Dubai's real estate sector is coming out of the woods as residential sales transactions hit a 4-year high during the summer season this year, the latest data shows.
Dubai home sales have performed well, both in terms of volume and value, during June, July and August this year, as investors and end-users took the advantage of price correction and became a property-owner in one of the best cities of the world.
Residential sales transactions posted a 33.46 per cent year-on-year growth as Dubai witnessed 8,833 deals, compared to 6,618 in the corresponding period last year, according to statistics by Data Finder, a data platform under the Property Finder Group. The emirate recorded 8,694 and 7,066 residential deals in similar periods of 2017 and 2016, respectively.
Dubai home sales also hit a 4-year peak in terms of value, as deals worth Dh14.94 billion were recorded in the 2019 summer season, compared to Dh12.58 billion in the same period last year, reflecting an increase of 14.94 per cent. The emirate posted Dh13.25 billion and Dh12.75 billion home sales in 2017 and 2016, respectively.
Analysts and experts said that the property sector has shown solid signs of recovery at an appropriate time when the countdown for the Dubai Expo 2020, a growth driver for the real estate industry, will start next month. They are of the opinion that Dubai continues to attract investors while price correction, attractive bargains and long-term payment options influence several end-users to purchase property in the city.
It's a buyer market
"We believe it is a great time to buy property in Dubai; the price corrections and the proactive reforms undertaken by the government have made Dubai's real estate market conducive for investors and buyers," said Niall McLoughlin, senior vice-president, Damac Properties.
Referring to the recent launch of the new real estate committee, which aims to create a more centralised and well-planned strategy to manage the city's supply and demand dynamics, he said that it will further boost buyers' sentiment.
Haider Tuaima, head of Real Estate Research at ValuStrat, said that it is a buyer's market in Dubai, and that it has been for quite a while now.
"Judging the performance of the Dubai Land Department's transaction volumes demonstrates that savvy investors answered this question already. In the current softening market, ready homes asking prices are negotiated downwards to mitigate further short-term declines," Tuaima said.
And for off-plan properties, he said that developers have widened investor options by creatively offering easy payment plans.
"The market today is undoubtedly biased towards the buyers," he said.
Lynnette Abad, director of Research and Data, Property Finder, said that prices today are very attractive and that now is a good time to buy and negotiate a very attractive deal.
"This year especially, we have seen many end-users get on the property ladder, particularly consumers who have been sitting on the fence deciding when was a good time to buy. This, coupled with a large amount of completed supply in the affordable segment, has made buying achievable," she said.
Off-plan still dominates
Experts said that Dubai property staged a solid recovery as both the off-plan and ready categories of the housing market have performed well in summer season this year. These include the sales of apartments, hotel apartments, villas, townhouses and residential land plots.
The Dubai ready, secondary housing market has had its best run in the summer months this year, compared to the previous three years. It registered a strong 20.43 per cent year-on-year growth by posting 3,801 sales transactions in the summer of 2019, as against 3,156 deals in similar period last year. The emirate registered 2,596 deals in similar category in 2017 and 2,661 transactions in 2016, according to Data Finder statistics.
In terms of value, the ready, secondary housing market posted Dh7.07 billion transactions in the summer of 2019 compared to Dh7.7 billion in similar period last year.
Off-plan market still accounted for the majority of transactions in Dubai, accounting for 5,032 deals in the summer months of 2019. This compares with 3,462 off-plan transactions in the summer of 2018, 6,098 such deals in 2017 and 4,405 deals in 2016.
Off-plan housing market clocked sales worth Dh7.3 billion in June, July and August this year compared to Dh8.5 billion in the corresponding period last year. In comparison, off-plan homes worth Dh7.9 billion were sold in the summer of 2016 and similar units valued at Dh4.88 million exchanged hands in the summer months of 2018.
"Off-plan is still a very lucrative investment in Dubai with attractive pricing and developer incentives such as enticing payment plans and post-handover payment plans," Abad added.
Credit: Khaleej Times
Ruler of Dubai thanks countrymen for acknowledging his 50 years of service
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid has laid out a road map for the future success of the nation in an eight-point plan. The Ruler of Dubai and Vice President said the steps were integral to national growth and the overall prosperity of the Emirates. “Brothers and sisters, my thanks to everyone who said a word of appreciation to me on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of my first post in the National service,” he said. “I promise you that the days will only increase our insistence on service, creativity at work and acceleration of achievements.” Referring to his eight point plan, Sheikh Mohammed called on all those living in the country to abide by the rules of society, stating that no one was above the law. He appeared to place the most emphasis on strengthening fairness, promoting business and ensuring transparent government.
