In Dubai: Apartments are investment; villas are holiday homes

GCC nationals more interested in buying properties, says Cluttons

If an apartment is for an investment purpose, a villa is a holiday home - this is how GCC nationals invest in Dubai’s realty market, says Cluttons.

Although the real estate consultancy has witnessed a decline in enquiries from Europeans and Americans this year, it is the Saudis, Qataris and Omanis who are offsetting that decline.

“We have seen a 20 per cent increase in enquiries from GCC nationals.

The main buyers appear to be topped by Qataris and Saudis followed by Omanis,” Mario Volpi, Head of Sales & Leasing for Cluttons Dubai told 'Emirates24|7'.

He says that GCC nationals tend to buy apartments if they are investing whereas they look to purchase a holiday home tend to be looking at villas.

“The locations of interest are a good mix of freehold and non-freehold areas.”

Asked why investors from Europe and the US have slowed down their investment in Dubai realty market, Volpi said: “We believe that investors from Europe and the US are preferring to take a more cautious approach, as their finances are further stretched by their local economies.”

According to figures released by Dubai Land Department, Indians and Britons invested around Dh6.9 billion and Dh4.79 billon, respectively, in 2011. They were followed by Pakistanis (Dh2.44bn), Iranians (Dh3.8bn), Russians (Dh2.03bn), Americans (Dh1.19bn) and Saudis (Dh1.44bn).

In addition, Cluttons also believes that Dubai’s residential real estate market is now more secure and transparent, driving investment back into the city.

“Speculation has disappeared and distressed sellers are very few.

Proactive sellers are now looking to trade up as property prices have fallen, and in some cases as much as 60 per cent. As a result, more serious buyers are once again searching for those exemplary properties.”

However, the property market is still plagued by oversupply and is still fragmented with selective stabilisation being witnessed.

“Dubai is still a buyer’s market, since the global recession, however now with the return of accessible financing, sellers are now enjoying a high number of buyers in the market, therefore experiencing quicker sales,” he added.

Earlier this month, Marwan bin Ghalitha, Chief Executive of Real Estate Regulatory Authority, said up to 16,000 new units will be released this year.

"Another 15,000 to 16,000 (units) are coming in 2012. Most of this supply will be from master developers,” he said at a recent conference.

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