Abu Dhabi’s unrivaled safety, family-oriented life and meticulous handling of the Covid-19 pandemic attract investment
Skyline of Abu Dhabi Al Reem Island with mangrove forest in the foreground.
The Abu Dhabi property market is seeing a huge increase in demand from international buyers across Europe, with some real estate agencies seeing up to 50% increase in demand in the first four months of 2022 compared to the same period last year.
The influx has been attributed to factors ranging from the growth of free zones encouraging business relocation, Abu Dhabi’s unparalleled security and family-oriented life, to the city’s meticulous management in the face of the Covid pandemic. -19.
“What the government of Abu Dhabi has done in recent years in terms of increasing the level of security, the comfort of living here in general, the infrastructure, the conditions for companies to move their headquarters, all of this plays a important role, and people are starting to realize that,” Evgeny Ratskevich, CEO of Metropolitan Capital Real Estate, told the Khaleej Times.
The company handled sales of 3.36% of the entire Abu Dhabi market in the first quarter of 2022 – out of the MAD 11.3 billion in total sales transactions. The company has sold a total of 2.8 billion dirhams across the top 5 locations, namely Yas Island, Al Saadiyat Island, Al Reem Island, Khalifa Town and Beach from Al Raha.
“International buyers, all of whom have been cash buyers, are split between Western Europeans, such as Austrians, Germans, Italians, French, Romanians, Poles, Ratskevich said and” people from countries like Russia and Kazakhstan as well as people from the UK. and Australia.
“In the first four months of 2022, we saw a 50% increase compared to the same period of 2021. In addition, the value of the property they purchased is 75% higher compared to the same period of last year. This means that not only are the number of investors increasing, but the average ticket size of what they are buying is also increasing. »
The CEO added that since Abu Dhabi reopened its borders, people have started to travel to Abu Dhabi and understand what it has to offer. “It’s family, that’s for sure, it’s also quieter [than other cities]. And I think that’s why international customers are starting to invest and move to Abu Dhabi.
Another reason foreign investors are attracted to Abu Dhabi is that it has established itself as a hub of industrial development and economic growth in the region with foreign companies attracted to free zones, such as Masdar, Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD), Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Twofour54 (Media Free Zone Authority), Industrial City Abu Dhabi (ICAD), etc., where they can operate as 100% owned in an operating environment at low cost and with full exemption of import, export, corporate and personal taxes.
Ratskevich also explained that over the past two and a half years, the capital has made great strides in modernizing and attracting people to invest and live in the city. “Recent visa regimes, infrastructure, safety, security and business-friendly policies adopted by the government and its handling of the Covid pandemic have all led end users and international investors to relocate or invest in the city.”
He said some of the city’s major new developments have also been successful in attracting luxury-seeking overseas buyers. “Aldar has launched its first branded residence, the Louvre Residence on Saadiyat Island. This project has been very successful with international buyers. It is the first Louvre Residence in the world. So it’s getting a lot of attention because it’s a new and unique concept.
SELECT ONE OR TWO IMAGES: Louvre Residences
Andrew Covill, director at Henry Wiltshire International, said the agency has also seen growing demand for properties, particularly for luxury, high-quality accommodation.
“We have had strong and stable demand over the past two years, but with decreasing availability and rising prices, demand is also increasing. We definitely noticed more international buyers that didn’t really exist in Abu Dhabi before,” he said.
“The demand is strongest for villas, especially with a view of the golf course or the sea, but the interest is for all villas and townhouses. We are also seeing strong interest in higher quality apartments, especially those with outdoor space and water views. International investors generally seek prime properties with a strong rental yield and an opportunity for capital growth.
“We are seeing investors from the UK, Switzerland, Germany and other European countries as well as Russia and Kazakhstan.
“Some of the buyers are choosing the property as a vacation home and others as an investment, but there is overwhelming demand for the five-year visa acquired by buying a property over 2 million dirhams.” This refers to the new green visa and its multitude of achievable requirements, including owning property.
Ameen Al Qudsi, CEO of Nationwide Middle East Properties, echoed what Metropolitan’s Managing Director said that the luxury market in Abu Dhabi is the biggest draw and selling point over the past quarter, as they retain their appeal due to their size, comfort, and amenities. .
