Expo 2020 Dubai is fueling emirate’s real estate market – but where to buy?

The Expo is months away – promising to be one of the most significant events in Dubai’s modern history. Coinciding with the opening of borders and a serious global pent-up demand, we expect the event to be even bigger and more important than it would have been in 2020.

Since the beginning of the year, we at Frank Porter have noticed a steady increase in inquiries from investors looking to buy and short-let their properties just in time for the Expo. The question is always ‘Where should I buy?’.

With so many good opportunities in the market, the investor is not starved for choice. There are multiple developer deals going on, favourable mortgage rates, and flexible sellers. While it is more complex to discuss the long-term viability of any real estate deal – what we do know about is the short-term rental occupancy and the tourism trends.

Dubai real estate market investments total $9.8bn so far in 2021

Dubai Land Department says property sector will witness ‘increased growth and a greater recovery’ as emirate prepares to host Expo 2020

When it comes to the short-term market, location is everything. But is it? The main tourist staples of Dubai remain Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai and Palm Jumeirah. These are classic tourist destinations where the development hasn’t even stopped yet.

However, investors are no longer limited to these areas as Dubai grows. There are options in Business Bay, Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC), Sports City, Barsha South and areas close to the Expo – Dubai South. All are going through a development process with malls, metro links, offices and new residential buildings – expanding Dubai into a real multi-area city. After all, not everyone can afford to buy or rent a 2BR on the Palm with beach access.

Covid has played a role in this trend as well. With more people stuck inside in 2020, it became less important which area you are living in – as long as you got your space and your high-speed WiFi. Now we will be seeing it with tourists coming to work-from-home from Dubai, where they will stay in a property longer, so it needs to be bigger and more affordable, with nice facilities. JVC is showing a lot of promise here. There are many new building with great facilities and new malls for all the tourist immediate needs. We are seeing high occupancy here and longer stays. This trend will increase as the area develops.

When it comes to the main touristic destinations of Dubai, it’s a pretty safe bet. We know that to some extent Dubai Marina (as we know it), for example, will stop developing. If you are able to purchase a property now, within walking distance to the beach, restaurants and a bonus sea view, your occupancy will remain above a yearly 85 percent for a long time past the Expo.

For the short-term market as well, there is not a huge difference between the ‘premium’ value of the building. Of course the facilities need to be nice, but tourists don’t know the difference between a ‘premium’ building…

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