Steady increase in foreign investments in Abu Dhabi real estate

The Abu Dhabi real estate market has seen increased foreign investment in recent months, driven by new projects offering attractive options. Foreign buyers, both international and resident, accounted for 66% of Aldar Properties’ sales in the UAE last year, totalling Dh16 billion out of Dh24.28 billion. This highlights Abu Dhabi’s position as a leading destination for long-term global real estate investment. Sales to international buyers alone reached 28% of Aldar’s total sales, up from less than 2% three years ago, while resident buyers made up 38% of total sales.

Foreign direct investment in Abu Dhabi’s real estate sector for individuals increased to Dh1.81 billion in the first quarter of 2024, attracting 487 new investors from 55 countries, including India, Russia, Canada, the UK, Jordan, and China, according to the Abu Dhabi Real Estate Centre (ADREC) of the Department of Municipalities and Transport – Abu Dhabi. Real estate officials and experts told Aletihad that various factors encourage foreign investment in Abu Dhabi, particularly the ease of doing business and high investment returns compared to other countries.

Data from ADREC showed a rise in local and non-resident investors in 2023. New local investors totalled 9,448, a 71% increase from 2022, while non-resident investors rose to 1,098, a 175% increase, reflecting the continued prosperity of Abu Dhabi’s real estate sector.

Faisal Falaknaz, Chief Financial and Sustainability Officer of Aldar Group, confirmed that Abu Dhabi is an ideal investment destination, providing a safe environment for investors worldwide. He noted that the increase in international and resident buyers in Aldar projects underscores the market’s attractiveness. The largest foreign buyer groups in Aldar projects were from Britain, Russia, and India, while Emirati investors made up the remaining 34%.

Aldar Group’s sales reached Dh27.9 billion last year, including sales from Egypt’s SODIC, acquired in late 2021. Falaknaz said that the launch of new projects helps attract more foreign investors. Sales of development projects inside and outside the UAE totalled Dh6.3 billion in the first quarter of this year, a 39% increase year-on-year. Aldar’s total UAE sales for the first quarter rose by 46% year-on-year to Dh6.1 billion, driven by demand for new and existing projects in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Ras Al Khaimah. In Q1 2024, Aldar launched three new Abu Dhabi projects: Sama Yas, Manarat Living 2, and Nouran Living. At the end of last year, Aldar announced the sale of three buildings in the first phase of the Gardenia Bay project on Yas Island, with non-resident buyers accounting for 23% of sales. This reflects Abu Dhabi’s appeal as a preferred destination for international clients. Residents accounted for 40% of sales, and citizens made up the remaining 37%. Aldar also reported success in selling units in the first and second phases of the Athlone project, where international buyers and UAE residents contributed 81% of total sales, highlighting Dubai’s status as a major global real estate investment hub. Indian, Chinese, and Jordanian nationals topped the list of buyers by sales volume.

Dr. Abdulrahman Mahmoud Al-Afifi, CEO of Tamkeen Real Estate, said the UAE is a preferred destination for foreign real estate investors due to the favourable legislative and investment environment, security, and high returns. He noted that Abu Dhabi’s real estate sector offers diverse, high-quality projects, competitive prices, and high investment returns. Real estate companies in Abu Dhabi have launched more projects this year to meet investor demand, particularly from foreign buyers. In the first quarter of this year, Abu Dhabi real estate transactions totalled Dh19.4 billion, with 6,070 transactions. These included Dh12.8 billion in buying and selling transactions and Dh6.6 billion in mortgage transactions, according to ADREC.