UAE expats move houses, take up second job to save and buy property

Increasing rental prices are encouraging individuals to consider property investments as a means to yield profitable returns


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Tue 16 Jan 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 16 Jan 2024, 11:39 PM

From engaging in part-time employment alongside their primary jobs to relocating to more remote regions, residents in the UAE are going to great lengths to accumulate savings and invest in real estate.

Reports on property trends suggest that rental prices in Dubai will persist in their upward trajectory in 2024, though at a more moderate rate.

This trend is encouraging individuals to consider property investments as a means to yield profitable returns.

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Romanian expat in Dubai, Alexandar Michael, said “I have an existing property in Dubai that I bought years ago, but now I want to buy again as rents are going up. The reason ... is to save costs in the long term by not paying rent. I am also looking at capital appreciation since Dubai is a popular and beautiful city.”

Alexander says that reducing expenses and adjusting one's lifestyle becomes crucial when aiming for a significant goal like purchasing a property. “I have a full-time job as a customer service executive working for an airline, but I also explore other opportunities of making extra cash by having other occupations, whenever time permits. For instance, I teach yoga. At the end of the day, everything adds up.”

Alexander is presently considering marriage and, in the future, plans to start a family. Consequently, he wants to opt for a townhouse.

“The areas that I have identified are new developments. I have not considered established areas like the Springs because of the high prices. I'm planning to look at Sports City. The project that I like is Tilal Al Ghaf."

"It’s a new developer, Majid Al Futtaim, but the product is really beautiful. I want to look for a project that is about to be delivered,” said the expat, who has been in the UAE for the past 18 years.

Investing in the future

Similarly, a French expat in Dubai, Christine Quartier La Tente, moved out of the Springs community that she loved due to escalating rents.

Christine Quartier La Tente (left) with her daughter
Christine Quartier La Tente (left) with her daughter

She explains the motivation behind her decision to relocate to Damac Hills 2, a community situated farther from the city along Al Qudra Road. Despite the distance, this area boasts a variety of budget-friendly properties while still providing an impressive lifestyle.

“We decided to purchase a house, but encountered an obstacle, as securing a long-term loan is not feasible due to our age in our 50s.”

Additionally, they were averse to committing to such an extended loan term. “Opting for a shorter loan period necessitates careful consideration of cash flow, entailing various existing household financial commitments.”

She explains, realising the associated risks, they concluded that buying a house to reside in was not a viable option now.

“Consequently, we revised our approach and considered relocating to the most cost-effective location, intending to set aside funds for future investments that could fetch returns in our old age,” added the Damac Hills 2 resident.

Why RAK is a hidden gem for investors

Meanwhile, potential investors are also flocking to the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, which they perceive as a hidden gem.

Attracted by the promise of long-term rental income and the allure of short-term holiday home rentals, the relatively lesser-known emirate is witnessing an interest from buyers.

“I am looking to buy a studio in RAK. This emirate is booming, and I already live and work here. I want to avoid the hassle of going to another emirate and dealing with a new set of brokers. I know this place really well and I think this place will give me better returns than Dubai. There is even an integrated resort with gaming facilities coming up here,” said British expat Tina Chaaba.

Tina Chaaba
Tina Chaaba

The HR Head at a startup, who has been living in the emirate for two and a half years, stressed that saving money in RAK is simpler due to the limited options for activities.

She said that whenever she craves a change, she drives to the mountains, engages in hiking, or practices yoga by the beach.

Tina Chaaba
Tina Chaaba

The fewer available shops have also led to a reduction in her shopping habits.

“I am cutting down on buying unnecessary stuff and being more minimalistic as compared to my time in London. I don’t want too much stuff. I don’t have much furniture in my house. I don’t even have a couch. I don’t spend money on buying artefacts. I only have an expensive bed for a good night’s sleep. Along with my current role in HR, I am also a yoga instructor, teaching classes at some of the luxury hotels and restaurants here,” added the former Londoner.


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