There is good value in Dubai property market today
By Khaleej Times Shadi Zand/dubai
Filed on August 2, 2016
The city is a safer place to invest, with greater emphasis on value and income
Anyone who has been involved with Dubai for more than a decade has seen an astonishing amount of change and development in a few short years. In 2002, the government decided to implement freehold, giving foreigners full ownership of property for the first time in designated areas. At the time, it was easy to choose where to invest in Dubai, with locations restricted to a few areas such as Dubai Marina and Emirates Living by Emaar.
Prices for off-plan developments were low, and investors found that they could double or triple their deposits very quickly. With construction lagging rapid demand growth, rents rose rapidly, pushing up valuations. It seemed that wherever one bought, everything was a good investment.
Even inexperienced buyers could buy with little down payment, expecting to make fast money, and it worked for a time. But was it good for the property market as a whole?
In 2008, a severe economic recession hit the world and Dubai was vulnerable. Within the space of a few months, many home owners found themselves with negative equity and large mortgages, and were unable to sell their properties. Developments under construction stalled indefinitely and many were cancelled.
Slowly strength returned from 2011, and this time, with more mature regulations in place, the government worked to smooth the market by limiting speculation. Transaction costs were raised deliberately to reduce the practice of “flipping”, meaning buying with the intention of selling after a few days or weeks.
Dubai became a safer place to invest, with greater emphasis on value and income rather than overnight capital gains. There were more end-users and investors looking for robust rental returns. Buyers remembered that like any other investment, ultimately the capital value of a property is based on the income it can earn, and this even applies to property purchased for personal use.
The new Dubai Metro, along with new shopping centres, attractions and highway development, brought a range of new freehold locations into view, and increased the appeal of many existing young developments. Suddenly, areas such as Sport City or Jumeirah Village were no longer seen as remote.
What to buy, where to buy and how much to invest have become more complicated calculations thanks to a sometimes bewildering range of choices. Developers have learned to price closer to end values and buyers know that capital values need to be underpinned by income potential. Gains are no longer automatic and purchasing well requires some clear thinking.
Dubai has continued to expand towards Jebel Ali and inland beyond the 311 highway, while filling gaps in the middle and creating a sometimes confusing plethora of options. As well as established areas, there is now Meydan, one of the most desirable locations in Dubai, Dubai Hills by Emaar, Al Badra and a whole suite of developments beyond Arabian Ranches on Al Qudra Road including the Ranches Phase II, Sustainable City, Mudon, Akoya, Town Square, all the way out to Remraan. Meanwhile, areas such as Jumeirah Village Circle, Business Bay, Culture Village, the Lagoons, Festival City and City Walk have have in-filled and sprung into life.
All of which leave buyers confused with the question: Where to invest? What returns can I expect? Which areas are likely to become more desirable, and which developments are priced competitively? There is never a guarantee in any market, and even the experts lack a crystal ball. However, after a period of correction, it is apparent that there is good value in the market, and over the coming weeks we will take a closer look at various developments to compare value.
The writer is senior property consultant at Coldwell Banker. Views expressed are her own and do not reflect the newspaper’s policy.