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Dubai mortgage market needs overhauling, says Gulf developer

Tower, Building, Architecture Supplied/Dar Al Arkan
Dar Al Arkan's Da Vinci Tower in Dubai includes 347 apartments and six private villas
  • Saudi Arabia’s Dar Global Real Estate chief questions Dubai market
  • Payment plans for off-plan developments but lack of mortgage options

Mortgage systems for overseas investors looking to buy completed homes in Dubai need to be overhauled, says the leader of one of the Gulf’s biggest property firms.

“Dubai is a very unique market where off-plan sells higher than the ready properties,” said Ziad El Chaar, CEO of Dar Global Real Estate, Saudi Arabian real estate firm Dar Al Arkan’s independent global subsidiary.

This Dubai anomaly is because easy payment plans are offered for off-plan developments, but there is a lack of reasonable mortgage options for completed properties, said El Chaar, who previously held senior roles at Dubai developers Emaar and Damac Properties.

“That does not exist anywhere else in the world,” he said. 

Additional personal guarantee requirements for non-resident mortgages also act as a deterrent on completed units, but altering terms would attract increased investment, he said, adding that if these issues were fixed there would be “big demand for ready properties”.

El Chaar was speaking as Dar Global completed its listing on the main market of the London Stock Exchange with a valuation of SAR 2.25 billion ($600 million).

Dar Global is responsible for developing projects outside its parent firm Dar Al Arkan’s home market, focusing on luxury second homes and holiday homes in locations across the Middle East, Europe and the UK.

And El Chaar said the impact of high interest rates and inflation is being felt across the world.

“This will definitely affect the demand for real estate, not only in Dubai but everywhere,” he said.

“The Dubai market is strong. Demand is strong and the parameters of demand are strong, such as security, safety, ease of doing business, liquidity in the market, connectivity and Golden Visas.

“But, at the same time, there isn’t a euphoria on the market. The euphoria many times is just driven by information on social media and most of that information is not correct.”

He added that the Emirate’s property market has not seen “dramatic” price growth outside of certain prime locations like Downtown Dubai, Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Marina. 

“The price growth is dramatic in the very key areas of Dubai, where technically you don’t have land to develop anymore,” he said.

“But if you look at other areas, we don’t see that increase and the euphoria of the market everyone’s talking about.” 

With more than $8 billion of assets, Dar Al Arkan is listed on Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul stock exchange and is one of the largest real estate companies in the kingdom.

Dar Global often collaborates with global luxury brands including Missoni, W Hotels, Versace and Automobili Pagani on bespoke residential projects and has 11 schemes under construction in six countries, including Urban Oasis and the Da Vinci Tower in Dubai.