More and more British investors headed for Dubai
Dubai has been constantly cementing its position as a global investment magnet, due its thriving hospitality, tourism and real estate sectors
It has become one of the most sought after destinations of leisure travellers from Britain, with residents of London and Manchester topping the list of people travelling to the UAE, according to a study of cities with most of the incoming flights to the Gulf emirate.
But coming to this amazing city makes business sense too, as Dubai has been constantly cementing its position as a global investment magnet, courtesy of the its thriving hospitality, tourism and real estate sectors with vastly improving social, business and technology infrastructure.
So far, 699 Britons with the means and an eye for the future invested AED 1.89 bln ($515 mln) in Dubai’s real estate sector in the first quarter of 2015, Dubai Land Department (DLD) figures divulged. Indians topped the list with AED 3.04 bln ($828 mln).
DLD said around 19,000 Britons have invested in properties in Dubai, with a massive £1.6 bln invested in 2014 alone.
Rents in Dubai’s towering skyscrapers are 16th costliest in the list of most expensive office spaces in the world, making the fast-emerging global city a bargain for those looking to perform at a world stage.
Knight Frank’s Skyscraper Index revealed that Dubai prime office rents cost $43.50 per square foot in 2014, much behind Hong Kong, which topped the list with prime office rents listed at $250.50 per square foot. New York was second at $150 and London fourth at $108.75.
Bayut.com, UAE’s leading property portal, said it had observed an increasing number of searches by potential British investors into the Dubai real estate market. Searches for buying property dwarfed those for rental spaces, translating into the fact that there were much more Britons who were interested in buying property in Dubai than those moving to or in the process of moving to Dubai for making a living.
Bayut stats revealed that of all the British prospectors who searched for options in Dubai in 2014, 66.1% looked for properties up for sale. The same number was 64.9% in 2013. Searches for rental spaces accounted for 33.9% of all searches in 2014, while 35.1% of all searches in 2013 by British related to renting properties.
Of the 2014 searches for buying property, a hefty 83% share went to apartment searches, followed by 13% of searches.
Bayut.com CEO Haider Ali Khan said the search figures for acquiring assets in Dubai by British investors meant that Britons increasingly saw Dubai as an ideal bastion for their capital.
“Sterling travels much farther in Dubai. Unlike London, prime real estate options in Dubai are aplenty and get you almost as decent returns as in any other part of the world. Future prospects for the city also appear great, especially with the Expo 2020 inching closer. With security of investment and ownership and tax-free income added advantages, Dubai leaves an investor with little to desire,” Khan added.
Over the years, freehold properties that enable expats to fully own an asset have been a major impetus for spurring investment. Another important advantage of investing in Dubai has been that the expat owners do not need to live in Dubai after buying an asset. British, like other foreign
villas with investors, have welcomed the opportunity as it allows them to remain in their country of choice, while their investment sits safe in a country that offers foolproof ownership security.
The upcoming Expo 2020 and Dubai’s rapid ascent towards becoming the top tourist destination of the world is luring large businesses, job seekers and service providers to the city in droves. But the cherry on the cake remains the tax-free status of business in the emirate. Dubai levies zero tax on rental income and capital gains.
Although some experts fear another slowdown in the Dubai real estate sector, others have put their trust in the Dubai government’s vision and its dedicated efforts to materialize that vision.
“The prices in Dubai are still a bargain compared to other major cities and the light is on and burning bright for this amazing city. As Dubai braces to host 20 mln visitors a year by 2020, there will arise a massive need for accommodation, making now probably the best time to invest in Dubai and