New report spotlights Dubai’s ‘live, work, play’ city status – Economy Middle East

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Dubai is among the world’s best “live, work, play” cities. This was revealed in a report issued by global real estate consultancy Knight Frank called “Rise of the Super Wealth Hub Series: Dubai Edition.”

The company’s inaugural research spotlights the development of “super wealth hubs” worldwide. Apart from Dubai, the series features Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney.

Dubai’s stellar performance

Knight Frank looked into Dubai’s six core core areas in its report. These are Urban Prosperity, Governance and Talent, Legal Framework, Enterprise Excellence, Lifestyle and Opulence. Using a proprietary model, the company gauged Dubai on the “live, work play” paradigm. Each component is rated on a scale of 0 to 1.

The report shows that Dubai particularly shone in the work and live domains. 

In the work category, Dubai excelled with a business-friendly environment, scoring high in ease of doing business (0.92), ease of capital flow (0.85) and financial market competitiveness (0.82). Meanwhile, the Live category saw Dubai recording notable scores in average travel times (0.75) and purchasing power parity (0.80).

The emirate’s appeal

Highlighting the city’s allure, Faisal Durrani shared, “Dubai’s live-work-play lifestyle has attracted global attention in the wake of the pandemic.” Durrani is a partner — head of research at Knight Frank – Middle East and North Africa (MENA). 

“This attention has been matched by unrelenting demand for real estate in the emirate, which has underpinned the emergence of the deepest luxury homes market in the world, as well as a Grade A office market that has virtually run out of space and a hospitality market that boasts the highest occupancy levels in the world,” he added.

According to him, market sentiment also “plays a hugely underestimated role in driving not only economic growth but real estate activity as well.” And thanks to the unveiling of D33, a transformative $8.7 trillion roadmap, Dubai’s economic outlook received a significant boost.

Under D33, Dubai aims to double foreign trade and position the city as the world’s fourth most prominent financial center by 2033. This year coincides with Dubai’s 200th founding anniversary. 

The city also plans to double its population to 7.8 million by 2040, estimating a need for an additional 70,000 homes annually. Despite current completion rates, the demand-supply imbalance will likely drive up home values.

READ: Dubai spearheads Middle East in 2023 Global City rankings

Dubai live work play

Dubai as a global real estate leader

As Knight Frank showcased Dubai as a live, work, play city, it also highlighted the Dubai office market’s global prominence. Rising rents and high demand in various sectors mark this segment. This strong demand is especially evident in banking, fintech, media and telecommunications, where more companies are establishing regional offices. 

The city’s consistently rising standard of living over the past five decades also positions it as a top destination for luxury homes. Coupled with top-notch public safety, it has garnered significant interest from global high-net-worth individuals.

Dubai first opened its residential property market to global buyers in 2002. The market’s maturity — alongside world-class transport hubs and strategic location within 8 hours’ flying time to two-thirds of the world’s population — has helped the emirate become a global metropolis.

Dubai’s commitment to sustainability has also catapulted the city to being a leader in the real estate market. This is evident through projects like the Mohammed Bin Rashid Solar power plant, which aims for 100 percent renewable power generation by 2050. Green and sustainable building standards, including a target of 35 percent of buildings constructed using 3D printing by 2030, further showcase Dubai’s strong sense of environmental responsibility.

Residential market continues to grow

Dubai’s residential property market enjoys sustained momentum, marking its 11th consecutive quarter of price growth. In the third quarter of 2023, prices grew by 5 percent on average. Apartment and villa prices rose by 5.1 percent and 4.5 percent to reach $354 and $430 per square foot, respectively.

In 2024, mainstream property values could grow by 3.5 percent. Meanwhile, the prime residential market is poised for stronger price growth at 5 percent.

“Dubai’s prime residential market is poised to remain one of the fastest growing in the world during 2024, albeit with prime prices standing at around $1,020 per square foot, the city is one of the most affordable luxury homes markets in the world,” enthused Durrani. 

This growth will be driven by renewed demand from key source markets such as China, the UK and India. 

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