Dubai’s developers are missing a trick when targeting Chinese buyers by failing to capitalise on the emirate’s strength as a higher education hub, according to Juwai.com.
The company, which specialises in marketing international properties to Chinese buyers, said that although a number of developers had taken the plunge in targeting Chinese investors for their projects, few were doing it successfully enough.
Bernie Morris, Juwai.com’s president for the UK, Europe and the Middle East, said: “What we find is a bit of a missed opportunity is that one of the major drivers for Chinese investors is education. Obviously, both Dubai and Abu Dhabi have invested quite heavily in bringing in some high-class education facilities. Presenting that and offering it to the Chinese in an effective way will certainly help to drive demand for property investment.”
He added: “We see it even in Manchester, London, Oxford, Cambridge. What will happen is mum and dad will come and buy an apartment for their kid to study in, and they will also buy an apartment for them to stay in when they visit. Very often they will buy a third for investment.
“And some of these families are planning years ahead. They know they want their son to be an engineer in whatever field it is going to be, and they will decide where they want their kids to go and target one or two universities. They’ll buy a flat in anticipation of that now even though their son is only two or three years old. And they will rent it out as an investment.”
Juwai.com has just produced a new UAE Chinese Property report which highlights Land Department figures showing Dh1 billion worth of investment by Chinese buyers in Dubai property in the first six months of 2016. It also pointed to the fact that Dubai’s Chinese population grew by 53 per cent last year – to 253,000.
It said that Dubai has 26 branch universities from international universities from 11 countries, including the US and Canada, and that the first Chinese International School is set to open in the Emirate next year.
Mr Morris said that for Chinese parents, Dubai is much closer than sending children to the UK, and that it has an infrastructure that is more accommodating to buyers looking to get their money out of China.
“Locals are quite accommodating in terms of helping you transferring funds, which can be more difficult in other jurisdictions,” he said.
Juwai.com’s report states that for Chinese buyers already active in the Dubai market, rental yields are a major selling point, with the UAE offering average yields of about 6 per cent, compared with about 3.3 per cent in London and 2.75 per cent in New York or Hong Kong. Downtown Dubai remains the favoured area, alongside Palm Jumeirah and Mohammed Bin Rashid City.
Juwai.com has signed a number of agreements with Dubai-based companies within the past year, including developer Damac and the owner of the Justproperty.com portal, JRD Group. It has said that search hits for Dubai property on its site are 85.3 per cent higher over the past 12 months compared to the previous year.
Speaking at the Cityscape Global conference on Monday, Majid Saqeer, a senior director of Dubai Land Department’s real estate promotion division, said that China and India were its two key markets in terms of promoting Dubai as a real estate investment destination.
“We have an exhibition in December in India, and an exhibition in March 2017 in China.”
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