“There has been an increase in European investors in the UAE, especially in projects close to tourist attractions. There is a demand for three to six bedroom villas as investors find it easy to resell the property and profit from it in the long term,” he noted.
“This increase has been observed since the opening of Expo 2020 Dubai, following the arrival of millions of tourists from all over the world. Another factor driving the increase in European investors is their interest in Bitcoin, which has recently been approved and implemented in the United Arab Emirates, allowing them to invest in real estate with this asset.
“Additionally, overseas buyers are interested in Abu Dhabi properties as it is the capital and there is a wide range of projects and price points, the majority of which are in ideal locations. Saadiyat Island, Yas Island and Reem Island.”
The nationalities of these buyers, Al Qudsi noted, are “GCC citizens, Chinese and Russians, who are trying to invest in a safe and secure country”.
Badia Soufi, executive director of Soufiscape Properties, said her company had received an increase of at least 40% in requests for properties in Abu Dhabi from European buyers abroad, particularly for properties on the Saadiyat Island, the cultural district of Abu Dhabi.
“We have generated a lot of interest in recent months, especially from Russian and Ukrainian investors. With much of the instability currently plaguing Europe, many investors are looking to the United Arab Emirates, and recently to Abu Dhabi. Many say they find it a safe environment to put their money in.
“High-income customers are mainly drawn to Saadiyat Island because it contains a range of different museums like the Louvre, and others that are springing up like the Guggenheim, the Zayed National Museum and the Natural History Museum. “, added Badia.
“The launch of the first collection of Résidences du Louvre made the market jump,” said Badia. “It sold out within a week.”
The first phase of the Aldar project included studios, 1-3 bedroom apartments and five-bedroom penthouses with a starting price of Dh1.3 million, launched in March 2022, with residences overlooking the iconic complex of the museum.
Other offerings include Aldar’s Jawaher Saadiyat Villas, which is one of the most exclusive developments in the neighborhood. A five-bedroom, five-bathroom 1,245m² villa overlooking beautiful beaches costs more than Dh13 million. Bespoke Hidd Al Saadiyat and Nudra beachfront villas from Imkan Properties are other luxury living options with a starting price of Dh9 million.
For the company Miramar Real Estate, demand in Abu Dhabi has fluctuated since the pandemic and more recently with the slowdown in business during Ramadan. “In the midst of the pandemic, most real estate companies struggled because most customers were reluctant to move,” said Llana Acompanado, director of marketing.
“Every Ramadan, we expect the market movement to decrease in some way,” Acompanado said, “At the moment, demand from our buyers, investors and tenants has increased, and since the start of the year, demand has increased for properties in Reem Island.”
Rashed Al Omaira, Commercial Director of Aldar Development, told the Khaleej Times: “Abu Dhabi’s real estate sector has established a position of unwavering strength over the past few years, and it continues to enhance the status of the emirate by as a destination for both investment and home. the possession. This is evidenced by the strong appetite we are seeing from overseas residents and expats in the UAE, and female buyers more recently.
“This positive sentiment in the Abu Dhabi property market was reflected in the record Dh2.2 billion Aldar development sales recorded in the first quarter of the year, as well as increased footfall and Occupancy levels at our investment properties, which reached 92 percent at the end of March 2022, approaching pre-pandemic levels.
“The economic and social initiatives introduced by the government, along with recent changes to business ownership laws and residency visas, will continue to boost the Abu Dhabi market and enhance its appeal to consumers. local and international owners and investors.”
Harry, 62, from Germany, said investing in a holiday home in Abu Dhabi was a natural decision. “We love Abu Dhabi and have been visiting the city regularly since the mid-90s. It was a natural fit for us to invest in real estate in Abu Dhabi.”
Harry and his family have invested in a 4 million dirham 2-bedroom apartment in the Louvre residence which he also hopes to rent.
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“While we were investing, we were looking for a safe place and a good holiday home for us. Abu Dhabi was the perfect choice for us with its year-round sunshine and world-class infrastructure.”