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The super wealthy from across the world are flocking to Dubai, driving an unprecedented surge in the sales of its most-exclusive properties.

Fed up with frequent lockdowns and restrictions, the delay in vaccinations and waves of infections, the cash-rich are zooming in on the UAE city. An Associated Press report noted “foreign buyers flush with cash have flooded Dubai’s high-end property market, one of the few places in the world where they can dine, shop and do business in person”. The result is that record numbers of luxury villas and penthouses are up for the grabs, sending prices rocketing.

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According to a business magnate who bought a luxury villa in the Palm, Dubai’s strategy is “business as usual”. What attracted people like him is the emirate’s philosophy of ensuring everyone is vaccinated and everything is open.

Plentiful vaccines are one reason behind the demand. Apart from nationwide Sinopharm vaccine administration, Dubai offers Pfizer-BioNtech and Oxford-Astrazeneca (new appointments for the latter are closed following the crisis in Indian production). To get a vaccination appointment, all one needs is a residence visa — which the city is extending to high-end property buyers and investors.

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Sales of Dubai’s upscale properties, as a result, has soared 230 per cent in the first quarter of 2021, compared to the same period last year. Prices in some top-end areas rose as much as 40 per cent, according to Property Finder, a major real-estate website.

A record-breaking 90 properties worth 10 million dirhams each ($A3.5 million) changed hands last month, on top of 84 in March, surpassing heights hit eight years ago, according to real estate consultancy Property Monitor. In 2020, there were only 54 such transactions.

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New initiatives that lure affluent foreigners include remote work visas, retirement visas and long-term, renewable “golden” visas. Authorities are also offering Emirati citizenship to a select group of foreigners. To boost its brand as a cosmopolitan city, the UAE has now altered its strict Islamic legal code, allowing unmarried couples to live together and non-citizens to follow foreign laws for divorce and inheritance, says the AP report.