“I call on all those in a position of responsibility in the Emirate of Dubai to abide by these principles, and direct them to devise mechanisms to ensure the implementation of these principles at all events,” Sheikh Mohammed said in a government circular. “We have summarised these principles for governing in this document to ensure the well-being of our people, the sustained progress of our nation, and the welfare of our future generations.” Sheikh Mohammed called on Emirates to set aside regional differences, placing their union above all else.
Religious and political differences should not get in the way of friendship, he said, with economic diversity, tolerance and understanding also being key components of progress.
The eight-point plan for future governance in full:
1. The union is the foundation
Dubai is an integral part of the UAE and a pillar of the federation.
The Emirate’s destiny is entwined with the UAE’s destiny, its well-being is vital to the UAE, and its people are ever-willing to sacrifice for the greater good of the country. The Union’s interest is above local interest, the Union’s laws transcend our laws and legislations, the Union’s policy is our policy, and the Union’s government priorities are our government’s priorities.
2. No one is above the law
Justice is the basis of a strong and proud nation, and guarantees prosperity and stability. No one is above the law in Dubai, starting with the ruling family. The law does not discriminate between citizens and residents, rich and poor, male and female, Muslims and non-Muslims. Justice delayed is justice denied. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. I renounce unfair practice or conduct of any person, and the ruling family shall likewise renounce any form of injustice as long as it governs the Emirate.
3. We are a business capital
The Government of Dubai aims to improve the lives of its people through strengthening its economy. Dubai does not invest or involve itself in politics, and does not rely on politics to ensure its competitiveness. We extend a hand of friendship to all those who hold good intentions towards Dubai and the UAE. Dubai is a politically neutral, business-friendly global hub that focuses on creating economic opportunities.
4. Three factors drive growth
Dubai’s growth is driven by three factors: a credible, resilient and excellent government; an active, fair and open private sector; and public and government-owned flagship companies that compete globally, and generate an income for the government, jobs for its citizens, and assets for future generations.
5. Our society has a unique personality
Our society is a respectful and coherent one, bound by tolerance and openness. It distances itself from all forms of discrimination and bias. It is a disciplined society, committed to its promises, timelines and covenants. We are modest about our successes, perseverant in dealing with challenges, charitable and generous in achieving the greater good, and open to everyone.
6. We believe in economic diversification
Economic diversification has been the foundation of our unwritten constitution in Dubai since 1833. The changing times and the rapid developments make our commitment to this principle everlasting. Our new goal is to create at least a new economic sector every three years that will be productive, contribute to our GDP, and generate jobs.
7. A land for talent
Dubai has always relied on talented tradesmen, administrators, engineers, creatives, and dreamers for its success. The Emirate’s prominence, sustainability and competitiveness depend on its capacity to continue attracting skilled and talented people, and nurturing the brightest minds to generate innovative ideas. We have to continually review and renew our policies and procedures to ensure our appeal to talented individuals. We must build the best environment in Dubai for the world’s leading minds.
8. We care about future generations
The destiny of our future generations must not be affected by the fluctuations of regional politics and global economic cycles. We invest and create valuable assets for them. Our fundamental rule in this regard is that the government should, under all circumstances, own economic assets that are worth at least 20 times the value of its annual budget. We work towards maintaining a secure future, and we are focused today on ensuring the prosperity of our future generations. These are the eight principles for governing in Dubai that we recommend to ourselves and to those who will succeed us. We call on future generations to preserve these principles and hand them down to those who succeed them. God Almighty knows well our intentions to ensure the greater good of our people. We pray to Him to help us serve our country and our people with pride and dignity.
Credit: Gulf News
The construction sector saw the fastest growth, according to Emirates NBD statistics
There was strong improvement in Dubai’s non-oil private sector in November, reflecting faster expansions in business activity, new work and a stable trend in new employment, according to data from Emirates NBD’s Dubai Economy Tracker Index.
The statistics show that all three of Dubai’s main non-oil sectors – travel and tourism, wholesale and retail and construction – saw improvements in November compared to the previous month, with construction seeing the fastest growth.
According to Emirates NBD, output in the non-oil private sector rose at the sharpest rate since August, with companies reporting good market conditions and successful promotional activity.
The rate of expansion was also found to be greater than the overall trend for this year, and above the historic series average since January 2010.
In terms of employment, November data showed it remained stable after a two-month period of mild job losses. Construction firms in particular reported an increase in personnel numbers.
The data also showed an increase in incoming new work during November, extending the sequence of growth to 33 months in a row.
