It is well known that Dubai has a thriving real estate market, one which offers a wide variety of properties and attracts real estate investors from across the world.
Indians have consistently been among the top three nationalities to buy properties in Dubai for nearly the last two decades. In 2022, Indians remained a dominant force in Dubai’s real estate market, making purchases worth over $4 billion. Between 2015 and 2021, Indian real estate investors bought properties worth AED 84 billion in Dubai. India’s real estate investors are increasingly favouring Dubai, drawn by factors like high rental yields ranging from 5-7%. The city’s strategic location, business-friendly environment and stable political environment are key attractions for business owners. Additionally, a quality of life and a robust economy further contributes to Dubai’s growing popularity among investors.
However, what may not be as widely recognised is that developers and builders in Dubai are looking to expand their businesses in India’s booming real estate sector. With India ranking among the fastest-growing economies in the world, there exists a strong demand for creating new infrastructure and housing. This demand is likely to escalate further as the Indian population continues to become wealthier. India also has a very young population, with an average age of 28, signalling a large pool of potential new property buyers. Furthermore, India has consistently introduced reforms to facilitate easier access for foreign investors and businesses, enhancing its attraction as a global business hub.
The Jumeirah Group, a luxury hotel company, is eyeing India to achieve its goal of doubling its global footprint by 2030. Senior executives of the company have revealed plans to explore Indian locations for luxury facilities, aiming to expand from 27 to 54 properties over the next seven years. Their commitment towards building in India has been demonstrated by the roadshows the company held in Delhi and Ahmedabad. The company is targeting India’s tier-one cities. “We are clearly looking at the tier-one market and aiming to create an uber-luxury property here”, said Linda Lewis, Vice President of Global Sales – Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.
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Kirti Anchan, General Manager of Jumeirah Emirates Towers and Jumeirah Living, stated that India is not a market that the company can ignore. In fact, 20% of visitors arriving in Dubai are from the state of Gujarat, nestled along the western coast, which signals that the Indian market is likely to be the future of the company. “With the rising population and the awareness among Indian travellers, the average spending on travel is only increasing, resulting in a growing demand thanks to the rising aspirations of tourists,” said Anchan.
From a border perspective, Dubai builders and developers are generally looking towards India for several reasons, which include business diversification. India is a large and growing market with a high demand for new properties, making it an ideal destination for diversification. Access to this new customer base, driven by India’s growing middle-class, increasing disposable incomes, and large population, makes it a viable market to tap into for expanding businesses. Moreover, India also provides builders the opportunity to invest in their own long-term growth by capitalising on India’s own growth trajectory. Developers may reap significant benefits by investing now and waiting for 10 or 20 years.
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Emaar Properties, the largest developer in Dubai, is also looking to make a comeback to the Indian market. Emaar originally entered the Indian market in 2005, and back then, they had an INR 8500 crore plan; however, it did not go smoothly. H.E. Mohamed Ali Alabbar, Founder and Managing Director of Emaar Properties, stated that back in 2005, the company was very young and had made many mistakes, but now, nearly 20 years later, the company has learnt from its mistakes and is willing to come back to India, stating “India is our future”.
Alabbar went on to praise the country’s leadership, stating that Emaar is doubling down on India due to the country’s current leadership, which reinforces the efforts that India has been making to improve the ease of doing business, especially for foreign businesses. “India is among the largest economies of the world, among the most populated, most stable, and that makes me optimistic”, said Alabbar.
Emaar is currently working on a museum project in Gujarat, and Alabbar has stated that this project is just the start. The company is closely looking into a resort project that they are planning to build in the ‘hills of India’; to be announced in the coming months. Alabbar also strongly believes that Emaar can succeed in three verticals: hospitality, malls and residential. “I think hospitality in India has a great future because of the supply and demand situation. In residential, I don’t need to tell you, the demand in India has no limits. When it comes to the shopping mall business, India is just at the beginning.” In March, the company said it would build a $60 million shopping and office complex in Kashmir, which would include a shopping mall and multi-purpose commercial tower in Srinagar.
However, beyond residential and commercial projects, Emaar is also open to taking on smart cities and urban redevelopment projects (slum rehabilitation). Alabbar stated, “We have done one such project in Turkey and delivered 8,000 homes. It was an incredible experience. I can assure you if I get a project like that in India, I can shock everyone and show how it is done.”
In conclusion, the thriving real estate markets of Dubai and India are forging mutually beneficial partnerships. Indian investors continue to find Dubai’s real estate market attractive, while Dubai’s developers are eager to expand their operations in India’s growing economy. This synergy reflects the dynamic and evolving nature of the global real estate landscape.
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