Super rich vote Dubai among key global property markets

A new report puts Dubai as the 13th most important city in the world for the ultra-wealthy, and eighth in terms of growing in importance to the high net worth individuals (HNWIs).

The Wealth Report 2012, published by Knight Frank and Citi Private Bank, ranks 120 global cities for the purpose.

The report is based on the outlook of over 4,000 ultra-rich individuals (worth on average over $100m each) towards a wide range of subjects, including their personal wealth, their feelings on property, both as a home and an investment, and their investment decisions.

“Despite its struggles in recent years, Dubai was voted the 13th most important city in the world,” the report states.

According to Knight Frank data cited by the report, Dubai property prices declined 3 per cent in the third quarter of 2011 (compared with the same period of 2010) even as prices surged 25 per cent in Nairobi (Kenya) while they slumped more than 18 per cent in India’s commercial capital of Mumbai.

The survey showed that Emiratis are a potent force as second-home buyers, with UAE nationals ranked seventh among nationalities with growing importance in purchasing a residential property across the world. The Chinese top that list, followed by Indians and Brazilians.

“Of all the luxury market trends that have played out since the launch of The Wealth Report five years ago, it is the growth of global wealth flows that has done most to shape the leading prime markets. When asked which nationalities will become most important as prime property buyers over the next five years, Chinese, Russian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and those from other growth economies consistently top advisors’ lists,” the report says.

Interestingly, the UAE is the fourth most popular destination as a second-home location for HNWIs in Africa and Middle East, with UK emerging as the top location for them.

The global elite clearly appreciate Dubai’s superior lifestyle offerings, voting the city among the top 10 worldwide in terms of quality of life while it earned an even better seventh rank in terms of economic activity, reinforcing the emirate’s position as a global financial hub. Dubai is ranked 11th worldwide in terms of knowledge and influence.

For regional HNWIs, London remains the most important city, followed by Paris, New York, Geneva and Dubai. However, in terms of fastest growing in importance, Dubai is overshadowed by only London, and is followed by Beijing, Hong Kong and New York.

Various recent reports suggest that Dubai’s property prices have started moving up once again after a dismal three years.

“A popular saying, which we often hear repeated by investors from the Middle East, is: ‘Property may get sick, but it never dies.’ That sums up the thinking of many wealthy individuals who are targeting property today,” Will Dickens, Senior Vice-President in Citi Private Bank’s Global Real Estate Investments team, says in the report.

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