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Positives and negatives of owning property in Dubai?

Discussion in 'Dubai property' started by gianne, Mar 24, 2007.

  1. gianne

    gianne New Member

    1. Very low rental tax of 5%
    2. Low transaction costs at 8%
    3. Potential for high yields
    4. One of the most stable in the Middle East
    1. Unclear if aliens can rent out
    2. Tenancy laws unknown

    As you can see, the positives outweigh the negatives. But the negatives may mean a lot of difference for landlords, as iffy tenancy laws may always be the subject of rental disputes.

    source: Housing Glut in Dubai
  2. romaforever

    romaforever New Member

    Is not the rent tax free? Where does the 5% you mention come from?
  3. Dune

    Dune Senior Member

    Buyer beware

    I have been in Dubai for 8 years now and have seen things go from nothing to where we currently are.

    My thoughts:

    1) most of what you read on this forum is crap. Most of the posters seem to have an interest in selling you something. Be very careful; where the fish are most plentiful is where the sharks tend to prey.

    2) this was a great place to be 4 years ago. My initial investments did very well. Where am I now? Sold my last property this week and am now fully in cash (funds moved out of Dubai) and watching. There is a time to strike and a time to sit on your hands. In my opinion now is a time to sit on your hands.

    3) I am long term bullish on this market but not now. Plan to buy back in on a future 20-30% correction. No inside knowledge; just gut feeling ( which tends to be right) and fundamentals/technicals. This market is overheated...... period.

    4) Never trust a developer or an agent here when dealing with an "off plan" project. Huge increases in commodities has allowed the developers to sacrifice quality on fit/finish in units in order to protect their profits (note your contract; they are written very "loose" for a reason). If you want something of quality; either gamble and buy off plan (expect the worst) or buy something finished that you can see and touch!

    Interesting article I received today about Dubai. No affiliation; just a cut and paste (ironically planning on some further gold purchases on an ongoing basis).

    Money and Markets Thursday, March 29, 2007

    Dear Subscriber,

    Never mind why U.S. oil giant Halliburton is moving to Dubai. That’s a whole separate discussion. From what I’m seeing on my four-day visit, this city is going to need more than a single U.S. oil giant to help it fill up all the new construction.

    Although it’s the largest city in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai would probably need to attract at least ten major corporations with 300,000 employees to occupy all the buildings going up.

    I came to Dubai with an open mind, to find out first hand what all the excitement is about. In a moment, I’ll tell you what I think about investing here. And I’ll tell you what I learned in Dubai’s gold market. But let’s start with an overview …

    This city of 1.4 million people is a heaven for businesses! There’s no corporate tax (except for oil producing companies and branches of foreign banks) … no personal income tax … no capital gains taxes … and no withholding taxes.

    Plus, there are no foreign exchange controls, quotas or trade barriers. The UAE’s currency, the dirham, is freely tradeable and linked to the U.S. dollar.

    So all the right structural forces are in place to make this a booming city. And the numbers coming out of Dubai are certainly enticing:

    Per-capita GDP is well over $30,000 … the highest in the Middle East and up there with the world’s top 25 economies.

    GDP growth has been running at 13% annually since 2000.
    Over the same period, the industrial and construction sectors have been rising around 30% a year.

    You could say that Dubai has "arrived." Its port is now home to 120 shipping lines and 105 airlines, connecting 136 nations to the region. The Dubai International Airport is the second-fastest growing airport in the world, based on international passenger movement and cargo traffic.

    No wonder Emirates Airlines is one of the most successful and profitable airlines in the world. It recently placed the largest order in aviation history for a total of $19 billion of new airplanes from Airbus and Boeing.

    Dubai is the world’s fastest-growing tourist destination, with nearly six million visitors in 2006, and 15 million expected by 2010. The richest ones stay at the only seven-star hotel in the world, the famous Burj Al Arab, where one night costs more than $1,500.

    The city has 14 million square feet of existing commercial space, and 98% of it is occupied. But another twenty-four million square feet of commercial office space is in the works!

    The current pace of commercial office construction in Dubai makes it the largest and busiest new construction market in the world, even bigger than Shanghai, China! Dubai has more construction cranes per square mile than any other city in the world, new or old.

    It all sounds great …

    But Here’s the Big Problem I See in Dubai

    Dubai’s boom is being driven by oil money, and an international gang of the rich and famous who are seeking a Middle Eastern paradise on the Persian Gulf.

