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Dubai is an emirate driven by superlatives. It is by all accounts, the fastest growing city in the world with the largest amount of cranes and people working on the biggest, tallest, grandest, most opulent, most imaginative variety of property projects anywhere. So, whether you plan to stay long term or just overnight it is worth digging that little bit deeper to find out what types of accommodation Dubai has on offer and to discover what the future holds for visitors with more than just sunshine on their mind.
Amongst its developmental peers, Dubai is like the precocious teen who is seen as the one most likely to succeed after graduation. It has become a desirable holiday destination and the stop off point for long distance travel. Combined with a liberal economy and a wealth of free zones, hotels, resorts and corporate perks, it is an enviable place to set up shop or, for the tax breaks alone, at least give the impression of doing so. Significant growth in airline capacity continues to indicate an upturn in tourist and business travel in the region as a whole, and although higher fuel costs are starting to have an impact worldwide, it hasn't yet affected the region. Until recently however, despite increasing demand, the range of accommodation has tended to focus on the sparkling, smiling, four and five-star standard, with the occasional 'seven-star' thrown in for good measure. While this is ideal for the holiday market and those looking to make an impression, it isn't always what is needed or demanded from a diverse market place. Sometimes all that bowing and scraping, the sun-burnt hordes and homogenous styling is simply surplus to requirements for business travellers who find themselves in yet another fledgling economy with a delicate ego, in another time zone, and with a new set of social mores to navigate. Dubai, as a maturing city, is always attempting to shake things up, and with new property laws, financial centres, legal institutions and property developments on the way, the stage is set for a spectacular increase in the types of accommodation available to the sharp-suited briefcase set. Dubai's forward momentum is being driven by a property market that has seen an inordinate amount of growth in the three years since the government made it legal for non-nationals to own property. Linda Mahoney, CEO of Better Homes, maintains that as far as growth, prosperity, the economy and development: "Dubai is probably the most dynamic area in the world." Equity has more than doubled in many areas of the city and although this has probably peaked in the short term, rental yields continue to grow. Adjustments' have been forecast for some time, but the introduction of a new freehold property law for expatriates promises to add further fuel to the market fire. The law, announced in March, was brought in principally because while billions of dirhams worth of property was advertised and sold to expatriates as freehold, this wasn't actually the case; the property was actually sold on the basis of a 99-year lease. Although the law has yet to come into effect, it will eventually mean that once a building is complete the freehold rights and deeds will then transfer to the buyer. This is a unique and bold step for an Islamic state, where the regulations regarding ownership can be notoriously complex.
What the new law effectively provides is a get-out clause for developments built by Nakheel, Emaar and Dubai Properties. The freehold rights will only be …