Gulf expatriates most likely to be able to afford property, HSBC study says

Expats working in the Arabian Gulf are the most likely to be able to own additional property as a result of their move, according to a new study.

HSBC’s annual Expat Explorer Survey found that Gulf countries offered the greatest financial incentives and a less complex environment in which to manage their wealth, giving them a greater ability to buy property.

Expats from the region recognised that the GCC pays the most compared to other regions in the world, with 76 per cent of respondents in Qatar and 72 per cent of those in Oman stating that they have more disposable income since moving – the global average from 21,950 respondents in 198 countries was 57 per cent.

Some 30 per cent of those living in Bahrain said they were able to afford property as a result of their move, compared to 27 per cent in Saudi Arabia, 25 per cent in the UAE and Oman, and 24 per cent in Qatar.

Expats in Oman (76 per cent), Qatar and Saudi Arabia (75 per cent) said they had been able to save more money since moving. The UAE figure was 61 per cent, and the global average was 52 per cent.

“The GCC continues to be recognised by expats as the place that offers the greatest financial opportunities, despite the recent economic slowdown we have witnessed,” said Gifford Nakajima, head of regional wealth development at HSBC Bank Middle East.

“We see that they are, in particular, highlighting the growth in their disposable income and their ability to save as factors boosting their long-term planning capabilities, which allow them to achieve their biggest aspirations, including purchasing a home.”

The organiser of Dubai’s biannual Indian Property Show, Sumansa Exhibitions, said there is evidence of young, non-resident Indians based in the UAE taking more interest in buying property.

It said that young people between the ages of 18 and 35 represented 43 per cent of those investing in Indian real estate. This is affecting the type of properties being sold, with budget units becoming more popular.

For instance, apartments were in high demand – sought by 81 per cent of survey respondents. Also, 45 per cent of respondents were looking for budget properties of between 500,000 (Dh27,575) and 5 million Indian rupees.

“The trend has been strengthening in the past decade,” said Sunil Jaiswal, president of Sumansa Exhibitions. “While earlier, we would see older people planning and saving to buy property, today more young people want to solidify their savings in the real estate market. There is also the fact that investing in real estate gives youth a sense of achievement, security and economic well-being.”

The Indian Property Show has been running since Tuesday and finishes today.

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