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18 July 2024

Lebanese top Arab realty investors

By Parag Deulgaonkar

Arab nationals bought properties worth Dh4.88 billion in Dubai last year, according to statistics shared with this website by the Dubai Land Department.

The total Arab money invested in Dubai’s property market was a mere 9 per cent of the overall Dh58.6 billion investments made by Gulf Cooperation Council, Arab and other foreign nationals.

Lebanese were the largest Arab investors, having purchased real estate worth Dh984 million while Jordanians pumped in Dh947 million.

Although there has been a lot of speculation among market participants that the recent reversal in Dubai’s property prices is due to the ‘hot money’ flowing in from Arab Spring countries looking for safe haven investments, in fact the total investment from nationals of these countries amounted to a mere Dh1.85 billion.

Among Arab Spring nationals, Egyptians led with Dh816 million investments into the real estate market. They were followed by Syrians who bought properties worth Dh634 million. Yemenis acquired properties worth Dh256 million, while Algerians invested Dh140 million.

Among other Arab nationals, Palestinians and Sudanese invested Dh142 million and Dh155 million, respectively.

No investment figures for Libyan nationals were given. Other Arab nationalities investing totalled Dh168 million.

Overall, GCC nationals invested Dh17.7 billion, Arabs Dh4.88 billion and foreign nationals Dh36 billion in Dubai’s property market last year, DLD data reveals. 

According to DLD, the total value of real estate transactions increased by 8 per cent in 2012 to Dh154 billion compared with Dh143 billion in 2011.

UAE nationals were the top investors while Indians led the list of expat investors.

In November, Knight Frank, a global real estate consultancy, had said Dubai’s “safe haven” status for Mena buyers’ post Arab Spring had increased villa prices by almost 20 per cent in the year to September 2012.

Citibank said in mid-October 2012 that a mini-revival in the Dubai property market had been driven by “refugee capital” from buyers facing geo-political risk and currency depreciation in their domestic markets, but later emphasised in a new report that recovery in the real estate sector was in line with the wider economic upturn and strong economic fundamentals of the emirate.