Developers hail game-changing visa reforms
The major changes to rules around UAE visas will have an impact on the local property market. The new laws have the potential to bring a sense of permanence in the way many expats live and work in the country. Residents are increasingly likely to consider property ownership in the country. As a result, developers and other industry stakeholders have welcomed the new proposed regulations.
“We welcome the changes to residency visa regulations, which will undoubtedly have a positive effect on the UAE economy – and in particular the real estate sector,” says Nakheel chairman Ali Rashid Lootah.
According to an Emaar spokesperson: “The low-cost insurance is an incentive for businesses to enhance their ease of operation and competitiveness. It will support the real estate sector – one of the largest employment providers – to efficiently streamline construction work and accelerate project delivery with easier access to more skilled professionals.
The 10-year visas will give a large number of expats a greater feeling of permanence in the UAE. They are more likely to opt for the long-term security of owning property in the UAE as opposed to renting.
“10-year visas will provide a great deal more confidence to those who have been thinking about buying a property in the UAE. This change gives them the security and stability to put roots down in the country, which in turn will spur the housing market and fuel confidence. The ultra high-end property market will feel this benefit and we expect a rise in interest from customers who are looking to expand their portfolio and from those looking to buy in the segment for the first time. Buyers need to know they have the tenure required in the UAE to see their purchases come to fruition,” observes Mohammed Hmeid, head of marketing and sales, Omniyat.
These reforms could be the game changer to get Dubai’s real estate market to the next level of attracting investments. End-users will start to take long-term calls and there will be a higher migration from renting to buying. An overseas investor will also look at 10-year visas while deciding to buy his second home as s/he benefits from high yields and a residency status as and when he/she decides to use the same. It will also bring a sense of belonging to those who are currently staying from renewal to renewal of visa every two years.
“Every industry and business in the UAE stands to gain from the government’s decisions to simplify visa regulations. These revisions will ultimately stimulate commercial activity and drive economic growth, provide incentives for foreign expats and students to consider moving to the UAE for extended periods of time, and ensure that skilled professionals with UAE experience are able to remain in the country as they search for new jobs. Such regulations give a sense of continuity to the population and have a long-term economic benefit for everyone,” reckons Niall Mcloughlin, senior vice-president, Damac Properties.
Other incentives to reduce the cost of doing business in Dubai’s real estate market include the exemption from Dubai Land Department’s 4 per cent late-payment penalty which used to be imposed on property owners who fail to register real estate transactions within 60 days.
Says Muhammad BinGhatti, CEO and head of architecture at Binghatti Developers: “The revaluation of government fees related to real estate development and investment as well as the exemption from fines will significantly contribute to the growth and development of Dubai’s real estate sector. In fact, the cost of real estate activities will be reduced, and this will result in boosting the confidence of real estate developers and attracting local and foreign real estate investors.”