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07 December 2023

Dh44bn in 3 years: Why more Indians will buy property in Dubai

Housing rents in Dubai likely to face pressure with a flood of new supply coming to the market. (Shutterstock)

By Parag Deulgaonkar

Indians have invested Dh44 billion in Dubai’s real estate market in the last three years, including Dh18bn in 2014. Now, we can expect more from them.

The emirate’s property market is likely to be a beneficiary of the Reserve Bank of India’s move to increase the amount Indians can invest or spend abroad in foreign exchange without seeking its permission.

The bank now allows Indians to buy property abroad, hold shares or debt instruments, or any other assets or purchase gifts up to limit of $250,000 (Dh917,500) per person per year.

The earlier limit under the liberalised remittance scheme (LRS) was $125,000 but in 2013 it was reduced to $75,000 as the rupee slumped. It was set back at $125,000 in June 2014.

“On a review of the external sector outlook and as a further exercise in macro prudential management, it has been decided to enhance the limit under the liberalised remittance scheme to $250,000 per person per year,” the RBI said in its bi-monthly monetary policy statement.

Dubai has always been the favourite choice of property investment for Indians because of its location, tax-free regime, high rental yields and capital appreciation.

“If you compare cost of a property in South Mumbai vs Dubai, it is very costly… someone could buy a villa in a good location in the emirate and earn a ‘tax-free’ return of 6 to 8 per cent,” said S Kumar, who owns a two-bedroom apartment in Dubai Marina.

“The market is currently witnessing a slowdown and with further correction likely, prices would be good enough for making an investment,” he adds.

Real estate consultancies Knight Frank and JLL has forecast prime properties in Dubai to fall between 5 and 10 per cent during 2015.

But in a bid to stop outflow of money into foreign real estate markets, Naredco, an Indian realtors’ body, has sought review of the Reserve Bank’s LRS decision, saying, “The move could have an adverse impact on domestic real estate industry.”

It pointed out that residential sales declined by about 30 per cent in 7 major Indian cities during 2014 and the decline was particularly steep in the national capital region.