If you moved to the UAE thinking you’d stay for a couple of years, and find yourself celebrating your fifth, sixth, or seventh expat anniversary, you certainly aren’t alone. But if you’re still renting – thinking of it as a ‘temporary’ landing pad – it might be the right time to take that leap and buy a property.
Those monitoring the headlines recently will have noticed the UAE government making a concerted effort to entice property buyers and make long-term living more accessible in the UAE, with a spike of new initiatives that are set to boost the real estate sector.
This, combined with a drop in property for sale prices, makes it more attractive than ever for long-term residents to become first-time buyers.
“The amount of new supply in the market has put pressure on sale and rental prices with both declining over the last three years. But this is not necessarily a bad thing, as the cost of living in Dubai has been relatively high, therefore a decline in prices have helped many households,” says Lynnette Abad, Director of Data & Research. “The new proposals will continue to relieve the pressure put on by simple cost of living.
First, the visa and company ownership reforms set for the end of this year. Then, the Dubai Land Department’s efforts to bring real estate transactions online and cut out red tape by Q1 2020. On top of that, Dubai and Abu Dhabi governments both put forth economic stimulus plans aimed at reducing costs, ultimately putting money back in the pockets of residents.
The AED 50 billion stimulus package for Abu Dhabi, announced last month by Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, will attract longer-term residents and cut costs for developers.
Of particular interest for the real estate sector and residents is the creation of permanent home licences for working from home, new faster payments for private sector contractors, and a cost-cutting review of building regulations for residential properties, all of which will make it easier for remote workers to plant roots and cut costs overall for households. Further detail on these initiatives is expected within 90 days.
For Dubai, the school fees freeze for the upcoming academic year may ease the burden in households already feeling the pinch of VAT, and encourage people to stay in the country longer.
Dubai Land Department has also been asked to get rid of the late-fee penalty on the 4 per cent registration fees on property transactions in the emirate, part of a growing effort to slash fees overall.