Category: Blog

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What will be the impact on Dubai real estate…

While the Expo 2020 managers are busy putting finishing touches to the event and its infrastructure, the biggest question on the minds of real estate investors is what will happen AFTER the Expo 2020 is over!!

Lets take few steps back and take a look.

A lesson in History.

Dubai was famous as a trading post where the ships would come from far-off countries, carrying good for the region. They would offload their bulk cargo for onward despatch to other Gulf countries through the Dhows.

Along came oil, and brought petrodollars, transforming the region beyond their wildest imagination.

The continuum of trading lead to the creation of Jebel Ali Free Trade Zone where world’s mega brands and logistics companies setup their regional hubs. In due course the region also witnessed manufacturing facilities setup in the country.

Back in the 1990s the common phrase used to be that Dubai is a bubble economy and the bubble will burst any day. Why was this perception? Because the economic experts would look at Dubai from the lens they had acquired in other economies of the world. But, Dubai failed all such gurus and continued to reach greater heights, much due to its visionary leadership.

Around the same time Dubai started courting tourism. Initially, jaws dropped on the very idea because they could not conceive people flocking to a desert Emirate for leisure travel and holidays. But Dubai proved itself as the leading tourism destination. Hotel brands were racing to build additional capacity to keep up with the demand.

Emboldened, around the turn of the century Dubai adorned the dot-com vision, building Dubai Internet City and several other similar free zones. Each brought their own impact, businesses and customers.

2000s also saw the new wave of real estate sector, allowing overseas investors to own real estate in Dubai.

Yes, Dubai economy fell in 2008. But it was not the only one to fall. It fell when the entire world collapsed owing to faults in the financial sector thousands of miles away.

And, like always, Dubai bounced back. Bolder. Wiser. More aggressive.

Fast Forward to NOW.

Dubai is massively geared towards the knowledge economy, with significant investments in leading edge, emerging technologies like AI, Hyperloop, 3D printing, 5G, and loads more.

The estimates for Expo 2020 participation are placed in the neighborhood of 25M people from 190+ countries of the world. while the companies presenting at the world’s largest stage will come from all sectors, it is expected that the predominance will be from the knowledge based sectors.

There are strong indications that the real estate laws will be further relaxed, and there is even word of 10-year residential visas.

Collectively, these factor will create a new wave of residents and property investors, starting from Expo 2020 and going well beyond into 2021 and further.

Once the expo is over, the entire Expo 2020 area will be repurposed as new district with new residential and commercial buildings, malls, schools, etc.

The AED10bn new metro line to service the area will boost occupancy of the area.

Experts estimate that the demand for property in Dubai in 2020 will not be fully met, driving the prices upwards.

Post Expo 2020, Dubai is looking positive and quite likely to generate the next era of the Emirate.

Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric from Pexels

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U.A.E Central Bank reduces early Settlement Home Mortgage Fees

U.A.E government has been taking positive steps towards ease of doing business and encouraging investments in the U.A.E. Be it tactical decisions like reducing license fees to long term strategic moves in issuing Golden Visa to investors to encourage investment.

In line with the same, to give a positive impetus to the economy, the U.A.E central bank has decides to scrap the 3 % early settlement home mortgage fees, which customers had to pay to banks. They have replaced the same with either 1 % or maximum cap of Aed 10,000 whichever is lower. This is great news, as it comes at a time when the UBS global report on real estate confirms that Dubai properties are fair values to buy right now. Also this decision has been taken by an inclusive inputs from investors and industry. It reaffirms the positive intent of U.A.E government towards the real estate sector.

Hence now investors and end users who are purchasing units can calculate the fixed exit fees on their real estate mortgage investment. Moreover, now it allows all mortgage homeowners to upgrade or exit at a time convenient to them due to the lower exit fees applicable.

So all we suggest is that buying your dream home in Dubai has just got a double impetus, fair value prices (UBS report) and lower exit fees. So dream big, that is what Dubai personifies.

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What’s driving Dubai real estate Growth

Dubai’s real estate sector has all the ingredients necessary for its growth thanks to timely measures introduced by its government to offset the impact of a slowdown in the global economy.

