High GDP per Capita Makes Dubai Prime Properties Very Attractive


With GDP per capita of US$40,698, cost of residential real estate in Dubai’s premier locations are extremely competitive compared to global city hubs; cost of Dubai’s prime real estate is also lower than most other global cities

With its high gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and ambitious investments in building a world-class infrastructure, investing in premium residential real estate in Dubai guarantees strong returns for international investors, according to market experts.

A comparative study on the cost of residential real estate versus the GDP per capita in key city hubs globally has revealed that Dubai offers one of the most attractive value propositions for investors, who are seeking stable and growing returns. This is further underpinned by Dubai’s status as one of only 20 metropolitan areas* in the entire Middle East and Africa compared to 51 metro areas in the US, 43 in Western Europe, 25 in Advanced Asia Pacific, 20 in Emerging Asia-Pacific, and over 103 in China.

Between 2014 and 2016, the 300 largest metro areas identified by Brookings, accounted for 36% of global employment growth and 67% of global GDP growth. Further, about one-third of large metro areas in MENA are expanding employment and GDP per capita faster than their respective nations, highlighting the growth potential offered by metro areas such as Dubai.

With the cost of residential property in premier locations such as Dubai Creek Harbour and Downtown Dubai estimated at about US$550 (AED 2,020) per square foot, and the GDP per capita in the UAE at US$40,698**, analysts point out that the potential for growth for Dubai is significantly higher than other major city hubs.

A comparative view

Average price per square foot for properties*** and GDP per capita in global cities

 Average price of premium property (USD)GDP per capita (USD)**
New York City4,10073,938
Hong Kong11,00056,571

Where will most of the growth happen?

Clearly, Dubai – despite its high GDP per capita – offers the most competitive residential real estate in its most premium destinations. This has further catalysed interest by high net worth individuals in investing in Dubai’s prestigious developments such as Dubai Creek Harbour, Downtown Dubai, Dubai Hills Estate, Dubai Marina and Emaar Beachfront, among others. This year, all residential destination launches in these developments recorded strong investor response, especially from international investors.

Dubai’s appeal for investors is also driven by its improvement in the ranking in terms of cost of living. According to Mercer’s annual cost of living survey, Dubai no longer features in the world’s 25 most expensive cities – having dropped from 19th to 26th position. Meanwhile, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Zurich, Singapore, Seoul, Shanghai and Beijing – cities that have high residential property rates – feature in the top 10 most expensive cities in the world.

Further, a report by New World Wealth analysing the top prime property hotspots as part of their Global Wealth Migration Review highlighted that the average cost of Dubai’s’ prime real estate is among the lowest in the world, ranking at 34.

International and regional investors have a winning investment proposition in Dubai Creek Harbour, a one-of-a-kind modern master-planned destination located along the historic Dubai Creek in the heart of the city, and anchored by the new global icon, Dubai Creek Tower. It is only 10 minutes from the Dubai International Airport and the iconic Burj Khalifa by Emaar in Downtown Dubai, and next to the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, home to migratory birds including hundreds of pink flamingos.

Dubai Creek Harbour has over 7.3 million sq m of residential space, and nearly 940,000 sq m of retail space – including Dubai Square, the retail metropolis of the future also featuring the Middle East’s largest Chinatown. When completed, Dubai Creek Harbour will be home to over 200,000 people, a thriving economy that drives the tourism, retail and hospitality sectors of the city.

Downtown Dubai is another sought after destination underlined by icons such as Burj Khalifa, The Dubai Mall, The Dubai Fountain and Dubai Opera. The Dubai Mall welcomed over 80 million visitors for the fourth consecutive year establishing Downtown Dubai as the world’s most visited lifestyle destination.


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