Finding the Ideal Property: Dubai Buyers’ Guide To Property

Skyscrapers with multiple swimming pools. Lavish designer high-rises. Contemporary sprawling villas. Properties in Dubai are nothing short of exquisite when it comes to architecture, amenities, and overall design. It’s no wonder then that many expats choose to call this thriving spot in the United Arab Emirates their future home. If you have plans of moving to this affluent emirate, discover the many types of residential property Dubai builders are developing these days, and find your ideal home.

If you live alone and have no immediate plans of starting a family, Dubai’s many luxurious hotel-style residences are quickly becoming the number one choice. This is especially recommended for individuals with busy schedules and a discerning lifestyle that demands five-star service.

When price isn’t a concern, there are a host of opportunities for both investment and a place to call home. You can find everything from four-bedroom penthouses, to studios. Your decision will depend on whether one serviced luxury hotel has more amenities (e.g., Jacuzzi, luxury spa, modern gymnasium, etc.) than the other residential hotel. Also, consider the views available from your suite. After all, why live in a serviced residential hotel if you aren’t going to have a stunning view when you retire at night? Another key factor in Dubai is infrastructure. Areas which have roads, shops, schools and hospitals demand a higher premium, but offer the most convenience.

When money is a more of a factor, you can still save a few dollars in rent or real estate investment by looking at modest, more affordable apartments situated in less luxurious, but still pleasant locations, which offer the opportunity for strong capital growth as infrastructure comes online. There are many apartments with child-friendly and secure neighborhoods with access to swimming pools and restaurants.

Dubai, with stunning skyscrapers and designer apartments, offers a luxury standard of living. However, there are still affordable and homely options perfect for families and single people. All you have to do is find a property that’s ideal for your budget and your lifestyle. Do a lot of research. Work with the most trusted and established developers which have a proven track record in the market – especially if you are considering an off-plan purchase. Request all information on the project: Escrow account details, copies of contracts with master developers and RERA-approved licenses – every trusted developer has to be able to provide these.

Above all, don’t let your heart rule your head; don’t overstretch your budget, but find somewhere that will meet the requirements of you and your family. Dubai is one of the safest places on earth to live, with a wonderful melting pot of communities. It is a city where opportunity is abound.

Where are your areas of choice in Dubai right now? Tell us your story of your move to Dubai. We would love to hear from you in the comments section below, or joining us on Twitter, @dxbpropinvest.

Emaar clients walk away from new property launch in disgust

Repost from Big News Network.com

Emaar, Dubai’s biggest property developor set the emirate on fire on Saturday but not in the way it intended.

The property giant, amidst heavy security, was launching its latest serviced residential apartments tower, proposed for a site opposite the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

After the debacle in September last year when a similar project was launched and hundreds of people camped outside the Emaar sales office for three days to get set, the company announced this time buyers would have to pre-register. What followed was a disaster, with one prominent Dubai real estate agent describing the actions of Emaar as “disgraceful.”

Registration was online and it took place on Wednesday at 10am. Emaar then vetted the applicants, estimated at around 12,000, and allocated tokens to those that had been successful. With 280 apartments on offer the developer it was assumed would have issued 280 tokens, and perhaps a number to offset those clients that didn’t turn up or didn’t proceed to buy an apartment. With approximately 300 to 350 tokens allocated it should have all gone swimmingly.

What the developer didn’t tell clients was that they had issued three lots of tokens. Successful registrants were told they had to be at the Emaar sales office at 8am. When they arrived they found long queues stretching from the front entrance to the three main buildings in the Emaar complex right around the outside of the buildings. The developer issued red, blue and yellow tokens. While the red queue moved swiftly through to the sales office to look over plans, prices and contracts, several hundred, possibly a thousand people, waited outside penned up in long lines for several hours without any communication from Emaar as to what was happening. Trays of Chicken sandwiches and croissants were passed around and bottles of water but there was no-one to tell the throngs what was going on.

Then as it was approaching seven hours in the queues, at about 2.40pm, a crowd marshal got up on her feet, without any amplification, and said the red tokens were up to number 155 and they had yet to start on the blues, and the yellows it seemed may not get a start at all. The Emaar employee stressed that people were welcome to stay but there was little likelihood they would get set. Angry scenes followed as frustrated buyers left in disgust, not so much because they had missed out, but they say because of the way they were treated. Scores were heard muttering, and others making their feelings known more loudly, indicating they would not take part in an Emaar property launch again.

