Inside the AED16-billion connection between India and Dubai real estate
In 2022, the UAE expanded its Golden Visa programme (which enables foreigners to live, study and work in the country while enjoying exclusive benefits) to include more workers, such as skilled professionals, scientists, researchers, senior scholars, clerics, and specialists in manufacturing, health, and education. The move gave a major boost to the real estate sector of the nation, with foreigners making a beeline to the UAE for buying property. Transactions jumped 61.7% in 2022 over the previous year, touching a whopping AED 20.8 billion(1).
And Indians topped the list when it came to buying properties in Dubai. Wealthy and aspirational Indians looking for a luxurious lifestyle are coming in droves, picking up homes in swanky neighbourhoods of Dubai, such as Business Bay and Downtown Dubai — a tourism hub dotted with malls and skyscrapers, including the Burj Khalifa, in addition to other fashionable addresses.
Such has been the allure of Dubai that a number of Indians are giving up a comfortable life in the metros of India to start afresh in the Emirate. The figures tell it all: Dubai’s real estate industry earned 16 billion dirhams from sales to Indians in 2022 — nearly twice the corresponding figure in 2021. That means almost 40% of homebuyers were from India, with most hailing from Delhi-NCR, Ahmedabad, Surat, Hyderabad, and Punjab. The remaining were Indians already residing in the UAE or different parts of the world.
The average cost of houses bought by Indians ranges between 1.6-1.7 million dirhams(2). While this may seem a bit steep by Indian standards (even for upper-middle-class Indians), the fact that they are willing to shell out big bucks for a home in Dubai is a testament to the city’s standing in the world and the fascination Indians have for it.
Why Indians are drawn to Dubai
There are multiple reasons why Indians are heading to Dubai. The city offers numerous advantages to those who have deep pockets. Not only does Dubai have world-class infrastructure, but it is also a safe haven for parking money. The city is very peaceful, and crime is almost non-existent. Most importantly, it is safe for women and children to move around.
The education system is of a global level, with several international schools to boast. There are plenty of avenues for entertainment for all age groups and several vacation destinations nearby. The growing Indian community is also an attraction for those contemplating a shift to Dubai — one will not feel far off from fellow nationals. So, it makes perfect sense for family-oriented Indians to move to Dubai, provided they have the means.
Other than entire families making a move, a certain percentage of senior executives with global roles are eyeing properties in Dubai. The strategic location of the Emirate makes it an easy choice for high-flying professionals and entrepreneurs. They can have an upmarket lifestyle and easily travel to global destinations for work. With middle-class and upper-middle-class incomes growing substantially, one can safely expect the trend of Indians rushing to buy property in Dubai to continue for the foreseeable future.