Dubai ranked world’s 2nd hottest property market in 2012

How high are real estate prices projected to go this year?

With the property price crash of 2008/09, induced as it was by the global economic slowdown, now a thing of past, Dubai has emerged as the second hottest property market in 2012.

According to a just published Forbes ranking of ‘The Hottest Real Estate Markets On Earth,’ which ranks real estate markets in 2012 based on the average house price growth, Dubai is ranked at No. 2, second only to Hong Kong, which saw house prices shoot up by a whopping 23.6 per cent last year.

The average house price in Dubai, on the other hand, rose by 19 per cent in 2012, but with the first three months of 2013 already witnessing a massive rise in home-buying interest among end-user expatriates as well as investors, this year could see Dubai rise to the top of the global ladder.

“The Dubai residential market has experienced further increases on the back of rising demand from relocations as well as new tenants,” an Asteco report for the first quarter of 2013 said recently.

“Dubai housing prices rose 19 per cent in 2012, according to Knight Frank,” the Forbes report maintains.

Indeed, according to Knight Frank’s Global Development Review 2013, “there is noticeable demand for prime real estate in Dubai and the level of transactions increased through 2012.”

Dubai real estate prices and rents witnessed 16th consecutive monthly increase in March, continuing the steady recovery in the sector and highlighting the return of investor confidence in Dubai, a recent report by Deutsche Bank said.

“The price recovery that started in late 2011 in prime properties is now spreading to second tier communities. Despite new supply, investor confidence remains strong, while main master developers are accelerating project launches,” Deutsche Bank research analyst Athmane Benzerroug said.

The Asteco report for Q1 2013 pegs the quarterly rental growth for Dubai apartments at 3 per cent and those for villas at 4 per cent compared to Q4 2012. The year-on-year growth, however, amounts to a massive 19 and 21 per cent, respectively, for apartments and villas.

The same report suggests that sale prices rose even faster than rental values. “Sales prices fared even better with quarterly increases of 12 and 5 per cent for apartments and villas, and an annual growth of 27 and 24 per cent,” it noted. Which suggests that a Dubai unit bought in Q1 2012 would have already added about a quarter to its value within the past one year.

According to the Deutsche Bank report, property prices in Dubai have witnessed a 6.2 per cent growth in the first three months of 2013. Since the second half of 2011, Dubai has witnessed an increase in project launches by locally-based master developers such as Emaar Properties and Nakheel.

Recent data from Dubai Land Department (DLD) shows that the total value of property transactions in Dubai rose 63 per cent to Dh44 billion in the first quarter 2013, compared with the same period last year, underlining the increase in activity. Read: Dubai property deals rise 63% 

Sultan bin Mijrin, Director-General, DLD, said: “Dubai real estate market has shown durability and flexibility when it comes dealing with the requirements of investors, with the past three months showing a new breed of investors entering the market in order to capitalise on opportunities that have risen [due to the] price correction witnessed in the market over the past two years.”

Interestingly, demand for Dubai property seems to be coming from all corners of the world.

“Dubai is already very cosmopolitan and the largest segments of buyers at present are Indians and Pakistanis, followed by Saudi Arabians and other GCC nationals. Russians, Europeans and other Western nationalities also continue to invest and reside in the UAE,” the Knight Frank report said.

“What’s interesting, however, is that developers have started to expand beyond the traditional markets and are targeting buyers from Africa and Asia,” it added.

“Geographically the UAE is a strategic location between East and West and a developing hub for international business. The market offers a good climate, favourable tax structure and in the wake of the Arab Spring is viewed as a safe haven for wealth, making it attractive for investors and second-home owners,” it said.

At the end of the day, while the real estate sector is witnessing a resurgence, with rental and sales prices on the upswing, it also means that some prospective buyers might eventually get priced out of the market. “The overall outlook is positive with demand and rates expected to continue to grow,” says the Asteco report. “However, this will also mean tenants and buyers will be priced out of certain buildings/communities.”

The Forbes report ranks the following 10 cities as the Hottest Property Markets on Earth:

#1 Hong Kong: 23.6% price surge in 2012

#2 Dubai: 19%

#3 Brazil: 13.7%

#4 Turkey: 10.5%

#5 Moscow: 10.2%

#6 Austria: 10.1%

#7 Taiwan: 9.7%

#8 China: 9.3%

#9 India: 8.5%

#10 Colombia: 8.3%

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