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Why Russian buyers are attracted to Dubai’s realty market

Dubai Real Estate

Maria Shurshalina, a 20-something Russian from Sverdlovsk, has seen the graph take off since she landed in Dubai six months back. The trendy marketer with smart aviators, who loves luxurious scents, has become a successful realty broker in double-quick time. Her success mirrors the growing Russian interest in the emirate. The savvy broker has sold over 92 properties, including apartments, villas and townhouses, in the past few weeks to Russian investors.

“At a conservative estimate, property prices have surged over 30 per cent in Palm Jumeirah, Downtown, Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach Residence and Dubai Hills. Russians love the sun and the sand in Dubai and the UAE. But they are shrewd investors, too,” Maria says.

Buyers see a lot of value for money. The emirate’s ease-of-doing business, a tax-free regime and affordable mortgage plans are big incentives for Russians looking to buy a home away from home.

Brokers surmise at least 100,000 Russians have arrived in Dubai since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, doubling the size of the community. Many newcomers are also looking at homes in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah, where Russian signages on shops and eateries have been commonplace through the years.

Maria weighs in on the advantages. “An investment of Dh750,000 in a property ensures a three-year residence while a larger investment can secure the longer-term Golden Visa for my compatriots.” Consider the case of Roman Igonin, a Muscovite entrepreneur who first came to Dubai five years ago and fell in love with the emirate.

“I must have visited Dubai at least 10 times since then. Time is ripe to open businesses here as I own two properties in Downtown and The Palm.” Roman is looking at starting a chain of dental clinics across Dubai — at least five to begin with. He wants to zero in on Dubai Hills, Business Bay and Dubai Marina.

Celebrities, lawyers, students, artists, and professionals—they are all lured by Dubai. All have a role model in Pavel Durov, the Dubai-based founder of the messaging app Telegram. Last year, Durov was named the richest UAE resident by Forbes with a wealth of $17.2 billion, up from $3.4 billion in 2020. Durov was the first UAE resident to be ranked among the world’s top 200 billionaires.

Russian broker Denis Scvortsov has been living in Dubai since 2011 but joined realty two years later. He largely works on off-plan projects. His client, Pavel S, sums up the Russia story “Usually, I visit Dubai twice a year. I was thinking of investing in realty for a long time. My wife and I were planning to purchase a property in 2020, but, unfortunately, we couldn’t pull it off. Now, we almost got pushed by the situation in our country. We had to move our savings to another country, and we chose Dubai and the UAE as it is one of the few destinations welcoming Russians.”

Was Dubai his first choice? “My wife and I had considered Turkey as well. But now Dubai appears to be the best bet.” Similarly, Ksenia V moved to Dubai in April on the back of the crisis.

“I sold my property in Russia and was looking for alternative places where I could invest. Dubai is one of the best cities in the world. (It’s) not far from Russia… so it was a no-brainer. Besides, some of my friends had bought property in Dubai and I decided to join them,” she says.

Ruslan S, who moved to Dubai in March, is upbeat: “I see a lot of potential in Dubai, including attractive payment plans. A stable currency and access to the sea tilted me towards Dubai, a truly modern city with out-of-the-world civic amenities. Soon, I’m planning to move the company here.”

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