Chinese visa-on-arrival will boost UAE property market, says Damac chief

Ziad El Chaar says visa will increase Chinese investment in real estate schemes in the emirate
Chinese visa-on-arrival will boost UAE property market, says Damac chief
Damac Properties’ managing director Ziad El Chaar.
By Sarah Townsend
Thu 08 Sep 2016 01:41 PM

The UAE’s new visa-on-arrival for Chinese nationals will be a fillip for the property market as well as for tourism, according to Damac Properties’ managing director Ziad El Chaar.

The Chinese visa-on-arrival was announced via a tweet from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, earlier this week.

Sheikh Mohammed said the move “affirmed [the country’s] important relationship with China”.

Around half a million Chinese visitors travelled to the UAE in 2015, it was reported last month, and China has been identified as a key trading partner for the UAE.

El Chaar told Arabian Business in an interview that the visa-on-arrival would provide a boost to developers, such as Damac, that are working to attract higher levels of Chinese investment in real estate, and also planning to develop their own schemes on Chinese soil.

“I think from a real estate perspective, the formula in Dubai is perfect. We have a high yielding market and a government that responds to all the demands of the market.

“The big thing [on Sunday] was the announcement of the visa-on-arrival for Chinese nationals, which is a milestone development both for real estate and tourism.

“Because today, the Chinese make up [one of] the biggest portions of overseas investment in real estate in most of the major global cities – London, New York, Manchester, Los Angeles, Syndey, Melbourne, Vancouver, and we can so easily add Dubai to that list, because the returns are higher, we’re [geographically] much closer to China, and we can respond much better to the demands of any new investor.”

Damac set up its first sales office in China in August 2015 and now has operations in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

El Chaar called on the real estate and tourism industry to combine the attractions of Dubai and Abu Dhabi when promoting the country in China, “because now we have so many attractions in Abu Dhabi that are appealing to Chinese tourists, for example the new Louvre art gallery”.

He dismissed claims by some of the country’s biggest real estate consultancies that real estate prices are likely to remain flat into 2017 and insisted the market was “stable”.

“To see one of the big developers like Damac launching 10 projects this year worth approx AED13 billion ($3.5 billion) and so many other big developers launching a lot of projects, shows that I’m sure we can say the market is healthy and demand is healthy and the prices are stable, because supply and demand is very close together, which is a unique formula for the longevity of the real estate market.

“I think we will continue to see this stability this year and next,” he added.

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