Ali Sajwani, General Manager of Operations at Damac Properties said, “For developers, it is vital to align their strategies to the long-term aspirations of the city. We need to build for the future, and that takes a deep understanding of what customers and investors are looking for.”

In 2019, there were 68 real estate projects launched in Dubai which shows that it is slowing down than previous years. But there is a 33 percent increase in sales compared to previous years, a proof of its continuing demand among the investors.

Present state of property

The best way to define Dubai’s real estate sector is that industry is maturing. Considering the cyclical nature of the industry, the correction in prices has further amplified the market’s appeal to investors with more than half the real estate transactions in the first five months of 2019 coming from new investors.

The government is making an effort to transform Dubai into a long-term destination. As a result, many people’s dream of owning a house in Dubai will become a reality.

Impact of Expo 2020 on Dubai real estate

Dubai economy is expected to grow by 48 billion dollars as a result of Expo 2020 Dubai. The event is expected to attract 20-25 million visitors, and will create 300,000 job opportunities. Expo 2020 will work as a catalyst for the growth of Dubai real estate. With a projected 3.5% growth in GDP, Dubai will further appeal to high net worth individuals and global businesses as a stable market.

Supply & Demand

The market is oversupplied for the moment and is witnessing a lot of encouraging activity. Sajwani said, “We must remember that we are approaching the end of a softer real estate market cycle. What the industry should now focus on is creating the right kind of supply that is aligned with what investors and buyers are looking for. The city saw a sharp increase in real estate transactions and investments in the first five months of 2019 driven by competitive product offering and positive initiatives by the government such as the introduction of long-term visas for professionals and investors.”

Transactions in Dubai real estate

In 2019 transactions in Dubai real estate were driven by low cost properties. From January until September 30 this year, Dubai clocked in 18,858 transactions for properties worth upto $408,319. In these transactions, the secondary market registered 7,869 deals and off-plan sales registered 10,989 deals.

In the last year, 17,009 transactions of properties were worth upto $408,319, which shows that this year the average price of the properties decreased driving the sale upwards. Now, Dubai is not just a playground for the wealthy but it is now also affordable for the budget-conscious buyers.

Trends in Dubai real estate

Two percent of Dubai housing is now short-term rental properties which is a very high percentage compared to other global cities. There are currently 6100 rental properties available in Dubai.

New visa regulations, such as 10-year golden visa, has an impact on the investment in the country. Vice Chairman of Haqson Groups, Emad Haq says, “When investors are assured their investment is safe with stable rental returns, the market will thrive.”

The most luxurious life in Dubai is now affordable. This year the rate of property has decreased and property transactions have increased. The luxury sales specialist at Luxhabitat, Michelle Liddiard said, “On the Palm Jumeirah, property transactions for the value of Dh10 million-plus have doubled this year”. Many people are now shifting to the most prestigious locations which were beyond their reach in previous years.

COO of SPF Realty, Kalpesh Sampat said, “It is essential to control the length of the offer and not increase the risk for the buyer, luring them to buy beyond their means or budget by offering such extended plans.”

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Dubai Expo 2020

One thing that everyone in Dubai is talking about, and now its only few months away, is Dubai Expo 2020. Lets start from the basics to learn more about this phenomenal event.

What is a World Expo?

World Expos are a six-month long festival that takes place every 5 years with activities and events for all age groups, and interests. An interesting fact about World Expos is that many inventions and unveilings were performed at different expos such as the telephone that was launched at Expo 1876 Philadelphia, while the Eiffel Tower was unveiled at Expo 1889 Paris.

Others include the Ferris wheel at Expo 1893 Chicago, the X-Ray machine was launched at Expo 1901 Buffalo, everyone’s beloved ice cream cone came at Expo 1904 St Louis, the ubiquitous commercial broadcast television at Expo 1939 New York, the IMAX at Expo 1970 Osaka, touchscreens were introduced at Expo 1982 Knoxville and the famous humanoid robot arrived on world scene at Expo 2005 Nagoya.

What is Expo 2020 Dubai?

For the first time ever in the history of Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region a World-Expo is being organized, and the host city is Dubai. Its anticipated that some 25 million visitors will attend Expo 2020 Dubai, with bulk of them arriving from other countries.

What are the Themes of Expo 2020 Dubai?

