DUBAI: Wealthy Hong Kong expats could be tempted to move to Dubai, lured by cheaper homes, an attractive visa regime and a robust vaccination program, a report claims.
Dubai has liberalized its visa regime, falls under the UAE’s Abraham Accords with Israel, has maintained a globally rare sense of normality during COVID-19 in terms of outdoor activities and open schools, and is efficiently vaccinating its population, Tellimer said in a research note to clients on Tuesday.
The cost of living and cheaper house prices could also prove to be a draw.
Dubai now has a cost of living more than 20 percent below Hong Kong and Singapore — the main driver of which is its cheap property market where prices are down 30 percent since 2015. By comparison, Hong Kong real estate prices rose 35 percent over the same period while they were largely flat in Singapore.
The freeze of assets this month of entrepreneur, media-owner, and pro-democracy supporter, Jimmy Lai, is the latest symbol of the change in Hong Kong since the introduction of the national security law in June 2020, Tellimer said. The move could encourage some of Hong Kong’s wealthy elite to consider moving, it said.
“For rich expatriates who are affluent enough to move for lifestyle and wealth preservation, as much as income generation, Jimmy Lai’s example may serve as another nudge to consider cities like Singapore, a migration underway for some time judging by the anecdotal evidence of private banker relocations and hiring trends,” said report author Hasnain Malik. “Arguably, a more intriguing, and less well-trodden, alternative for rich expats and global emerging market equity investors has emerged in Dubai.”
Dubai recently relaxed its visa system in an effort to attract more people to the emirate which was hit hard by a regional economic slowdown even before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. However the emirate's battered property sector is now showing signs of stabilization with a recent price rebound at the luxury end of the market.