This made them the second largest group of foreign investors behind Indians with UK investment almost doubling in three years.
Apartments are the top buy for British buyers, followed by residential and commercial land and then villas with low interest rates, good rental yields and tax free returns on investments behind the rise in investment.
According to Sultan Butti Bin Mejren, director general of the Dubai Land Department, the infrastructure in Dubai and the high return on investment makes property in the emirate attractive to buyers from overseas.
British investors are looking for a good capital return on their investment, according to Sultan Al Suwaidi, a partner of Sumansa Exhibitions, the company running next month’s Dubai Property Show in London.
‘Dubai is a dynamic global investment hub and has always had attraction for international investors. The property market continues to mature and stabilise as a result of strategically implemented government regulations,’ he pointed out.
‘Returns for both small and large apartments in Dubai are delivering between 7% and 10% yield which is higher than Hong Kong, Singapore and London. Many British people investing in Dubai properties are seeking capital appreciation more than using them as primary or secondary homes,’ he explained.
The areas where British investors are buying include Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah, Jumeirah Lake Towers and Downtown Dubai. According to figures from the property website Bayut affordable locations such as Dubai Sports City are also becoming more popular.
Dubai’s zero taxation on rental income and capital gains is one of the biggest factors that appeal to British buyers and foreign investors in general are inclined to build their portfolios in Dubai to avoid the high taxes in their respective countries.
It is also expected that the forthcoming Expo 2020 will boost Dubai’s real estate sector. Last year alone, Dubai attracted 12 million tourists and it is estimated that by 2020 the number of visitors will increase to 20 million, offering holiday rental opportunities for real estate investors.
According to international real estate firm JLL, residential prices in Dubai increased by 56% in the last two years and rents by an average of 41% while data from Knight Frank shows that prices have recovered from the downturn and are now close to their peak levels of 2008. Yield returns reached 7.42% in Dubai’s mainstream market in July 2015.
Property brokers in Dubai estimate that yields in the cheaper areas of the city such as Sports City are around 6% to 8%.
Financing is usually arranged through local banks which will loan foreign buyers up to 50% of the purchase price depending upon their terms and conditions. The buying process is different to the UK. There are no conveyancing solicitors as the Dubai Land Department does the checks and it normally takes about a month to complete a sale with property being bought on a freehold basis.
According to Aqil Kazim, chief commercial officer of Nakheel, the developer behind the world famous Palm Jumeirah and other leading developments across the emirate, British buyers are the firm’s third largest group of investors outside the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC).
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