    None of this is being done by or for the common Arab, or the scores of construction workers and service employees that mostly come from Asia (the Philippines, in particular) looking for work.

    In short, there’s a big divide between what’s happening in Dubai and the needs and desires of the resident masses.

    What I’m seeing in Dubai differs dramatically from the events taking place in China, India or almost anywhere else in Asia. In those places, billions of people are just emerging from poverty. Here in Dubai, most people, including the working class, are already relatively well off.

    That’s a huge distinction, and it’s recognized by almost everyone I spoke to here. I asked three separate taxi cab drivers, a half-dozen shopkeepers, and a few hotel employees what they thought of the situation in Dubai. They all said pretty much the same things to me:

    "There’s way too much construction going on."

    "The big money here is in for a fall."

    "The elite here are out-of-touch with reality. So are the wealthy international business community, and the tourists."

    As I said, most of the money building up Dubai is directly or indirectly oil money. It’s as if the ruling party in Dubai (the Maktoum royal family), and other wealthy groups within the UAE, have nothing better to do with their money but spend, spend, spend.

    They say they’re aiming to diversify their economy away from oil revenues and into other forms of trade and tourism, but I have to wonder about their decisions. To me, it looks like there’s a lot of ego going into the projects here. I see wasteful spending, and big bets that a huge future is in the offing.

    Mind you, I’ve enjoyed my stay here in Dubai. The climate is spectacular, the city breathtakingly clean, the people wonderful.

    But there seems to be a big gulf between the rich and the not-so-rich in Dubai, and that worries me. They’re not on the same page. Contrast that with many parts of Asia, where the masses want to get rich, and the leaders are providing the means to do so.

    Of course, there’s one thing that both the ultra-wealthy and the masses seem to agree on in Dubai …

    Gold: Loads of It Being Bought By Almost Everyone in Dubai

    Dubai’s Gold Souk, an open-air market that contains some 500 gold shops, is the largest retail gold market in the world. An estimated 500 metric tonnes of gold, or nearly 18 million ounces, are bought and sold each year.

    I got to the market at three in the afternoon, about an hour before the Islamic afternoon prayer session was to end. It was really exciting to watch the shopkeepers pour out of the local mosques and hustle back to their gold shops for the afternoon and evening trading sessions.

    As the shops opened, gold buyers started pouring in by the masses. An hour after opening, almost all the shops I visited were packed with buyers.

    Gold in Dubai is either 20k or 22k, and can be found in ingots ranging from roughly 1/10th of an ounce all the way up to incredible hand-crafted pieces of Islamic jewelry weighing a pound and costing tens of thousands of dollars.

    But here’s the most important point: In the gold souks of Dubai, both the ultra-rich and regular citizens are buying gold. I watched wealthy businessmen, construction workers, and imams all snatching up the yellow metal.
    When I spoke with two Muslim women covered head-to-toe in their blue burqas, one of them said, "Gold never goes out of style, whether it’s jewelry or bars. It’s really money."

    I couldn’t have said it better, nor could I have met a more gracious lady. It’s rare for a devout Muslim woman to even acknowledge a strange man trying to talk to her, but she even took that picture of me in front of the gold shop when I asked her to.

    I will visit Dubai again, perhaps next year. But if there’s one conclusion I arrived at during my visit here, it’s that I wouldn’t make any big bets on the area. There’s no doubt that it’s booming, but the funding is coming from the richest of the rich, and the projects are mainly for the rich. They are not backed by demand from billions of people.

    I Wouldn’t Bet on Dubai, But I Would Bet On Gold!

    Gold’s recent performance has been terrific — it hit $673 last week, before falling back to $665. Right now, I expect it to enter a new choppy trading range between $645 and $670, lasting perhaps as long as another week.

    But don’t let that bother you. In fact, consider buying on the dips! As long as the price of the precious yellow metal holds $610 on a closing basis, then gold’s next leg up is still forming. And I fully expect to see it back above $732 an ounce, its highest level in 27 years.

    All the ingredients are in place. Record demand for gold continues. Meanwhile, available supplies are dwindling, as are new discoveries. On top of that, central bankers around the world continue to print money freely, depreciating their paper currencies in the process.

    And then there’s the Iran situation. I’m sitting here in my hotel room, looking at the Persian Gulf, the coastline of Iran just 100 miles away. While I feel safe here in Dubai, I believe the Iran nuclear crisis is far from over. In fact, I expect it to soon go full tilt, especially after the recent Iranian detention of 15 British naval troops.

