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Fri 24 May 2019 12:22 AM

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Revealed: the extent of the UAE's fascination with real estate

HSBC's 2019 Beyond the Bricks research highlights how much time people in the UAE spend researching property listings

Revealed: the extent of the UAE's fascination with real estate
Of the 1,058 people surveyed in the UAE, 39 percent owned a home in the UAE, and had high positive sentiments about buying a property.

People in the UAE spend more time reading, researching and trawling property listings and magazines, compared to the nine other countries surveyed in HSBC’s 2019 Beyond the Bricks research.

The survey polled 11,932 adults aged 21+ across Australia, the UK, Canada, the UAE, Mexico, France, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan, including 1,000 in the UAE.

UAE residents emerged as ardent property-enthusiasts, spending 6.6 hours per week “window-shopping” for homes, highest globally, even when not in the market for a new house, well ahead of Americans (4.95) and Taiwan (4.54).

Of the 1,058 people surveyed in the UAE, 39 percent owned a home in the UAE, and had high positive sentiments about buying a property.

People in the UAE were more hopeful (94 percent), excited (89 percent) and optimistic (85 percent) about buying property, 12 points higher than global averages.

Marwan Hadi, head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management, UAE, HSBC, said: “The UAE continues to be a destination of choice for career-minded expats with more and more making it their home. The fact that sentiments around buying property are positive is indicative of the development of the sector.

"Backed by robust real estate reforms, the property industry has improved greatly over the last few years. From property brokers and online portals to competitive mortgage offerings and efficient property registration processes, we have seen sweeping advancements across the board, lending more confidence to the industry.”

The survey showed that house hunters in the UAE are quite thorough with 66 percent having viewed one to five homes before buying their first property. The time and effort spent on research certainly pays off as 50 percent cite they knew it was the right home for them as soon as they walked through the door.

For UAE homeowners, overseas owners and those intending to buy in the next decade, attractive interest rates, affordable monthly payments, a trust-worthy mortgage provider and an easy application process, are most important when deciding on a mortgage.

According to the survey, UAE respondents planning their next five years, said buying a new home remains a top priority (35 percent), followed by career progression (22 percent) and marriage (20 percent).

About 59 percent of UAE buyers responding to the survey said they had a strict budget and stuck to it, 12 points higher than global average, while 37 percent said they went over budget.

Craig Plumb, head of research, MENA, JLL, said: “Now is a good time to be considering buying a home in the UAE. Average prices have fallen by around 10 percent in Dubai over the past year, but the rate of decline has slowed in recent quarters as the market approaches the bottom of its cycle. 

"With large amounts of new supply entering the market, developers are offering discounts and more attractive payment plans to attract buyers.  Most families do not currently own a property in the UAE and the present soft market conditions provide an opportunity for those families renting space today to get onto the housing ladder.”