Expat renters in Dubai turning to property purchase

Published:  18 Jul at 6 PM
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Newly constructed, affordable properties in Dubai are persuading expats in tenancies to take the plunge and buy a home.

Ever since Dubai became a magnet for expat professionals, renting an apartment has been the norm due to the transient nature of relocations. Although rents are comparatively low at present, an increasing number of Western expats are becoming aware that buying an apartment or villa makes more sense in the long run as well as protecting from inevitable rent rises in the future.

The availability of affordable housing in Dubai is tempting an ever-increasing number of applicants, according to the emirate’s real estate agents. Prestige Real Estate director Jessica Horie told local media the demand is from lower-income clients as well as those on top salaries, and is increasing as the year rolls on.

Horie believes the days of low rents are almost over, and is expecting a recovering market to reflect in higher rents as well as property prices. The present trend, she adds, is moving towards the affordable end of housing projects and should attract expats with salaries as low as Dh10,000. In addition, recent figures show an increase in mortgage enquiries which peaked in March and April, although the majority of applications were from UAE residents.

Meanwhile, rumours are still circulating about Saudi Arabia’s controversial plan to tax the millions of expats working in the kingdom. The plan, part of the kingdom’s National Transformation Initiative, is linked with attempts to bolster the country’s falling revenues due to the slump in oil prices.

Expats from across the world have reacted nervously, with many suggesting the move would result in a mass exodus of workers in less than senior positions. However, according to economists, the loss of massive oil revenues is likely to be permanent, leading to additional income having to be found. Others suggest that taxing expats is Islamic, as most are non-Muslims, and will also stimulate local companies to continue with Saudization by employing more Saudi nationals.
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