How Expo 2020 is shaping up the Dubai property market

Originally published on Feb 07, 2022 | Khaleej Times

The Dubai property market is witnessing a remarkable recovery as an upward trend is noted in both the prices and demand for residential properties. While there are other factors at play, the growth is mainly attributed to Expo 2020 Dubai, as areas closer to the global fair site are performing exceptionally well.

Statistics reveal that 17,942 transactions worth Dh46.75 billion were recorded during the fourth quarter of 2021, signalling the growth of 12.7 per cent on quarter-on-quarter basis and 63.2 per cent year-on-year basis as compared to the fourth quarter of 2020. Both volume and value of transactions remained the highest since the fourth quarter of 2013 chiefly because of Expo 2020 Dubai.

According to Zoom Property Insights, this upward trend will continue even after Expo 2020 is over. Both the ready and off-plan properties will remain high in demand in key areas as more foreign investors are expected to foray into the property market.

 James Hatton, managing director at Elysian Real Estate, is of the view that the impact of Expo 2020 is going to be long-term.

 “Ultimately, if we are looking at long-term factors of Expo, I do feel it’s going to be very very positive. How could they not leverage such a large audience and a lot of people coming into town,” he said. Hatton also said that there was a notable increase in the number of leads the company received since the Expo began in October.

Simon Baker, managing director at Haus & Haus, also echoes the same sentiment. He believes that government initiatives, such as the golden visa, easy business set-up facilities, etc, are also contributing to the growth of the Dubai property market. He said Expo 2020 has a really positive effect on Dubai generally.

“It’s a contributing factor along with lots of initiatives and (the way) government has handled the pandemic very well,” Baker said.

Georges El Hachem, commercial director at Select Group, is of the view that many people, who are visiting Dubai for the first time due to Expo, will be able to know the Dubai property market and its perks in a better way. This will lead to increased interest from buyers.

“Expo was the cherry on top. The amount of people visiting Dubai currently is driving a lot of people to buy due to the fact that maybe 70 to 80 per cent of people coming are newly arriving in Dubai. It’s their first time and when they see the growth, the vibe, the security, the ease of transfer, the communication, the commuting system, (and) everything is provided, they see the value in ownership and permanent residency,” El Hachem said.

Katie Burnell, head of exclusive leasing at Savills, hints at price stability in the Dubai and Abu Dhabi property markets.

In a conversation with Zoom Property, she said the last 10 months have seen a vast surge in prices within villa communities here in Dubai and, of course, Abu Dhabi as well.

“Whilst we won’t see a continuation of surging prices, we do see that prices are starting to stabilise in both these markets,” she said.

While sharing her views on Expo’s impact on the property market, Burnell said Expo 2020 has seen a vast increase in demand for short-term rental units that has never been seen before.

Ata Shobeiry, CEO at Zoom Property, is also of the view that Expo 2020 is impacting the property market and other sectors of Dubai in a very positive way.

 “While the government initiatives and an efficient vaccination drive have helped the recovery of the property market, the role Expo 2020 played cannot be denied,” Shobeiry said.

“Expo is bringing a huge number of people to Dubai and introducing them with its upscale lifestyle, safe environment, and potential to make huge earnings. The impact is certainly going to last longer as the Expo site will be converted into District 2020 while retaining most of its infrastructure and resources. It will attract more investment from foreign investors,” he added.

Amidst all safety measures, Expo 2020 Dubai welcomed more than 10 million visitors by mid-January. The numbers are expected to rise significantly, with roughly two and a half months still left for the global fair to drop its curtains.