Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 20 October 2019

Dubai property developers upbeat on India

Exhibitors at Dubai Property Show see the country as a growing source market for buyers, despite a weak rupee and slowing growth

Duba property developers are showing their wares in Mubai and are optimistic about India as a source market. Reuters
Duba property developers are showing their wares in Mubai and are optimistic about India as a source market. Reuters

Property developers from Dubai taking part in a real estate exhibition in Mumbai remained upbeat on India as a source market for buyers, despite factors including a weak rupee and slowing growth in Asia'a third-largest economy.

“India and the UAE have a very close relationship traditionally,” said Sunil Gomes, the chief executive of Gemini Property Developers, based in Dubai. “The number of Indian buyers has grown dramatically in recent years.”

The three-day annual Dubai Property Show, organised by the Dubai Land Department, which finishes today in India's financial capital, is being held as forecasts suggest real estate prices in Dubai could be further subdued next year amid an expected surge in supply.

Indian nationals are the biggest foreign investors in the property market in the emirate. A total of 3,696 Indian investors invested Dh8.17 billion into real estate in Dubai in the first nine months of this year across 4,414 investments, according to figures from the Dubai Land Department.

But serious buyers seemed a little thin on ground at the show on Saturday afternoon. One sales executive for a major developer at the event said “things are a bit slow” and this could be due to the fact that “the rupee is down”, he said. The currency has fallen by about 10 per cent against the US dollar this year, which makes it more expensive for Indians to buy property in the UAE. The executive added that the ongoing Indian wedding season meant some potential customers had been unable to make it to the event.

There were interested buyers, however.

S Khan, a Mumbai-based steel trader who was browsing properties at the exhibition, said he was eager to purchase a one-bedroom apartment and make a permanent move to Dubai to escape India's economic challenges.

“A lot of things are going around in India, which are affecting India a lot at the moment,” he said.

Official data for the quarter to the end of September revealed that India's GDP growth slowed to a weaker than expected 7.1 per cent, compared to 8.2 per cent in the previous quarter, impacted by higher oil prices and a liquidity crunch linked to the non-banking financial sector.

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Nakheel and Falconcity of Wonders were among the UAE developers present at the Dubai Property Show. Companies advertised deals including payment plans and rental guarantees in an effort to lure customers.

A report by real estate portal Propertyfinder released last month projected that higher oil prices and a construction boom in the run up to Expo 2020 would boost real estate expansion in Dubai in 2019, with the increase in supply expected to impact prices year-on-year.

Sanjay Manchanda, the chief executive of Nakheel, said Indian investors make up more than 10 per cent of the company's customer base, and that it was looking to grow its number of Indian investors, who have already bought more than 4,500 of its properties, worth about $2.5bn.

He said that “regulations allowing international investors to buy freely, strict policies that ensure that disputes are settled quickly and fairly, and impressive rental yields of 6 per cent and above”, were factors helping to attract investor interest.

Ali Murtuza Sulaman, a Mumbai-based property broker, said subdued prices in Dubai and better returns compared to India's real estate market, would help generate sales.

“We think that the returns on investment in Dubai are an advantage for any Indian buyer,” he said.

Updated: December 9, 2018 02:25 PM

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