New Government initiatives to boost real estate demand. Building upon the visa reforms launched in late 2018, the government has started giving out long term residency permits called “Golden Card” in 2019. This scheme aims to provide long term residency for investors and for exceptional workers in the fields of health, engineering, science and art. The impact of these various initiatives on the real estate market area hard to quantify as the exact conditions for the visas are yet to be made public. While positive, their impact is likely to be limited. Until Q2 around 400 golden cards have been issued under the regulation and there is a target of 6,800 to be issued by the end of the year. Another new regulation that could have a bigger impact is the issuing of long term residency permits for executive directors earning a monthly salary of over AED 30,000. The impact of this initiative will clearly depend on how many expatriates qualify as ‘executive directors’. All the new initiatives launched to date aim to boost demand in the real estate market, with no plans to regulate or more tightly control the growing future supply. Such moves can be expected if the demand side initiatives do not prove sufficient to prevent a further softening in real estate prices and performance.
Business growth and its resulting impact on jobs remains a key determinant on housing demand in Dubai. This will continue to play a crucial role in demand-supply dynamics during 2019, especially in maintaining occupancy levels in old communities as new supply is added.