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The UAE has removed the AED1 million ($272,294) minimum downpayment requirement to qualify for a golden visa through real estate investment, industry sources have told AGBI. 
Investors must acquire property valued at AED2 million or above to be eligible for the 10-year renewable residency scheme, introduced in 2019. 
Previously, for properties bought on mortgage or installment plans, a minimum of AED1 million – or 50 percent of the property’s value – had to be paid to the bank or developer to be able to apply for the golden visa.
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“Starting now, if the property is worth AED2 million you can get a golden visa, regardless of whether it’s off-plan, completed, mortgaged or not mortgaged,” he said. 
“If you can book an off-plan property [worth AED2 million] with an AED50,000 cheque, boom, that’s it.”
The move was called, which would allow thousands more investors access to the visa, an “ace card” the government has played to preempt potential market downturns.
“You pull out something like this and it’s just going to boost real estate again,” been said. 
“It’s going to give it the energy and oxygen it needs long term.”
A Dubai-based partner and head of employment at law firm , confirmed a team was aware of the policy change. However, it was pointed out that the property value must still be in excess of AED2 million for the individual to be eligible to apply for golden visa status.

Dubai’s real estate market – an important driver of the emirate’s economy – was predicted to experience a price drop of five to 10 percent over the next 12 to 18 months.
Tatjana Lescova, associate director and primary credit analyst at S&P Global Ratings, voiced concerns in November about the increasing risks of a cyclical slowdown and a potential mild price reversal. 

“There’s still room for huge upward movement,” forecasting double-digit growth. 
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, one of Dubai’s largest private developers, predicted that prices will increase by five to 10 percent this year and would not see a correction for at least two years.
“The market is still strong. It’s predicted  that it’s going to continue to remain strong. 

A sales consultant said eliminating the AED1 million barrier to qualify for the golden visa will spur off-plan investment.
“Investors will be more attracted to buy off-plan properties because they can begin the golden visa process after paying only the booking amount.

Viewing the policy change as a sign of the UAE, and especially Dubai, “maturing” into a genuine destination of choice for expatriates, moving beyond its traditional appeal of tax-free living.

“Owners expect their property to reach a valuation of more than AED2 million by the time of handover, thereby qualifying them for golden residency.
Historically, the UAE issued employment-tied visas to foreigners, valid for a limited number of years, making it challenging for many to commit to long-term investments in the country.
The government has made its visa policy more flexible over the past couple of years as part of economic reforms to diversify away from oil, offering longer residencies for certain categories of investors, students and professionals.
The widening of the programme comes at a time of intensifying economic competition with neighbouring Saudi Arabia, which has also unveiled new residency incentives this month to draw skilled workers and investors.

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