Stock Dubai skyline
For the UAE's property market, the revised requirements on property investment for a Golden Visa opens up a whole new set of opportunities. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: ‘Dh2 million plus’ has overnight become the most captivating figure for investors looking to make a commitment in the UAE property market. Crossing that number immediately puts them on the road for a 10-year Golden Visa compared with the earlier investment threshold of Dh10 million and over.

It is not only the lowering of the investment value that could make this move a compelling one for investors. To be eligible for a Golden Visa, the investor will now have greater flexibility on the payment side of it. (The eligibility also applies to investors purchasing the property through lending from specific local banks - but the equity component of the property investment should be Dh2 million plus. Owning multiple properties with a combined value of Dh2 million plus also puts the buyer on track for the Visa.)

“What the change could mean is that the buyer needn’t put up all of the Dh2 million plus immediately on the property investment to be eligible,” said a consultant. “There could be the initial payment and the rest staggered within a set timeframe. So long as the equity part of the investment adds up to Dh2 million plus, the buyer is eligible.

“This reform has a huge potential to further fuel the offplan side of the property market, especially in Dubai.”

The latest moves on visa eligibility criteria will also put in the shade the Dh1 million plus threshold for a property investment in Dubai, which allowed the buyer to get a 5-year visa. (It was brought down from Dh2 million recently.)

This step will greatly encourage interest among international investors, specifically those who seek post-modern properties such as in Dubai Hills Estate, Dubai Creek Harbour, Dubailand, and Tilal Al Ghaf

- Husni Al Bayari, Chairman of D&B Properties

Pull up to Dh2m+

“In many cases, the thinking among likely investors would be to aim for a property deal of Dh2 million plus,” said a broker. “If they were planning to spend Dh1.5 million to Dh1.7 million on a new home earlier, why not go for something beyond Dh2 million and get the Golden Visa as an add-on. That will be a major incentive to put in the additional Dh300,000-Dh500,000.”

Moving on from sponsorship
"The reforms on Golden Visas gradually eliminates the sponsorship for residency - and frees up skilled professionals and the talented from sponsorship," said Rizwan Sajan, Chairman of Danube Group.

"It will encourage global investors to relocate to the UAE, which in turn will help the economic growth to accelerate further."

"All of this will accelerate the economic transformation to a knowledge economy faster. To build a knowledge economy, you need knowledge workers."

That's what UAE will be getting a lot more of.

Offplan is buzzing

The first three months had seen Dubai’s property market clock another round of strong growth, with offplan sales delivering particularly strong results. Some of the recent launches were instant successes, and this was repeated in Abu Dhabi when Bloom Holding came out with a community offering.

The expansion of the Golden Visa scheme has been brought down to a minimum of Dh2 million investment into property - which will accelerate investment into real estate in a big way.

- Rizwan Sajan of Danube Group

Post-Eid, developers are talking about keeping the offplan launches flowing and not wait for summer is over. International investors have also been extra busy over the last month, and more so in Dubai’s secondary market space. “Global attention on UAE has shifted from viewing the country as a temporary residence, and more toward a future to invest in,” said Husni Al Bayari, Chairman of D&B Properties. “Combined with other benefits Dubai offers like high rental yields and lower property prices per square foot, we can expect an influx of young investors, professionals, and potential ‘unicorn’ (founders) seeking to establish roots and settle in Dubai.”

This is why the changes to the Golden Visa investment norms could make for one big summer of transactions. “From what we know the benchmark required for obtaining Golden Visas has been revised to a minimum of Dh2 million worth of equity into real estate assets,” said Ranjeet Chavan, CEO of Nautilus Properties. “This scope now widens to a lot more investors as opposed to the prior minimum of Dh5 million investment.

“Undoubtedly, these entry levels are going to attract a lot more new buyers than before, bringing further stability and increased demand to the real estate economy of Dubai.”

The scope now widens to a lot more investors as opposed to the prior minimum of Dh5 million investment

- Ranjeet Chavan of Nautilus Properties
“With more companies offering remote working opportunities, Europeans are relocating their families to Dubai while companies are shifting their base and their staff to the city,” said Alina Adamco, Secondary Market Sales and Leasing Director at Metropolitan Premium Properties.

“One client from Austria relocating his business to Dubai was looking for Dh200 million in residential property for his employees. Properties in the mid-to luxury segment are most popular with demand outstripping supply.

We have seen investors buy super-premium properties whereas earlier they would initially pick up smaller properties or rent before they purchase their forever home. We have seen our secondary market transactions increase three times in Q1 this year.

- Alina Adamco of Metropolitan Premium Properties