Is Dubai the NRI’s Eldorado still ?
“Indian nationals were the largest group of buyers in the Dubai residential market last year and remain amongst the largest cohort of investors in the emirate,” says Faisal Durrani, of London’s property consultancy Cluttons.
Indian investors labelled Non-Residents-Indians (NRIs) back home, have always had a long-standing interest in Dubai property. Figures from the Land Department showed that Indians were once again the top expatriate buyers in the emirate in 2014, accompanied in second place by British and Pakistanis citizens. “The ending of the period of tax-free property trading for this (NRIs) group will of course further deter ‘property flipping’, which could have a knock-on effect on the residential market’s growth in the short term…” added Cluttons’ representative.
That was in the first quarter of 2014. Since then, recent changes in India’s investment legislation which followed by the sharp fall in the oil price, are noticeably impacting all property transactions. These changes could affect thousands of Indian nationals who have invested in the Gulf.
These amendments would also have dented the ambitions of high net worth individuals who were hoping to take advantage of the cooling price growth in the US and Dubai.
Gulf-based real estate experts are concerned this might curtail investment into the region.
A market like Dubai has a much diversified range of investors and while the loss of the greater numbers of NRIs will be a big dent to the overall market, UAE nationals are still the biggest investors which would mean local buyers may naturally be able to get better prices and choice as a result of perhaps less demand from Indian buyers.
In the meantime, NRIs in the UAE are helping to support a recent move into Muscat’s property sector as they look for cheaper renting or even buying options than those offered by Dubai’s market. The GCC with differing property ownership legislation which was at some stage in favour of Dubai’s Emirate, are these days being balanced with neighbouring countries catching up. Cluttons cited NRIs and Omanis looking to gain a foothold on the property ladder as drivers behind growing demand in Muscat’s residential market.