Chinese property investors have cast their sights on Dubai as a new investment destination as opportunities in China lose their shine following the recent stock market turbulence. In Dubai, rental yields for residential properties are 8 per cent on average annually, driven by strong, stable expatriate demand, according to property broker Lisa Luo, who has been based in the city in the United Arab Emirates for eight years. This compared with yields of just 2 to 3 per cent in China, said Luo, a property consultant at Knight’s Court Real Estate. “Expatriates make up about 80 per cent of Dubai’s population,” she said. “There is also an increasing number of Chinese companies setting up offices in Dubai, which is boosting the rental demand.” READ MORE: Dubai developer Damac Properties reaches out to Asian investors Luo said an investor could buy a one-bedroom apartment in Dubai for 1.5 million yuan (HK$1.82 million) and collect as much as 150,000 yuan rental income a year, for example. Seeing the opportunity, she said, Chinese investors were increasingly keen to enter the Dubai property market. China’s property market, on the other hand, had lost its appeal given its lower rental yields, Luo said. It was also tough to find investments with good returns amid the country’s stock market turmoil and under its low interest rate environment, she added. Luo said Dubai’s tourism business and upcoming 2020 World Exposition would further buoy the city’s property prices. A report by Juwai.com, which helps Chinese people buy real estate abroad, revealed that the number of Chinese nationals interested in buying property in Dubai rose 1,200 per cent last month from the same period last year. Dubai real estate developer Damac Properties – which showcased a luxury project featuring villas and golf courses at a Guangzhou property exhibition – said investing in that project could offer an annual return of 8 per cent in the first three years. The return rate was achievable as Dubai’s leasing market was stable and driven by demand from expatriates working in the Middle Eastern business hub, said Damac sales manager Wang Huimin. “Chinese investors are seeking to diversify their portfolios overseas … Dubai, where the property market is well regulated, has been a top pick for those looking to invest in the Middle East,” she said. Wang said Dubai’s property prices had seen little change since June last year because of an increased supply of new residential properties and a fall in oil prices, but the emerging market had good appreciation potential in the long run. Farid Jamal, sales and leasing senior manager at Cayan Homes, said the city’s lifestyle and the security and perpetuity of property ownership there also contributed to the soaring interest from Chinese investors. Cayan Homes is the real estate broker arm of Saudi developer Cayan Group, which developed the iconic twisted Cayan Tower in Dubai Marina. “Chinese investors are interested in Dubai property. We have received good inquiries for our [luxury residential] project,” said Jamal, who introduced the project at last week’s Guangzhou property show. Annual rental yields in Dubai could reach 8 to 9 per cent depending on the projects and areas, Jamal said, adding that properties priced between US$200,000 and US$400,000 would be more affordable for Chinese investors and also offered good returns. “Dubai does provide better returns on property investments than other countries do,” he said.