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New UAE 10-year visa plan creates 'buzz' in property market

Experts say changes to rules around visas and foreign ownership likely to deliver boost to office market as well as residential
By Sam Bridge
Fri 15 Jun 2018 10:22 AM

More business owners could be tempted to buy office space in the UAE rather than rent following the UAE's recent decision to make major changes to rules around visas and foreign ownership of companies.

The new laws, which have the potential to bring about a shift in the way many expats live and work in the country, have created a new "buzz" in the market and will have a "significant effect on the way residents view property ownership in the country", industry experts said.

Bayut.com's CEO Haider Ali Khan said he believes that the new 10-year visas are likely to see increased interest from expats in buying UAE property.

“Owning your own home suddenly becomes a lot more attractive if you have the opportunity to settle for a decade in the UAE instead of two years at a time,” said Khan, who thinks there could be an effect on the commercial market as well.

“The 10-year visas will give a large number of expats a greater feeling of permanence in their adopted country. This will provide even more reason to opt for the long-term security of owning property in the UAE as opposed to renting. We could also see the focus shifting towards business owners buying offices in the UAE, as well as other commercial premises, rather than renting.”

Paul Kelly, operations director at real estate business Allsopp & Allsopp, said the 10-year visas will undoubtedly generate more interest in property sales across the UAE.

“If someone is on a 10-year visa, it brings around a completely different mindset and approach to life in the UAE. There is more permanency to your situation, which in turns makes you think more long-term about your time here. A part of this is purchasing a property. If you’re going to be anywhere in the world for a good few years, then it makes sense to purchase a property and invest in yourself and your future," he said.

Kelly added: “There is a buzz around the market, certainly, in terms of people talking about the new visas. It’s too early to say what the exact impact will be, but what is likely to happen is that there is going to be a lot more investment in Dubai and a lot more people encouraged to set up businesses here. That, in turn, will create jobs, population growth and more demand for property, both on the rental and the buying side.”

Mario Volpi, sales manager at global property broker Engel & Völkers, said he has already had inquiries from those interested by the future regulations. He said he believes that while it is still early days to know the full impact, the result could even have an effect on people looking to retire in the UAE.

“The new ruling could be a game changer as people in the future will see the UAE as their home, rather than just a temporary place to live and work. More people will look at their housing arrangements and it is clear to me that 10-year UAE visas will attract regular renters to invest and become homeowners.

"Relaxed visa rules or allowing longer period visas could also turn the UAE into a country where older people could retire to. This particular market is huge and if it can be tapped, it will give a welcome impetus to the property market in general,” he added.

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Last Updated: Fri 15 Jun 2018 10:23 AM GST

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