The best news for Dubai property market is that January turned in another solid set of numbers. Expect more or even higher, as big breaks help with investor demand. Image Credit: Shutterstock

The Dubai real estate market has had a promising start in 2024 with Dh34.8 billion worth of transactions in January – nearly 25 per cent higher than the same period last year, with a 17 per cent increase in transaction volume. This just underscores that Dubai is on a continued upward path, with no signs of slowing down any time soon.

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It is the same tune that I’ve been singing since the so-called ‘post-Covid boom’, and the market keeps proving me right. My outlook for this year was similar to what it was in 2023, but even sunnier. And it’s not just Dubai that’s going to be in the limelight over the coming months.

‘Golden’ property purchases

There are two recent developments that will, I think, dovetail rather nicely and add to the city’s appeal amongst international buyers. The first is one that was announced at the end of last year – mortgage rate cuts. The other, which is even more significant, is the announcement in January that property investors will no longer be required to make a minimum Dh1 million down payment to qualify for a Golden Visa.

Some of the most serious buyers in the market are finance buyers – they are the ones who are looking to find a good home and are willing to extend their budgets a bit further when they find the property that’s right for them. Having access to better mortgage rates will open up a wider range of options for them, and without the minimum down payment requirement, they will also be well-positioned to earn long-term residence status.

Building for the future

The offplan market experienced a 25 per cent growth in sales volume and a roughly 21 per cent increase in value at the start of the year, with offplan transactions now routinely accounting for at least 60 per cent of all sales in Dubai. There has been a tremendous offplan surge and new projects continue to be launched in every major community, from the relaunched Palm Jebel Ali to the Dubai Islands master project located at the opposite end of the city.

The increase in off-plan activity is good news for the future, as it will help in mitigating the undersupply issue that has been plaguing the city. There is still a significant shortage of prime- and super-prime villa units, which is something I am hopeful that new and upcoming launches will address.

No place like home

As I see it, the Dubai market has hit a level of maturity where we can’t just look at it in terms of numbers and values. This isn’t just a city where people are buying and selling property for the sake of turning a profit or to generate RoI – there are a lot of emotion-based decisions being made.

Dubai is very much a home to many expats, and newer expats coming in are looking to settle here for a good long while. People from all over the world want to live here and want to find the best home that they can for themselves and their families. That is one of the key factors that has led to a growth in end-users in master communities like Dubai Hills Estate and Emirates Living, and it is what keeps the market churning.

Growth beyond Dubai’s borders

Dubai’s success as a real estate destination has opened the floodgates for other parts of the UAE. Abu Dhabi has been a bit under the radar, despites luxury developments on Saadiyat Island and Nurai Island, but it is now being noticed a lot more as a prime investment area.

Of course, there is Ras Al Khaimah, which has become an emerging hotspot for luxury real estate and is set to make history with the first licensed gaming facility in the region. Sharjah, as Dubai’s immediate neighbour, has always been a top pick for affordable living. But master-developer Arada is looking to change the landscape of the emirate with the launch of its own luxury projects.

As interest in the other emirates continues to grow, this will naturally cause Dubai to adapt its own strategies and to become an even more competitive luxury space. On the whole, I believe that all the emirates will raise the bar higher for themselves and each other.

This is the ideal time to be a property investor in the UAE, ensuring that you can get your piece of real estate before the market gets more intense.