Published On: Wed, Nov 18th, 2015

67 percent of UAE residents of three years or more still opt to rent a property rather than buy

54 percent of those consumers surveyed by admitted the reason for renting is due to uncertainty about their length of stay in the region

House owner/real estate agent giving away the keys

67 percent of UAE residents surveyed by compareit4me group admitted they don’t own a property in the region. However, 76 percent said they would like to buy, but listed various factors, mainly house price, among the reasons stopping them. This is despite apartment sale prices in Dubai going down by 3.6 percent from April 2014 – April 2015, and villa prices dropping by 3.7 percent over the same period.

The same survey conducted by, the Middle East’s leading finance comparison website, found that 54 percent of residents are still opting for property rental over ownership because they are unsure as to how long they will remain in the region

Meanwhile, 36 percent of those taking part in the survey stated house prices as the reason they choose to rent over buying, with 12.4 percent giving the requirement of a 25 percent deposit when purchasing a property as the main factor stopping them from purchasing a property in the UAE.

However, despite concerns by expats that their stay will be short-term, not warranting the process of purchasing a property, a survey conducted by US executive recruitment company Stanton Chase found that expatriate executives are now staying in the UAE twice as long as they were five years ago. Regardless of modest salary increases and improving economic conditions in the West, the average stay of senior professionals has increased to four and a half years. This is almost double the duration recorded back in 2007.

UAE banks are actively trying to encourage more residents to buy property, both Emiratis and expatriates, by offering more home finance solutions and more competitive mortgage rates. Their actions are paying off, as according to Dubai Land Department, while property transactions as a whole decreased in 2014, the number of those bought with mortgages increased to 44 percent.

Banks including Mashreq, HSBC, Standard Chartered and Commercial Bank of Dubai are offering mortgages with flat rates as low as 1.6 percent and RAKBANK have gone one step further, recently announcing news of their partnership with Dubai Properties to provide convenient home finance solutions for a range of complete and off-plan properties. The properties are available in various areas, including popular residential locations like JBR, Executive Towers in Business Bay and Downtown’s Bay Square.

The survey conducted by compareit4me also found 49 percent of respondents consider rate to be the most important factor when applying for or considering a mortgage. With the banks making rates more appealing and accessible, the Dubai property sector should continue to gather growth momentum.

Jon Richards, CEO, said: “The long term outlook for the real estate market in Dubai looks favourable for investors, particularly in the run up to the Dubai Expo. However, there’s every chance we could see prices going up and down before that, so it’s important longer-term investments are considered.”

He added: “The number of people staying beyond two years is increasing, so it’s worth residents doing the sums to calculate if home ownership would be more beneficial for them. For example, buying a villa in The Meadows, Dubai, costs around AED 6 million; over five years the cost of rent on the same property would amount to around AED 1,400,000, a lost chance on gaining any capital appreciation and paying into an asset that’s entirely yours.’’

With mortgage rates low and property prices down in the UAE, now is a great time for residents to get on to the ladder.

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