UAE housing market is maturing, survey finds

More than half of Emiratis pay for new homes in cash, a new survey from the polling company YouGov has found.

Fifty-four per cent of Emiratis pay the full value of property purchases with equity, compared with fewer than three in 10 western expatriates.

The findings come ahead of Cityscape Abu Dhabi, which starts on Tuesday.

Emiratis pay with cash “because they have the ability to”, said Warren Philliskirk, a director at Mortgage International, a Dubai-based advisory company.

“But we are seeing more Emiratis using finance. It’s still much cheaper than small business lending or getting an overdraft.”

The type of customer buying a house in Dubai is also changing, he said.

“We’re seeing the genuine end users coming to the market – people who’ve already been here three to five years already, people who don’t want to rent anymore or people who are upgrading from what they’ve already bought.

“It’s not really an investor market anymore. Where there are investors they’re looking for long-term yields as opposed to buying and selling quickly to make a profit. The market is maturing.”

“Authorities are really on the case to make sure things aren’t overheating,” he said.

Kailash Nagdev, YouGov’s managing editor in the UAE, said the some home buyers were still looking at houses as investment assets, and not just family homes.

Customers are looking to invest in more than just a residential unit,” Mr Nagdev said “This is challenging developers to come up with innovative investment propositions and attractive mortgage schemes … for those making their first step onto the property ladder,” Mr Nagdev said.

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