Confessions of a Real Estate Agent - January 2018

Posted on: 19th January 2018

As we begin the new year, I thought it might be a good idea to look ahead and identify some of the positives for Dubai in 2018.

1. VAT - the IMF has been demanding this for years, and finally, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have become the first Gulf states to implement a Value-Added Tax, commencing 1 January. The benefits arising from VAT include generating a constant revenue stream through a low tax rate, in part to make up for the oil price drop, and as VAT is collected in small instalments across many sectors, the burden upon consumers is minimized.

2. Infrastruture – driven by the upcoming World Expo 2020, over $8 billion of investment has been allocated to transport and infrastructure projects in Dubai. The Dubai 2020 Urban Master Plan includes blueprints to build a thriving metropolitan district connected with modern infrastructure such as a $2.9 billion Dubai Metro Red Line Extension, the $2 billion Phase 2 expansion of Al Maktoum International Airport, and a $390 million in planned road works.

3. Rising oil prices – prices are likely to continue climbing in 2018 on the back of OPEC-led production cuts and a growing global economy.  But any gains are expected to be constrained by booming US supplies of oil obtained through fracking.  This is indeed good news for Dubai and the UAE as oil revenues have slumped over the past two years, affecting public expenditure.

4. Released properties – around 40,000 more residential units will be completed in Dubai in 2018, according to the Property Monitor Supply Tracker. This may put further pressure on rent and sales prices, in particular the secondary market, analysts have said.  However, figures from CBRE put future residential supply at upwards of 92,000 units between the end of 2017 and 2020, around 87 per cent of which will be apartments and 40 per cent of which is expected to be delivered in 2018.  Again this is good news for Dubai as it indicates continued strong buyer interest and demand in the city’s property market (most units today are all pre-sold before construction).

5. New schools – 21 new schools will open in Dubai in the next 9 months despite cutbacks in education allowances, lower oil prices and slower economic growth that have done little to sway the optimistic outlook of education providers, some of whom will be entering the market for the first time.  ESOL Education, a Dubai-based company that owns and operates nine American schools in the Middle East and Asia, recently broke ground on the site of what will become its third in the country. Its new Dh200 million school will be located near Al Barari and Living Legends developments in Dubailand and will accommodate up to 1,500 pupils when it opens in September 2018.

6. Dubai Safari Zoo Park – moving from its old site on Beach Road, Jumeirah, the new Dubai Safari Zoo finally threw open its gates in late December 2017 although the grand official opening is set for January 2018.  Home to 2,500 animals (lions, tigers, gazelles, hippos, buffalo, hyena, flamingos, gorillas, chimpanzees, elephants, zebra, and cheetahs) in its first phase, representing more than 250 species, it is also home to the world’s first drive-thru crocodile exhibit, UAE’s largest aviary exhibit, and the UAE’s only drive-thru hippo and tiger exhibit.  Interestingly, the park is also going to have a zoo-keeping course, and will be the first place in the UAE to offer it.

7. New hotels opening – over 50 new hotels are scheduled to open in Dubai this year. Within the new Al Habtoor City are three ultra-luxurious hotels: Dubai’s first-ever St. Regis, a flagship W Hotel, and a new Westin, offering more than 1,600 elegant rooms between them.  Marriott, which merged last year with Starwood to form the largest hotel operator in the world, will open three new properties in Dubai over the year, including a Renaissance hotel in the Downtown area, a W hotel on the Palm Jumeirah, and the ultra-luxury Bvlgari hotel, located on the Jumeira Bay Island. Dubai continues to have one of the world’s highest hotel occupancy rates and this level of construction bears witness to this growth.

8. Dubai Arena – a 500,000-square-foot indoor space, Dubai Arena will be the largest all-purpose, indoor, air-conditioned arena in the region, able to seat 20,000 guests who will enjoy international music concerts as well as sports events and other entertainment. The Dubai Arena will feature automated malleable seats, which allow the venue to transform according to the size of the event being held.  And the best thing?  It is situated in the heart of Dubai within City Walk.  Completion of the stadium is expected to be in the last quarter of 2018.

9. New city attractions Dubai Frame will provide a 360-degree view of Dubai, with a 93-meter glass bridge that connects the past and present of the city visually by showcasing old and new Dubai. Located in Zabeel Park, the golden rectangular attraction - constructed to look like a picture frame - stands at 150 metres high. Ain Dubai, soon to be the world's largest Ferris wheel, offers visitors a stunning 360-degree view of the city and its coastline, and will be over 210 meters tall. And there are many more…

Thank you for reading and I hope to see you very soon!