Brief: Dubai Homebuyers Choose Affordability in 2017

  • Jumeirah Village Circle is Dubai’s most affordable villa community to buy (AED 758 per square foot), and one of the few that has experienced a price increase, indicating that demand remains healthy in the affordable villa segment, according to Propertyfinder Trends.
  • The past year was record-breaking in Dubai in terms of transactions and number of handovers. Allsopp & Allsopp, for example, reports a staggering 29% year over year increase in transactions in Propertyfinder Trends.

Who replaced their rent with a mortgage in 2017?

Data and analysis by Propertyfinder Group indicates the homebuyers of 2017 were attracted by increasing affordability as property prices continue to fall, generous payment plans on mortgages, and the popular sentiment that we are nearing the bottom of the property cycle.

“Long-term residents are taking advantage, snapping up good deals, planting roots, and swapping their rent cheques for a mortgage,” says Lukman Hajje, Chief Commercial Officer of Propertyfinder Group. “Few global cities offer the opportunity to buy a well-built four bedroom free-standing villa in prime location on a decent sized block for under $1.2 million. Try doing that in London, Sydney, New York, Paris, or Geneva. Good luck. But you can in Dubai.”

Affordable areas largely saw some of the smallest shift in prices in the six month period between April and October 2017, indicating demand keeping prices steady for the price-conscious.

Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC) was one of only two villa communities to see an uptick in price, up 4%, while it also attracted nearly twice the views and inquiries on portal, indicating rising demand.

Similarly, Al Barsha received its highest-ever number of inquiries on listings in September, as handovers increased in that community. Prices went up 0.6% in the bustling area that is good for families and budget-friendly (AED 1108 price per square foot).

Dubai Land, the second most affordable area to buy a villa (AED 845 price per square foot) had one of the highest rates of handovers in the Emirates in 2017 with around 2,500 units brought to market. The supply shifted demand, as inquiries have trended up in the affordable community.

Looking ahead to 2018, there does not appear to be an indication that the handovers to new homeowners and mortgage-payers will see much slowdown.

But Hajje has a word of warning for those enticed by payment plans who are jumping on the property ladder in the affordable segment. “Far better regulation now exists to ensure that progress payments are linked to construction milestones and that buyer funds are held securely in escrow,” he says. “But a few of these too good to be true payment plans may prove to be just that.”


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