Dubai in the United Arab Emirates has long been a popular destination and investment hot spot for many UK nationals. However with the recent slowdown in the Dubai real estate sector. Some industry leaders have asked where have all the British gone?

Marwan Al Kindi, a senior director at Dubai Properties, recently told Arabian Business at the Cityscape Global 2016 conference in Dubai. That levels of British investment were low when compared with other nationalities.

Going on to say:

“The challenge as I see it is, how can we attract more Europeans and Brits to the Dubai market? What can we do to encourage them?”“There are hundreds of expat families who have lived in the country for 25, 30 years – some of the first expats on Dubai’s soil – why do they not want to commit to buying property?”

Raising questions over the attractiveness of the Dubai Property market to UK nationalities and expats living in the Emirate.

Have the “Brits” stopped buying property in Dubai?

Figures from the Dubai Land Department (DLD) would suggest, far from it. With UK Buyers representing the fourth largest group investors in Dubai real estate, beaten to the top by Emiratis, Saudis and Indians who naturally make up a larger proportion of the regional population.

Brits accounted for AED4 billion of sales transactions over the period, a number that Marwan Al Kindi went onto to say, was not reflected in the trends he was seeing.

What might be putting off some UK Expats in Dubai

Comments on the article revealed some of the reasons that British expats may be hesitant.

Lack of long-term residency options.

“If you seriously want investors from the UK and Europe consider giving them attractive long-term investor visas and long-term residency rights and they will come.” Anonymous User

No doubt, a real concern for many Expats in the Emirate, who maybe hesitant to build a home when their residency is tied to their employment.

Delayed Projects

“Perhaps if there was a proper legal system, with judgments enforced and companies like [Removed] unable to repeat their colourful business practices from earlier years, there may be hope.  Also, construction standards need to improve.” Anonymous User

A lot of UK investors had burnt fingers during the 2008 crash and reports suggest some developers are still failing to deliver.

Better options at home

“I have and am buying property in the UK where … provides security and potential long term growth. My reasons for not purchasing here are related to build quality and the overpriced values placed on available property.”  Anonymous User

With so much investment UK bound from the MENA region, Asia and beyond and the recent surge of Foreign investment due to the beneficial GBP currency exchange rates. Many expats might find themselves turning homeward to build their property portfolio.

While all real concerns many not limited to the UAE. Brits will likely  continue to take up investments in the Emirate. Especially in the high demand affordable property sector.

Exchange rate makes Brexit-bound UK property more attractive to foreign investors

 Infographic on Transactions in 2015




Source: ArabianBusiness, DLD