Purchasing Property in Dubai? Everything you need to know.
2021 has been truly phenomenal for Dubai real estate. They say that luxury is disaster-proof and it has certainly proven to be pandemic-proof, as the past 12 months have shown. The market is moving at truly unprecedented levels and setting new records for itself in terms of transactional numbers and volume. Some of the most expensive deals in the city’s history have been recorded this year and new residential projects are being launched in full force after a lull in 2020.
Whether you are looking for that second home where you can spend a winter vacation by the beach or you want to make a sound investment that will reap plentiful returns in the future, there is an almost dizzying array of options to choose from. When navigating a market as busy as the one in Dubai, it helps to have some reliable and well-informed advisory to guide you along the right path. That is where LuxuryProperty.com comes in. A multi award-winning boutique brokerage that is headquartered in Dubai with a global reach, LuxuryProperty.com combines real estate expertise with cutting-edge tech.
Founded in 2017, LuxuryProperty.com is a digital destination that connects high-net-worth buyers from across the globe with the world’s finest homes. There are two main pillars on which the company stands – the strength of its online presence, and its Private Client Advisory services.
The USP of LuxuryProperty.com is its bespoke digital platform, which has helped to position it as a globally known brand. The company sits at the number one position on Google for searches related to ‘luxury property’, a feat that was achieved organically (i.e., without any paid ads). For clients, the platform provides a streamlined and seamless journey from the point of initial enquiry through to when the deal is final signed. Complementing the team’s online marketing efforts is the Private Client Advisory team.
Private Client Advisory is at the heart of the LuxuryProperty.com experience and defines the company’s professional code. The team is made up of real estate experts who have a keen understanding of both local and international real estate markets, which when put together with a client-centric approach results in discreet and professional service that is steeped in excellence. Private Client Advisors work with their clients on a one-to-one basis and are led by the company’s top- level executives to maintain impeccable standards. Both the digital and brokerage aspects of LuxuryProperty.com have been shaped by the vision of Founder & CEO Jason Hayes. Jason has been in the real estate industry for over 20 years, having operated successful businesses in the UK and the western United States. It was difficult for him to resist the allure of a city like Dubai, which has become a key player in the global market over a very short matter of time and is a growing hub for prime real estate. But after spending some time in the city, Jason became aware of a very real problem. The word ‘luxury’ was often thrown around with reckless abandon in the city’s real estate market, particularly by unscrupulous estate agents who had a knack for overpromising and underdelivering. The industry was saturated with brokers who offered a quality of service that was often alarmingly poor.
Another issue was one of reach. There are the traditional brokerage methods such as open houses and in-person meetings that work within the local market, but how does one build a connection with an international audience? What Jason wanted was to build a luxury brand that would have a global outlook and offer exceptional customer service. That formed the foundation for LuxuryProperty.com, a real estate brokerage that exists beyond its physical office space, leveraging the power of its digital domain to target a global consumer base.
The real estate industry in Dubai has received an unexpected boost as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. By the end of 2019, the market had just gotten back on its feet after a sluggish few years and the initial outlook for 2020 was bright. When global lockdowns hit and borders were shut, it seemed that everything was destined to go sharply downhill. However, the United Arab Emirates was among the first few countries to emerge from lockdown and enforced strict protocols to manage the spread of infections. Analysts expected a slow return to normal as the world gradually began to open up again, but the recovery of the real estate market took on a v-shaped curve and it was business as usual in no time.
Dubai, which has consistently been ranked as one of the safest cities in the world, was once again being viewed as a safe haven by those who were looking to escape continued lockdowns in their home countries. Even within the city, residents were seeking out larger homes that provided a great sense of privacy and security. This led to a flurry of activity that culminated in the breaking of a seven-year record for property sales before 2020 was over.
What’s in Demand?
