Unlocking Dubai’s real estate potential in 2019

When the winds of change first swept across Dubai in the 1960s, through the discovery of oil, not many predicted a world-class destination down the road. Be it luck, fate or its geographical allure, Dubai currently stands tall among the seven Emirates. Several factors have contributed to that status, but real estate is unmatched, as the one true catalyst of modern Dubai. The past decade has witnessed properties in Dubai turn heads across the globe, but what does the future hold?

Since its inception in 1960, Dubai Land Department (DLD) has been at the helm of Dubai’s real estate saga. In a strong show of intent, DLD recently announced a tentative blueprint for 2019, consisting of events, expos and conferences spanning ten target countries. Dubai will showcase the exciting opportunities on its soil to real estate investors from the UK, US, China, India, Germany, France, Canada, Egypt, UAE and Saudi Arabia, among other potential markets. Building on strong precedents of a fruitful year in 2018, DLD’s grand ambition for 2019 is to garner fresh investments and to draw a new wave of global interest in Dubai real estate.

Blueprint for 2019

So, what does Dubai offer that others don’t? Ease of taxation, or in certain areas zero-taxation, a wide range of innovative projects, a robust economy and assured ROI, for starters. With that messaging as a lure, over 20 initiatives in ten target countries are on DLD’s agenda for 2019(1), with a strong emphasis on a multidisciplinary approach. Along with the announcement of the events, DLD has briefed its global partners on what lies ahead and is also encouraging international media to propagate and promote the several recent changes in legislation, that have further enhanced Dubai’s business potential.

So what forms the key criterion in the selection of target countries? The answer lies within Dubai. The target countries were selected based on the DLD’s analysis of established foreign investors in Dubai and those who have displayed encouraging signs of interest. The 2019 plan will see DLD organise round table investor conferences in Africa, Europe and a handful of GCC countries. It will then hold flagship International Property Shows (IPS) in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and participate in MIPIM France, Dubai Property Festival, London Property Investor Show and Beijing Overseas Property & Investment Show – among other reputed conferences, expos and international events. Gemini Property Developers CEO Sunil Gomes believes that DLD is leaving no stones unturned in the quest to make Dubai a global real estate hub by 2021.

Precedents of the past

Before subscribing to the premise of DLD’s plans for 2019, it is essential to revisit the events from 2018 leading up to this. The commencement of 2018 was marked by a number of roadshows in Moscow and London, focused primarily on enticing Russian and British investors into Dubai real estate. Premium property offerings, at significantly more competitive prices compared to cities such as New York and Paris, are finding many takers in these markets. Dubai’s sunny weather is also a point of particular interest for Russian investors, who have flocked to property holdings in warmer regions in large numbers, in recent years.

Following a noticeable appearance in MIPIM France—an annual multi-day event in Cannes with a wide array of activities—DLD made forays into Egyptian real estate with a host of events and workshops in the capital city, Cairo. Needless to add, the success of the move has warranted a place for Egypt as a target country in 2019. To top it all, DLD set up office in the US, with the inauguration of a real estate trustee promotion office in New York on Nov. 11, 2018. The trustee office is to provide a gateway for US investors into the alluring real estate world of Dubai. Recognising Indian investors and the importance of Indian diaspora in Dubai, DLD organised the Dubai Property Show in Mumbai, India, in the December of 2018. The presence of DLD’s hierarchy and their address to the gathered Indian investors spoke volumes of the strong relationship of two of Asia’s most dynamic real estate markets. Bear in mind that Indians have invested in excess of AED 8.17 billion into Dubai’s real estate in 2018.

All this does not compare to the incredible case of China. DLD made serious headway with the Chinese investors in 2018 that culminated in Luxury Property Show (LPS) Shanghai in December. As the name implies, the elite conference brought together a wide variety of business people, investors and market leaders from 35 countries under one roof to discuss the prospects of Dubai’s real estate, while also honouring global partners for their contribution in narrating Dubai’s remarkable real estate story. China remains an avid patron of Dubai’s wide range of real estate offerings, as seen by a whopping AED 16 billion in investments by 6,000 Chinese investors in 2018 alone.

Cause for optimism

Driven by the latest visa reforms and change in the global political spectrum, Dubai is gearing up for what Gemini Property Developers CEO Sunil Gomes believes to be an eventful 2019. Respected global industry watchers are anticipating the possibility of prices stabilising across the Emirates(2); an optimistic view shared by the likes of Sunil himself. Any developments to that effect will result in a windfall for Dubai and will establish UAE’s largest city at the pinnacle of global real estate. It should come as no surprise when Moe Abeidat, Chief Technology Officer at Property Monitor, says, “Dubai’s property market can only become more robust.”

The government has recently made significant strides towards strengthening diplomatic ties with many countries and further enhancing the already burgeoning tourism sector. UAE has also jumped ten places in World Bank’s ease of doing business list(3), as per their latest announcement.

By and large, it is safe to say, that the stage is set, the real estate industry’s doors are open, and all roads lead to Dubai.

  1. https://www.dubailand.gov.ae/English/MediaCenter/Pages/news-viewer.aspx?nid=699
  2. https://www.luxhabitat.ae/the-journal/expert-opinions-on-dubais-real-estate-market-in-2019/
  3. http://www.worldbank.org/content/dam/doingBusiness/media/Annual-Reports/English/DB2019-report_web-version.pdf

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