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Expats in UAE settling in for the long haul: Survey

Expats in UAE settling in for the long haul copy


Abu Dhabi / Emirates Business

Good news for expats in the UAE — the future is looking brighter. Amid the constant speculation about whether the UAE’s ‘expat bubble’ is about to burst comes proof that more and more expats are planning to lay down their roots and settle in for the long haul.
According to compareit4me.com, a survey carried out last year found that 54 percent of UAE residents said they wouldn’t consider buying property in the UAE as they weren’t sure how long they were going to stay. However, the finance comparison site reports that this year that figure has gone down to 36 percent, indicating that more people are planning to stay in the UAE for longer.
Commenting on their findings, Jon Richards, CEO at compareit4me.com, said, “In March last year all the major newspapers were reporting that more than half of expats in the UAE were considering leaving due to the high cost of living. Just one year later, we are happy to announce that the number of people who are interested in buying property is on the rise. It seems attitudes are changing and fears and insecurities about the future are lifting.”
Interestingly, last year 56 percent of people said property prices were the main squeeze on their financial wellbeing. With that in mind, the fact that property prices dropped by between 10 and 13 percent last year and are set to drop by a further 10 percent this year could explain the change of heart in the expat population.
Richards said, “There is no doubt that the stabilisation in the property market, which is thought to be a knock-on effect of low crude oil prices and the subsequent strength of the US dollar, must be having an impact on people’s long term plans. Additionally, with the recent exciting developments — both commercially, in terms of business opportunities, and physically, with projects like the impressive Dubai Canal — staying and committing to life in the UAE is becoming even more of an enticing option. For expats, it’s all about timing — choosing the right time to arrive and the right time to leave. The recent drop in housing prices has obviously removed a big weight from people’s minds and made settling here a more viable option. After all, who wants to leave a place when it is booming?”
Commenting on this, CCO Lukman Hajje of The propertyfinder Group commented ‘’Many property seekers have been sitting on the sidelines watching prices ease for the past 18-24 months trying to time the bottom of the market which I suspect we’ll see during 2016. But interest continues to be strong particularly from long term investors seeking excellent high single digital rental yields and end users who’ve seen their dream home come to within reach. Moreover, the oil’s rebound in the past 2 months from a 14 year low of $27 USD per barrel to the verge of $50 USD per barrel early this week has given reason for optimism.”

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