Dubai realty pulls in emerging market investors

We are often asked why the Dubai real estate market attracts so much interest from investors in emerging markets relative to investors from more mature western markets. Our data shows this continued to be the case in 2013, with almost all sales during the year being either to local investors or those from emerging markets in the region and beyond. So, why is this?

The Dubai real estate sector has attracted vast investments from overseas players since it was first opened up around 10 years ago and the ability of foreign parties to purchase freehold properties remains one of the major attractions. Data from the Dubai Land Department show a total of Dh151 billion of land and completed property was transacted over the first 11 months of 2013, an increase of more than 30 per cent compared to the same period in 2012.

While no breakdown of this by nationality is yet available, data for the first-half suggests that foreign purchasers accounted for around 60 per cent of sales. Indian investors were the largest foreign purchasers accounting for 27 per cent of sales, followed by the British 17 per cent, Pakistanis 15 per cent, Saudi Arabians, Russians and Iranians.

Britain is the odd-man out in this list, being the only mature economy, with the others being firmly in the camp of emerging economies. While investors from Britain have figured among the Top 5 international purchasers in Dubai consistently in recent years, this data relates to country of passport and not country of origin, with many of the ?British? investors being ethnically south Asians.

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