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UAE still #1 GCC country for real estate investment


The UAE has retained its number one position as the most appealing country to invest in real estate in the world for GCC residents, the latest Real Estate Barometer study, conducted in partnership between YouGov and Cityscape Global revealed.

The research also showed Dubai as the residents’ most preferred city.

Overwhelming vote

When asked where GCC home buyers and real estate investors felt most comfortable investing their money globally, 45 per cent of respondents cited the UAE, up from 42 per cent in 2016.

Meanwhiel, 63 per cent chose the UAE specifically among Middle East countries.

Collectively, 69 per cent of respondents chose Dubai as the ‘go to’ city for real estate investment, with two-thirds (66 per cent) expecting the impact of Expo 2020 Dubai to increase property buyer interest in the UAE.

Good news for Cityscape

The research has been revealed ahead of Cityscape Global, which returns to the Dubai World Trade Centre from Monday, September 11, to Wednesday, September 13.

Tom Rhodes, Exhibition Director, Cityscape Global, says: “The research findings give us a great insight into the current market conditions and certainly help us and our exhibitors to set forecasts for upcoming real estate investment expectations.”

“With on-site sales permitted for UAE-based projects the first time at Cityscape Global this year, we anticipate a lot of interest from investors, who will be able to attend the event to capitalise on attractive price options and make informed purchasing decisions directly on the show floor,” adds Rhodes.

With more than one0-third of UAE respondents (35 per cent) aware of Dubai’s initiative of becoming the first blockchain government by 2020, the organisers of Cityscape Global are preparing to highlight the implications of blockchain in the real estate market one day before the exhibition, on Sunday, September 10, at the Conrad Dubai.

Prices going down

Kailash Nagdev, Managing Director for YouGov in the Middle East region, says: “The 2017 study indicates a minor decline in sales and rental property prices in the UAE, but overall real estate investment sentiment for the UAE looks positive.”

Approximately 56 per cent of the survey respondents expect the sales price of properties to decrease, while 59 per cent expect the rental price of properties to also decrease.

More than half (59 per cent) of respondents who intend to buy a property in the next year prefer to buy in the GCC, with the average GCC budget sitting at $717,000, compared to the average global budget of $561,000.

Location, value for money

Survey respondents indicated the importance of location in residential properties in the study, with 43 per cent opting for close proximity to educational facilities, 42 per cent for healthcare facilities, followed by grocery stores (35 per cent) and place of work or business (33 per cent).

Rhodes explains: “The research tells us that investors are seeking value for money (88 per cent), good quality of housing (87 per cent) and easy access to major roads (75 per cent) when buying residential units.”

“Additionally, we’ve seen a change of investor mind-set, shifting from one-bedroom and studio apartments in 2016 to a majority (54 per cent) seeking two- to three-bedroom apartments. This could signal…a rejuvenation in the real estate sector,” he adds.

Weak spots

The survey also highlights that exactly half of respondents feel that affordable housing is missing from the GCC real estate market, while 31 per cent believe there is a lack of reliable brokers and 28 per cent wish for better access to data comparing existing properties.