Dubai, UAE: In an exclusive up-to-date survey commissioned by Majid Al Futtaim Properties, nearly nine out of ten respondents from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman said they intended to buy property in the near future – with nearly half of those saying they planned to invest within the next year.
The results come as the doors opens on Cityscape Global in Dubai, the most important and influential real estate exhibition in the region. The survey, conducted by YouGov for the Communities business unit of Majid Al Futtaim Properties, specifically for Cityscape, revealed that 87% of respondents intend buying property in the future. Of these potential homebuyers, 55% intend investing in real estate in the next two years or more, 29% in the next year, and 16% will buy property in the next six months or less.
In the age group 18 to 24 years, 92% said they intend to buy property in the region, and 36% aimed doing so in the next year or less, while 64% intended investing in real estate over the next two years or more.
Among the high earners – those with a net income of AED 50,000 or more per month – 80% said they were going to invest in property before September 2016. Questioned whether they would rent out or live in the purchased property, 61% of respondents intended to rent it out.
“As planners, developers and home providers, it is essential for us to understand the needs, the likes and the preferences of these future homeowners,” said Simon Azzam, CEO – Communities of Majid Al Futtaim Properties.
“We design and develop our communities on the basis that we are not only meeting current demands, we are offering convenience, choices and lifestyles for the future. Through these survey results, we see that there are more and more factors playing a part in choosing a home. Proximity to education, public transport routes, natural environment and friendly neighbours can be crucial in making a final decision.”
The key drivers for buying real estate in the Middle East, North Africa and Levant were location and price – 56% of people consider location as the major influencer in their purchasing decisions, while price was the next biggest driver. Rental income potential featured above the value of the real estate, suggesting a longer-term attitude to a return on investment. (This trend is reinforced by those who said they would let their property rather than live in it.)
Of those surveyed, 52% agreed they would prefer to own an apartment or a flat compared to a villa or townhouse – and the trend towards being a member of a gated community was backed up by nearly half of the respondents (47%) who were either living or had lived in community developments.
Results also reflected a growing tendency to move into gated communities. While 24% of people had been living in gated communities for five years or more, 26% of respondents had been living in these developments for between two to five years, 33% for one to two years, and 17% less than a year.
The top three factors prompting people to live in communities, particularly for those who were married with children, were security, a family-friendly environment and the availability of different facilities and amenities.
Other key factors that people looked for in gated communities were, in order of importance: location, good neighbours, proximity to education, and commute time and public transportation options.
Azzam said: “It is our job to ensure we have the commercial insights and business acumen, yet we must never lose sight of our ultimate objective, which is listening to our customers and making sure we exceed their needs and expectations and create great moments for them.”
The survey showed that the UAE topped the list of where investors would prefer to buy their property (59%), followed by Oman (24%) and Saudi Arabia (24%). The deciding factor for all three markets was political and economic stability. Qatar, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon were next favourite countries for property investment.
On display at Cityscape Global, visitors will be able to see details of the Communities three Projects: its Sharjah development, Al Zahia, the first mixed used gated community in Sharjah covering 1,000,000 sqm of residential commercial and retail components, jointly owned by Majid Al Futtaim and the Government of Sharjah; Lebanon’s Waterfront City, 10 kilometres from Beirut City, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, featuring more than 2,000 residential homes, a 72,000 sqm office district, a shopping mall, two international hotels, several parks and a marina-front promenade; and Al Mouj Muscat in Oman (a joint venture between the Government of Oman and Majid Al Futtaim) stretching over six kilometres of pristine beach, with 4,000 residential properties, a 400-berth marina, a Greg Norman signature golf course and four premier hotels, along with retail, leisure and dining facilities.
Majid Al Futtaim’s Cityscape Global exhibition can be visited at Dubai World Trade Centre in The Arena at stand SAL 10 from the 8th-10th September.