Why Indians are investing big in Dubai property

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Economical prices, better returns and more scope for capital gains are some of the advantages

In less than 40 years, Dubai has transformed from a local trading community into one of the most inspirational, exciting and successful cities in the world. It continues to make global headlines as an immensely attractive destination for tourists, investors and businesses alike.

With recent economic changes in India and the lack of incentivised benefits for investments, especially in the real estate sector, Indian investors are looking for alternate means to achieve higher returns on investments from different avenues. As such, they are setting their sights on Dubai.

Due to its diverse population and cosmopolitan lifestyle, Dubai offers residents and businesses a unique environment enriched with hundreds of cultures and a quality of life and work unrivalled in the Middle East. This encourages potential investment from around the world, especially India.

In recent years, the trend of Indians investing in Dubai has surged due to the exponentially increasing property prices in India. Almost 25 per cent of foreign investment in Dubai real estate is contributed by Indians. Indians topped foreign real estate investments in Dubai last year, making Dh12 billion worth of property transactions across 6,263 investors. As per a recent report from the Dubai Land Department, they are still the leading foreign investors along with Pakistani, British, Chinese and Canadian nationals, having bought Dh26.8 billion worth of properties in Dubai in the first half of 2017.

There has been a 12 per cent growth in the number of Indian travellers to Dubai despite demonetisation and cash pressures. Given the recent developments, the repercussions have lowered sales in the Indian real estate sector. Post demonetisation last November, Indian investors who wish to invest in second homes or deploy their recently-converted old money to new money have limited options to achieve higher returns in India.

In Dubai, Indian investors can avail of tax-free returns of eight to 10 per cent and sound capital appreciation as the dirham is pegged to the US dollar and unaffected by currency fluctuations. Additionally, under the Reserve Bank of India’s ‘liberated remittance scheme’, an Indian investor can transfer $250,000 legally per year. A couple can send $500,000 every year. This amount can fetch a fantastic property in Dubai. The ease of registering a property in Dubai in comparison to India is much better and one is entitled to a residence visa on investing Dh1 million in this city.

Property prices in Dubai are very economical as compared to India. A property in a prime location in the city of Mumbai costs anything between ?40,000 to ?55,000 per sqft, a property in Delhi will range up to ?36,000 per sqft and in Bengaluru, it ranges between ?19,000 and ?27,000 per sqft. Dubai offers property investments in the centre of town at a starting price of Dh1,480 (?25,000) per sqft.

Besides, all apartments here are sold in terms of carpet area while in India, it is sold as built-up. In addition, car park is given for free here. In India, it is charged separately. In Dubai, most apartments come with fittings and fixtures whereas in India, properties usually come shell and core.
So, when you add all this up, you get a fantastic deal in Dubai and much higher value for money. As of today, you can buy only a 99sqm land plot in Mumbai for $1 million versus a 162sqm land parcel in Dubai for the same amount.

Dubai has been a hotspot not only for businesses but also for sectors such as tourism, real estate, etc., for the past few years. The city is considered a viable international hub because of its steady economic growth, good infrastructure, city planning and ease of access to the rest of the world. Its inclusive culture and tolerance for multiple nationalities is welcoming.

Indian investors will benefit from Dubai being considered the most sustainable city in the region and a haven in terms of real estate investment.
Don’t forget, there are close to 200-odd flights a week to and from India, with an average flight time of only three hours.

The writer is managing director of sales and marketing, Sobha Group. Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper’s policy.

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