The Yas Acres development in Abu Dhabi from Aldar Properties is seeing a lot of traction in the buyers’ market Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

A successful UAE vaccination roll-out, an early easing of Covid-19 restrictions, and the dazzling opening of Expo 2020 Dubai all saw the country’s real estate sector defy the odds to have a buoyant year.

Dubai property sales transactions alone surged 88.37 per cent annually in the first 11 months of 2021 as the UAE economy saw a strong post-pandemic recovery. The emirate registered 55,640 sales deals worth a whopping Dh135.4 billion from January to November, making it the best year in terms of total sales since 2014, according to data from the Dubai Land Department (DLD).

The UAE has therefore once again become a highly appealing prospect for global investors, especially as a raft of exciting high-profile new developments have also started launching. In short, the market looks packed with opportunities in the coming months.

The new projects have certainly brought a buzz back to UAE real estate, with leading developers such as Danube Properties announcing they will launch two to three annually until 2026. The cost of these projects is estimated to be about Dh1 billion but could increase given that Dubai’s real estate market continues to recover well from the impact of the pandemic. Danube has just launched the impressive Skyz Tower, a residential project with a development value of Dh475m.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi’s biggest developer Aldar Properties has also released the last phase of its popular Yas Acres project – Dahlias. The community consists of 120 new spacious villas, duplexes, and townhouses now available for purchase. The construction of Dahlias will begin during the second quarter of 2022, with handover due to start at the end of 2024.

Off-plan launches grabbing international attention include the soaring Peninsula by Select Group in the heart of Business Bay. The modern development with its elegant apartments and villas will offer the rare opportunity of owning a luxurious island home within the Dubai Canal itself.

The other emirates also present enticing investor opportunities. The gated Ajman Uptown development features a stunning range of properties, which includes a mix of apartments, townhouses and villas inspired by French architecture.

Payment plans here for the off-plan properties are dependent on the size and location of the property. In Sharjah, Maryam Island is a gorgeous waterfront option offering a selection of apartments complemented by a plethora of retail outlets and luxury hotels. The community is currently offering both ready and off-plan properties with handover in 24 and 36 months and 20/80 or 30/70 payment plans.

“I believe 2022 will be bigger and even more successful than this year,” says Saleem Karsaz, CEO of UAE brokerage firm, Aeon & Trisl.

“Knowing that all these new developments are coming up, plus all the various new amenities to look forward to like lagoons, golf courses, malls, schools, hospitals – even attractions that are being built inside communities themselves – are just indicators that the UAE real estate sector has a lot more to offer.”

In terms of investing in established communities, Dubai experts point to Downtown, Dubai Marina, Emaar Beachfront, Dubai Creek Harbour, La Mer and Palm Jumeirah as the best purchase options due to the areas being fully developed, with complete infrastructure as well as having top-class facilities.

For many buyers, the affordable segment will look extra appealing in 2022 and there has been a steady stream of launches in this segment from various developers such as Danube Properties, Pantheon Development, Sun and Sand Developers, and Akshara Global Real Estate. James Perry, Managing Director at leading agency haus & haus, says, “Affordable housing is classed as anything with rental or mortgage payments less than Dh9,300 per month.”

He adds: “Dubai is being globally viewed as a more affordable place to live, with property prices refl ective of that. The government’s population expansion plan to 2040 aims to cover scope for low to medium household salaries. Demand has been high, and this as well as speculative investors have pushed the prices up.”

Affordable housing doesn’t just refer to the price, but flexibility in payment structures and availability of mortgage facilities. These give great opportunities for more people to buy their dream homes – or invest more easily within their financial capacity.

High-end luxury properties in the UAE remain an attractive investment option – especially when compared in price against other cosmopolitan hot spots such as New York, London, Frankfurt, Beijing or Shanghai. “Those cities are still way more expensive than what we have here in the UAE – especially Dubai – so definitely we will witness very strong continuing demand,” says Karsaz.

Luxury apartments have always been a staple of Dubai real estate, but for investors looking at the market right now there are some insider pointers worth heeding.

“Prime units would be those with sea views or a specifi cation that befits the luxury tag,” explains Perry. “Quality has risen due to the competitive nature of the market and in Dubai, often newest is best.”

The haus & haus MD also tips shortterm rentals as a good route for investors in high-end apartments due to the strong yields offered.

Also worth noting is that off-plan villas and townhouses are in high demand right now, with Dubai’s developers rushing to catch up. Top areas for deals are Arabian Ranches 3, Villanova, Majid Al Futtaim’s Tilal al Ghaf, Dubai South, and Mohammed bin Rashid City, according to recent data from Property Finder.

“Last year, the Dubai off-plan market significantly declined,” says Lynnette Sacchetto, Director of Research and Data for Property Finder.

“Today, we have bounced back to 2019 ratios where secondary and off-plan segments are almost 50:50. This is a clear indication that investors are coming back into the market due to their confidence in the future of Dubai.”