International Property Show in Dubai hints at growing demand for middle-income homes

Burj Khalifa in Dubai
Burj Khalifa in Dubai

Market events this spring showed that middle-income homes are becoming desirable for buyers in the United Arab Emirates. 

Vendors and other exhibitors from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East came to Dubai last month for the 12th International Property Show at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibit Center. Developers and government officials rubbed shoulders with bankers and fund managers at the show while looking at new data for the local real estate market. 

One thing they found is that first-time buyers were interested in housing that suits their needs.

"Exhibitors at the show are showcasing attractive offers of homes with prices tailored to the middl-income purchasers and first-time buyers," Dawood Al Shezawi, CEO of Strategic Marketing & Exhibitions (SM&E), said in a recent press statement. SM&E organized the event.

"International Property Show 2016 reflects the changes of the UAE property market as a whole new category of buyers looking for affordable housing is taking shape." Al Shezawi said.

What does this interest in middle-of-the-road housing mean and where does it come from?

“Real estate is a crucial component in catalyzing the regional economy.” Alex Nicholas, CEO and co-founder of, told the Gulf News Journal. “You have some of the world’s best real estate projects in the country, of that infrastructure, to automatically attract the best and brightest companies and talent ever.”

Nicholas talked about officials and others giving Dubai and other areas of the Emirates a real makeover to help boost local development.

“Taking the UAE as an example alone, it's evident how the expansion of commercial, retail and residential real estate has increased investment, tourism, urban development and made the UAE an attractive place to live and work in.” Nicholas said. “Moreover, Dubai in particular boasts some truly iconic real estate … and these go a long way in putting the city on the map globally.”

Nicholas cited the Burj Khalifa, a massive towering skyscraper finished in 2009 in the Downtown Dubai development that is the tallest structure in the world.

As for the significant interest in middle-income properties, Nicholas talked about that interesting combination of native residents and expats who so often determine market values in the region.

“I think (the middle-income property interest) is an indication of many things.” Nicholas said. “First, the real estate market is maturing, by offering properties beyond the high-end/luxury segment and catering to middle-income individuals who form a sizable portion of the expat workforce in the UAE. Plus, it's a reflection of growing confidence in the market. Many expats are setting up roots here, they see themselves here for many, many years and want to make their home in the UAE. Lastly, in terms of property sales, the prices are quite favorable, which naturally spurs middle-income end-users into entering the market as buyers.”

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