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Gauging the impact of the global pandemic on the Real Estate market in Dubai

"Selling Sunset" , the Netflix reality series about marketing high-end properties in Los Angeles, has been a huge summer hit. The show really illustrates the appeal of the real estate industry. And while there's no avoiding that the sector has been impacted by Covid-19 here in Dubai, the market has had - and continues to have - some unexpectedly positive results. Maybe Los Angeles isn't the only place where sunset can be sold. The first half of 2020 saw transactions worth the equivalent of €16.3 billion in real estate in the city; during that period, Dubai Marina saw the highest number of those sales transactions, worth €770 million. The average purchase price was €253,000 for an apartment and €550,000 for a villa. Women accounted for a substantial share of the number and value of investments made, totalling €1.51 billion. Dr Michael Waters , Associate Professor in real estate at Dubai's Heriot-Watt University , says it's been good news for investors, especially over the longer term: "From 2012 to the current day, anyone who's invested in Dubai has seen an annualised return of about 8.5% per annum. So in the Global Competitiveness Index , which is a way of ranking global cities and their attractiveness, Dubai has moved from 29th place to 6th place within the last few years". There's also growth at every budget level, including some of the most expensive properties in the world. New community developments have been a big draw with buyers flocking to places like Dubai's town square. Fred Durie, CEO of Nshama Property Developers says his company has worked hard to provide excellent investment opportunities for buyers: "We wanted to give people the opportunity to buy a property at an affordable price so they could move from rental to owning. "But at the same time, the facilities had to be good. If they rent, the money is lost. If they own, then when they retire or when they leave Dubai, they have an asset which they can sell". There's a real shift in the number of first-time buyers in Dubai; many of them are people who had previously rented, but now see this as the perfect time to get on the property ladder. Richard Waind , Managing Director of Betterhomes , says his company has been very busy over the summer - and believes it's been a direct result of lockdown: "We all spent five to six weeks stuck at home, looking at where we're living, reassessing our space and all the rest of it. "And I think a lot of people started thinking: 'what's out there?' And when …