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7 in 10 UAE Expartiate Property Owners in Negative Equity


A recent survey by the market research company Real Opinions shows that 7 in 10 expatriates in the UAE with property expect they would lose money if they tried to sell now in the UAE marketplace. To put this into perspective, approximately 4 in 10 UAE expatriates claim to have bought property in the UAE and 22% claim they have bought property off-plan with further payment installments still due before it is fully constructed.

Dan Healy, the CEO of Real Opinions who conducted the survey commented, 'This is the second stage of research to better understand what impact the global economic crisis is having upon the UAE. The property industry has had a meteoric growth in the UAE over recent years and we wanted to assess the price difference from when owners bought property during this growth and the current realistic market price they would expect to receive.7 in 10 now believe they are in negative equity and this presents unprecedented and unexpected implications for these expatriate owners in the relatively short history of the UAE.

He commented, 'For those who sold prior to this recent downturn have made significant gains which have been well covered in the media, but for those who bought close to the top of the market it appears to be a different story,' Healy added.'In light of falling property prices, we asked further questions to those still paying installments on property not yet fully constructed. We found that 1 in 4 said they are unlikely to pay the next installment and this could produce challenges for some developers requiring the capital to complete future stages.'

The grass might actually been greener in the UAE than on the other side of the fence: On a more positive note, understanding this is a global economic crisis, there is still strong loyalty and the belief that the UAE will top the list of countries worldwide that will emerge quickly and economically stronger, matched by Saudi Arabia and followed closely by Qatar.

The question many are asking around the globe is how long this global economic crisis will last. This research was conducted in the week leading up to the G20 leaders meeting and according to UAE expatriates surveyed, they believe November 2010 is when it will end in the UAE at least (the average time period given), and 5 in 10 believing it will last a year or less.This presents an opportunity for those thinking of entering the UAE property market to benefit from the current downturn with more affordable housing in light of the expected speed and stronger UAE economy in the recovery.

Healy added, 'For those property investors finding themselves in negative equity, job security will be imperative in order to ride out this dip in the market. The first stage of research we conducted in February 2009 showed 1 in 4 thought they are likely to lose their job in the coming 12 months or have already lost it recently. For those that are property owners, this is especially a time for concern given the current finance options in the marketplace and laws relating to bad debts.'

Real Opinions will be conducting a third stage of research on the impact and opportunities of the global economic crisis in the UAE.

About Real Opinions
Real Opinions is a full-service market research company, specialising in online media, with global and Middle East research expertise and best practice. Based in Dubai and London, Real Opinions has proven ability to help strategically guide communication, insight and assess the effectiveness of campaigns.

Real Opinions is an accredited member of ESOMAR, an international organisation for market research. For more information about us and this study, please visit

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Anonymous said...

Very useful information, thanks and keep up the good work.

Real Opinions said...

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