The rate of growth was the strongest in five months, following a two-and-a-half year low. The strongest increase were reported in construction and the wholesale and retail sectors.
Business growth expectations, however, eased from a record high in October, although it remained at an elevated level.
Additionally, average cost burdens rose for the eight month running, while the rate of inflation accelerated to a seven-month high.
Lastly, output charges fell at the strongest decline since February 2016, with some firms reporting that lower selling prices were linked to promotional activity.
Source: Emirates NBD and Arabian Business
The population currently stands at 3.14 million.
Dubai remains the world's most cosmopolitan city in 2018 with 83 per cent (2.6 million) of its residents foreign-born who speak over 140 different languages.
"Dubai is currently the world's most cosmopolitan city, with foreign-born residents making up 83 per cent of its population. Its residents come from more than 200 countries and speak more than 140 different languages. Following Dubai is Brussels, with a population that is 62 per cent foreign-born; its inhabitants hail from approximately 140 countries and speak 86 different languages," said global consultancy McKinsey & Company.
According to the Dubai Statistics Centre, Dubai's population currently stands at 3.14 million as compared to 2.976 million at 2017-end. The emirate's population jumped to 4.163 million during the peak hours in the day, DSC said in an earlier statement.
Of over 140 different languages spoken by Dubai residents, most common languages are Arabic, English, Hindi, Urdu, Persian, Bengali, Tamil, Tagalog, Chinese, Malayalam, French, German and Spanish among others.
McKinsey & Co. analysts believe that Dubai along with London, Hong Kong, New York, Singapore and Tokyo are major hubs for all types of flows such as flows of goods, services, finance, people, data and communication.
Apart from Dubai and Brussels, according to McKinsey & Co.'s "Thriving amid turbulence: Imaging the cities of the future" report, there are 11 other cities in the world in which at least a quarter of the residents are foreign-born. They are Toronto, Auckland, Los Angeles, Sydney, Singapore, London, New York, Melbourne, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris.
McKinsey estimated that global flows of goods, services, assets, and people contribute between $250 billion (Dh917.5 billion) and $450 billion (Dh1,65 trillion) every year to global GDP, that is, 15 to 25 per cent of total global output.
According to the United Nations, 55 per cent of the global population currently lives in cities. By 2050, that number is expected to reach 68 per cent, which means an additional 2.5 billion people will reside in urban areas. China's cities alone will be home to a staggering 900 million people.
McKinsey & Co. analysts said from 2000 to 2012, rising populations were the key driver of urban growth. Approximately 60 per cent of the GDP growth of large cities was rooted in an expanding population, while the remaining 40 per cent was due to rising per capita income.
In Europe and the US, which experienced the shift in the 18th and 19th centuries, 80 to 85 per cent of the population now resides in cities. China's population, by contrast, is about halfway through the shift, with city dwellers constituting roughly 50 per cent of the overall population. In India, which is currently in an even earlier stage of the shift, only about 20 per cent of the population lives in cities.
Credit: Khaleej Times
100 per cent foreign ownership of companies in the UAE with a 10-year visa for investors, scientists, doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs and innovators
New visa rule in UAE: Magnet for investments, talent
“The decision reveals the transparency and clarity of policies implemented by the UAE’s federal government, a key incentive in attracting foreign direct investments to the country,” said Al Hajiri in a statement.
What are the new rules for 100% foreign investment?
Under the new decision, foreign companies will be allowed to own 100 per cent of their business in the UAE outside free zones — a major departure from the current practice of requiring an Emirati partner with a majority stake. Currently, only companies based in various free zones around the UAE were eligible for the 100 per cent ownership rule. Further, foreign investors establishing a business or simply investing money in the UAE will now be eligible for a visa of up to 10 years. A range of businesses — from start-ups to city-based trades to knowledge economy companies — will be the biggest benefactors from the decision. This will also attract new capital infusion into the UAE economy from investors around the world.
When will these measures come into effect?
Shaikh Mohammad has directed the Ministry of Economy to implement the resolution and follow up on its developments, in coordination with all concerned stakeholders. He has asked for a detailed report to be submitted in the third quarter of this year, and the measures will come into force by the end of 2018.
Why did the UAE undertake these new measures?
The Cabinet resolutions mark a bold new era for the UAE, but they are in line with the UAE leadership’s continued focus on attracting top international investments as well as exceptional talent to the country and build a solid foundation for a diversified knowledge economy. The UAE is already the most diversified and open economy in the Middle East, but these policies with long-term implications will further lift the UAE’s economic competitiveness globally.
