Sur­vey re­veals more ex­pa­tri­ates in UAE now aspire to lo­cal home own­er­ship

The National - News - - BUSINESS - KELSEY WARNER

Ex­pa­tri­ate res­i­dents in the UAE in­creas­ingly want to own their home in the coun­try, a new sur­vey by Prop­erty Finder found.

The Dubai prop­erty ad­ver­tis­ing por­tal said that half of those who pur­chased in the past six months felt it was bet­ter than rent­ing and one third of sur­vey re­spon­dents be­lieve now is the right time to buy.

“The most com­mon rea­sons were they felt it was a bet­ter fi­nan­cial de­ci­sion to buy rather than rent and these po­ten­tial buy­ers plan on stay­ing in Dubai for more than three years,” said Lyn­nette Abad, di­rec­tor of re­search and data at Prop­erty Finder.

Two of the big­gest hur­dles for would-be buy­ers are not enough af­ford­able op­tions on the mar­ket and the chal­lenge of sav­ing up for the down payment – about 30 per cent of the pur­chase price due to the govern­ment-man­dated mort­gage cap. This is higher than other mar­kets such as Lon­don, New York or Hong Kong, Prop­erty Finder said.

Over the past four years, sales prices have fallen faster than rents, mak­ing homes more af­ford­able and some­times a bet­ter buy when com­pared to the cost of rent­ing for res­i­dents plan­ning to stay in the UAE for longer than three years.

UAE prop­erty prices have fallen amid a three-year oil price slump, but as global oil prices have re­cov­ered to above

$80 per bar­rel, mar­ket an­a­lysts say the bot­tom could be in sight. How­ever, ris­ing sup­ply in the run-up to Expo 2020 and a ma­tur­ing mar­ket of­fer­ing a broader range of price points has so far per­pet­u­ated the down cy­cle.

Av­er­age res­i­den­tial sales prices in Dubai de­creased by 7.7 per cent year-on-year in Septem­ber, mar­ket an­a­lyst Rei­din said in a re­port this month. In Abu Dhabi, res­i­den­tial sale prices de­clined by 5.6 per cent year-on-year in the same pe­riod.

A rise in owner-oc­cu­piers – ex­pa­tri­ates buy­ing their own homes, for ex­am­ple – would be ben­e­fi­cial to a ma­tur­ing real es­tate mar­ket, Prop­erty Finder said, as it de­creases the like­li­hood of fre­quent sell-offs and spec­u­la­tive in­vestor be­hav­iour. That is, home val­ues are bet­ter main­tained since in­vestors are more prone to of­fer big­ger dis­counts when they want to sell, rather than fam­i­lies who have made a life­time in­vest­ment in a home.

Chris Whiteoak / The Na­tional

Sales prices have been fall­ing in Dubai

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