The UAE’s recently announced law to provide visas for retired expatriates in the country will help boost Dubai’s property market, according to real estate brokers in the country.
On Sunday, the UAE cabinet adopted a law that will see a five-year renewable visa provided to expatriate pensioners over the age of 55.
In order to apply, the retiree must either own a real estate investment worth Dhs2m ($544,510), have financial savings of more than Dhs1m ($272,255) or proof of income of more than Dhs20,000 ($5,445) a month.
Applications will be received from 2019.
Dubai-based property broker Allsopp & Allsopp said the new law is “another step in the right direction for the Dubai property market”.
“This is yet another positive movement for the Dubai property market and comes after the laws allowing 100 per cent foreign ownership of businesses and 10-year visas for certain professionals and investors,” said Paul Kelly, operations director of Allsopp & Allsopp.
“The law is welcome news for expats living here in the UAE. It gives a sense of security for those nearing retirement age and may encourage expats to put down more stable roots. People will no longer look at Dubai as a short-term plan but rather as a place that can become home. The UAE is no longer a temporary move to enhance a person’s career but also a move to enhance a person’s lifestyle and future,” he said.
“The Dubai property market will benefit immensely as a result of more expats investing in family homes,” he added.
Dubai’s property market has seen a slump in the last few years, with rents and sales prices continuing to drop.
Real estate transactions in Dubai dropped by 15.9 per cent in the first half of 2018 to reach Dhs111bn, according to data issued by the Dubai Land Department (DLD).
Property brokers in the emirate also earned 30 per cent less in commission in the first half of 2018 than they did in the same period last year, the DLD said.
But the new law will attract higher levels of foreign direct investment, especially in the property sector, opined Samer Abdin, general manager of dubizzle Property.
“We expect to the move to bolster the real estate sector and encourage people to switch from renting to owning property as the barriers to ownership – such as lack of security on visas and the amount of red-tape involved in the purchasing process – start to be eroded by these forward-thinking measures,” he said.
While some expats living in the UAE will still inevitably want to return to their home countries, there are a “host of people who would be happy to continue to make the UAE home” for as long as the government extends a place for them, stated Lynnette Abad, director of Research and Data at Property Finder.
“With property prices in an overall decline across the Emirates, many are looking to the government to help bolster investment. With many property developers offering new and attractive flexible payment plans, coupled with lower prices and now the government’s support for people to stay in the country longer, we hope to see continued investment in the property sector.”
According to Property Finder’s research, over the last few years, the trend of people over the age of 50 buying property in Dubai has declined by about 40 per cent.
“This could be attributed to the fact that retirement was never a viable option here. This [new law] , along with the Abu Dhabi’s Tomorrow 2021 plan, will surely boost the market overall,” Abad added.