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What 2018 Holds For Dubai Real Estate?

The total number of Dubai off-plan transactions in the third quarter of 2017 increased by 86 percent from the previous quarter, according to Chestertons MENA.

The real estate consultancy also said that the value of off-plan transactions was up by 118 percent to AED4.04 billion ($1 billion).

Its report showed that the most transacted area in Dubai was Dubai South with a total of 1,151 transactions, closely followed by Downtown Dubai with 821 transactions and Business Bay with 686.

Downtown commanded 50 percent of the total value of off-plan sales in Q3.

“With reference to off-plan transactions, Dubai’s real estate market has witnessed seasonal peaks and troughs in the last year due to high levels of uncertainty. After a promising start to 2017, sales plummeted during a disappointing Q2 however they have picked up positive momentum in Q3,” said Ivana Gazivoda Vucinic, head of Advisory and Research, Chestertons MENA.

DUBAI HAS EDGED closer to its goal of launching a pioneering hover-taxi service, with the authorities announcing a successful “concept” flight was made without passengers this week.

Safety features for the two-seater air taxi include emergency parachutes and nine independent battery systems, according to Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA).

It said the prototype, supplied by Germany-based Volocopter, can fly for 30 minutes at a maximum speed of 100 kilometres per hour (62mph).

The RTA envisions that the hover-taxi will eventually be integrated into the city’s existing public transport network, which includes a metro system, tramway and buses.

Passengers would be able to book their “autonomous air taxi” and track its arrival and route using an app.

Authorities anticipate five years of testing to put in place safety procedures and legislation governing the cutting-edge mode of transportation.

Home to Burj Khalifa, currently the world’s tallest tower, Dubai is a leading tourist destination in the Gulf, attracting a record 14.9 million visitors last year.

Indians made transactions worth more than Dh20.4 billion 

Dubai Land Department has revealed a list of the top 10 nationalities that invested in Dubai’s real market between January 2016 and the end of June 2017. The new list confirms that UAE nationals are in the lead, outperforming all other nationalities.

His Excellency Sultan Butti bin Mejren, Director General of Dubai Land Department, commented: “217 nationalities have invested a total of Dh151 billion in Dubai’s real estate market. This demonstrates the confidence that the world has in our real estate environment, which is characterised by a strong regulatory system that provides safety and security for all parties.” 

The recent research found that Emiratis made close to 12,000 investment transactions worth Dh37.4 billion, while Indian, Pakistani, Saudi Arabian and British investors ranked second, third, fourth and fifth respectively for number of registered transactions.

Bin Mejren added: “This list has been unveiled at a time when our real estate market is preparing for a new phase of growth in the run-up to Expo 2020. We are pleased to have witnessed such a high level of interest from global citizens in Dubai, who have invested over Dh151 billion across 71,000 real estate transactions in just 18 months.”

Indian investors made 10,628 transactions worth more than Dh20.4 billion, while Pakistani nationals made 5,398 real estate transactions worth approximately Dh7 billion. Saudi Arabians led the Gulf nations with 5,366 transactions worth Dh12.5 billion and UK citizens took poll position among the European nationalities with 4,188 transactions worth Dh9 billion.

EmCash Is Dubai’s First Official Cryptocurrency


The government of the city of Dubai launched their own blockchain-based cryptocurrency last week. The city’s economy department partnered with one of its subsidiaries called Emcredit Limited and U.K.-based Object Tech Group, Ltd. to create emCash. This new “encrypted digital currency” is a product of partnerships Dubai has cultivated through their Accelerators Initiative and brought under the umbrella of the Dubai Economy Accelerators.

“A digital currency has varied advantages – faster processing, improved delivery time, less complexity and cost, to name a few,” Dubai Economy deputy director general Ali Ibrahim said in a press statement. “It will change the way people live and do business in Dubai, and mark a giant leap for the city in harnessing game-changing innovations to improve ease of business and quality of life.”

Officials claim that emCash uses the latest blockchain technology and works as part of payment system called emWallet. As the city’s credit bureau, Emcredit has made sure that the emWallet handles various types of transactions—from “their daily coffee and children’s school fee to utility charges and money transfers”—with a near-field communication (NFC) support through a smartphone.

The city will also have a shared platform, called Blockchain as a Service, to help Dubai government agencies use blockchain in various projects.


Blockchain’s potential as a decentralized and secure platform for transactions, financial or otherwise, isn’t lost to those with eyes to the future. Dubbed as the “city of the future,” Dubai is certainly one of those, but it isn’t the first to have an “official” cryptocurrency. The launch of the emCash, however, is only a first step.

Dubai has been working on becoming the world’s first economy that’s built on the blockchain, and with it its own cryptocurrency. This is where the city’s efforts differ, and could potentially influence economies through the entire United Arab Emirates (UAE). “Obtaining approvals from other UAE authorities will be taken into consideration if required,” Ibrahim said.


For such a small place, Dubai sure makes a helluva lot of noise when it comes to ideas of the outlandish variety.

The latest plan is for a huge “space simulation city” to provide “a viable and realistic model to simulate living on the surface of Mars.” Yes, the UAE city is clearly thinking ahead with this latest project, though if Elon Musk gets his way, perhaps not that far ahead.

Costing around $135 million and covering a space of 1.9 million square feet, the Mars Science City hopes to attract science experts from around the world to help make the project a success. The completed design will include laboratories for food, energy, and water where scientists can research ways to improve the technology to help sustain life on the red planet.

Planners want to place a team inside the city for a year to help develop new ways of living in a harsh environment. Similar experiments have already taken place in other parts of the world, but the living space has usually been far small than what the UAE has planned.

The simulation city will also include a museum that “displays humanity’s greatest space achievements, including educational areas meant to engage young citizens with space, and inspire in them a passion for exploration and discovery,” the UAE government said in a release.

The space city — the work of internationally renowned Danish architect Bjarke Ingels — will be sealed inside 3D-printed walls incorporating sand from the Emirati desert.

In 2016 the UAE revealed plans to colonize the red planet in the next 100 years. For a place that has plenty of experience in transforming vast, barren lands into a bustling, thriving cityscape, maybe it will actually happen. The Middle Eastern nation plans to send its first unmanned probe to Mars in 2020.

Big ideas

Dubai is already home to the world’s largest indoor ski slope (there aren’t many skiing opportunities outside in the desert heat); uses “flying” firefighters to tackle blazes; and even has robot cops helping to keep law and order on the city streets.

It also has plans to build a rainforest inside a hotel; wants to launch a pilotless, flying-taxi service; and could be the first place in the world to set up the ultra-high-speed Hyperloop transportation system.

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