For those that stayed however, in the ever-dwindling queues, and those that had made it inside into the sales office, the worst was yet to come. About 4pm, when the red tokens were up to about 175, an Emaar representative announced all apartments had been sold. There was a complete uproar as angry clients and their agents stormed Emaar personnel seeking an explanation. Agents had been told Emaar was restricting sales of the apartments to one per client, yet before even one third of the tokens had been dealt with all the apartments were gone.

Earlier in the day it had been indicated quotas of apartments had been allocated to each token category, however it appeared at the end of the day only those holding red tokens would get apartments, and clearly the one apartment per client rule didn’t apply to them.

The fact that Emaar may have been abusing their clients, many of whom have been with them for years, some even buying whole floors off them, didn’t seem to register. Management and marketing executives would have been well aware within a couple of hours of opening their doors, if not even before they opened, that there was no prospect of around 900 registrants being able to be dealt with by sales representatives, let alone complete purchases. An Emaar employee when asked about the situation, confirmed the company intended for it to happen this way as they wanted all the hype, and the subsequent publicity about hundreds being turned away. There were even suggestions Emaar limited the number of units on sale, preferring to establish the hype and then sell more units into the open market later.

What may have been deemed to have been a top marketing strategy ultimately turned into a public relations nightmare with more damage being done to the developer’s reputation, notwithstanding it sold whatever number of apartments it intended to. The company may not be so quick to sell the next project. It is unlikely those that took part Saturday, many of which had travelled from all over the UAE, elsewhere in the Gulf and as far away as Iran and Russia, would be lulled into going through a similar exercise again. One prominent real estate agent who did not want to be named said she and her colleagues in the industry were “appalled,” at the way in which Emaar handled the launch, describing it as a “con,” and a “disgrace.”

The developer was also under scrutiny as the emirate’s property regulator, RERA, requires payment programmes for off-the-plan properties to be set commensurate with construction milestones achieved. Emaar however was hitting clients with a 15% up-front payment, followed by a 10% payment in June, and then a 15% instalment when the construction is 10% completed. Investors will therefore have forked out 40% of the cost of their apartments while Emaar, which is state backed, will have only completed 10% of the construction.

The tower itself, The Address Residence Fountain Views comprises 60 floors of one, two, three and four bedroom apartments and penthouses. It will be the only Address property developed by Emaar to date to not include a hotel, however hotel services will be provided to the complex by Emaar’s hotel chain, The Address Hotels and Resorts. The company will also operate a serviced apartments pool in the tower.

Let us know if you had a similar experience at the launch; we would love to hear from you. You can also follow us @DXBPropInvest on Twitter.

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

2012 – The Year of the Optimist; 2013 – The Year of the Savvy Investor

As we close out another year, and begin to relax ahead of the New year celebrations, we take a moment to reflect back on twelve months which has redefined the property market in Dubai and consider what might be before us in 2013.

Villa prices have seen the most significant growth, during a year where each quarter has outperformed the last, with some areas seeing growth around 20 percent. Apartments are also back to 2010 prices (they won’t hit 2008 peaks until Q3/Q4 next year) with a year-on-year increase around seven percent across the board … much more than this at the luxury end of the market.

Key locations are still leading the market. Top-end properties in the Burj Area and Dubai Marina remain the most sought after, with serviced apartments the new off-plan opportunity.

Mega projects were again announced … a few teasers at Cityscape Global, before the real big announcements in the past month: ‘Mohammed bin Rashid City’, a multi-billion dollar project with the largest mall in the world (didn’t we already have one?) and a park 30 percent bigger than Hyde Park in London. Then, three days later, a AED 10 billion leisure and entertainment destination, which will begin construction next year.

So Dubai is back competing, announcing, building, and most importantly selling again. While there is some justified skepticism in the air as Dubai reverts back to the big bold announcements, there is now liquidity back in the market. Dubai is seen as the safe haven with Middle East investors moving their cash to the Emirate as the Arab Spring continues throughout the region. Buyers in Europe and America are coming to Dubai (especially the large institutions) as the EuroZone crisis and the ‘Fiscal cliff’ in the States still causes alarm.

