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News: Dubai capitalises on US woe

Thu, 31 Jan 08

As US and European housing markets slow, investors are looking further afield...

The Middle East’s housing markets have been rapidly opening - and both opportunities and dangers await property investors, according to a recent report by the Global Property Guide.   Buy-to-let investors, particularly, should consider the Middle East.  

Dubai, the richest and most progressive emirate of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), started it all. In 2002, Dubai announced that foreigners of any nationality would be able to own freehold residential titles, instead of the originally-proposed leasehold titles. Soon other countries in the Persian Gulf followed suit, including Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.

Some investors still shy away because of the perceived political and security risks. However, good rewards await those willing to do their homework and explore the market. Since the Gulf’s ‘for foreigners’ market is still at its infancy, most properties sold to foreigners are off-plan. This has advantages and disadvantages.

One advantage is that the buyer saves on the real estate agent’s fee and legal fees, and the developer takes care of the property transfer procedure. In most cases, the developer also takes care of all maintenance and utilities like water, telephone and electricity connection.   

Costs and Rental Yields of Properties

Properties are 120 sq. m. condominiums, in a major city center

City, Country

Price per sq. m. (US$)

Monthly Rent (US$)

Rental Yield

Cairo (Maadi), Egypt*

406

576

11.35%

Amman, Jordan

1,261

1,213

9.62%

Istanbul, Turkey

1,356

1,094

8.07%

Dubai, UAE

4,066

3,140

7.72%

Marrakech, Morocco

1,973

1,511

7.66%

Beirut, Lebanon*

1,237

1,154

7.46%

Cairo (Zamalek), Egypt*

732

616.5

6.74%

Tel Aviv, Israel

5,021

3,083

6.14%

Tunis, Tunisia

2,667

1,500

5.63%

London, UK

24,250

12,989

5.36%

New York, US**

15,933

7,976

5.01%

Cape Town, South Africa

2,784

1,221

4.39%

Paris, France

13,826

5,560

4.02%

Mumbai, India

10,222

3,380

3.31%

Barcelona, Spain

7,021

1,883

2.60%

* Based on 150 sq. m. apartments 

** Upper Manhattan

 

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