'20% of prime property stands empty'

08.04.2015
Property experts in Dubai believe that around 15 to 20% of the emirate’s units are not occupied as they have been purchased by foreign owners either for investment or as a holiday home.

There's a new trend in town: affluent out-of-towners are buying up prime properties in urban centres.

According to a recent article in Newsweek, an American weekly news magazine, one in four apartments stand empty in the world’s top cities. Property experts in Dubai believe that around 15 to 20% of the emirate’s units are not occupied as they have been purchased by foreign owners either for investment or as a holiday home, Khaleej Times reported.

“Dubai does host a vast number of absentee owners, just like many other similar cites in the world that attract high net worth individuals,” says Andrew Cleator, luxury sales director, LuxHabitat, adding: “There are no recorded statistics for absentee owners, but in my opinion, I would safely say currently in the region of 20 per cent of properties, of which buyers mainly come from Europe, Russia, the GCC and to a lessor degree the Indian sub continent.”

A majority of these international home owners typically go for either luxury or beachfront properties in Dubai. Areas such as Downtown, Palm Jumeirah, Emirates Hills, JBR and Dubai Marina are popular choices. “It’s a mix really. Some buyers will buy to rent (Downtown or Dubai Marina), some buy as holiday homes (Palm Jumeirah) and some buy for the future (Emirates Living),” according to Gregory Lewis, senior negotiator, Knight Frank, a global estate agent and consulting firm.

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