The main theme of Expo 2020 is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”. The event will provide a platform to foster creativity, innovation, and collaboration globally.

The three sub-themes are “Sustainability”, “Mobility” and “Opportunity”, each has a separate pavilion.

What are the Expo 2020 Dubai Dates?

Expo 2020 Dubai will start on October 20, 2020 and will close on April 10, 2021. Timings will be from 1000 to 0100 on weekdays and 1000 to 0200 on weekends and special days.

Who is attending Expo 2020 Dubai?

Participants will range from government organizations to commercial entities, non-profits and more. So far, formal participation from 190 nations has been confirmed, while more confirmations are coming in.

Where will Expo 2020 Dubai take place?

The Expo 2020 Dubai site is located in the Dubai South district, and its spread over an area of 4.38 sqkm. Its close proximity to Al Maktoum International Airport and ease of commute to Dubai International Airport, Abu Dhabi International Airport as well as Dubai and Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminals will result in hassle-free movement for the 25 millions visitors. In addition, its dedicated metro terminal has been designed to cater to 36,000 passengers per hour.

What will happen to the Expo 2020 Dubai site once the Expo finishes?

In line with the Sustainability theme of Expo 2020 Dubai, most of the purpose built structures will be repurposed for the thriving future city of District 2020. A key pillar of Expo 2020’s aim to leave a meaningful and lasting legacy, District 2020 will be a connected global centre for the next generation of innovators, original thinkers and pioneers for generations to come.

What will be the impact of Expo 2020 Dubai on Dubai’s real estate?

As the event date is coming closer, the increasing demand for property is driving the prices upwards. As a result, this is the perfect time to invest in Dubai property, even if you are looking for short term gains during the bull run. Whilst due to the very nature of real estate sector, nothing can be said with certainty, and we do also advise you to do your own research, but we anticipate the prices to increase in the coming months.

Image courtesy: Expo 2020 Dubai

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Early Termination of your Contract

Mazhar is a high-profile banker in Dubai, with very little time. He is being transferred from Dubai to London and now has to wrap up everything in Dubai. Mazhar did not incorporate an Early Termination / Lease Break Clause in in his Contract.

  • Law 26. of 2007 by RERA, regulating the connection between landlords and tenants doesn’t provide a section for early contract termination but rather governs the connection between the 2 parties as long as the agreement is valid. So, if you would like to terminate your contract early, don’t depend upon filing a case with Rental Dispute Center, especially if you don’t have a break lease clause in your contract.
  • Dubai Laws are silent / ambiguous on Early Termination of the Contract and refers back to the actual contract itself.
  • In order to avail the legal system, the tenant must file a case with the Rental Dispute Center, which is a detailed process, which requires time and money. A lot of Tenants think they can bluff the Landlord or have a misconception themselves that they can file a complaint with (wrongly RERA, who has no jurisdiction in the matter) and the complaint itself would be sufficient to scare the landlord in seeing Mazhar’s ways. The reality is far from the above.

Mazhar best option at this point is negotiate with his Landlord outlining his currently scenario and hope the Landlord can see his way. Tactics that Mazhar can use are;

  • I can help find a replacement tenant. Which is a good option, but is Mazhar not signing himself up to a job that he might not be able to succeed.
  • Offer a Penalty to the Landlord that he might accept. Not all Landlord are cooperative.
  • Mazhar should be upfront with his Company as they might be willing to absorb the loss on the contract.

Regardless of the outcome on the above, do not ever let yourself be in such a situation. Always have a Tenancy Contract that allows for Early Termination / break lease preferably with a 2 Month Notice and no Penalty, or if forced minimize the penalty.

If you need more help reach out to us at

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Gifting Property to a Relative

Mazhar owns a Two Bedroom apartment in Dubai Marina and wants to Gift the apartment to his Son and Daughter. Mazhar is not sure what is the process of Gifting and the related Fees for Gifting of the Apartment. Well, Mazhar is not alone in not knowing the process.