    Bottom line: If you don’t own any gold, now looks like a good time to buy some. And one of the easiest ways to do so is the streetTRACKS Gold ETF (GLD).

    Best wishes from Dubai,

  4. macpowder

    macpowder New Member

    Three other factors to consider

    I agree with the sentiment the content of 95% of the article above however the writer "Larry" has not considered the following fundimental aspects of Market forces which have been driving the Dubai property market over the last few years and which may contuine to do so for the forseeable future:

    1 - The purchase of freehold property in the UAE comes with the promise of a residence visa. For as little as 99,000dhs you can buy a studio in one of the Northern Emirates and (subject to living expenses) always have a home to go to.

    The reason this is so important is that, given the stability of the UAE (provided most generously by the ruling families), anyone who lives in or near an area of unrest such as Iraq, Lebenon, etc can buy an escape route.

    "But this only applies to those who can afford it!" I hear you cry. Yes, I agree and that is why the vast majority of developments under are aimed at the "luxury' end of the spectrum.

    In conclusion of point 1, while there is unrest around the world Dubai offers an attractive safe haven to those willing to pay.

    2 - The article above stated that Dubai needed to "attract at least ten major corporations with 300,000 employees to occupy all the buildings going up." Later in the same article states that Emirates airlines have on order "$19 billion of new airplanes" surely the employment associated with owning, operating and running of those planes would consititute at least one of these corporations. I would also suggest that the trickle down from those planes (Eg. incoming tourists, business travel, cargo etc) will add another.

    So ineffect of the ten corporations Larry was looking for, Dubai has already got 2 on the way before we start looking beyond Larrys own research.

    3 - Construction.

    To build a large building you need a many different materials for many different suppliers. Often these materials need specialist skills for design, instilation and maintenance.

    To build a large number of developments you need millions of different materials from thousands of suppliers with yet more specialists.

    Workers are and have been able to start from nothing in Dubai and work there way up towards to the missguided "going to be rich going to be happy" middle classes and once they get there they will find themselves to be part of a massive population, all looking for somewhere to live...... given the number of well educated workers arriving in dubai everyday to build the numerous developments (and I was one of them only 3 years ago) the property buying population of dubai will continue to grow as long as there is large scale construction.

    Oh dear....what happens when the construction ends? Ask me in ten years when Dubai begins to run out of land (and sea) to build on.

    Until then, at the very worst, property prices might fall by 10% due to short term oversupply and gossip driven panics buy short term investors, but more realistically in the long term property will contuine a steady rise for as long as it is safe to walk the streets of Dubai.
  5. girlinterrupted

    girlinterrupted New Member

    It's great to hear these point of views but both the posts above ignore certain human and factual factors and while I agree with certain points, I think that the future of Dubai will be shaped by the people who live here and with all due respect a visitor's four days spent in Dubai can only account for a speculation based on hearsay. He is clearly unaware of the current delays in supply (for obvious reasons) which are pushing the prices further and further.
    I have been living in Dubai for 4 years and the bubble was suposed to burst 2 years ago. I haven't seen it happen and frankly I don't see it happen in the near future either, the reasons can be many, rising costs of construction, delays in delivery of projects, influx of immigrants, a sophisticated services industry, state of the art infrastructure, rising oil prices as the visitor mentioned which in turn will fuel the economy.
    At the same time I have a few reservations about people feeling comfortable enough to make it their home because of immigrations laws which may or may not change in the future.
    For example unless you are on an employment visa or a National you can not work here. Women who are working and are on the employer's permit can not sponser their husbands or dependants. So if you are a single parent, and a woman then I am not sure how that works out. The work pressure and commuting hours continue to be on the rise which contribute more than often to breakups. For men it's not any easier either, if you work for a company which is not in the free zone and sponsored by the employer, and want to change your job, you could face a ban of upto six months by your pevious employer and if your wife and children are on your visa then there goes their chances of staying in the country too. Male children are not allowed to stay in Dubai unless on a visit visa or an employment visa.
    Also referring to the point that mac powder made earlier about buying a property to escape from Iran and Lebenon. I quote from Emaar properties (major developer in Dubai).
    "The sponsorship by Emaar does not entitle for employment or any other business activity in the UAE." i.e. you are not permitted to work under such a visa. And in another part it is written that:

    "Please note that Emaar does not provide visas for:

