Plans by UAE lender Emirates Islamic Bank (EIB) to offer 100 percent mortgages will have “minimal” impact on the Gulf State’s home finance market as they will not be available to expatriate buyers, who make up 85 percent of the market, a Dubai-based consultant told Arabian Business.
The lender announced yesterday UAE citizens would be offered full home financing through a new Shariah-compliant mortgage scheme, with rates starting at 4.99 percent.
Bina’a, meaning ‘to build' in Arabic, is the only product in the country that offers 100 percent financing, the state-controlled lender said. Customers can finance an existing or new-build property and can fix their rate and installments for as many as five years, it added.
While Jean-Luc Desbois, managing director of mortgage consultancy firm Homematters, welcomed the move and said it would be “positive for the UAE market,” he believed it would have a very limited impact.
“The impact of this move will be minimal, simply on the basis that it is not available to expatriates, whom make up approximately 85 percent of the population,” he added.
In terms of the wider market, analysts told Arabian Business last year that the debt crises in Europe and the US will make mortgage financing more difficult in the UAE this year, and could stifle recovery in the sector.
“Mortgage finance will become more difficult as deposit levels appear to have come down again at the banks, and the European/US banks will be reducing their interbank lending which will affect the UAE banks,” Charles Neil, CEO of Dubai-based estate agency Landmark Properties said.
Dubai was one of the hardest hit real estate markets in the Middle East when the global financial crisis saw prices tumble nearly 60 percent and half of projects were put on hold or cancelled.
Investment bank Citigroup reported last year the value of construction projects scrapped or on hold in the UAE soared to US$958bn in the 12 months to October 2011.