Indians emerge as top investors in city's properties, attracted by quality of life and tax-free returns. Their decisions have been inspired by the emirate's steady economic growth, world-class infrastructure, tolerant and inclusive culture for multiple nationalities and ease of access to the rest of the world.
Tax-free returns, solid capital appreciation on investment, a currency pegged to the US dollar and unaffected by forex fluctuations and all real estate properties sold in terms of carpet area and not built-up area. It's no wonder that Dubai has emerged as a hotspot for Indian real estate investors. Attracted not only by the above
terms but also buoyed by the emirate's steady economic growth, world-class infrastructure, tolerant and inclusive culture for multiple nationalities and ease of access to the rest of the world. For Indian expats based in the United Arab Emirates as well as Indian investors from around the world, all these factors have converged to offer an unbeatable deal - one which is often more attractive than real estate projects back home. According to Dubai Land Department's (DLD) annual report published earlier this month, Indians led the investment in Dubai's real estate in 2019 in terms of the number of individual investors.
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Real estate investments in Dubai grew from Dh221 billion in 2018 to Dh226 billion in 2019, a growth rate of 2.1 per cent, as per the report - a growth being attributed to a commensurate spike in real estate sales and mortgage transaction during the same period. The 2019 data for the report found a 42 per cent increase in off-plan or under construction investments, with transactions on completed properties coming down to 58 per cent. In 2018, off-plan investment accounted for 34 per cent of the overall real estate projects in Dubai - and the 2019 figures thus demonstrate a rising investor confidence in the city's real estate sector. According to the report, Emiratis made the highest investment in the city's real estate in terms of capital, at nearly $3 billion, followed by Indian investors at around $2.2 billion. But the number of Indians buying property in Dubai was far higher with 5,426 investors, followed by Emiratis with 5,172 investors. Other nationalities which topped the real estate transactions in the past year in Dubai include Saudis, British and the Chinese. “We regularly develop and introduce several tools, highlighting the highest levels of transparency in disclosing the results of the performance of Dubai's real estate market and its achievements, which represent annual key outputs. With the report, customers can learn about the latest developments in the real estate market and benefit from the information and data included to make informed investment decisions,” Sultan Butti Bin Mejren, Director General of DLD, said in a media statement. Indeed, with tax-free returns of 8-10 per cent and the Reserve Bank of India's ′liberated remittance scheme′ under which an Indian investor can transfer $250,000 legally per year, the real estate sector in Dubai has fast emerged as a haven for Indian investors. The ease of registering a property in Dubai in comparison to India is much easier and investors get free residence visas on investing around $260,000 in the city.
With the recent spate of corrections, property prices in Dubai have also become very competitive as compared to India. While a prime property in Mumbai might cost anything between $700 to $900 per sq feet, Dubai offers downtown property investments at prices starting from $400 per sq feet. Thanks to those bargain prices at one of the world's most talked about cities, 93 per cent of real estate transactions made in 2019 were in the freehold areas of the city, out of which most transactions were sales. In freehold areas, more than half of the investments were made on ready properties, while in non-freehold areas, ready properties made up 96 per cent of the transactions.