Whether it’s visa reforms, legislative initiatives or safety and quality of life, Dubai has been attracting a slew of investors and expatriates who prefer to live and work there thereby steadily boosting the demand for commercial and residential real estate
The city of the future
Dubai is famed for many reasons. It’s culturally diverse, future forward, technologically and infrastructurally advanced, puts the comfort and happiness of its residents at the forefront, fosters growth and investments by way of pro-business policies, and is driven to creating a better world and future by focussing on sustainability, clean energy and various other environment-centric initiatives.
All of these aspects have deemed Dubai as a great place to work and live, attracting investors in commercial and residential real estate. This interest in real estate has also been propelled by the manner in which the city has handled the Covid-19 pandemic (with fewer lockdowns and strict precautionary measures) and conducted its vaccination drives deeming it to be one of the safest—for women too—cities in the world.
A plethora of incentives and initiatives have also been inculcated to attract foreigners to the UAE which has boosted interest in the commercial and residential real estate sector.
Besides great infrastructure and a coveted lifestyle that meets international standards, Dubai also boasts of some of the most luxurious properties at prime locations coupled with some of the best international schools—all of which has encouraged foreign nationals to relocate here with their families. Whether in the form of second homes, commercial real estate or as a financial asset, Dubai’s real estate sector has shown positive growth.
There are many reasons why expatriates are drawn to live, work and invest in Dubai—from long-term visas and Free Zones to 100 per cent foreign ownership of businesses and low to negligible tax rates. With respect to visas, the most notable at the moment is the Golden Visa that is being offered to entrepreneurs, investors, professionals, students and other talented individuals across various sectors for a period of five and 10 years alongside short term and freelance visas that are attracting expatriates to live and work here, thereby boosting the real estate sector. There’s also the retirement residency visa and the retirement programme in Dubai for high net-worth retirees investing a certain sum in the local real estate sector, among other criteria. The city also recently introduced a 5-year multiple entry visa for foreign employees working for companies based in Dubai to travel to and from the emirate for business.
In 2019, a joint ownership law and five-year visas for those that invested a certain sum in the city’s real estate were introduced. The Remote Work Visa and Dubai’s virtual working programme are other initiatives that allow individuals to work remotely from the UAE whilst utilising all the benefits and services that the country offers.
Then there’s the 100 per cent foreign ownership of businesses that allows foreigners to set up companies in the UAE and own them entirely (without a major UAE shareholder). UAE has also been known to establish Free Zones with reduced registration charges, finance and extended visas that have been attracting foreign businesses to set up their base here. UAE currently has about 45 Free Zones that offer international enterprises 100 per cent foreign ownership and exemptions from taxes and other fees.
The Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan is another initiative that lays out a plan for sustainable development in the city to promote quality of life and happiness. This has been aided by the launch of the Dubai RE-Tech platform that aims to strengthen this sector and make it one of the best in the world.
On the rise
All of these structural, regulatory and legislative measures have impacted and enhanced the desire among individuals and companies to set up their base here. As per reports, September this year saw 5,762 transactions worth AED 16.2 billion, the highest for this month in the last eight years. About 43,299 property sales transactions worth AED 104.3 billion were recorded in the first nine months of 2021 in Dubai.
While the pandemic has impacted most sectors across the world, Dubai’s real estate sector has seen encouraging numbers despite it all. This is what continues to make real estate a key vehicle for Dubai’s economic growth. Its geographical location and proximity to other countries is also making it a popular choice, especially among Indians.
Disclaimer: This article is a part of featured content series on Business in Dubai