Landmark legislation

THE Dubai Government's new mortgage law is a landmark legislation aimed at better regulating the emirate's booming real estate sector. Its announcement cannot be better timed as its relevance has become more significant than ever before — at a time when the sector is facing critical issues related to improved regulations amid a crackdown on corruption, with executives in major real estate and financial firms facing investigation.

Published: Thu 21 Aug 2008, 9:58 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:55 PM

The law, a pioneering legislation for the region, reinforces Dubai's determination to press ahead with its pursuit of higher transparency and corporate governance, both critical to the emirate's growth and future prosperity. During a period of unprecedented economic buoyancy, development and diversification, the law also demonstrates to the regional and international investment community the emirate's resolve and commitment to uphold the highest regulatory standards to live up to Dubai's image as the globe's most sought after investment destination.

The 35-article decree by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum seeks to regulate the mortgage process in an effort to protect the rights of lenders and borrowers and improve transparency. It stipulates that mortgage contracts be registered with the land department, specifying the size of the loan, the repayment period and the value of the property to which the loan is linked. The law also requires that mortgages taken out on properties in Dubai be sold by registered financial institutions, and be insured. Since the law requires the borrower and lender to present full financial documents when the mortgage is registered, it not only gives more confidence to the lender and gives more security for banks but also enhances transparency and boosts investor confidence.

As with the Gulf property boom triggered by Dubai in 2002 when it invited foreign investors to property market, the new law will stimulate the regional mortgage market. Mortgage lending in the UAE jumped 55 per cent as total home loans reached Dh64.95 billion by March-end compared with Dh41.8 billion a year ago. With a new regulation in place, the mortgage market will see the entry of more global mortgage lenders who may roll out more cost-effective options for buyers to own a home. Hopefully, the net effect will be a rosy scenario where it would be cheaper to buy a home in Dubai, and add weight to the argument for buying rather than renting. However, buyers should still look at the small print in their mortgage documents.

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