The Nest

NestApple's Real Estate Blog

Featuring real estate articles and information to help real estate buyers and sellers. The Nest features writings from Georges Benoliel and other real estate professionals. Georges is the Co-Founder of NestApple and has been working as an active real estate investor for over a decade.

New York Vs Dubai: Where Is Better to Invest in Real Estate?

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Our guide will help you compare New York and Dubai to make the right investment decisions in those urban areas. New York vs. Dubai: That is the question! Megacities are often quite similar at first glance: the same tall buildings, chaotic traffic, and lots of opportunities. Two cities are often compared to each other—it’s Dubai and New York. They both feature skyscrapers, prevailing English speakers, good job options, and an excellent investing environment.

New York, United States, is probably the first city that comes to mind when considering investments, but Dubai is catching up quickly. Every year, this city attracts more tourists and investors, and residential real estate is a big part of investment opportunities in both cities.

The Best City to Invest in Real Estate: New York or Dubai

This article is for you if you are still deciding whether to buy property in Dubai or New York.

Why Is It Better to Invest in New York City?

New York Vs Dubai

New York is one of the most famous cities in the world. With over 8.5 million inhabitants, it is one of the cultural, financial, and media capitals. It is also an important center for international diplomacy and cultural relations.

People worldwide come to live in or visit this place, making it an attractive opportunity for commercial real estate investments.

Moreover, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the most extensive metro area in the world by urban landmass. It is called New York-Newark-Jersey City, and in 2021 was populated by almost 20 million people. This area is home to many people born outside the USA, so it’s a place of opportunities for real estate investors from all national and cultural backgrounds.

According to the Versus portal, New York has many benefits compared to Dubai. It has a higher average salary rate, developed infrastructure that can be used for cars and pedestrians, and many facilities like gyms, public transport, and amazing parks with the huge Central Park in the middle. The number of billionaires is also higher in New York.

Many people enjoy warm Dubai weather, but it misses the beauty of ever-changing seasons, which New York is full of. The benefits can be found in any season, when the heat sometimes becomes unbearable in Dubai, forcing people to stay in their cars and apartments.

New York vs. Dubai: Pros to Invest in New York

Overall, there are a lot of pros to living in the City That Never Sleeps. They include:

  • Favorable investment climate
  • Respect for people from all over the world
  • Wild housing demand
  • A high density of well-to-do people
  • Lots of tourists are willing to rent apartments
  • A lot of great tenants
  • Constantly increasing property prices
  • High-paying job opportunities
  • Increased life quality
  • Developed infrastructure and public transport

New York vs. Dubai: Cons to Invest in New York

However, with excellent living standards and high-paying jobs come disadvantages like:

  • High prices for everything — from food to real estate
  • Terrible traffic with constant traffic jams
  • Impossible to find a parking lot
  • High property prices, in general
  • A lot of homeless people and bad neighborhoods
  • Rising unemployment rates
  • Rent control schemes prohibit changing the rent price

New York vs. Dubai: Why Better to Invest in Dubai

new york skyline

The UAE is known for its investor-friendly practices, especially for reduced taxes. Investments in Dubai are not subject to annual real estate tax, income tax, capital gains tax, rental income tax, or value-added tax (VAT). The country even has tax-free zones that have special favorable tax regimes. This allows investors to allocate a more extensive financial portfolio to purchase real estate and obtain a higher return.

The Versus portal says that Dubai is safer than New York and much more affordable for the middle class—it has a lower cost of living and rental prices. The quality of life index in Dubai is almost two times higher than in NY, and the unemployment rates are much lower.

There are many colleges, universities, and excellent beaches that New York lacks. Dubai also has a higher position in the “The world’s best city to live in” ranking. The warm weather allows for swimming and sunbathing all year long.

On average, real estate in Dubai is more affordable than in New York and grows in price quickly. The city also doesn’t have rent control, so you can decide what price to put for an apartment and rent it out freely.

Pros to Invest in Dubai

There are pros and cons to living and investing in Dubai as well. The pros include:

  • Tax-free zones allow not to pay taxes in the first years
  • It is the safest country with close to zero bad neighborhoods
  • Developed infrastructure
  • High rental and sales profits
  • Regulated estate market
  • Visa facilitations for foreign investors
  • High living standards
  • Affordability for the middle class
Having said the above, Dubai isn’t the wrong place either. The crime scene here is much better than (non-existent) compared to NYC. Income is tax-free. Property tax rates are lower. It’s at the center of both worlds (East and West), reflecting its airport being the world’s largest in terms of international passengers.

Cons to Invest in Dubai

The cons of living in this developed city include the following:

  • Strict requirements for becoming a citizen
  • High property maintenance costs
  • Overflow of new properties on the market and Dubai properties are less liquid
  • Initial Expenses of Procedure of Purchasing— a 4% fee on the property value charged by the Dubai Land Department (DLD)
  • Unbearably hot weather in the summer

How to Choose?

While you find contrasts in NYC, from the tall skyscrapers to the tiny winy building blocks Downtown, Dubai has done away with any of these contrasts, all in the name of development.

NYC’s art and culture scene is vibrant and happening. While Dubai does get some top-billed performers for concerts, there is no underground scene, and a parallel art scene does not exist beyond a couple of galleries (Serkal in Al Qouz and Bastakiyah are trying hard to get off the ground).

Moving on to people

You will find diversity in NYC and walk into people from different backgrounds and income levels on the street, at the food cart, or in the subway. Dubai is a city split into the higher end of income, who have it all and can splurge, and then you have the blue-collar workers.

Those who toil in the sun to build the tall buildings are then transported in buses to their ‘labor camps’ on the city outskirts, where they live in rooms with 6-8 other roommates.

You will never see any of these men within city limits except within the boundaries of a construction site.

Overall, the investment sector in these two great cities is thriving. Now might be the best time to buy real estate properties. Dubai and NY attract many people and have a high quality of life. In such cases, it is better to weigh other factors — like the size of your capital and requirements for obtaining citizenship (if you plan to get one).

The climate also plays a role here, so make sure you choose the city you’ll be able to enjoy for a long time.

Written By: Georges Benoliel

Georges has been working in Wall Street for the last 16 years trading derivatives with hedge funds. He has been an active real estate investor for over a decade. Georges graduated from HEC Business School in Paris and holds a master in Finance from ESADE Barcelona.

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