So into 2013, and as DAMAC Properties’ MD, Ziad Al Chaar said recently: “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.”

Stricter regulations continue to be integrated into the Dubai Property Market, new investment opportunities will open up (serviced hotel apartments will be the number one investment vehicle next year) and new locations such as IMPZ, Jumeirah Village and the Emirates/Al Khail Road area will jump in valuation as infrastructure completes.

“I believe that there has been no better time to invest in the Dubai property market in the past four years,” added Al Chaar. “New regulations, the filtering of the market following the correction and the increases in business and tourism coming to Dubai will it remains one of the most lucrative real estate markets in the world in 2013.”

Which direction do you think the Dubai Property Market will head in 2013? What impact will it have on rental prices and yields for owners? Are you looking to get into the market? We would love to hear from you in the comments section below, or joining us on Twitter, @dxbpropinvest.

The 53-storey towers to be built in the Burj Area

The Distinction – The latest project to hit the luxury Dubai Property Market

DAMAC Properties is the latest luxury developer to step forward with a new project announcement, and The Distinction is set to wow the growing number of people returning to the Dubai Property Market.

A stunning 195 metre, 53-storey, iconic tower overlooking the Burj Area, with views taking in the vista of the Dubai Fountain, Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall, The Distinction is set for completion early in 2015.

The Distinction will come with 295 luxury serviced hotel apartments, including studios, one, two and three bedrooms. There are also two four bedroom penthouses.

DAMAC Properties has timed the announcement well – with the market on its strongest upward curve in four years. There is a great deal of interest and excitement about the Dubai market at the moment and especially the Burj Area which DAMAC recently described as one of the most desirable locations in the world.

Average prices in Dubai have increased by 14 percent in the first nine months of the year, according to the Reidin Residential Sales Indices, with the rental market also seeing strong growth with yields up as much as 24 percent in prime locations across Dubai according to a recent report by CB Richard Ellis.

DAMAC Properties is certainly focusing on the top-end serviced apartments sector of the market and has recently announced it will have more than 4,000 units of this type under development by the end of next year.

Niall McLoughlin, Senior Vice President, DAMAC Properties, said: “Luxury projects in prime locations are driving the UAE property resurgence and ‘The Distinction’ will provide the quality of finish and service expected at this end of the market. The serviced hotel apartments at ‘The Distinction’ will offer the highest levels of customer service, luxury and opulence placing it among the premium products DAMAC Properties has on the market today.”

You can experience the views you can expect from The Distinction by checking out this cool time lapse from one of the towers next door.

What do you think of The Distinction? Do you think luxury serviced apartments will take off? 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

Dubai’s Economic Recovery Drives Forward

Senior officials within the Dubai government are reaffirming the emirates growth estimates with renewed forecasts outstripping projections made prior to the downturn in 2008.

The government says nominal growth domestic product will hit AED490 billion (US$133 billion) by 2015, up from AED367 billion in 2011, with Dubai averaging real growth of 4.5 – 5% a year through 2015.

In 2007, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum targeted a GDP of US$108 billion for 2015.

“Dubai’s economy is well diversified and resilient to external as well as domestic shocks,” said Sami al-Qamzi, director general of Dubai’s department of economic development. “We think that growth will be more sustainable, albeit at a more moderate pace than in previous years.”

Given the Dubai property  market is so closely tied to the overall economy, a further recovery in the real estate sector would allow Dubai to return to its pre-2008 strategy of raising cash through land sales.

The economy minister, Sultan al-Mansoori, says the UAE is also introducing laws to boost investor confidence and better provide for its nationals. The country is also working finalise a companies’ law, which will open up some sectors to 100% foreign ownership.

There appears to more bullish tone from the Dubai government with the traditional revenue streams from trade, tourism and transportation have now been followed by the signs of recovery in real estate and construction.

Confidence has grown since the Arab Spring restored Dubai’s status as a regional haven, prompting a tourism revival with arrivals up another 10% in the first half of 2012.

While the recovery remains relatively slow, it is also returning at a stronger and more stable pace, allowing companies to built their operations for the medium to long term wit a renewed confidence.

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