Dubai’s real estate activity picked up in 2017 even as average prices—particularly at the high end—continued to decline, according to an end-of-year government report.
The number of transactions last year totaled 69,000, a 14% increase over 2016. The value of those transactions also rose 6% to AED 285 billion (US$77.594 billion), according to a report Tuesday from the Dubai Land Department. The department’s definition of transactions includes housing stock, land, new mortgages and so-called “other” transactions.
The data “confirm the current strength of the Dubai real estate market, in particular when compared against the past two years,” said Sultan Butti bin Mejren, director of the Dubai Land Department, in the report.
Prices in the city have been in decline since 2014, when oil prices underpinning wealth in the region collapsed. The average prices fell around 5.6% in 2017, according to the latest report from real estate consultancy Cluttons.
Though prices continue to decline and oversupply remains a problem at the high-end of the market, 2017 data show Dubai remains desirable, particularly among foreign buyers who accounted for more than three-quarters of all transactions.
“Among the positive signs of the report is the lead UAE nationals have in investments, as well as the diversity of the investor base which reflects the attractiveness of the Dubai real estate market to global investors,” Mr. bin Mejren said in the report.
Indian investors continue to reign as the leading buyer in Dubai after emiratis. They poured roughly AED 15.6 billion (US$4.2 billion) into real estate in 2017, followed by Saudis, who invested around AED 7 billion (US$1.9 billion). British and Pakistanis were also significant buyers, spending roughly AED 6 billion (US$1.6 billion) and AED 5 billion (US$1.3 billion), respectively.
Other top investors included Chinese, Jordanians, Egyptians and Canadians, according to the report.
For the first time, Dubai also released figures pertaining to women in real estate. Last year, women led roughly one-fifth of all transactions, totaling AED 27 billion (US$7.35 billion).
The Burj Khalifa area led for overall transaction volume, totaling AED 7.368 billion (US$2.01 billion)—even though prices are still a fraction of their 2014 peak, according to Cluttons.
Neighboring Business Bay came in second with AED 7.1115 billion (US$1.94 billion) worth of transactions last year. Third place was Dubai Marina, which captured about AED 7 billion (US$1.91 billion) in 2017.
The ritzy man-made archipelago Palm Jumeirah attracted the most transactions of any neighborhood, according to the report.
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