private investments in real estate create a favourable investment climate.

“The UAE benefits from its strategic importance in the GCC and of the strategic importance of the region to the world. Regional unrest has benefited the emirates as they are seen as much safer than their neighbours,” the BMI report said.

Referring to a recent survey conducted by real estate consultants Cluttons placing Dubai as the most attractive destination to most private investors, Al Masah Capital’s report said the real estate market in Dubai is to be driven mainly by residential and hospitality segments in 2013. Recent projects, launched by major property developers including Emaar and Damac, sold out on its launch days, indicating the recovery in the sector. Damac managing director Ziad El Chaar said Dubai’s real estate sector recorded around 10 per cent growth in 2012 and this is likely to further accelerate this year.

Michael Lahyani, founder and chief executive of leading UAE portal propertyfinder.ae, expressed similar views and said the real estate sector has witnessed a strong start in first quarter of this year.

“The strengthening fiscal environment in Europe, along with the political instability in the Middle East is pushing more and more people towards Dubai, renowned for its tax haven and secure environment,” he said.

“Dubai continues to lead the way, with ever popular locations such as Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai and Palm Jumeirah being joined by relatively new developments like Jumeirah Village Circle. The outlook for the rest of the year remains positive with demand is expected to remain strong with new projects coming on to the market,” Lahyani told Khaleej Times.

Shailesh Dash, chief executive of Al Masah Capital, said projects like Mohammed bin Rashid City show that Dubai has recovered its swagger and the renowned confidence allows for them to start dreaming again. “We do believe that the implementation of these new projects will be done according to the demands of the market as well as the prevailing credit and cash conditions which are far different from 2007.”

The BMI report also cautioned that limited supply of credit affects project finance. “Our core view for the UAE is that the economy and real estate sector will experience relatively moderate levels of growth over the coming decade,” it said.

Dubai Marina is a great place for investment

Dubai Still Sits Pretty Among the World’s Super Rich

Dubai remains one of the favourite cities in the world for the rich and famous, according to the latest research.

The Emirate is listed in the top ten countries which wealth expert felt their clients considered the most important. Of those with more than US$ 30 million in wealth, Dubai came seventh, just behind the likes of London, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, Geneva and Shanghai.

The detailed annual report suggests that it is the real estate market which has driven the increase in confidence of the rich and famous. It says: ‘Dubai (Property Market) has recovered some of its popularity with Russians, but competition from North Africa, Pakistan, India and Iran has been an important factor in helping to drive process higher this year.

In fact, the report goes on to show that Dubai’s increase in valuations at around 20% is the second highest in the world, behind only Bali in Indonesia. Analysts praise the turnaround in the Dubai property market by stating that the Emirate has gone from: ‘the epitome of the global downturn between 2008 and 2009’, to rebounding spectacularly in 2012 ‘on the back of resurgence in demand.

The main reasons for the return to favour of the worlds most influential HNWI’s (High Net Worth Individuals) was the strategic location linking the East and the West and its position as a safe haven in the region.

Bang for your Buck

The report went on to highlight just how much physical real estate you can get for your cash in each respective city – and in Dubai we do pretty well. For a US$ 1 million investment you can expect to be given around 168 square metres. Doesn’t sound much? Well head to Monaco (16 square metres) or London (23 square metres) and you soon realize that very few cities can match Dubai even for value.

But are these global investors looking at Dubai as a quick win city, where they can ride the second wave, make some tax-free cash and get out before the next collapse? Apparently not. The report asked which cities would be most important to the clients of wealth investors in ten years time, and Dubai still ranked in the top ten in the world! 

This is one of the most important pieces of information in here … for those of us looking to invest in the Dubai property market, as it clearly shows that the uber rich are involved in Dubai for the long-term, they are here to stay. And that injection of liquidity into the market will ensure that Dubai remains not just the leader in the Middle East for property investment, but increasingly on the world stage.

Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts on the report. Follow us on Twitter and join the debate!

The Dubai Property Market Post-Mortgage Cap – A Top Five First Time Buyer’s Guide

With the recent introduction of a mortgage cap of 50 percent loan-to-value rate for expatriates in the UAE, many prospective clients have to re-evaluate ways to get into the Dubai property market.

