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Many ex-pats rent, and since the financial crisis of 2008, rents have come down in Dubai, in some cases to almost half of what they were pre-crash. “In some of the better properties, rent is beginning to go up,” said Bunker. A typical rent in the Marina District for a two-bed flat is AED 70,000 to 125,0000 a year, and for a three-bed, AED 105,000 to 180,000. Employers used to give ex-pats who came to work in Dubai a stipend for rent, but that is no longer the case for the most part. “You used to get that five years ago when they had to tempt people to move here,” said Wilson-Powell. “But there’s no need now sadly.”
The real estate market took a huge blow three years ago and many construction projects just stalled out, leaving people who had bought homes off-plan and pre-construction with nothing. But there are some signs of life in the market, according to Bunker. “There is interest from Europeans looking to buy portfolios of properties,” he said. If you can not afford to buy outright, it takes a year to qualify for financing in Dubai. Make sure to always deal with a reputable, Real Estate Regulatory Agency-registered property agency.
Mirage in the desert or city of the future, the pull of Dubai is real. “Year-round sunshine and a tax-free income is pretty attractive to most people,” said Wilson-Powell.
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