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Real estate property under construction is seen near the Dubai Marina in this file photo.—Reuters
Real estate property under construction is seen near the Dubai Marina in this file photo.—Reuters

KARACHI: Pakistanis remained in pursuit of real estate in Dubai in the first quarter of 2015 as third biggest amount of foreign property transactions $379 million came from Pakistani nationals.

Pakistanis purchased properties worth over $4.3 billion (16bn dirhams) in 2013 and 2014 in Dubai.

Read: Pakistanis bought property worth 16bn dirhams in Dubai

According to data released by Dubai Land Department in April 2015, Pakistani nationals made transactions worth $379m (1.392 billion dirhams) during the first quarter of 2015.

In terms of investor numbers, however, Pakistanis stood second with a total of 953 investors, only behind Indians with over 1,000 investors.

Also read: Capital flight to Gulf states worries govt

Pakistanis also make up the second largest non-Arab nationality in the UAE.

In a January market sentiment survey by Zameen.com, a Pakistan’s property portal, a large number of respondents said they only wanted to invest in Pakistan. However, 49pc of participants who wanted to invest abroad wished to buy property in Dubai.

Bayut.com, a Dubai-based property portal, shared some insights from its UAE real estate market database.

Explore more: The lure of Dubai property market

The figures divulged by Bayut.com registered a quarter-on-quarter (Q1’14 to Q1’15) hike in searches originating from Pakistan regarding buying property in Dubai. Pakistanis’ searches for buying property in Dubai went up to 87.29pc in Q1 2015 from 85.40pc in Q1 2014, suggesting an increased intent of buying rather than renting property.

Bayut data revealed that there were more Pakistanis searching for apartments up for sale in Q1 2014 (82.94pc) than villas (14.54pc). However, there was a drastic shift in the search trend in Q1 2015, as a whopping 24.42pc of searches from Pakistan related to the villa segment, while the searches for apartments dropped to 24.42pc.

Haider Ali Khan, Bayut.com CEO and Co-founder of Zameen.com, said the trend hinted at rising fortunes of Pakistanis and that higher end properties, like villas and town houses in Dubai were now within the reach of many more Pakistani individuals.

Also read: UAE minister warns Pakistan of ‘heavy price for ambiguous stand’ on Yemen

The data also revealed a significant rise in the searches related to office spaces up for sale, going up from 1.19pc in Q1 2014 to 5.22pc in Q1 2015.

Again, this hinted at an increasing inclination of Pakistani businessmen to set up offices in Dubai, especially in the face of opportunities being presented by the approaching Expo 2020, Bayut added.

Area-wise, most Pakistanis hunted properties in the top luxury segment, with 55.73pc of Q1 2015 searches dedicated to apartments in Dubai Marina area, a top choice locality for expats commanding average price of 2,262,334 dirhams (Rs62 million).

Downtown Dubai, where average apartment prices hover around 3,364,547 dirhams (Rs94 million), came in second place with 7.2pc of searches focused on the area.

In the villa and townhouse segments, most Pakistanis (28.43pc) looked for buying properties in Jumeirah Islands, where average prices falling around the 7.7m dirhams (Rs215m) mark.

In searches for rental apartments, Dubai Marina was the top choice again, with average rents of around 115,000 dirhams per annum.

A mere 12pc of Pakistanis looking for rental spaces in Q1 2015 meant not many from Pakistan headed to Dubai for work, hence the low demand for rental spaces, Bayut.com stated.

It was in contrast to Bayut.com’s UK and US search trends data, as figures for Q1 2015 suggested an almost equal interest of Americans in buying and renting, while 60.87pc of people in UK searched properties for sale compared to 39.13pc who wanted to rent.

However, there was a five per cent surge in Americans’ interest to acquire office spaces in Dubai in Q1 2015, which could mean an increasing intent of US nationals to do or start a business in Dubai.

The higher number of Americans and Britons looking for rental spaces was due to the fact that a lot more westerners travelled to Dubai to work in the corporate sector, Bayut.com added.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2015

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