The new regulations will impact those that require a mortgage to cover the repayments on the outstanding balance. The most recent statistics from the Land Department show mortgages account for 66 percent of total registered transactions in Dubai in Q1 2011. Foreigners are also substantial owners and buyers, purchasing real estate worth almost AED 30 million in H1 2012.

So, you are keen to invest in Dubai, but you no longer have the initial down payment required on the place you had lined up. What to do? Well, it may well be a blessing in disguise.

Dubai’s property market is currently increasing at a good rate. Now is the time to invest in the market, to capitalize on the growth to come. Here are a few things to consider:

1.    New Locations

If you are not able to find the 50 percent down payment on that stunning two-bed overlooking Burj Khalifa, take a look at the two-bed in IMPZ, Jumeirah Village or even Dubai World Central.

These locations have many stunning properties under development, but are as much as 50 percent less than Dubai Marina or the Burj Area. Okay, the infrastructure is going to take a couple of years to come online, but you will be close to all major roads and have a stunning property with enviable facilities, all for a fraction of the cost of the current prime areas.

2.    Take the emotion out

By looking at property in the development areas of the city, you are taking the emotion out of the investment and making a considered choice based on future capital growth. By being a ‘trend-setter’ and getting into these areas early, you will have much more room to grow the capital growth, indeed in the medium to long-term a new property such as Lago Vista or the Crescent in IPMZ, will certainly increase in value by higher percentages than the more established areas.

3.    Control your level of investment

The mortgage cap has been introduced to control the level of overseas investment in the Dubai property market and to try to restrain the boom and bust mentality of the past. It is a sensible approach to retain control of the markets and will help to ensure you are only investing the money you can afford. While all predictions suggest the Dubai real estate industry is on the consistent path of growth, there only needs to be another short-term dip and you could find yourself in financial difficulties. Accept the mortgage cap and use it to your advantage by looking at those properties in new development areas.

4.    Buy to live

This blog encourages a buy to live mentality, or at least a medium to long-term strategy for your Dubai investments. If you are considering a purchase in Dubai, think about what it is for. If this is for investment and to give you a home then we suggest looking also at the Hotel apartments springing up around the Burj Area. These offer not only a solid foundation for capital growth but the management companies will also take responsibility of renting out your apartment while you are away for any period of time.

5.    Do your research

As you set into the Dubai property market you will soon note that there is quite a bit of paperwork to get through. While this can be timely and frustrating, take it as a huge positive. This is a signal of the strength of the regulation now supporting the market and has been introduced to protect the buyer. Always ensure you ask the developer to provide you their licenses, including agreements with main contractors and also funding assurances through Escrow. By law, every developer has to provide you this documentation.

How has the new mortgage cap affected you? What impact do you think it will have on the market? We would love to hear from you in the comments section below, or joining us on Twitter, @dxbpropinvest.

UAE Construction Sector Set for Growth in 2013 as Increase in Middle East’s HNWI’s Drives Investment

The construction sector in the Middle East is expected to grow again this year, providing a significant boost to the countries non-oil contribution to GDP, the latest report from KFH-Research suggests.

Analysts stated that industrial production will ‘improve gradually’, but the non-oil sector will be ‘more significant.

All signs point to a resurgence in the real estate market, particularly in the well-developed luxury areas within Dubai. 2012 saw the most growth in pricing across the board in more than four years.

“We forecast moderate economic growth for the UAE, at three percent in 2012, conservatively lower than the Central Bank’s forecast that growth maybe exceeding 3.5 percent,” KFH-Research said.

The strength in the market is supported by the growth of HNMI’s in the Middle East who are again looking to the property asset classes as a means of secure long-term capital growth.

The report showed that in the Middle East, the number of HNWI’s has increased by 2.7 percent year-on-year to 450,000. Total financial wealth of the Middle East HNWI’s grew by 0.7% year-on-year to US$ 1.7 trillion.

It is thought there are around one million wealthy households in the GCC region, with total investable assets of between US$ one trillion to US$ 1.2 trillion. Of these, around 260,000 to 280,000 households have total assets of more than US$ one million in each household.

By country, Saudi Arabia has the most number of wealthy households, estimated between 600,000 and 625,000, followed by the UAE (200,000-220,000) and Kuwait (120,000-130,000). Naturally, Saudi Arabia also has the highest total investable assets in the region, estimated at US$ 500 billion to US$ 550 billion, followed by the UAE (US$ 260 billion to US$ 280 billion) and Kuwait (US$ 140 billion to US$ 150 billion).

