61% of GCC investors have considered overseas property

61% of GCC investors have considered overseas property


  • Almost two-thirds of investors in the GCC have previously considered buying property overseas
  • Findings from a new report have found international real estate to be one of the most in-demand assets in the region right now
  • UAE, USA and UK among the most popular destinations chosen – but which countries work best for GCC investors?

New research has found that overseas property is officially one of the most popular investments in the GCC.

61% of investors in the region have previously considered making an international property investment according to the GCC Investor Report 2018, a new YouGov survey commissioned by Select Property Group.

At 67%, it’s investors based in the UAE that are most interested in buying property abroad, followed by investors in Qatar (61%) and Saudi Arabia (57%).

Interestingly, 63% of Saudi Arabia nationals have considered an overseas property investment, compared with just 54% of Arab expats and 33% of Asian expats that reside in the Kingdom.

Where do GCC investors want to buy overseas property?

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The UAE was also the most popular choice for those surveyed in the country itself but, due to the high number of expats questioned in the Emirates, it will explain why many residents will still consider the UAE to be an overseas country if it isn’t their home nation.

In focus: What makes these overseas locations popular with GCC property investors?


Of course, the locality of the UAE to the rest of the GCC is one of the country’s most appealing qualities, particularly for those investors that would wish to use their property for vacations and personal use.

The UAE offers high returns, stability and security. The country’s property market is underpinned by the key investment fundamentals of supply, demand and location, while the government incorporates measures that have been implemented to strategically and sustainability manage it.

Unlike other countries, GCC investors can also continue to enjoy the kind of tax-free returns they already enjoy domestically.

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There are many reasons why the US property market will appeal to GCC investors. While the US dollar will make transactions easier to calculate when transferring greenback-pegged GCC currencies, it’s also a popular destination for children in the region to go and study at illustrious American colleges and institutions.

US real estate also looked attractive a few years ago, when prices in key markets hit rock-bottom values. But the market has recovered since then, and a strong dollar will also make investing more expensive. What’s more, income and credit verification of foreign nationals is a lengthy process in the US.


In 2017, the Turkish government launched its ‘golden visa scheme’, granting Turkish citizenship to overseas investors that buy property in the country worth at least $1 million. Prior to this, CBRE estimated that GCC investors account for 50% of all foreign property sales in Turkey.

But it’s important to remember that there remains a significant degree of political instability in Turkey, while investors can only get a mortgage on completed property in the country, meaning many may miss out on the fantastic benefits of buying off-plan. These include:

  • Achieving the highest levels of capital growth
  • Choice of the best apartments in a development
  • Not paying the profits of the current property owner

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For years, investors in the GCC have favoured the high returns and security that are fundamental to UK real estate.

Not only is the country politically stable, but property prices are actually an integral factor in the health of the UK’s economy, meaning that the UK government has a vested interest in maintaining growth in the market. UK law is also often viewed as the best in the world, and offers greater protection to international property investors than many other overseas destinations.

Crucially, UK property is more resistant to political and economic changes; performance is, instead, underpinned by supply and demand levels.

Analysis: Adam Price, Managing Director of Select Property Group

This report has certainly confirmed what I’ve been seeing for some time now and that’s the growing and enduring appeal of overseas property investment to buyers in the GCC.

Both myself and the team speak with investors and clients daily at our offices here in Dubai, and many are excited at the prospect of diversifying their portfolios with an asset abroad.

Of course, it’s incredibly important where money is invested, and no overseas property investment should be made without the help and support of credible developers and agents.

Those I speak to are looking for stability, growth and high-returns in a strong foreign currency.


It’s why Select Property Group continues to see huge demand for our investment opportunities in the UK. Not only does Britain give investors the level of security that they’re looking for but, crucially, strong performance levels, too.

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