International Investment


ROMANIAN investment into the Dubai property market

Romanian real estate buyers are at the forefront of a new wave of global investment in the Dubai property market.

Dubai has a solid and long-established reputation for sustained ROI, with GCC, UK, Indian and Russian investors regularly realising double-digit growth for many years since the introduction of the foreign ownership decree.

However, in the past few years, investors from a wider array of nations have begun to enter the Dubai property market.

2022: The turning point for Romanian investment in Dubai property

2022 saw a 50% increase in Romanians purchasing foreign real estate compared to 2021. The Dubai market was the primary destination for most Romanian asset-seekers, although Cyprus and Spain also proved to be popular markets.

Originally, the geopolitical climate influenced Romanian investment in Dubai due to several factors:

  • Economic resilience and wealth creation: Despite global challenges like war, inflation, and supply chain disruptions, Romania’s economy showed resilience, with a significant increase in foreign direct investment and new companies with foreign capital.
  • The race for space: Ultra-high net-worth individuals in Romania, like many of their counterparts from across the globe, relocated to Dubai in the wake of domestic lockdowns. 
  • Strengthened diplomatic links: The UAE and Romania have worked hard to strengthen investment ties, with the UAE’s strategic location providing access to key markets and its economy offering benefits and incentives for growth and expansion. Furthermore, non-oil trade between the UAE and Romania saw a substantial increase, indicating a growing economic relationship and mutual interest in sectors like technology, agriculture, and logistics.

These factors, combined with the desire for secure investments and the allure of Dubai’s real estate market, have likely contributed to the increase in interest from Romanian-based investors.

This coincided with the onset of Dubai’s real estate market’s third major growth cycle and an annual 61.7% surge in transactions over the previous year. During this time, Sobha Dubai reported Romanian investments totalling AED 272 million in apartments within just the first 7 months of 2022.

How and why Romanian investment into the Dubai real estate market became more widespread

Alongside the wider economic enablers, Dubai’s allure as an investment haven did – and continues to – capture the imagination of a growing number of Romanian investors.

This shift reflects a broader domestic trend of 30 to 50-year-olds seeking financial security and growth outside Romania’s borders, amidst local economic uncertainties. 

Dubai real estate: A Romanian revolution

  • Celebrities like Cătălin Botezatu led the initial wave of Romanian property buyers in Dubai.
  • The trend has now broadened, attracting a wider demographic due to Dubai’s benefits and Romania’s economic challenges.

The lifestyle lure of Dubai

  • Dubai’s real estate market is thriving, with a strong Romanian community bolstering demand.
  • The purchase process is praised for its simplicity and transparency.
  • The lifestyle is aspirational and crime levels are very low.

Financial incentives

  • Dubai offers a tax-free property environment, only requiring a maintenance fee and a one-time transaction commission.

Gaining residency

  • Acquiring property worth over AED 750,000 often grants eligibility for residency.
  • Simple documentation and a stay in Dubai are part of the residency process.

Diverse investment options

  • High-yield rental properties offer returns surpassing those in cities like London or New York.

Romanian investors’ response

  • The growing interest from Romanians has led to tailored investment opportunities being presented in Bucharest.
  • Events like the Emaar Property Show Bucharest 2022 showcase these opportunities, providing a haven from local economic pressures.

What Dubai property assets are Romanians purchasing?

Romanians are typically purchasing Dubai apartments rather than villas, which have a larger initial capital outlay.

The trend is also a result of an existing general Romanian preference for yield-generating assets. Many investors from Romania are seeing rental returns of 6%+ from the domestic market, and in Dubai, it is 1 and 2-bedroom apartments that most often generate the higher yields.

Additionally, there is also a minor preference for beachside properties as demonstrated by other markets favoured by Romanians: Spain and Cyprus.

Due to this preference, tourist-favoured submarkets such as JBR and neighbouring Dubai Marina often prove popular.

Dubai's property investment outlook

Romanians who did invest in 2022 saw an unprecedented period of growth in Dubai. Transaction levels in 2023 soared by 18% and sale prices grew 26%.

Although few areas of Dubai are set to offer that in 2024/25, Romanian investors are still poised to achieve strong returns. Most analysts predict growth of around 5% over the next 12 months, while rents are likely to rise, potentially increasing yields that already hover around the 7 to 8% mark.


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