As the wealth of the GCC high spenders increases again we expect to see further investment in the Dubai property market, which is considered a safe haven within the region and secure place for investment. This will support the continued growth in the luxury sector of the market, with serviced hotel apartments a prime investment opportunity for those looking to own a high-end, well serviced property and the flexibility of earning rental returns while they are not living in the apartment.

What impact do you see on the Dubai Property Market in 2013? What is your own personal experience of the price rises seen over the past 12 months? We would love to hear from you in the comments section below, or joining us on Twitter, @dxbpropinvest

Dubai Metro is driving property prices in Dubai. Here is passes DAMAC Properties' 'The Waves' in Dubai Marina

Transport Networks Driving Dubai Property Market

Improvements to the transport network in and around Dubai have had a dramatic impact on pricing, according to the Roads and Transport Authorities.

Property close to the Dubai Metro, which opened on 09/09/09, is already seeing a strong increase with prices appreciating anywhere from 7 – 34% a report concluded. Up to 300,000 people a day are now using the metro, making it one of the most used forms of public transport in the country.

It may seem obvious that the metro will have helped to increase prices, but many ‘experts’ were sceptical of the impact of the metro before, and even shortly after, it opened. It was thought that they would be seen as an eyesore, increase traffic congestion around the stations and no one would use it due to the obsession with big cars and cheap taxis.

However, people have been using the metro in their millions to get across Dubai and real estate has seen a good boost as well.

It is a further sign that infrastructure development has a dramatic impact on pricing and improvements to standard of living; something the top developers have been pushing for quite a while.

There is a currently a two-tier structure to Dubai’s real estate market, with the main areas along the coast, and adjacent to Sheikh Zayed Road and the metro demanding the highest prices, with the developments slightly further into the mainland offering great value as infrastructure is still in development.

The metro service in Dubai Marina looks set to come on-line in the New Year, with talk of the rail network linking Dubai and Abu Dhabi also set to get under-way at full steam shortly, the UAE’s transit network is set to be one of the most advanced in the Middle East.

Where as in 2008/9 and before, there was no need to even think about public transport in Dubai when considering a place to call home, it is now becoming a more important factor for all of the Dubai property market – not only for increasing value in the property but also for easier access around the Emirate.

How often do you use the Dubai metro? Have you seen an increase in your property since its completion? Have the prices risen because of the new network? We would love to hear from you in the comments section below, or joining us on Twitter, @dxbpropinvest.

Dubai Property Market – 2013 Outlook

As we turn the corner into the home straight of 2012, www.dubaipropertyinvest.com dusted off its crystal ball and took a look at what to expect in the Dubai property market in 2013.

Recent announcements by the Dubai Government are an additional fillip to a market which has seen sustained and improved growth throughout 2012.

That key word we keep talking about here: Confidence is again riding high (hopefully not too high) and the market is more stable than it has been in the past three to four years.

Executives are starting to think about the direction of the market in Dubai and lay out their plans for the coming year, and supporting that with investment.

Ziad Al Chaar, DAMAC Properties Managing Director, told us that growth is sustainable in the near future, if you know where to look: “2012 has delivered on our predictions at the start of the year – prices in the Dubai market steadily grew with each quarter outperforming the last. In 2013 buyers will definitely be able to benefit from this capital growth, but will need to be very savvy about where they invest and in which projects in each area.”

And this is a key element. While we often look at numbers and data across the board in Dubai, the market remains fragmented with some areas driving premium prices and others yet to fire into action. This creates opportunity for investment, but new clients to the market should be careful and do their research.

Look for the areas where the Government have committed to infrastructure investment over 2013 to provide a guide to where the latest projects will not only be completed in good time, but where services will also be close to hand.

“Encouragingly, there are indications that some of the lessons of the last real estate crisis have been learned,” said Jones Lang LaSalle in its latest look at the Dubai market.

“This is still Dubai and it is as ambitious as ever but we are also seeing a more mature and considered approach which is only going to benefit the long term health and credibility of the real estate sector amongst domestic and international investors and stakeholders,” added Alan Robertson, chief executive officer, of Jones Lang LaSalle in the Middle East and North Africa.

