Canal Scape: The Canal Scape residence has a beautiful view of the canal which runs through Dubai’s Sports City.
Dubai is growing ever more popular as a lifestyle and investment destination. In 2002 it was announced that non-Arab nationals could purchase property in Dubai. Dubai has since established a flourishing property market, packed with investment opportunities in time share, fractional title and freehold properties.
“It is interesting to note that it was only in 2006 that the legal title issue was cleared up in so much as a royal decree of designated areas for investment in freehold properties,” says Phil Sheridan, CEO of Fine & Country Middle East.
The demand for property in Dubai has far exceeded the availability thereof. “The words of wisdom from our Dubai investors and real estate advisory panel predict that the current pace of growth is sustainable, with convincing reasons to believe that the property boom will continue for at least another ten years,” says Sheridan.
Dubai has a great deal to offer, with its westernised high standards of living, wonderful beaches, luxury hotels, a recreational wonderland with amazing theme parks and not forgetting that Dubai is virtually crime free. There are no government taxes when purchasing a property in Dubai, as neither personal nor capital gains taxes are charged.
Dubai has a population of 1.5 million, of which 80% are ex-pats. Dubai’s language of commerce is English, which is spoken by the majority of people, including all service staff.
The currency is the United Arab Emirate Dirham (AED or DHS), which has been fixed to the United States Dollar at a rate of 3.67 for numerous years in order to ensure currency stability.
It is interesting to note that Dubai has the highest hotel occupancy in the world, which also bodes well for those interested in Dubai’s fractional title offerings. “The beauty for the fractional title owners is that they invest their money and benefit from the usage when they have the time to use the property, but if they don’t have the time to use the property, they can benefit from rental income,” says Linda Erasmus, CEO of Fine & Country South Africa.
After attending a recent convention on fractional title ownership, Erasmus highlighted a few golden rules in order to make sure fractional title projects are successful. Some of these rules include:
§ The availability of tourist attractions near to the development;
§ Activities available for the entire family;
§ Ease of access to the destination;
§ Lifestyle during the stay.
“Dubai is one place that will offer destination, attraction and comfort all in one go once all the theme parks are operational. Dubai offers exactly what they prescribed at the Fractional Ownership Convention,” says Erasmus.
Sheridan notes that the areas which are currently in great demand are The Palm Jumeirah, The Palm Jebel Ali, the Dubai Marina area, Dubailand and the International City.
‘Waterfront Properties elicit the waterfront lifestyle which can best be described as a combination of fun and tranquillity, the perfect recipe for total rejuvenation and an activity-filled lifestyle. Yacht bay’s and world class marina’s provide paramount sport and leisure facilities. The Palm Jumeirah is one such address; the worlds largest palm tree shaped island embracing first rate engineering, architecture and planning,” Sheridan notes.
The Dubai Marina: Elite Residence, located in the heart of possibly one of the world’s most prestigious addresses, Dubai Marina, exudes a sense of high-society tenor. The exclusive residential tower is positioned in a man-made marina that is widely recognised as an urban centre on the water. Living in total luxury for thirty days a year, at a fraction of the cost is now available through Fine & Country South Africa who are marketing fractional title options here.
Dubailand is expected to position Dubai as the ‘themed’ capital of the world. Twice the size of Disneyland, Dubailand will be the biggest theme park in the world. One of the 50 theme parks will enable visitors to watch over 100 life-size animatronics dinosaurs roar, move and walk. Dubailand will also be home to the biggest shopping mall in the world, the largest zoo, the biggest ski-dome, artificial rainforest, water amusement parks to name a few and the City of Arabia, which is a mixed-use tourism development being built in Dubailand itself.
Dubai is also fast emerging as the choice for many companies seeking an ideal location to establish regional presence. Business Bay, which can be described as a city within a city is a freehold commercial, residential and business cluster that extends the famous Dubai Creek. It covers an area of 64 million square feet and is set to feature facilities such as towers for offices and accommodation, landscaped layout and a network of roads providing for easy access and exit.
Financing your property
“Shared ownership is gaining a progressively higher profile. Many high-net worth individuals have concluded that owning very expensive but rarely used assets is a waste of money. Fractional title ownership offers variety united with the solidarity of an equity investment,” says Erasmus.
Any international or local investor can purchase in Dubai’s luxury property developments. Freehold properties are available on most of the developments Fine & Country deals with and in some cases there is a mixture of freehold and 99-year leasehold properties. Mortgages are available at competitive interest rates on a 10 to 25 year basis through Fine & Country’s major lending partners.
Buyers do not need to establish a local bank account in order to arrange purchases although this can easily be arranged if required. “In general, a deposit representing 10% of the buying price is required at the contract-signing stage for all new development properties. This is followed by what are known as stage payments that are made at regular intervals through to completion,” explains Erasmus.
Development Service Charges are payable to developers for maintenance, landscaping and refuse collection. Charges vary from project to project but would typically be R15 per square foot.
Owners also have the option of resale; you can sell your property or assign your agreement to any person, which means that they will take over the payments to be made to the developer.
“Early investors in Dubai have done exceptionally well. Properties which were once available for R1,5-million are now sold at R6-million. Dubai property prices are expected to double in the next five years,” Sheridan concludes.
Burj Al Arab: The Burj-Al-Arab structure stands as an architectural masterpiece in Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah
Canal Residence 1: The Canal Residence development is located in the active Dubai Sports City.
Fairmont Residence: Dubai offers some of the most solicited waterfront addresses in the world. Fairmont Residence is only a few steps away from the beach and has a beautiful ocean view.