‘Dubai’s real estate market is maturing just fine’
Dubai’s strengthening property market, the struggle for families to secure a home deposit and a new ‘downtown for the desert’ were among the buzzwords on the lips of delegates at the second day of Cityscape Global.
The general sentiment among industry figures was that aside from past downturns and a drop in oil prices, the emirate’s property sector is gaining the confidence of potential buyers.
One executive likened it to a ‘10-year-old boy’ gradually finding his feet after a rebirth from the market crash of 2008.
The comments came after a series of surveys this week that found expats intend to stay in the UAE longer and are looking to buy.
One poll, from global broker Core Savills, reported a “surge” in interest from existing tenants with a “growing appetite to own”.
And Saleh Tabakh, Executive Director of developer, Tanmiyat, said confidence is growing.
He said: “The market after the crash of 2008 is still young, but it’s just like a little boy - the older it gets, the more personality it develops.
“Since the freehold law was brought into place around ten years ago, you have seen certain types being attracted to the market.
“It used to be that it was only investors that were attracted to the market.
“Now you see end-users [that want to buy and live in a property] being attracted, which wasn’t the case before and it isn’t just about luxury anymore.”
He added: “It’s better to have it like this than have a luxury market that booms so fast. It is more sustainable, you don’t get such sudden drops anymore.”
Zaeed El Chaar, Managing Director of DAMAC, told 7DAYS that if the market wasn’t on the up, he wouldn’t have 10 projects in progress at the same time. He said: “If the market was slow why would we go as far as having 10 projects, why wouldn’t we just have one or two?”
CEO of Core Savills, David Godchaux, said more residents would buy if the minimum mortgage deposit was lower. It is currently 40 per cent, as stipulated by the central bank.
His firm’s survey of 800 people released yesterday found 51 per cent plan to buy in Dubai in the future. It also found 71 per cent backed banks easing lending - even if that meant the return of speculative buyers, which could drive purchase and rent prices up.
Godchaux said: “There is a major segment of tenants who are being kept away from ownership by the current regulations. “This reinstates the fact that there is a strong underlying demand of current tenants who are considering a move to ownership if the regulations are relaxed.”
The same survey found 16 per cent believed Dubailand was the area least likely to retain value in the long term, just ahead of Dubai South.
The area most likely to see long-term growth is Dubai Marina, 18 per cent of those polled, said.
A separate question in the same survey found the Dubai Water Canal (pictured top) is the area that will shape the future of the city the most.
The survey showed 44 per cent of respondents felt the canal was the most exciting project in the city, with Dubai South, near the Expo site, coming in second place with 20 per cent.
Aside from talk of property prices yesterday, some industry figures believe Dubai could see a new ‘downtown in the desert’ in the near future.
Tabakh, from Tanmiyat, said: “When you look at the new IMG Worlds and the fact that the Mall Of The World project has moved there too, you could be looking at this area becoming the new downtown of Dubai.”
It’s not about luxury anymore... it’s much more sustainable – Tanmiyat director Saleh Tabekh