    Parents of the applicants
    Sons over age of 18
    Married daughters
    House Maids of some nationalities
    Sisters and brothers of applicants
    Applicants on restricted list (Iraq, Somalia, Yemen)
    Applicants who do not pass the Medical examination
    Husbands of women who have applied for residence visas as sole buyers".
    So here is the verdict, Dubai is a great place for short term investments right now and if in future easier laws are introduced for people who want to live here long term then it would be a formidable economy that can only by shaken by a geo political shock.:eek:
  6. Canadian

    Canadian New Member

    Ouch! That is not exactly what I wanted to hear.
  7. Haseeb

    Haseeb New Member

    Some fedback from a Londoner


    Just a couple of things I want to mention:

    1. I'd like to pickup on 'Dubai would probably need to attract at least ten major corporations with 300,000 employees'. Well here's a fact - I have worked in London for the last 10 years for many different financial firms/investment banks. Every firm I've worked for has always had a setup in dubai from a satellite office to a major office employing thousands of people. Currently I'm working for a big UK investment bank where we're running a huge operations in Dubai - the investment from the UK is growing on a scale I find difficult to comprehend. So I expect at the moment there are hunderds of multinationals employing thousands of people in Dubai. This is going to grow. One of the major reasons why it does no grow quicker is because we don't have the office space to literally put 'bums on seats' in Dubai.

    2. I'd been to Dubai many times with my parents when I was very young and thought of the place as very uncool - mostly I expect cause I was with my parents. I spend a few days a some weeks ago in Dubai simply on holiday. I spent some time shopping, some time on the beach doing watersports and some time partying in Buddah Bar. I've been lucky enough to have had the chance to travel to a lot of the major cities around the world but as for Dubai I've got to say I was seriously impressed. I'm back in London and intend to invest some of my own hard earned in Dubai for sure. The city simply works.

  8. ukreal

    ukreal New Member

    Most of the tips you posted above are true.
  9. Wannaberich

    Wannaberich New Member

    Its possible for cities to grow to the population that Dubai wants cos its been done,the snag is Dubai wants to do it a little quicker than its been done anywhere before.For those of us who dont live there,just visited and invested in property it may be a gamble but I'd rather gamble rather than see big price rises in 5 years,not brought and missed the boat.Alot depends also on Dubailand,its taking a while to get going,hopefully all the proposed projects will get realised.
  10. mpat

    mpat New Member

    For people like me who are staying in Dubai , it looks like a war basis construction going on at each and every field of infrastructure , projects etc.One year ago , we used to think Emirates Road ( where Dubai Land , IMPZ , Jebel ali airport etc being built ) a desert and long route ,but now its doubled to 6 lanes from 3.One year ago,there was no sign of metro construction works , now its on its peak.Just wait and watch for 2 or 3 years and dubai will be a global icon.
  11. sval

    sval New Member

    Life Of Dubai Apartments - Depreciation

    At the outset, let me apologize if this is a stupid question!

    What is the average life of apartment buildings in Dubai? Due to the extreme weather conditions and corrosiveness, the average life is assumed to be 10 years for current buildings and generally buildings over 10 years are broken down to make way for new ones.
    In that case, what will happen to the value ofthe current developments, especially for long term investors? Will the building value depreciate with each passing year after the 10th?
    By the way, I have invested in a 2 bed apt at Jumeirah Village and am a long time resident in Dubai (over 12 years now); hence the concern.
  12. aleka

    aleka New Member

    Investing in Dubai property

  13. mpat

    mpat New Member

    So what is the laws provision in case of life time of a building is finished ? I mean what is in the law in case if developer decides to demolish the building after 15 years?
  14. Roshan

    Roshan New Member

    Nobody can say how the markets will move. Real estate markets tend to be cyclical. I just hope for everybodys sake that the markets will move up.

    As they say, the early bird catches the worm. People who entered early can withstand the correction and still reap the benifits.

    The markets are getting over heated. For eg, the current prices of 2800 dhs psf launched by Deeyar at Business Bay, is this price justified, I don't think so.

    People who buy at these prices have to watch out where they are putting their money. But again, this is my opinion and I could be wrong.

    As I said earlier, for everybodys sake including mine, I hope the markets move up.


  15. Wannaberich

    Wannaberich New Member

    Will a recession in the US which looks likely to happen affect Dubais property market?
  16. Wannaberich

    Wannaberich New Member

    I would say the climate is one of it best points.As for the immigrants,they are helping to make Dubai a great city.Without them and overseas investors Duabi would have a few hundred thousand population and a hell of a lot less monet invested for these amazing projects.
  17. ralphrau

    ralphrau New Member

    The BIGGEST risk in Dubai is the absence of a genuinely balanced Strata Law which allows the owners of freehold property to decide how their common hold property will be maintained and at what cost. The Developers like Emaar & Union Properties are ripping off the apartment owners.

