Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Emirates Airline was named in the top 10 first class cabins by therichest.com. Find out what position it came here.
Dubai's property market is experiencing a resurgence since the economic downturn. Above, the Dubai skyline at night. Pawan Singh / The National
Dubai's property market is experiencing a resurgence since the economic downturn. Above, the Dubai skyline at night. Pawan Singh / The National

With economy improving, investing in UAE property makes sense

A reader from the UK living in Dubai wonders whether to buy a home in his native country or go for one in his current base.

I recently moved to the UAE and have some money to invest in property. However, I don’t know whether to invest here or in my home country in the UK. I plan to stay in the UAE for a few years so it would be nice to either own my own home or an investment property here. However, I am slightly alarmed by the highs and lows the property market here has experienced. Should I invest here or stick with what I know in the UK? CD, Abu Dhabi

Both the UK and the UAE property markets, (particularly Dubai) are experiencing a resurgence since the economic downturn. It has been a long, hard slog for the respected property sectors since the collapse of Lehman Brothers five years ago. Now, however, we continue to hear about positive sentiments, especially for Dubai and central London.

What you do not confirm in your question is where in UK or UAE you would consider buying. This is very important because the UK seems to be running with a two-speed property market. Outside of central and greater London, the picture has been quite gloomy in the past, as prices tumbled and a stagnant property market ensued. Only now we are seeing a rosier picture as prices seem to be on the up – but only just.

The UK government’s “help to buy scheme” could be responsible for this improved sentiment and indeed with prices increasing at a rapid rate in some areas, there is now a debate as to how to stop a property bubble from forming. Greater London and particularly central London have not suffered as badly, with foreign investment pouring into prime residential assets. The same can be said of Dubai. Since the Arab Spring in 2011, local, regional and international money has been invested here as Dubai is seen (just like London) as a safe haven and despite its location, close to geopolitical unrest, continues to defy its critics with a robust property market, recovery with arguably still more positive sentiment to come thanks to Expo 2020.

When deciding whether to spend your money here or in the UK, a major factor is whether you are looking to buy to live in or as an investment to rent out. Buy to rent has historically brought much higher returns when investing in the UAE compared to the UK, but I understand what you mean when you comment on the ups and downs of our market here. Remember the UAE has never had a property downturn before and it was a big one, exacerbated this time around because of the impact of the world economic crisis.

So for now we are on the up, but as the age-old adage says: what goes up must come down. This time around the rises are based more on proper fundamentals rather than speculation as before. Do not, however, be fooled: the UAE will have a downturn again, and predicting when this will happen will give you the keys to a well-stocked safe.

For now, though, the UAE has still a lot to look forward to. In terms of legislation, there are many new plans to promote investor protection when buying off plan. This is aimed at avoiding the repetition of investors losing their money, as in the past.

There are more laws in place now to protect landlords and tenants from the effects of rising markets. Spending on airports, roads and transport is at an unprecedented scale now. For Dubai, Al Maktoum International Airport will open its doors to passenger traffic from next month. For Abu Dhabi the extension of the airport will allow many more millions of passengers to pass through its doors. Roads are constantly being improved and added to. Etihad Rail, linking Saudi Arabia to the Northern Emirates, is not a pipe dream but reality. Further extensions to the Dubai Metro are in the pipeline, as is an Abu Dhabi-based system too. A touristic but essential tram system around Dubai Marina will be in operation within a year and developments geared to boost tourist numbers and trade are breaking ground.

Residential plans to increase the inventory are needed as the demographic numbers increase. All this and still we have Expo 2020 to look forward to. While the host city has not yet been named, Dubai is definitely in the driving seat as it garners more and more friends and support along the way.

So given all the above facts, I would spend my money here in the UAE and if buying to live in, enjoy the property without the hassle of having to fight with your landlord on a yearly basis just to agree the rent. Enjoy the experience.

Mario Volpi is the managing director of Prestige Real Estate in Dubai and has worked in the property industry in London and Dubai for the past 29 years. Send any questions to mario@prestigedubai.com

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

 The cooling towers of the Temelin nuclear power plant near the Tyn nad Vltavou in Czech Republic. The country wants to continue expanding nuclear energy capacity despite cancelling a tender to build two new units. David W Cerny / Reuters

In pictures: Best business images for the week to April 17, 2014

Here are some of the best business images for the week to April 17, 2014.

 A sign points the way to an outdoor market popular with German visitors on the Polish side of the German-Polish border. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

In pictures: A decade since the European Union went east

May 1 will mark 10 years since the European Union expanded east, taking in countries like Poland, the Czech Republic and the Baltic states as new members. And though the border region between Germany and Poland is flourishing with trade and cultural exchange, the open border has also brought a sharp rise in crime.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National