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Dubai property market 2024: Is now the right time to buy or sell?

Dubai’s real estate market is currently booming, with a significant increase in the construction and completion of new housing units. Here are insights from experts on whether to sell, buy, or hold properties in this resilient and promising market

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The Dubai real estate market is currently thriving with record-breaking highs, making it a prime opportunity for property owners and investors to capitalise on. According to Knight Frank, 105 homes priced above $10 million were sold in Dubai in the first quarter of the year, a 19% increase from last year. The total value of luxury homes sold in Q1 was $1.73 billion, up 6% from Q1 2023, solidifying Dubai as the world’s busiest world’s for high-end homes. Additionally, Dubai is projected to deliver 13,000 homes annually over the next six years.

In Q1 2024, Dubai’s property market experienced a surge in off-plan property transactions, with sales volume rising consistently in each month. The number of off-plan units sold increased from 5,881 in January to 7,601 in March. Additionally, sales of ready properties also saw an uptick, climbing from 3,961 units in January to 4,421 units in March.

Morgan Owen, Managing Director at ANAROCK Group, noted that Dubai is currently one of the most affordable luxury destinations globally compared to cities like Hong Kong and Singapore. Since the pandemic, there has been a rise in interest in Dubai’s residential market from wealthy individuals, including businessmen, top professionals in banking and financial services, and even crypto millionaires.

However, despite the huge influx of new units, experts predict property prices for both rents as well as ownership will continue to rise due to strong demand from local and foreign buyers. In fact, property prices increased in February, with prices 0.83% higher than they were in January bringing the price to an all-time high of $352.31 (AED 1,294) per square foot, which is almost 5% more than the city’s previous market peak in September 2014, according to the Property Monitor Dynamic Price Index.

So, the big question on everyone’s mind is whether 2024 is a good time to sell property or buy. Experts have weighed in on the matter and provided their insights.

Capitalise on the market

According to Prathyusha Gurrapu – Head of Research and Consultancy at Cushman & Wakefield Core, both rents and sale prices have seen sharp increases in Dubai, with rents rising at a faster pace compared to sales prices.

“With the recalibration of the RERA rent calculator last month, we expect the renewed rents to be bridging closer to new rents. In the wake of these trends, it would be a good time for tenants/end-users who have the capital for a downpayment along with a long-term view of staying in Dubai, to buy as the mortgage costs are likely to be offset by the high rents and avoid continued rental escalations expected over the near term,” mentions Gurrapu.

“On the other hand, for investors who already own assets in the market for rental yields, it would be a good time to hold these assets as the rental yields are at record levels. That said, depending on when they purchased, we are witnessing sellers looking to exit the market to capitalise on the current high sales prices,” Gurrapu adds.

A balanced approach

Dubai’s real estate market has seen consistent growth and rising prices for over four years, with no signs of slowing down. While the pace of growth may fluctuate, experts anticipate continued price appreciation this year. “Factors such as the introduction of Golden and Green visas, tax benefits, a business-friendly environment, abundant job opportunities, lifestyle amenities, and overall better quality of life have contributed to a steady increase in Dubai’s population,” says Alec James Smith, Director of Sales and Leasing, Savills.

According to the Dubai Statistics Centre (DSC), the population grew by over 100,000 in 2023, while approximately 40,000 new residential units were delivered during the same period last year. Early projections for 2024 suggest similar levels of population growth and new home deliveries, with an estimated 35,000–50,000 units expected to be handed over.

“Dubai remains an attractive investment destination, offering high rental yields compared to other global cities like London, New York, Paris, and Hong Kong. As more people choose Dubai as their permanent residence each year, the city’s real estate market is poised for further growth, making it an opportune time to invest. Given the circumstances, it might be an opportune moment for savvy investors to sell if they seek rapid returns,” mentions Smith.

“For instance, those who acquired property around the pandemic in 2020 likely witnessed significant appreciation, potentially doubling or even tripling their investment in just four years. Achieving such substantial ROI in a short period is remarkable and unlikely to repeat in the next few years. Hence, I recommend that investors seeking profit consider selling their assets. Whether to sell, buy, or hold real estate in Dubai depends on individual needs and circumstances. Factors like purchase timing, property location, associated payment plans, and current market demand should be carefully evaluated on a case-by-case basis,” elaborates Smith.

Dubai: A resilient market

The Dubai real estate market in 2024 is showing resilience and strength following two years of strong performance. Strategic initiatives, regulatory reforms, economic diversification efforts, and infrastructure development have created a positive environment for buying and selling properties. Incentives like the Golden Visa Program have helped position Dubai as an attractive global city for real estate investment.

“The decision to buy or sell property in 2024 depends on individual circumstances and preferences. Real estate decisions are highly personalised, and influenced by factors such as financial goals, market trends, and personal lifestyle choices. Prospective buyers and sellers should conduct thorough research and analysis before making any decisions.  One important fact that buyers should keep in mind is that when it comes to price per square foot, Dubai continues to be much lower than many comparable cities,” concludes Cherif Sleiman, Chief Revenue Officer, Property Finder.

Bear in mind

Determining whether 2024 is a good time to sell or buy property in Dubai depends on various factors, including market conditions, personal financial situation, and long-term investment goals. Here are some considerations:

  • Market conditions: It’s essential to assess the current state of the Dubai real estate market. Factors such as demand, supply, property prices, and rental yields can influence the decision to buy or sell. Research recent trends and forecasts from reliable sources to understand the market dynamics.
  • Economic outlook: Consider the overall economic situation in Dubai and the broader region. Factors such as GDP growth, employment rates, and government policies can impact property market stability and investor confidence.
  • Personal financial situation: Evaluate your financial position, including savings, income stability, and affordability of mortgage payments. If you’re planning to buy, ensure that you have a secure financial foundation and can comfortably manage property expenses.
  • Investment goals: Determine your investment objectives and timeline. Are you looking for long-term capital appreciation, rental income, or a property for personal use? Your goals will influence whether it’s the right time to buy or sell.
  • Market analysis: Conduct thorough research or consult with real estate experts to analyse market trends, property prices, and potential returns on investment.
  • Regulatory environment: Stay informed about any changes in real estate regulations, taxes, or government policies that may affect property transactions. Regulatory stability can provide confidence to buyers and sellers alike.