Chinese Investors Set Sight on Dubai Homes
While Indians, Britons and Pakistanis have traditionally been the biggest non-Arab expatriate buyers of Dubai property, another investor class is also slowly coming into its own. Following the devaluation of the yuan and stock markets rout earlier this year, Chinese investors are increasingly turning their attention to property in Dubai to diversify their overseas property exposure.
Buying in Dubai not only offers better rental yields than gateway cities such as London, New York, Hong Kong or Singapore, but also offers scope for good capital appreciation, considering the upcoming Expo 2020. Besides, prices for residential properties in Dubai are still much cheaper compared to the Chinese investor’s home market.
“Although the yuan’s devaluation has affected the purchasing power of Chinese investors, similar to that of Russian buyers, the price differential on a square foot basis still makes Dubai real estate affordable. For example, Shanghai is still three times more expensive than Dubai on a square foot basis. In addition to this, Dubai real estate offers high dollar denominated rental returns that make it an attractive investment to hedge against currency risk,” according to Hussain Alladin, head of research, GCP Properties.
“Over the last three years, Chinese buyers have been playing a bigger role in Dubai real estate investment, both through direct investment in completed units and buildings and through financing and construction of projects. Although there may be some short-term fluctuations in buyer profile, we expect Chinese investment in Dubai real estate to increase in the long term,” said Jesse Downs, managing director and co-founder of Phidar Advisory.
According to reports, the Chinese population in Dubai has grown by 53 per cent in the last five years from 150,000 to approximately 230,000. This increase in population will translate into larger demand for real estate assets from Chinese nationals as they make Dubai their base.
“Since the population of Chinese buyers has increased exponentially, we feel that besides the investment category, which are typically smaller size units, a shift towards larger size units is inevitable as Dubai becomes their permanent home,” added Alladin.
Meanwhile, the property price decline in Dubai has negated the effect of the yuan’s devaluation on Chinese buyers.
“The yuan’s devaluation alone should not impact buying patterns now because the property price decline has outpaced the decline in the value of the yuan relative to the UAE dirham,” added Downs.
“Compared to the market peak in 2014, property prices are 10.7 per cent less expensive for Chinese buyers in yuan,” she said.