How Dubai is becoming more transparent to attract real estate investors

Dubai is the most populous city in the UAE and the capital city of Emirate of Dubai. Dubai is famous for its ultramodern architecture, luxury shopping, lively nightlife, skyscraper-filled skyline, inclusive multicultural lifestyle, and diversity. It emerged as the hub for global investors who are interested in buying or renting properties to earn a profit from it.

This luxurious and fast-growing city was created in 1971 after gaining independence from Great Britain. In less than 40 years, Dubai established itself as the fastest-growing economy in the world. The country climbed the ladder to reach the Global Real Estate Transparency Index after it launched the official residential index.

What is the Global Real Estate Transparency Index 2020?

The Global Real Estate Transparency Index, or GRETI, started by Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), is a significant guide for companies that operate in foreign markets. It is an exclusive benchmark of real estate market transparency. A vital guide for investors, real estate developers, and corporates, the GRETI is an important tool for companies operating in foreign markets. It is because of its significance and gives swift information on how the global real estate market should work at the global level.

JLL Global Real Estate Transparency Index report on Dubai

According to the JLL Global Real Estate Transparency Index, Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the most transparent real estate markets in the entire MENA region. The GRETI also states that Dubai falls amongst the top three improvers globally in the ‘Semi-Transparent’ category. In the year 2018, the ranking of the places moved up to eight places to 36 out of 100 total markets.

Emirates witnessed continuous progress over the year, which is evident from its ranking amongst the top-tier cities from countries like China (ranked 33rd), Russia (ranked 38th), and Mexico (ranked 39th).

The Global Real Estate Transparency Index is a powerful indicator to determine a city’s overall real estate investment health. The Emirate’s increasing popularity and attractiveness as an investment hub was recognized, and hence it reached up to place 36th.

The report also states that the most crucial initiative was launched in 2019. It is a key contributor to Dubai’s ranking and the creation of an official residential transaction-based index. The head of research for JLL MENA, Dana Salbak, said that “Monashee constitutes a potentially important step forward for Dubai, as it means the establishment of a single index that is widely used by all market participants.” Salbak further added, “Among the many initiatives introduced, the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment signed a pledge with the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), a financial free zone, to embed sustainable finance policies in the UAE, contributing to the Emirate’s ranking. The policies cover all forms of corporate and investment financial services which yield environmental, social, and economic benefits.”

Other factors that contribute to the ranking include the first Green REIT. The REIT was established at the ADGM in early 2020 by Masdar as a subsidiary of Mubadala Investment Company. It is one of the leading renewable energy and sustainable real estate companies in the world.

Looking beyond sustainability, the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA) has also unveiled a new Abu Dhabi Data Management Program (DMP). This program offers a data-centric platform and shared ecosystem. This falls under the Open Data initiative as part of Ghadan 21. Ghadan 21 is Abu Dhabi’s accelerator program and is designed to fulfill the government’s vision of a diversified knowledge-based economy.

Additionally, the JLL’s report also noted that Saudi Arabia continues to demonstrate a strong commitment and dedication towards the implementation of positive reforms to expand the economy and the real estate market. The Saudi government, conscious of the role data plays in market transparency, and its overall impact, rebranded its publicly available central database – as The General Authority for Statistics. The General Authority for Statistics has continued to collate more data from government agencies and organizations.

Ministries and government organizations, which include the Ministry of Finance and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), have started publishing more micro-level indicators on a monthly and quarterly basis. A source of valuable indicator for commercial and residential real estate transactions and performance have been gathered from the data of the Ministry of Justice.

Transparency of Investment in Dubai

Transparency, by all means, is the most important factor for the growth of an industry. The real estate market in Dubai is only sixteen years old, with the decree for foreigners to buy property was issued in 2002. Dubai has seen promising growth over the years. In this short duration, Dubai has already established itself as one of the most transparent real estate markets in the world.

Dubai’s real estate market is the most transparent market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, according to the Global Transparency Report published by JLL.

Reports state that key contributions to Dubai’s ranking are the official residential transaction-based indexes. Like Mo’asher, by the Dubai Land Department (DLD) that partners with private organization or entity to real estate scenario.

According to Dana Salbak, the JLL MENA’s Head of Research, the single established index is a potentially important step forward for Dubai as it will be used by all market participants.

The UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment signed a pledge with the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGH), which significantly contributed to the Emirate’s ranking. A financial Free Zone will be set up to embed sustainable finance policies in the UAE region. The region is driven towards introducing initiatives that will promote corporate and real estate sustainability.

The administration of Dubai has taken some serious, steady measures to bring greater development, security, and straightforwardness in the land market to advance the land interest in Dubai.


Dubai is constantly and proactively involved in developing and building both sustainable and innovative real estate environments for foreign and local investors. The implementation of clear and transparent real estate laws is a way forward to achieving these goals by the government of Dubai.

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