This more stable take on development should hold Dubai in good stead through 2013 with job opportunities created as the cranes swing back into action. There will also be a host of projects actually coming on line next year from developers who focused on delivery rather than new announcements over the past couple of years.

Next year could turn out to be one of the most consistent of recent years. We expect to see less erratic movement in prices across the twelve months with a steady climb of 4-5% per quarter in the most sought after locations.

Do you agree with our assessment of what is to come in 2013? We would love to hear from you in the comments section below, or joining us on Twitter, @dxbpropinvest.

Dubai’s Bold Move Forward

Dubai has stepped back into the limelight in the past couple of days, reaffirm its unwavering vision for the future.

In the past 72 hours His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has approved two major development projects which, it is hoped, will drive Dubai onto the next level.

While we saw a hint of Dubai starting to get back on its feet and talk more confidently about the improving fiscal situation and desire to build again at Cityscape last month, the last week has blown that out of the water and shown just how far Dubai is willing to go.

Firstly, there was the Mohammad Bin Rashid (MBR) City which will contain up to 100 new hotels and house the world’s largest mall. The mall alone could cost in the region of AED 10 billion according to industry experts.

Then, just a couple of days later this was followed up by the announcement of a new entertainment hub costing another AED 10 billion in Jebel Ali which will be home to five distinct theme parks. The first phase will be Dubai Adventure Studios, originally announced in December 2011, and is expected to be completed as soon as 2014.

Too much, too soon?

We must say that, while we remain some of the most optimistic people involved in the Dubai Property Market, this does all sound very ambitious, even for Dubai. Has the market really recovered so much that tens of billions of investment is justifiable? Where will the market come from as Europe, America and even parts of the Far East struggle to shake of the remnants of the Global Financial Crisis? Is the GCC market big enough to drive enough demand?

Well, while even we get a little nervous around should big aspirations and dreams, a few reports came out which actually support increased growth and demand in Dubai.

The UAE is ranked first in the Arab world and 18th globally as the best place to be born in 2013, it is the 26th ‘best country for doing business, it enjoys the world’s easiest tax structure and Dubai is experiencing its fastest rate of growth since 2007. Four reports in one week all signifying the UAE’s place on the world map.

The leaders of the UAE have remained steadfast in their vision to make Dubai and the UAE one of the best places on earth. The global crisis was just a curve in the road on that mission and it seems the country is leading its way back to greatness. We hope this strength of character proves well placed and the announcements from the past week come to fruition.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this and any other news on Dubai Property Invest. And don’t forget to also join us on Twitter @dxbpropinvest

A Numbers Game – All Signs Show 2012 as the Year of the Dubai Recovery

‘Cautious Optimism’, seem to be the watch words for developing nations when it comes to the economic recovery. But taking a look at some of the numbers coming out of the UAE right now, you would be forgiven for thinking that the recovery is a distant memory and the country is moving on in strides.

It was always felt that such an immature market will fall fastest and also recover fastest. But take a look at these numbers and in less than five years since the downturn, it appears that Dubai is powering out the other side …

  • AED 499 billion – Value of UAE’s non-oil foreign trade in H1 2012
  • AED 9.79 billion – revenue generated by Dubai’s hotels
  • AED 44.6 billion – budget allocated by the Federal Government for 2013
  • AED 1.41 trillion – UAE’s nominal GDP expected this year

For a country with a population of less than eight million people, these are remarkable numbers.

All the signs show that Dubai and the UAE are well set for a period of sustained growth – tourism is up, trade, aviation and retail sectors are all reporting strong figures and the Dubai property market is also experiencing its largest growth period in five years.

Dubai’s hotels and serviced apartments reported a 10 per cent increase in the number of guests with more than five million visitors to the Emirate in the first six months of the year. This saw an increase in revenue of 22 percent.

“The recovery of the economy if continuing despite the uncertain global economic environment,” said the report of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its report of the UAE. “For 2012 oil production is projected to be flat, whereas non-oil growth is expected to strengthen further to 3.5 percent.”

We have talked in this blog before about confidence driving the market; especially in a market such as Dubai where sentiment has a direct impact on pricing given the immaturity of the market. “Investor sentiment is back – big time in the country and we could feel that,” Rohit Walia, CEO of Alpen Capital and Executive Vice-President of Sarasin Alpen, a Swiss private bank, told Gulf News.

