What the UAE’s new retiree visa means for Dubai’s property market
UAE’s newly created category of retiree visas will be open to applications from 2019. It will allow retired persons, over the age of 55 – seeking to be expatriates in the country – to do so on a five-year renewable basis. In order to qualify, applicants need to own a real estate investment worth Dhs2Mln ($544,510), have financial savings of more than Dhs1Mln ($272,255) or have proof of income of more than Dhs20,000 ($5,445) a month. With Dubai being an attractive modern metropolis, the law is expected to engage a new set of niche prospective investors and help boost the city’s property market. Given that expatriates form the significant part of Dubai’s resident population, as well as the city’s allure as a great location to retire in, brokers in the city are expecting a strong demand driven by the new legislation.
When taken in the context of previously announced legislation that now allows 100 per cent foreign ownership of businesses and 10-year visas for certain categories of professionals and investors, this new visa category gains particular importance. Several expatriates currently in Dubai – and in other parts of the UAE – have been living in the country for quite some time already. Experts believe that the new law will give those non-Emiratis nearing retirement age, who have made a life for themselves in Dubai, good reason to invest in local property and contemplate a post retirement life in surrounds they are familiar with. With the evolution that Dubai has undergone in the past few decades, its attraction as a place to call home is obvious. The city has now come to represent far more than an expedient career opportunity to its expat population. Excellent lifestyle options and the unique vibrant character that Dubai presents its residents with, will probably lead a lot of individuals into extending their relationship with the city and several others to consider becoming a resident, post retirement.
According to figures released in the 2017 Dubai Statistics Centre of Population and Gender Report, Dubai had a little over 150,000 residents aged 55 and over, at the time it was issued. Concurrent research into real estate purchasing patterns indicated a further sharp decline in the, already moderate, number of properties purchased by expatriates over 50. Clearly, this state of affairs represents an opportunity that can now be brought to fruition, with retirement in Dubai becoming a viable option. The previous property value at which residents were eligible for an investor visa in Dubai was Dh1 million. However, this was only a two-year renewable visa and the red tape involved with purchasing property for such individuals was also an inhibiting factor.
With Dubai evolving into a truly cosmopolitan locale, it represents a host of opportunities for expats nearing retirement age, depending on their country of origin. A British individual who calls Dubai home might, for instance, be tempted by the fact that the same amount invested in real estate typically goes much further –in terms of the size and type of property it can buy – in Dubai than back home. A South
Asian expat, on the other hand, might be tempted by the fact that cities in their country of origin are still some years short of maturing into the kind of urban environment offered by Dubai, or the significantly higher current livability metrics. Still others might be convinced by the desire to extend the lifestyle they have become accustomed to during the time they have spent in Dubai as a working professional. Since the option to extend one’s stay in Dubai was not really available in the past, the new legislation is expected to drive an entirely new segment of investment in the real estate market. Of course, there will also be a section of investors over 55, from around the world, who will consider moving to the city, simply as a great location to live their life in.
Given the confluence of lifestyle options Dubai presents, its emergence as a globally celebrated metropolis and the significant number of professionals who did not have a means in the past to extend their stay beyond a limit, the interest in the new retiree visa laws is already considerable. While there are other means available to avail this opportunity, it is expected that a considerable number will employ the real estate investment route. On the whole the new laws will create significant stimulus for the local real estate industry and add to the turnover of properties. The regulation is timely and astutely leverages a number of advantages that city of Dubai and its real estate market have to offer prospective investors.