Eligibility for Gifting Property in UAE

  • Gifting can only be done to First Degree of Relatives. I.e. Children or Parents / Husband / Wife. You cannot Gift a Property between Brother / Sister / Cousins / Uncle ect.
  • A Gifted Property cannot be Gifted again. I.e. only one Gift is allowed for a Property. Next would be considered as a Sale.
  • The Person giving the Gift should be of a minimum age. The person receiving the Gift can be a minor.
  • Proof of relation is required. A UAE Attested Birth Certificate for Parents / Children or a Marriage Certificate for Husband / Wife.
  • Both the individual giving the Gift and Individual receiving the Gift must be present unless a Power of Attorney is held by either or a Third Party clearly mentioning the Ability to Gift and Receive / Accept a Gift.


Process of Gifting Real Estate in Dubai

  • Evaluation of Property is required. This can be done from any Trustee Office in Dubai or online if Registered. An up to date Affection Plan for the Property is required and a fee of 370 Dirhams is required for the Evaluation.
    • Evaluation Report will be emailed and put in the system. A physical report will not be generated.
  • No Objection Certificate from the Developer is Required. Please check NOC Requirements from the Developer, they sometimes requires an NOC from the Owner Association Company to ensure Service Charges are up to date.
  • Prepare a Manager Cheque in name of Land Department or have cash for 0.125% of the Evaluation Amount. i.e. Evaluation Amount is 2,000,000 than the Gift amount is 2500 Dirhams Plus 540 (Fixed Fee for Title Deed). Minimum fee to Land Department is 2,000, so if Evaluation is 1,000,000, the Land Dept Fee will be 2,000 (Not 1,250 as per the .125%)
  • Trustee Fee in Cash for either 2,100 or 4,200 depending on the Evaluation of the Property.
  • All parties be available at Trustee Office for the Gift / Transfer process and sign the necessary documents.
  • Title Deed issued in the name of the new Owner. It would include a line in bottom saying it was Gifted from the Individual who Gifted it.
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Can one leave UAE with an unsettled home mortgage?

Expats often leave UAE to return to their home country, or to move to greener pastures. What should they do about their unsettled mortgages?

In the past, many expats left UAE without formally settling their financial obligations, resulting in millions upon millions of losses to the banks. Naturally, this lead to more stringent laws and practices coming into force. One such practice, is that when the employer releases the last salary and final settlement of the employee, the employer transfers that payment to the bank marking it as ‘final salary’. This means that the bank should check if there are any outstanding loans, and freeze the account to recover the outstanding.

However, in the case of secured loans like mortgage the property still exists as security that the bank can foreclose in case of default, and hence the laws are comparatively relaxed.

We have heard about incidences where people being stopped at the airport and simply prevented from getting on a plane with debt! So, what should one do about the mortgage if they are moving out of UAE and returning to their home country, or moving elsewhere?

First off, can a person leave the UAE with a mortgage?

According to this Mortgage Finder post you can, depending on what terms and conditions of mortgage did you sign, so it would be highly advisable to, first, check those documents, and secondly to get some professional help.

Can my mortgage be converted to a non-resident mortgage?

Speak to your bank well before the need and situation arises so that you are better prepared. Some lenders might adjust the paperwork while others may also revisit the terms including the interest rates.

Can my bank account convert to non-resident account?

According to the post, you might have to continue your bank account in UAE in to continue to make payments on your mortgage but after converting to a non-resident account. Of course, any unsecured credit facilities on that account will discontinue. If your mortgage and bank account are in two different banks, then you should speak to both the bank.

And now the proverbial million-dollar question: What should I tell the bank?

A bank’s primary concern in the case of a secured loan is whether you will be able to continue timely mortgage repayments. If your plan can sufficiently demonstrate that, then it should be easy in all likelihood.

In the case of rental property if the current rent can cover the repayment, any applicable service charges, as well as cover for the vacant periods then that should sound like a plan.

If rental income is insufficient or not the plan, then you need to explain your income sources through which you will be covering the repayments that you will transfer from abroad.

What happens if the bank asks me to settle the mortgage before I can leave the country?

Although this is not usual, but if the bank does ask, then it can result in a 3% early settlement penalty on the balance amount, and the possible outcomes are:

  • Paying off the loan from whatever sources you may have.
  • Disposing off the asset by selling it, and using the proceeds to settle the outstanding amount, or
  • Finding a 3rd party lender who will refinance it by providing you a non-resident mortgage.