As companies start to close out the end of 2012 and look into the crystal ball for strategic insights which will stand them out from the crowd in 2013, board meetings are more upbeat with a focus on growing staff and investing again. This will have a massive effect on the property market. There has been a niggling doubt that Dubai simply has too many apartments to meet any demand, but with recruitment up, confidence up and revenues up, Dubai’s market is set for another growth spurt.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this and any other news on Dubai Property Invest. And don’t forget to also join us on Twitter @dxbpropinvest

UAE-based Bank Reiterates Strength of Dubai Property Market

The Dubai Property market is continuing to grow in line with the wider economic recovery in the Emirate, according to a report out from Citi.

Stronger visitor numbers, and strength in the retail markets is filtering through to the real estate sector says the report, with stronger trade and higher oil prices a key factor in the growth.

The report goes on to say that Dubai has actually benefited from what it calls a ‘misfortune dividend’ where investors have turned to safe havens in a response to the Arab Spring.

Citi’s chief economist Farouk Sousa quoted figures from Cluttons which showed that mid-range properties have increased in value by 20% over the last year.

“This is below the 30%-40% annual gain in property prices during the pre-2009 boom but, according to CBRE, represents one of the sharpest gains in the property sector anywhere globally this year,” he said.

The banks have a critical role to play in the continued resurgence of the markets by providing liquidity to not only end-users, but also contractors and developers.

City says that the increased investment in property in Dubai is allowing real estate companies begin to strengthen their balance sheets and improve credit ratings to be able to refinance loans.

Sousa also added that the recovery has been experienced mainly in prime locations, but that there was still an overhang of supply in both residential and commercial markets.

“Our own estimates suggest that the current stock of housing exceeds demand by some 50,000 units (15% of total supply),” he said.

While current stock may well outstrip the demand in the market in developing areas, these developments will quickly be filled by the growth in the population and the strong increase of expatriates coming to Dubai in the wake of the prolonged European and American economic crisis.

Are you receiving a warmer welcome from your banks? Is nit easier to get mortgages now than a year ago? We would love to hear your thoughts on this and any other news on Dubai Property Invest. And don’t forget to also join us on Twitter @dxbpropinvest

UAE Prosperity Has Direct Impact on Dubai Property Market

The UAE has just been listed as the most prosperous nation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in a report that looks at social and economic well-being.

The 2012 Legatum Institute Prosperity Index placed the UAE 29th in the world, out of a total of 142 countries which were assessed. The next country from the MENA in the rankings was Kuwait in 38th followed by KSA in 52nd.

As the UAE continues to grow in the eyes of the international community, more attention will be drawn back to the Dubai property market which has proved an integral component of the emirates perception around the world. As the market grows, the more favourably Dubai is seen by the global community, and vice-versa.

For a country with a current population of just eight million it is a great achievement to grow in the league tables so dramatically and in such a short period of time.

The economy of the country was the most favourable with a ranking of 17th in the world. Given this, HSBC’s Senior Economist Simon Williams told Gulf News that the UAE still has a way to go: “Given that the UAE has one of the wealthiest GDP’s per capita in the world, this tells you how far the UAE has to go to close the gap between potential and reality.”

Pretty stark words, but a reflection that while Dubai and the UAE has achieved a great deal in its 40 year existence it is not sitting on its laurels and there is still a way to go to realise the opportunities which are abound.

As the economies of the east and the west come closer together, Dubai as a regional hub and influential trading stop off will have ever more international influence.

All of this drives what is still a relatively immature property market and will continue to attract more overseas investment.

The report also shed light on to the UAE’s entrepreneurship opportunities, ranking the country in 30th place, 41st for governance, 37th for education, 32nd in health services and 42nd in social capital which looks at the family and society support.

On a more macro perspective the countries in the MENA region improved their performance in the Entrepreneurship and Opportunity sub-index over the last three years, with the second largest improvement behind Asia.

The report concluded by stating that the improvements: “are partly due to a decrease in start-up costs [which] have decreased throughout the [MENA] region.”

Do reports matter? Where can the UAE realistically hope to be on the chart in five years? We would love to hear your thoughts on this and any other news on Dubai Property Invest. And don’t forget to also join us on Twitter @dxbpropinvest