UAE’s Wealthy Most Likely to Invest in Property: Survey Finds

Filed on June 16, 2009

DUBAI - Rich investors in the UAE are more likely than those in other countries to want to increase their real estate investments in the coming 12 months, according to the findings of a survey disclosed on Sunday.

In spite of the recent collapse in property prices in Dubai, 31 per cent of wealthy investors in the UAE said they still see opportunities in real estate and were likely to allocate more money to property investments.

Rich investors in Hong Kong were only slightly less eager about property, with 30 per cent of them saying they expected to increase their exposure to the sector, while wealthy US investors ranked third, at 24 per cent, according to a worldwide survey of high-net worth individuals conducted jointly by Barclays Wealth and the Economist Intelligence Unit.

“Despite the scale of the recent property crash in Dubai, there is still a strong preference for “bricks and mortar” investment,” said a report of the survey’s findings.

The survey was conducted between March and May 2009 and included the responses of 2,100 investors in 10 countries and jurisdictions.

Across the globe, fear is preventing the wealthy from investing, even where they see opportunity. For most wealthy respondents, transparency and quality of information are becoming essential. The report suggests that due diligence has become a top priority for most wealthy investors in the UAE before they make investment decisions.

Nearly 90 per cent of all respondents to the survey said that they see opportunities in the current market, but 68 per cent of them believe that the risks of further price falls are still too high to consider them.

Yet, 36 per cent of UAE respondents said they would increase their level of risk over the next 12 months. “This is the second highest in ranking following UK respondents who will increase level of risk by 37 per cent,” the report said.

UAE investors gave the best marks of any investor group to the way their central bank has handled the financial crisis, with 48 per cent approving of the UAE Central Bank’s performance. Canadians ranked second in this regard, with 35 per cent approving of Canadian central bankers’ performance. UAE investors also topped the field for their positive opinion about their government’s overall handling of the crisis, at 41 per cent.

US investors came in second, with 29 per cent approving of their government’s actions, the survey found. In addition to the UAE, the economies surveyed included the US, UK, Hong Kong, Canada, Switzerland, Singapore, Monaco, India and Spain.

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