    Till now it seems the Developer has a free hand to fix maintenance fees. Example:The Greens where maintenance fees have gone from AED 7 psf to AED 20 psf in the last 3+ years.

    Even if the owners of a building in say JLT or Marina decide to manage their own building the building owner association could receive an arbitary bill for maintenance of the "Lake" or Marina common areas.

    Currently the residents of Green Community are given a sneak peek of supposedly "audited" expense statements in support of the maintenance fee claims. The reason for increase of most expense lines is "general cost of inflation". The invoices received are primarily from the sister concerns of the Master Developer.

    Finally the District Cooling Costs are also totally arbitrary. My 3 bed apartment in Bur Dubai costs about AED 1.50 psf per year to cool. I fail to understand why tenants of the Greens pay AED 20.00 psf.

    Is it the cost of maintaining the greenery? It cannot be. Fact is that Emaar's Meadows & Springs comprise 7,000 villa units paying AED 7,000 each. That's an annual total of AED 49.0 million from a 100 acres of land. The Greens on the other hand make up barely 3-4 acres and Emaar will end up with AED 49.0 million in fees from the apartment tenants of the buildings on these 3-4 acres.
  18. canadianboy

    canadianboy New Member

    hey gents
    brand new to the forum, and love reading all the posts. a few key posters, such as Roshan, have stood out to have some good unbiased knowledge of the Dubai market.

    as an outside potential investor, Dubai just makes sense. from my research (albeit in the infant stages) the potential to make money is fantastic, whether it be with pre-sale projects, or completed units that you can rent out. I love the fact that rental incomes can still cover your mortgage. That brings a huge smile to someone like myself who loves making money off leveraging (who doesnt? lol). Here in Vancouver, Canada you're lucky if you're getting 4% rental income.
    I'm sure a lot of people in Dubai are probably thinking the market is at a ridiculous high, there's no way prices can get that much higher, but as an opinion, its still underpriced compared to the major world cities.

    I think its still a good time to get in, and I plan to make a post asking the advice on where to purchase my first Dubai propery (i'm thinking the Marina. You always make money by the water! lol)
  19. Roshan

    Roshan New Member

    Hello there.

    Tell me about it. Waterfront properties tend to do well followed by Golf course properties. Still little bit of juice left in Downtown and the shoreline apartments at the Palm for the bags of money owners ( Just imagine when the BURJ Dubai & Palm Jumairah actually blossom and come into the market. JBR should be in your list of consideration. Did not have a good opinion on JBR, but the nearness to the water could be a drawing point.

    Dubai is still in it's stage of infancy, the reports are fantastic....but cannot be compared to major cities in the world as of yet ( this is my 2 cent opinion, I could be wrong ).

    The rentals when compared to the money invested made sense a few years ago. One needs to watch out when investing now, the numbers should tally - OR -you end up in negative cash flow. I have posted an easy to use mortgage calculator, which gives you an idea.

    Moscow, London, Mumbai, Hong kong have gone through ups & downs of real estate. Dubai is still an emerging market with a "build and they will come" attitude. Prices are really peaking and looks like an overheat.

    With all market down, investors are now looking at real estate in emerging markets like Dubai creating a false boom. On the other hand the developers get excited and start raising the prices, looking at the flow of investors.

    Does anybody know the actual price of real estate in Dubai...NO. What I have read in a few real estate books and correct me if I am the US you can actually walk into county offices and get at what prices properties were sold previously and it can go back years & years, which gives you an idea how peoperties have been performing in highs and lows. Dubai is yet to experience this.

    When you say 4% rentals in Canada. Are you talking of on current market pricing - OR - the price at which you bought ??.


  20. Roshan

    Roshan New Member

    The Strata law will be implemented soon, where the tenants form their own associations and maintain the common areas in the building. The developer will have no say in that part of it.

    The maintenance of the lakes & landscaping as I understand ( correct me if I am wrong ) will still fall on the developer. You end up paying a little to the developer to do that part of it.

    District cooling, I thought charges were based on consumption. I thought they had BTU meters installed which actually calculated the energy used.

    You have raised some very interesting points. Time to go and do some research.


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