Chinese investors keen to snap up Dubai properties
They are attracted by higher rental yields and margin for capital appreciation
China's rise towards becoming a global financial giant is a story containing narratives of consistent efforts, grit and perseverance. As a result, the Chinese society has become affluent with investors harvesting global markets that offer the best deals to investors. Investing in international real estate markets has become a favourite pastime for Chinese investors, and their eyes are locked on one property market in particular.
According to Juwai.com president for the UK, Europe and the Middle East, Bernie Morris, enquiries on UAE properties via the website for the first half of 2016 have risen 40 per cent. The search hits for Dubai properties were recorded at 85.3 per cent higher over the past 12 months compared to the previous year.
Attracted by the option of earning higher rental yields on properties and tapping the huge margin for capital appreciation, Chinese investors are trying to increase their presence in Dubai's real estate market. Gauging from the way things are shaping up right now, it will not be surprising if Chinese investments in Dubai's property market overtake those by British, Indian and Pakistani investors in the coming years.
Let us then discuss the reasons why Chinese investors are so keen on investing in the UAE, especially in Dubai's real estate sector.
Turbulence at home
The Chinese real estate market has been experiencing a stock market downturn, low interest rates, low rental yields and low capital gains for a couple of years now. The changing circumstances have prompted investors from China to focus their attention on the UAE, especially Dubai's profitable real estate sector as the market slows back home.
When Dubai published its 2015 list for biggest international real estate investors, Chinese investors were ranked the seventh biggest source market in Dubai with investment of around $460 million in the first nine months of 2015.
Chinese online property giant Juwai.com said Chinese investor interest in Dubai's realty sector rose by 1,200 per cent by August 2015. The number is still improving and setting the scenario for Chinese domination of the emirate's property market.
Another reason why Chinese investors are keen to increase spending in Dubai's property market is the high rental yields offered by properties in the emirate.
According to UAE property portal Bayut.com, rental yields in Dubai can go as high as eight per cent to 10 per cent in select apartment categories. In addition, yields for luxury villas has been calculated at five per cent to six per cent. In terms of capital appreciation, the apartment category typically registers handsome growth, comparable with the best markets in the world.
Incentives provided by the UAE, especially Dubai, are among the best in the world with regard to the real estate business. Dubai offers low property prices, excellent rental yields, zero rental income tax, investor security and ready residence visas on purchase of property worth Dh1 million.
Cordial trade ties between China and the UAE have encouraged Chinese citizens to move out to Dubai in large numbers, thus resulting in a constantly-growing expat Chinese population in the emirate. According to some estimates, the Chinese population in Dubai has reached 230,000 in the last five years by registering a growth of 53 per cent. This section of expats is also responsible for running at least 4,000 Chinese companies in the UAE.
Chinese investment in Dubai's real estate sector rose by a whopping 300 per cent in 2014 compared with 2012. And the numbers keep getting better as the years pass.
UAE-based real estate developers have also realised the investment potential of Chinese investors and have taken steps to reach out to them via cross-continental property conventions. For example, the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre hosted the Dubai Property Show earlier in 2016. This and other similar events have managed to grab the attention of Chinese investors wanting to invest in Dubai's real estate sector. Such initiatives have started showing results as investors from China continue pouring money into Dubai's real estate industry. A win-win for both sides.
The writer is a real estate analyst at Bayut.com. Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.
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