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Expat retirement visas expected to boost Dubai’s property market

The UAE’s decision to introduce a new five-year visa for expat retirees older than 55 is likely to boost property transactions in the over-50 age bracket, which has declined by 40 percent, according to Property Finder research.

On Sunday, the government announced that expats over 55 will be able to obtain the new visa if they own a real estate investment of at least AED 2 million, have savings of more than AED 1 million, or can prove income of at least AED 20,000 per month. The new visa is expected to be introduced from next year.

“The initiative to offer a five-year retirement visa is a much-welcomed announcement considering there are just over 150,000 residents aged 55 and over,” said Lynnette Abad, the director of research and data at Property Finder.

“According to Property Finder’s own research over the last few years, the trend of people over the age of 50 buying property in Dubai has declined by about 40 percent.”

Abad added that “this, along with Abu Dhabi’s Tomorrow 2021 plan will surely boost the market overall.”

Paul Kelly, the operations director of Dubai-based real estate firm Allsopp & Allsopp, said that the retirement laws “are another step in the right direction for the Dubai property market.”

“It [the retirement visa] gives a sense of security for those nearing retirement age and may encourage expats to put down more stable roots,” he said. “People will no longer look at Dubai as a short-term plan but rather as a place that can become home.”

Kelly added that the Dubai property market “will benefit immensely as a result of more expats investing in family homes.”

Samer Abdin, general manager of Dubizzle Property, said that he also expects the move to encourage expats to stay longer and maker longer-term plans for investment and retirement.

“We expect the move to…encourage people to switch from renting to owning property as the barriers to ownership – such as lack of security on visas and the amount of red-tape involved in the purchasing process – start to be eroded by these forward-thinking measures.”

Source: Arabian Business, 2018

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