After saying I’d never do it, I am finally considering buying a property in the UAE. For the past two-and-a-half years I have had no interest in the property market and made endless flippant remarks about bubbles bursting. Now I have changed my mind. What caused the about turn, I am not entirely sure.
Could it be my friends’ spacious villas and their freedom from the threat of new rental contracts and landlords demanding double the rent? Is it the endless tales of investors who now live in five-bedroom mansions on the Palm just four years after moving here with only a few thousand dirhams to their name? Or have I simply caught the UAE’s property bug?
It seems that while the rest of the world slows down, the Middle East is still growing at a phenomenal rate. And the booming property market – despite earlier predictions of a slowdown in 2009 – shows no sign of abating. Surely I would be stupid to miss out on an opportunity like that?
When I thought about it, I realised it wasn’t just the promise of good returns on my investment that spurred me on, but a severe bout of investor’s boredom.
When I bought my first house in the UK four years ago, I loved the buzz of putting my hard-earned cash down as a deposit, signing the contract and finally stepping inside my first piece of real estate.
Then every few months, I’d log onto the web to see how the market rates for properties similar to mine were shooting up.
There were rumours a tube line would be built near my London home – sending prices rocketing even further. There was talk my borough was on the up – something later confirmed by the arrival of the big brand name coffee houses and supermarkets who subsequently saw off the local traders.
And there was the prospect that investing in a new bathroom and kitchen could make my pad even more marketable. It was an exciting time and I often considered buying a second property. Then I moved to Dubai and became a tenant again and with my London pad rented out, the excitement slowly fizzled out.
By not being on the property ladder here, I was missing out on all the real estate banter on the dinner party circuit. Yes, there are other investments, but for me nothing stirs my entrepreneurial spirit more than negotiating a rise up the property ladder.
Then I spied my dream home in Dubai – off plan, of course – and suddenly the buzz was back. Could I raise the capital? If I bought, how much would the value rise by the time the property was built?
I did the sums in my head and buoyed on by the agents’ predictions that I could double my money by the property’s completion date at the end of 2009, I was sold.
Whether it all comes off, I’m yet to see. But surely I can’t lose, can I?