How will these measures help the UAE?
In the words of Shaikh Mohammad, the UAE “will remain a global incubator for exceptional talents and a permanent destination for international investors. Our open environment, tolerant values, infrastructure and flexible legislation are the best plan to attract global investment and exceptional talents to the UAE”. That position will not only transform the quality of the UAE’s workforce, but also ensure social and economic stability and ensure a strong surge in home-grown talent. Along with that, the funds remitted by the UAE’s expat population — which stood at Dh164.3 billion in 2017 — could well be spent back in the local economy if residents settle in the country and possibly invest in the local real estate due to the benefit of a long-term visa.
New regulation is likely to further integrate the real estate market with capital markets
The Dubai Land Department (DLD) has proposed a new mortgage and finance law to bring in more capital to the real estate market.
The main objective of the mortgage law is to attract foreign investors and public joint stock companies listed on Nasdaq. The law also aims to encourage alternative financing methods and cater to investors with small and medium-sized portfolios.
"A lot of non-residents are looking to buy property in the UAE and they are looking to get a higher proportion of financing as well. Currently, banks are only offering a loan-to-value ratio of 60 to 65 per cent on ready property for non-resident investors. Banks are hesitant to lend to them owing to the higher degree of risk involved. Certain banks are willing to offer 50 per cent LTV for non-residents based on bank statements and passport copies. The documentation is also complicated as they need to fly down to Dubai to do all the paperwork and transfer," says Carol Monis, head of mortgages, MortgageMe, a financial consultancy.
The proposed mortgage law will attempt to make it easier for specialised funds to come into the Dubai real estate market. Bringing in more real estate investment trusts (Reits) is being touted as one of the alternatives.
According to Core Savills, Reits account for almost 5 per cent of the UAE's listed real estate, compared to more than 40 per cent in countries such as the UK and Singapore.
"This new regulation is expected to further integrate the real estate market with capital markets. These Reits and alternate financing avenues will support the expansion of funding channels available to developers, while also allowing higher exposure to foreign investment funds to Dubai's real estate market and providing investors [individual/retail] liquid, diversified and smaller ticket size investment instruments," explains David Godchaux, Group chief executive officer of Core Savills.
The lower to mid-income residents in Dubai are also keen to buy property to get out of the rental trap. However, the initial upfront costs to purchase a home are prohibitive.
"This involves a 25 per cent deposit for a ready property, 4 per cent transfer fee, 2 per cent broker fee, 1 per cent bank processing fee, 0.25 per cent mortgage registration fee, Dh4,000 trustee fee, and more. In short, they would have to arrange for at least 32 per cent of the property's value as initial costs. This should be relaxed," suggests Monis. Market stakeholders have been calling to ease mortgage regulations to boost the sector.
"However, it may also instigate more short-term/speculative investors versus end-user buyers, that the market needs, more especially in the affordable and lower mid-market segments. Regulations allowing to distinguish between end-users and investors would be welcome to absorb the upcoming supply and work for the short term while having a positive long-term impact as well," concludes Godchaux.
Source: Khaleej Times
Mohammad Bin Rashid: UAE and Dubai will always be pioneers in the world and will not settle for anything less than first place
Since its launch 21 years ago, DGEP has become a synonym for excellence, accomplishment and quality,” Shaikh Mohammad said. He also said that the DGEP has contributed to developing a culture of excellence across the GCC and the Arab region, and making Dubai a byword for service quality.
Shaikh Mohammad was addressing the winners of the 21st edition of DGEP at a ceremony held at the Dubai World Trade Centre, in the presence of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, and Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai. Other shaikhs and senior officials also attended the award ceremony.
He thanked all employees of Dubai Government and expressed his appreciation for their efforts to achieve excellence. He said more new ideas need to be generated to ensure we make another leap in service quality in the next phase of Dubai’s growth.
“Those who were honoured today are our best performers, and everyone should learn from. Their success and commitment to excellence should be a source of inspiration for everyone,” he said.
“At the same time, those who have achieved excellence still have a lot more to do, as accomplishment and excellence have no limits. It’s important that those who achieved outstanding excellence share their experiences with their colleagues. Individual efforts and excellence need to be streamlined to achieve excellence on an organisational level,” Shaikh Mohammad said.
He added that excellence is a culture in the UAE. “What we have accomplished in terms of development and progress in every sphere of life is the result of our commitment to meet the aspirations of our people.”
Addressing the winners, he said: “You are the pillars of our future. Your innovation and hard work and your commitment to ensure the best for your nation will have a great impact on the future of our country. The UAE and Dubai will always be pioneers in the world and will not settle for anything less than first place,” Shaikh Mohammad added.
