Buyers are returning to Dubai’s property market, boosting overall confidence in the emirate’s economy


Youth unemployment (%)
  15-19 20-24 25-29
Bahrain 3 32 33
Qatar 19 40 22
Saudi Arabia 10 48 31
Sources: Booz & Co; Sabic; WEF
  • Hope has returned to Dubai’s economy this year. Since its well-publicised debt problems of 2009, the emirate has managed to keep its economy afloat, but it has suffered a crisis of confidence and has failed to live up to its reputation for turbocharged economic growth and outlandish real estate projects.
  • Now, for the first time in four years, it appears Dubai might finally be able to return to former glories as investors seemingly flock back to its property market.
  • In the weeks leading up to the emirate’s property exhibition Cityscape Global in early October, developers Emaar properties and Nakheel confirmed that demand for property in Dubai was strengthening by announcing sell outs of off-plan properties on new projects in a matter of days after their launch.

Emaar sold out the apartments at its The Address The Boulevard project in the Downtown Burj Khalifa precinct, while Nakheel followed with strong

sales for villas at its Jumeirah

Park development. The transactions built on the successful launches before the summer of new projects on the Palm Jumeirah and The Greens.

Strong real-estate sales

Unsurprisingly, Nakheel chairman Ali Rashid Lootah was upbeat on the first day of the exhibition on 2 October. “The market at the moment is excellent,” he says. “We have strong sales, yesterday we sold properties worth AED888m [$242m] and by today’s standards that is a very good figure.”

So far, bullish sentiment has been limited to Nakheel and Emaar. The two government-controlled companies are Dubai’s best-known developers and have land to develop in some of the emirate’s most prized locations, such as Downtown Burj Khalifa and the Palm Jumeirah. The planned projects have attracted interest from around the world. According to data from Dubai Land Department, Indians were the top buyers in the Burj Khalifa area during the first half of this year with $222m worth of investments, followed by Iranians with $128m.