The areas that have seen the most demand include waterfront communities such as Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence – this should come as no surprise as homes with a sea view and beach access are always popular. Some of this year’s biggest transactions were all on the Palm, showcasing how the area is still one of Dubai’s epicentres of luxury even after 15 years. And indeed, Palm Jumeirah’s star will only continue to rise with the imminent completion of One at Palm Jumeirah (serviced by The Dorchester Collection) and Atlantis, the Royal Residences (the first truly super prime project in Dubai).
Both of these communities are set around championship golf courses, offering a lifestyle of leisure that is infused with lush greenery. After a brief pause in 2020, Dubai’s off-plan market is on the move again with several new projects being launched this year. Some of the most notable include the first Elie Saab branded villas in the developing community of Arabian Ranches III, a Roberto Cavalli branded residential tower in Dubai Marina, and waterfront villas being launched in the premium community of District One. The one to really keep an eye on is Mr. C Residences, a limited collection of luxury apartments designed by Cipriani that is located alongside the Dubai Water Canal.
Vaccines and the Expo Effect
At the start of 2021, the government of the United Arab Emirates followed up its controlled management of the pandemic by instituting a vaccination drive – it is currently the most vaccinated country per capita in the world, a fact that is underscored by rapidly falling infection rates. This has only added to Dubai’s appeal amongst foreign home buyers and investors, and records continue to be broken in 2021 with some of the most expensive sales and rentals in the Dubai real estate history being recorded. The market is being driven by an influx of cash buyers, and by the end of August, property prices had risen 4.4% compared to the same time last year – this sort of rise has not been seen since 2015. In fact, sellers are now in a position where they can expect to achieve the full asking price in a sale, with no room for offers or discounts. Buyers who hesitate are at risk of getting priced out of the market within the next 3 months.
Another factor contributing to increased demand in the market was the renewed hype for Expo 2020, the global mega event that was pushed back from last year to October 2021. It has been predicted that Expo will have a positive effect on the market, pushing prices further up. But the so-called ‘Expo effect’ will only come to light by the end of 2021, or possibly early in 2022.
The increased activity in the market has been expected for some time, though it was predicted to happen at a slower pace pre-pandemic. The UAE government has launched several initiatives over the past few years that are aimed at building investor confidence and making life easier for foreign expats. Perhaps the most significant of these initiatives is the ‘Golden Visa’, a long-term residence visa that is available in five-year and 10-year durations – a huge step up from the typical two-year residence visa. The Golden Visa was first announced in 2018 and formally went into effect the following year. The first few thousand visas were awarded to entrepreneurs and investors who had contributed significantly to the growth of the UAE, with a select few being given to international celebrities who have strong ties to the country, such as Bollywood icon Shah Rukh Khan and renowned football legends Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba and Luis Figo.
Other important initiatives include 100% foreign ownership of companies (previously, it was mandatory to have a local partner with a majority share), plus changes in inheritance and divorce laws.
For anyone looking to invest in Dubai’s property market, now is the time to do it. The entire process is fairly straightforward, with minimum paperwork required. All you need as an individual buyer is proof of ID and your home address, whereas corporate buyers would require a list of company documents including the company trade license, passport copies of shareholders, and details of the power of attorney. Once a sale is agreed upon, a Memorandum of Understanding is signed between the buyer and the seller to outline the terms of the sale. This will be registered with the Dubai Land Department or DLD (the governing real estate body), and then both buyer and seller must obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the developer of the property. The transfer of the property must be registered with the DLD, after which a title deed will be issued in the buyer’s name. For properties that are still under construction, or off-plan properties, the buyer gets a temporary ownership permit (known as an Oqood) until the property is complete. At that point, the Oqood will be converted to a title deed.
In order to facilitate the process, it is recommended that you have a good legal advisor, and that you work alongside a trusted real estate professional who can guide you through the formalities involved. When it comes to prime and super prime properties in Dubai, then LuxuryProperty.com is the real estate partner you should be considering. Please reach out to us and our Private Client Advisory team. We would be glad to assist with your real estate needs.