New visa rule to drive property investment in UAE

New visa rule to drive property investment in UAE
The UAE's new expat retiree visa could draw in millions for its property market, real estate developers told Construction Week [representational image].
Published: 19 September 2018 - 4:10 a.m.
By: Jack Ball

Following a new law approved by the country’s cabinet, chaired by Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, HH Skeikh Mohammad bin Rasid Al Maktoum, expats now have the opportunity to retire in the UAE, so long as they meet certain criteria. The move has been largely welcomed across the country, especially by those expats 55 or over who may now be considering a longer-term future in the UAE following the decision.

The country’s residential property market may too see a welcome injection of capital when the law comes into effect in 2019 – made ever more pertinent given the oversupply which continues to pervade this part of the market in particular.

Speaking to Construction Week on the news, Sudhakar Rao, chairman of Dubai-based Gemini Property Developers, said the five-year visa is “another welcome step and will definitely benefit the property developers and associated businesses as the new rule is linked to the condition of investing in properties in UAE”.

Among the requirements is having an investment in property worth $544,510 (AED2m); having financial savings worth no less than $272,255 (AED1m); or having an active income no less than $5,445 (AED20,000) per month.

With this in mind, Rao believes the rule “will attract millions of dirhams into UAE properties”.

“Impact on property will help in reviving the real estate sector of UAE, which needs a boost. It will create a new investor segment for the real estate developers and move up the brokerage business,” he added.

Allsopp & Allsopp’s operations director, Paul Kelly also agrees the new retirement laws are “another step in the right direction for the Dubai property market”.

“It gives a sense of security for those nearing retirement age and may encourage expats to put down more stable roots. People will no longer look at Dubai as a short-term plan but rather as a place that can become home,” he told Construction Week, speaking on behalf of the Dubai real estate broker.

READ: New UAE laws may spur growth in Dubai's office market

“The Dubai property market will benefit immensely as a result of more expats investing in family homes.”

Kelly also touched on the “money-making mind-set” that most expats have when they move to Dubai, seeing relocation to emirate as a short term plan before returning to their home country.

“The UAE cabinet are giving expats a more positive and secure outlook towards their future in the country” he added. “The UAE is no longer a temporary move to enhance a person’s career but also a move to enhance a person’s lifestyle and future.”

Atif Rehman, director of Danube Properties, believes the move will also help “family unity”, with the law allowing retirees to “stay for a longer period and enjoy being with their families”.

“The reform has a deep social impact on UAE society as UAE fulfils its commitment of creating happiness in the lives of its residents. It reflects that the country cares about them. The new reform will raise UAE profile in humanitarian services,” he added.

While Mark Andrews, Laing O’Rourke Middle East’s managing director, believes the move is positive one, he added the law will not have a huge immediate impact on the demand side for residential property.

“The imbalance is still large and I don’t see that changing any time soon,” he told Construction Week on Tuesday.

 

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