Dubai is honing in on overseas foreign investment oportunities ahead of the 2020 World Expo, with the neighbourhood formerly known as Dubai Creek Harbour ready to become a brand new hotspot.
The area, currently just six square kilometres in the desert, will eventually contain nine high-end residential areas, the world’s largest shopping mall, largest Chinatown and tallest structure in the world.
Dubai is already hugely attractive to overseas property investors and boasts an expatriate population of 2.7 million according to official population statistics from 2017. It already holds the world’s current tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa, at 828 metres.
The U.A.E is currently rolling out policy reforms aimed to encourage its foreign residents o remain longer. Incoming policies include 10-year visas for investors, and science, medical, and technical professionals, and will allow 100 per cent foreign ownership in Dubai-based businesses, a big departure from current rules where Emiratis needed to own 51 per cent.
Director of luxury sales at brokerage Luxhabitat, Alexander von Sayn-Wittgenstein, said: ‘So far, Dubai has been more of an investors’ market than a primary one, But a 10-year visa, whatever it will look like, will give some people more confidence to settle down.’
Analysts have compared the current reforms to the U.A.E.’s decision to open up property ownership to non-Emiratis for the first time in 2002. This lead to a vas amount of development that made the area a haven for foreign investment.
Following the 2014 crash, Dubai is beginning to show signs of price stabilisation. A representative for Emaar explained: ‘The directives will lend further impetus to the property sector of Dubai, and are no doubt well timed, given that they boost market sentiment.’
Furthermore, hosting World Expo will be a significant boost, likely to bring in more than 25 million visitors as well as a wave of new hires, largely skilled professionals. It will also add exposure to the property market which will likely encourage investment in Dubai.
Senior vice president of Damac, Niall McLoughlin, said: ‘The boost in infrastructure and construction development leading up to World Expo 2020 is already apparent, and the U.A.E. continues to attract more foreign direct investment than other countries in the region. Once these new regulations come into effect at the end of the year, we could see many residents, who are currently paying house rent, consider buying homes. The move will also further solidify the U.A.E.’s status as one of the most investor-friendly countries in the world.’