Bringing a European design feel to UAE’s living spaces

One of the most interesting aspects of this evolution in investment preferences of a new generation of Arabic buyers, is that we are witnessing a growing interest from them to come back and buy properties at home that offer the kind of lifestyle that some of them are also enjoying in Europe.

While some investors of the previous generation often liked to export their lifestyle habits, projecting them on their real estate acquisitions in Europe, it now seems that there is a new wave of GCC buyers in the UK, France, Spain and Italy looking at replicating and importing a part of European lifestyle back at home in the UAE.

This is just the beginning of an emerging trend, that has been captured by only a few developers, in the UAE. Projects offering pedestrian access, human size developments, retail and leisure integration, and well thought through infrastructure are attracting these buyers in Dubai.

We believe that an increasing number of developers will try to capture this new demand over the next few years, but that Expo 2020 will continue driving some “very big is very good” behaviours as the city more than ever tries to position itself as a global hub.

However as other markets in the region will be maturing too, starting with Abu Dhabi, we anticipate that this trend of “live well”, rather than “live big” will spread to an increasing number of communities and real estate developments, as soon as the local demand for this type of European, urban, low rise, projects matures.

Open green spaces

There is no doubt that the phenomenon of “new urbanism” or “traditional neighbourhood developments” is being witnessed in the UAE. These developments are what the future is going to look like. A mixed-use, reasonably priced development encompassing narrow streets and sidewalks, clustered low rise homes, open green spaces, village centres and high-streets arranged to maximise walkability with proximity to public transport.

As this trend continues to evolve, developers will increasing try and make sure the above elements are included in their developments. Also, developers targeting other GCC countries should consider that whilst non-UAE Arab investors from around the Gulf have yet to fully embrace this trend, it is likely that they will do so.

It is probable we will see more developers trying to capture this type of demand over the next few years.

Source: David Godchaux, Special to
The writer is the CEO of Core Savills


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