Guest Comment: Dubai, the Brits’ place in the sun

By Azam Butt, Editor at Bayut.com, a Dubai-based real estate portal.

Dubai has been constantly cementing its position as a global investment magnet, courtesy of the its thriving hospitality, tourism and real estate sectors.

Simmering sun, blissful beaches, luxury lifestyle and unmatched hospitality make Dubai an ideal escapade for any Brit bludgeoned by the drudgery of a never-ending cold, grey skies, and rain.

Dubai has become one of the most sought after destination of leisure travellers from Britain, with residents of London and Manchester topping the list of people travelling to the UAE, according to a study that gauged which cities most of the flights to the country originated from.

With top of the line luxurious hotels having service standards fit for kings, heart-warming cuisines, world class recreational parks and awe-inspiring structures like BurjKhalifa, visiting Dubai makes for an unforgettable travel experience.

But coming to this amazing city makes business sense too, as Dubai has been constantly cementing its position as a global investment magnet, courtesy of the its thriving hospitality, tourism and real estate sectors.

It has constantly been climbing ranks on various lists.Be it a study of most improved global cities or that with vastly improving social, business and technology infrastructure, Dubai has sketched its presence on the global canvas with top notch facilities.

It has upped the ante and is even challenging traditional global business centres like New York, London, Hong Kong and Tokyo as it vies to become the best option for business and real estate investment.

Brit grit:

And the wise in Britain know better. Six hundred and ninety nine Britons with the means and an eye for the future invested AED 1.892 billion in Dubai’s real estate sector in Q1 of 2015, Dubai Land Department (DLD) figures divulged. Indianstopped the list with AED 3.040 billion.

DLD said around 19,000 Britons had invested in properties in Dubai, with a massive £1.6 billion in investment coming in 2014 alone.

The figures are mere writing on the wall as prime office space cost and rentalsare still a steal when compared with other global cities.

Rents in Dubai’s towering skyscrapers are sixteenth costliest in the list of most expensive office spaces in the world, making the fast-emerging global city a bargain for those looking to perform at a world stage.

Knight Frank’sSkyscraper Index revealed that Dubai prime office rents cost $43.50 per square foot in 2014, much behind Hong Kong, which topped the list with prime office rents listed at $250.50 per square foot. New York was second at $150 and London fourth at $108.75.

Serendipity search

More and more Britons are looking to reach the Dubai real estate oasis through an investment that suits their budget and needs.

Bayut.com, UAE’s leading property portal, said it had observed an increasing number of searches by potential British investors into the Dubai real estate market. Searches for buying property dwarfed those for rental spaces, translating into the fact that there were much more Britons who were interested in buying property in Dubai than those moving to or in the process of moving to Dubai for making a living.

Bayut stats revealed that of all the British prospectors who searched for options in Dubaiin 2014, 66.14% looked for properties up for sale. The same number was 64.93% in 2013. Searches for rental spaces accounted for 33.86% of all searches in 2014, while 35.07% of all searches in 2013 by British related to renting properties.

Of the 2014 searches for buying property, a hefty 83% share went to apartment searches, followed by villas with 13% of searches.

Bayut.com CEO Haider Ali Khan said the search figures for acquiring assets in Dubai by British investors meant that Britons increasingly saw Dubai as an ideal bastion for their capital.

“The sterling travels much farther in Dubai. Unlike London, prime real estate options in Dubai are aplenty and get you almost as decent returns as in any other part of the world. Future prospects for the city also appear great, especially with the Expo 2020 inching closer. With security of investment and ownership and tax-free income added advantages, Dubai leaves an investor with little to desire,” Khan added.

Do buy, do buy!

Over the years, freehold properties that enable an expat to fully own an asset have been a major impetus for spurring investment. Another important advantage of investing in Dubai has been that the expat owners do not need to live in Dubai after buying an asset. British, like other foreign investors have welcomed the opportunity, as it allows them to remain in their country of choice, while their investment sits safe in a country that offers foolproof ownership security.

The upcoming Expo 2020 and Dubai’s rapid ascent towards becoming the top tourist destination of the world is luring large businesses, job seekers and service providers to the city in droves.

But the cherry on the top remains the tax-free status of business in the emirate. Dubai levies zero tax on rental income and capital gains.

Although some experts fear another slowdown in the Dubai real estate sector, others have put their trust in the Dubai government’s vision and its dedicated efforts to materialize that vision.

The prices in Dubai are still a bargain compared to other major cities and the light is on and burning bright for this amazing city. As Dubai braces to host 20 million visitors a year by 2020, there will arise a massive need for accommodation, making now probably the best time to invest in Dubai and enjoy windfall gains later.

The best of British to you!

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