Dubai Land Department: 13.6% contribution from real estate sector to Dubai’s GDP

• HE Sultan Butti bin Mejren: We want this report to be a reference for all interested parties • 53,000 real estate transactions were conducted in 2018 with a value of over AED 223 billion • 31,000 real estate investors committed AED 80 billion through 41,000 investments in 2018 •

As part of its keenness to establish transparency in the real estate market and forming permanent communication bridges with all concerned parties, Dubai Land Department (DLD) presented its Annual Report: Real Estate Sector Performance 2019, comprising four chapters, each covering a variety of topics. DLD aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the market performance in 2018.

HE Sultan Butti bin Mejren, Director General of DLD, said: “We continue to support the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and commit to his wise directives, to strengthen Dubai’s position as a global economic capital, by cooperating with developers from the public and private sectors. We wish this report to become a reference for researchers that showcases the prestigious position of our economy and its momentum as we aim to achieve the ultimate goal of positioning Dubai ahead of all major cities in the world.”

The report highlights DLD’s role and its keenness to strengthen its relations with all relevant parties, including developers, investors, and customers, and keep them up to date with the latest developments in the sector to establish the principle of transparency as well as help them make the right decisions based on comprehensive data.

Bin Mejren added: “Though the real estate sector reflects the development achieved by the Emirate across all fields, it does not come without its challenges. On the one hand, we have to continue this momentum, which has been achieved through promotional initiatives at the local and global levels through our exhibitions in prominent Arab and international capitals. On the other hand, we should ensure transparent communication and openness to all investors and other parties in this sector.”

The report provides a complete overview of real estate performance in 2018 through the analysis of the sector’s performance based on sectoral and macroeconomic indicators. The report provides a reference for all real estate stakeholders through which they can transparently trace and compare the performance of the sector over the years with other cities.

Sustainable growth

The first chapter of the report covers the economic growth and role of the real estate sector in this growth, whereas the second chapter analyses the operational indicators of the sector. Chapter three focuses on the performance of the real estate sector in the ease of doing business index, ownership registration, and the global real estate sector transparency index. Chapter four focuses on economic and real estate sector growth expectations for the coming year.

According to the report, Dubai’s real estate sector progressed in global competitiveness indicators. In the ease of doing business index, the UAE delivered outstanding results by ranking 11th globally, having advanced ten ranks among 190 countries. This result is represented by Dubai as the largest business city and a result of improvements in a number of sectors, most prominently of which the real estate sector, represented by the real estate registration index, which advanced three ranks in 2019 and ranked seventh globally.

In the 2014 – 2018 global transparency index, Dubai ranked 40th in 2018 compared to 49th in 2014 and 48th in 2016. The Emirate’s ranking improvement was the result of a series of initiatives that have been implemented to serve the real estate sector, including the building classification survey project.

Real estate: a key pillar in the economy

The value of the gross domestic product (GDP) in Dubai reached AED 398 billion in 2018 compared to AED 390 billion in 2017, with a GDP growth rate of 1.9% in 2018. To stimulate the GDP growth, the Government of Dubai launched a series of initiatives to promote the growth process and increase the economic activities in the Emirate by reducing the cost of doing business, providing facilities to entrepreneurs, modifying the length of stay, and providing long-term residence of up to ten years for investors and those with outstanding skills, in an effort to attract competencies in the scientific and practical fields as well as to support demand in the local market.

The real estate sector significantly contributed to GDP growth, and the improvement in economic growth rates in the Emirate was accompanied by an improvement in the performance of the real estate sector through the contribution of real estate sector in the GDP that reached 13.6% in 2018 compared to 6.9% in 2017 and 6.8% In 2016, while the construction sector’s contribution to the GDP reached 6.4% in 2018 compared to 6.2% in both 2017 and 2016.

Real estate transactions

2018 witnessed around 53,000 transactions worth AED 223 billion, with overall Investments recording AED 80 billion through more than 41,000 investments by over 31,000 investors from around the world. The real estate investment results indicate an increasing growth in the number of corporate investors compared to individual investors. The percentage of individual investors decreased from 62.8% in 2017 to 59.8% in 2018, while the percentage of corporate investors increased from 37.2% in 2017 to 40.2% in 2018. This increase reflects the ability of the real estate sector to provide investment options that attract corporate investors and effectively contribute in providing huge real estate investments in the real estate sector.

The Business Bay area ranked first in terms of the number of real estate transactions with over 4,000 transactions. It also maintained the first position in transaction value with over AED 11 billion.

New investors represent 66% of the total number of investors in 2018 while active investors represent 34% of the total number of investors, and in terms of the value of the investments, new investors represent 57% of the total value of the investment in 2018 while active investors represent 43% of the total value of the investments.

Emirati nationals lead the way

Individual investors from the UAE ranked first in terms of the value of the real estate investments, with investments worth over AED 10 billion. Indian investors came second with investments worth over AED 8 billion in 2018.

Real estate activities

In terms of the real estate projects activity, the number of completed projects in 2018 was 62, with buildings comprising 74%, villas 15%, and villa complexes 11%.

The number of new projects launched in 2018 was 84, comprising 20,000 units across villas, buildings, and land plots.

Projects under construction

In terms of projects that are under construction, those registered with DLD in freehold areas only reached 102 projects in 2018 as per project registration date. The number of units expected to be added from these projects is 130,000, each bound by its respective expected completion date.

Analysis for the residential sector reveals that the number of completed residential units in freehold areas only and in accordance with the projects registered in DLD reached 7,469, excluding villas and villa complexes, with a total area exceeding 893,000 square metres.

As for the demand, which is expressed by both sales and rents, the report indicates that sales represented the largest percentage of real estate transactions, with more than 63% of the total number of transactions in 2018, with the recorded sales reaching over AED 74 Billion in 2018.

Improvement in the rental market

In terms of rents, the growth in the population and the growth in the number of employees in Dubai has been reflected in the number of leased units and the number of lease contracts in Dubai. The number of newly leased contracts reached 246,509, while renewed lease contracts reached 251,409 in 2018. From 2013 to 2016, new lease contracts were decreasing steadily against an increase in renewed lease contracts, whereas from 2017 until 2018, the numbers of both new and renewed lease contracts increased. However, the growth rate of new lease contracts was higher than that of renewed lease contracts, which reflects the additional demand on residential and non-residential units in the sector with the price correction in rents in Dubai.

A bright future

The final chapter of the report examines the performance of the real estate sector during 2019 in terms of economic growth expectations in Dubai and the UAE compared to other countries. The chapter also covers the expectations of real estate transactions based on the performance of the sector during the first five months of 2019 and the expectations of real estate projects entering the real estate market during the coming period.

The results of real estate sector’s performance within the first five months of 2019 indicate a significant improvement in the value of real estate transactions and investments, with the value of real estate transactions in Dubai reaching AED 106 billion compared to AED 95 billion in 2018, a growth rate of 12%. In light of this data, DLD represented the country in achieving seventh place globally in the real estate registration index.

In terms of real estate project growth, the first five months of 2019 witnessed the launch of 48 new real estate projects, which are expected to represent a new addition to the real estate sector. These projects ranged between residential apartments, villas, and villa complexes. Upon completion, they are expected to add approximately 8,000 new residential units to the real estate sector with a total area exceeding 730,000 square metres. Residential apartments represent the largest percentage thereof, compared to retail stores, offices, and other commercial units with 7,537 new residential units with a total area exceeding 668,000 square metres.

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