Important things to consider before visiting or investing in Dubai
Dubai has created a unique place for itself in the collective imagination of the world. Whatever your reasons for wanting to visit or invest in Dubai, here are some insights that can make that desire more compelling.
A destination that belongs in every traveller’s to-do list
Whether the first image that springs to your mind is the Burj Khalifa, the impressive man-made islands in the shape of a Palm and The World, the spectacular retail facilities, the theme parks or the desert safari, Dubai has a way of intriguing even the hardest to impress tourist and traveller. A family-friendly city with something to satisfy the taste and interests of everyone, the city’s hospitable culture, exclusive shopping, and luxurious hotels make for a destination that delights all ages.
Unlike many of the world’s other exotic destinations, Dubai also boasts of an impeccable safety record, making for a truly stress-free experience. A city that is home to every culture and ethnicity imaginable, it is welcoming and respectful of diversity, while expecting its sensibilities and cultural ethos to be respected in return.
As a commercial hub that is the preferred regional headquarters for some of the world’s most significant and most iconic commercial entities, Dubai is also home to a large resident expatriate community well integrated into its fabric. A growing and people-centric metropolis, the city has enthusiastically embraced its role as a center bridging east meets west. Confident in its self-image and open to innovation, Dubai represents much of what a diverse but harmonious future can be for humanity.
A city of unparalleled opportunities
While situated in the middle of a desert, Dubai is fertile with opportunities for the discerning and ambitious investor. From its highly sought after real estate and vibrant mutual funds markets to its emerging prowess in the future ready technology and service industries, the city brings together a uniquely dynamic array of favourable parameters.
Opportunities to invest in Dubai and the UAE are not restricted to big, capital-intensive options. Small investors in Dubai are equally likely to find opportunities for high growth investments. With an array of well regulated mutual funds to choose from (1), startups like Smart Crowd empowering crowd-funding models of real estate investment (2) and several SME opportunities enabled by a resilient economy and
healthy purchasing power (3), Dubai is not just a business hub for mega-corporations but also the city of opportunities for savvy small entrepreneurs.
Dubai values its expats like few other locations
The political stability, progressive leadership and a supportive regulatory environment of the UAE have always attracted a sizable expatriate population. Recognizing the contribution of this section of its society, the UAE administration has displayed tremendous foresight in creating a regulatory environment that is welcoming for talent from across the globe. Recent visa and financial laws, in particular, have empowered a win-win proposition for the national economy as well as the financial goals of non-permanent residents.
New laws enabling 100% foreign ownership in selected business sectors and a 10-year visa for investors and professionals with specified skills (4) will help to integrate expatriates into the UAE economy as never before. The recently announced 5-year extendable visas for retirees, within specific guidelines, will add stimulus to the local economy, while giving non-permanent residents an opportunity to integrate financially into a society where their creative energies and life journey have been invested (5).
A vibrant and resurgent real estate sector
A firming macroeconomic backdrop across the UAE region is expected to help create a base of support for the real estate market. Credit growth in the region was the strongest in 11 months as of June 2018 (6). These are positive indicators that underscore the resurgence of the UAE real estate market. Current plans registered by developers indicate that as many as 80,000 homes could be added to the market in the next three years (7). Recent research conducted by UAE real estate portal Property Finder establishes that only 40% of projected supply entered the market, in the previous five years (8). This shortfall is likely to be further supplemented by rising demand in mid-income and affordable housing.
The Dubai Land Department’s proposed “Mortgage Law” will concurrently add a significant new set of investors and real estate specific funds, as well as enabling financial innovations beyond bank lending based models. The recent launch of Airdxb, the official Dubai version of Airbnb, is yet another creative commercial model built around short leases, which will add further stimulus.
With Dubai’s enterprising developers offering an array of off-plan investments and innovative payment plans, there has perhaps never been a more lucrative buyer’s market in recent years. High rental yields, no property tax, and robust buyer protection laws add up to a real estate sector that offers investors unparalleled opportunities and return on investment.
A city of dreams
From shopper’s paradise and commercial hub to foodie’s delight and tourist attraction, Dubai has many connotations in the popular imagination. Beyond the glitz and glamour of these labels, Dubai is also one of the safest, most people-centric, future-oriented and infrastructurally sound urban spaces on the planet. It’s political stability, future invested leadership, rapidly emerging technological orientation and welcoming tax and regulatory environment hold great promise for the future of its residents and the city itself. As a city Dubai does not just act as a connection between geographical locations, it is also actively emerging as a bridge from the present into a future of prosperity, security and cultural harmony.