Source: Gulf News
VAT for property transactions is likely to make a negligible difference in terms of buyer interest
As from January 1. 2018, the UAE is seeing value-added tax (VAT) levied on property transactions across the emirates, including Dubai. VAT has been set at 5 per cent, which is among the lowest rates in the world, with some countries such as the UK and Spain charging more than 20 per cent.
Despite VAT in the UAE being levied at only 5 per cent, its introduction could raise concerns among some property investors and homebuyers alike. Chances are that this tax will potentially become a cash flow issue with funds moving from one account to another, i.e. VAT paid will be compensated with VAT charged. Having to pay more for property related purchases also has the potential to adversely affect sentiment in the market in general.
The introduction of VAT for property transactions in Dubai is likely to make a negligible difference in terms of buyer interest. Five per cent remains one of the lowest rates for VAT in the world and because it is usually charged by one side and claimed back by the other, there's not likely to be much impact overall.
It is important to know that there are two types of charge. The VAT charged on supplies which include services by a registered company such as a lawyer or accountant (outputs) and the levy paid to suppliers for them to produce these goods and services (inputs). With VAT, these inputs and outputs should level each other out, but sometimes it is not possible to charge VAT in both cases for that to happen.
These goods and services can attract either zero rating or can be exempt from VAT. A zero-rated tax means that zero per cent is charged for goods and services produced or sold (output) while any levy paid on production costs on inputs can be recovered.
What levy is chargeable
The first supply of residential properties is zero-rated within three years from completion. This means that developers can recover VAT on construction of residential properties, including the architectural design, consulting, contracting and materials used.
Residential real estate
The secondary or resale home market will be exempt from VAT at the point of sale but buyers will be subject to pay the tax on commissions and other government fees relating to these purchases. Individuals will have to pay VAT on Dubai real estate only in terms of lease management services or other management services relating to their property.
Commercial real estate
Commercial property buyers will have to pay VAT on Dubai real estate on both off-plan and secondary market units. If the commercial property is acquired for the purpose of further leasing to commercial tenants, the cost of the VAT paid when buying, for example, a retail unit, a warehouse or office, can be reclaimed when charging the levy for tenants. These tenants who are charged VAT from the landlord in addition to the rent will be able to recover the VAT from their commercial activities when charging the levy for goods and services.
The owner of any commercial property in Dubai is now required to register for VAT if the value of the supplies over the preceding 12 months was more than Dh375,000 or it is expected that they will exceed Dh375,000 in the next 30 days.
Do homeowners have to register for VAT?
There is no requirement for owners of residential properties to register for VAT unless they have any other business activities in the emirate that are taxable. VAT in Dubai will work in a very similar way to how it does in other countries, where private individuals are not subject to the tax unless they are self-employed or a business owner generating a certain level of revenue in the emirate.
The issue of VAT generally becomes a matter of cash flow. There is no reason for it to impact the value of real estate units or property prices negatively. Ultimately, although VAT becomes another factor to consider when buying property in Dubai, its impact is widely expected to be minimal in terms of adding additional costs to real estate transactions.
The writer is managing partner at Premier Estates. Views expressed are her own and do not reflect our policies.
Source: Khaleej Times
Developers will factor in VAT rebate and extend benefits.
Dubai: Dubai’s developers are likely to get even more generous with their offers as they compete to reduce the unsold stock on their books. And unlike in other sectors, the introduction of VAT (value added tax) is not going to impact on developer plans.
In fact, VAT could even be a marketing advantage with off-plan launches. “Introduction of VAT is likely to set off more favourable payment plans from developers,” said Faisal Durrani, Cluttons’ Head of Research. “Simply because of the tax rebates available to developers and the fact that VAT kicks in only three years after completion of development.” (As things stand now, residential off-plan sales are believed to be exempt from VAT.) But the fact is that in the last six months or so, developers here have already been quite generous, many of them waiving registration fees, allowing for a lower payment upfront and the bulk of the instalments to be made after handover.
Developers are also stretching the number of years after handover in which those payments can be made. Two years was the norm and that is slowly inching up to five years and even longer.
According to Durrani, it should be on the post-handover payment period that developers will focus further. Five years and more could even become the norm. “As such, extended post-handover payment schemes would be a permanent feature of the property market,” said Durrani. “People sense that the Dubai residential realty is nearing the bottom of the current cycle.
“We don’t think oversupply is going to be an issue in Dubai … as long as the government’s target of doubling the population by 2030 is met.”
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