All in all, its best to be well prepared in advance by reading your contractual documents closing, and even asking these questions at the very start when you are still shopping around for the mortgage in the first place.


The Curious Case of Oversupply Part 1 – Dubai…

The Curious Case of Oversupply Part 1 – Dubai Marina

On the 10thof June 2019, I thought to myself let me reach out to agents in the market and check their knowledge of the market. This is how a couple of the calls went.

Do you know how many total apartments they are in Dubai Marina / JBR, completed or constructed. I was amazed at the replies.

  • Between 300,000 and 400,000 apartments.
  • About 10,000 Unit
  • I think about 100,000 Units
  • About 25,000 to 30,000 Units

How many buildings do you think they are in Dubai Marina / JBR

  • It is about 250 Buildings
  • It is a 1,000 Buildings
  • It is collection of 500 Buildings
  • It has about a 100 Buildings

Now these are not random calls, these were calls made to experienced brokers in the market; now the article is not about taking cheap shots at brokers in the market, of which I am a part of, a community of professional that is very hard working and dedicated spending countless hours to please their clients. This is really meant to bring information about Dubai Marina to our readers as well as raise awareness in the market.

Dubai Marina is an amazing Master Development. Conceptualized by Emaar Properties with support from Dubai Properties and inspired by the Vancouver waterfront, Dubai Marina, which includes JBR is a Master Development of currently a 187 Building, either completed or under construction with a total of ;

  • 39,817 Apartments / Hotel Apartments
  • 34,639 Completed
  • 5,132 Under Construction

Dubai Marina / JBR has a number of Developers that have developed Buildings in there, and is one of the oldest of most established Master Communities in Dubai and amongst the most well linked communities in terms of transportation. Connected by

  • Two Metro Stations
  • A Tram Station that runs around the Marina
  • 2 Dedicated Interchanges from Sheikh Zayed Road both from Dubai / Abu Dhabi sides of Sheikh Zayed
  • Access directly from JLT /Greens / Jumeriah Park / Jumeriah Island

Dubai Marina / JBR having delivered its first Building in 2003, which was the known as the Original 6 Towers, which is a collection of 6 Towers by Emaar. These include. Al Fairooz, Al Mesk, Al Anbar, Al Mass, Murjan Al Yass, which is a collection of 1165 apartments.

Dubai Properties handed over their first Development in JBR in 2007.

Dubai Marina is broken down by number of buildings and apartments by the following Developers.

Emaar Properties – 6,671 Units Across 31 Buildings

  • Completed – 4511 Units across 28 Buildings
  • Under Construction – 826 Units across 3 Buildings

Dubai Properties – 5,337 Units Across 36 Buildings

  • Completed – 6,523 Units across 35 Buildings
  • Under Construction – 826 Units across 3 Buildings

Select Group – 4,680 Units Across 14 Buildings

  • Completed- 3,381 Units Across 11 Buildings
  • Under Construction – 141 Units in One Building

Cayan Group – 1,631 Units Across 7 Developments

Diamond Developers 1,228 Units Across 6 Developments

Damac 1,528 Units Across 6 Developments

Dubai Marina, has one of the fewest number of units that are under construction, either as a percentage of total available units, or even as a total number of units. This is primarily due to the fact it is and older and most established community with a lack of available land for Developers to launch projects on.

The only issue that we do see with the Marina with the large amount of new buildings that are coming online across Dubai, there is a preference for Tenants and new buyers to buy or rent in new buildings. For Tenant’s or Buyers who prefer the Marina lifestyle, they are willing to pay the premium either in terms of rent or purchase for new building. For example a Marina Facing Three Bedroom in Marina Gate can command a rent of as high as 230,000 – 240,000, whereas older buildings with similar views cap out at 175,000 – 185,00.

The above allows Dubai Marina to be the most protected community in terms of oversupply coming in the market  and will allow new developments such as Marina Gate, Jumeirah Living, Address Jumeirah and Vida that are both well located and have a higher finishing statement to do well in terms of rental and sale.

Do you want more information, are you interested in understanding how this impacts your decision, whether you are a Developer, a Landlord, A Buyer, a Seller or a Tenant.

Reach out to us at


Tel: +971 50 786 8912

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