Property Valuation and Appraisal Firms

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a conglomerate of seven emirates, each independently governed, collectively forming the Federal Supreme Council. Renowned for having one of the world’s most open economies, the UAE has strategically diversified from its oil-dependent roots to foster a knowledge-driven, technology-focused, and skilled labor-oriented economy.

Economic Landscape and Urbanization: 

Positioned among the world’s wealthiest economies, the UAE is highly urbanized, with Dubai leading as the largest city and Abu Dhabi as the primary contributor to national revenue. This transformation began in 2002 when non-nationals were granted freehold rights to own property, coinciding with Dubai’s population reaching one million, 75% of which comprised non-nationals.

Ownership Framework:

Foreigners are allowed real estate ownership in specific zones, while Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nationals have ownership privileges in other areas. Each emirate boasts a well-established land use and planning framework, reflecting the UAE’s commitment to sustainable development.

Economic Diversification Impact on Real Estate:

The government’s commitment to economic diversification, shifting from a trade-centric, oil-reliant economy to one centered on services and tourism, has significantly enhanced the value of real estate. This economic shift fueled a property boom from 2004 to 2006, driven by monumental projects such as the palm islands, Dubai Marina, Business Bay, Burj Khalifa, and Dubai Land.

Multi-Sectoral Real Estate Development:

Over time, the UAE, particularly Dubai, has experienced unparalleled real estate development across sectors, starting with infrastructure, progressing to retail, hospitality, and residential assets, and more recently expanding into industrial, commercial office spaces, and theme parks. Other emirates have emulated Dubai’s approach.

Challenges of Speculative Development:

During this expansive period, a majority of real estate development, particularly residential, was speculative and reliant on off-plan sales. This approach, while contributing to quantity, raised concerns about compromising on quality.

Role of Property Valuation and Appraisal Firms:

Property valuation and appraisal firms play a pivotal role in the UAE’s economic landscape. In 2007, the establishment of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) introduced rules and regulations, streamlining property transactions and ownership registrations in Dubai.

Post-Crisis Regulation Efforts:

Post the 2009 market recession and global financial crisis, the Dubai Land Department (DLD) and RERA collaborated to establish the Dubai Real Estate Appraisal Centre. This initiative aimed to regulate valuations, make significant strides in improving the oversight of valuation professionals, and align with internationally recognized valuation standards.

International Standards Adoption:

In 2019, Dubai mandated the use of International Valuation Standards (IVSC), which are now the benchmark for valuation in a multitude of countries globally. The Emirates Valuation Book is obligatory for all valuers in Dubai, ensuring adherence to IVS and promoting best practices in one of the most international real estate markets worldwide.

RICS Contribution to Standards and Transparency:

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) actively contributes to the development of valuation, measurement, and construction standards in the UAE. Their initiatives, such as the Valuer Registration Scheme (VRS) implemented in 2014, aim to promote transparency and consistency among RICS members conducting real estate valuations in the region.