Large parts of the Middle East are peaceful, stable and secure. These oases of tranquility are among the prime real estate markets in Asia. Countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Morocco have sustained economic growth along with political and social stability over the past 50 years. Real estate investments here meet the two basic tenets of safety and appreciation.
The UAE in general, and Dubai specifically, is clearly the center piece of this story, both in terms of a growing economy that is increasingly less dependent on oil and a large cosmopolitan melting pot of the global workforce. Dubai has been an investment hotspot for the past 10 years.
This period has witnessed an exponential growth in both demand and supply for housing and commercial space in Dubai. Among the expats, a significant number specifically from both the US and UK invest in property here as a second home location and as a post-retirement destination.
Buyers are attracted by property prices that are cheaper than back home with a higher rate of appreciation. Moreover, rental returns continue to be high in Dubai. As a result of the spurt in demand, the past five years have witnessed a surge of 40-60% in property prices depending on location and property type. However, this unsustainable pace has been somewhat tempered over the last 12-14 months.
According to the JLL market review, a period of stability will be good for the market. Dubai’s success at expanding its global reach and diversifying its economy also makes it less vulnerable to oil price fluctuations, according to the report.
The genesis of this real estate growth lies in the region’s economic expansion, as well as the decrees of 2002 which allowed foreigners to own property in UAE and the one in 2006 that allowed for freehold possession.
Most residential properties in Dubai are of two types: apartments or two to three story villas. The city is divided into two parts by the Dubai creek. The southern part called Bur Dubai is the older part of the city while Deira, the northern part, has been at the hub of development over the last few decades. Areas such as Downtown Dubai, Business Bay, The Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Marina have witnessed high demand and development.
M1 Real Estate is part of the M1 group of companies and is focused on developing and selling assets in the hotspots of Dubai, the Middle East, Europe and the United States. The M1 Group is one of the leading real estate developers in this region. It was founded by Najib Mikati along with his brother Taha.
Najib Mikati is a two time prime minister of Lebanon, first in 2005 and then again from 2011 to 2013. During the 1980s he founded a telecom company called Investcom, which later listed on the London and Dubai stock exchanges. South African telecom giant MTN bid for and bought Investcom in 2006.
Buying property in a foreign country entails two basics: doing a lot of research while locating the property and finding the right local partner or agency who can guide the buyer through the formalities and paperwork. Buying a property in this region can be both a second home away from home and a sound long-term investment.