UNITED STATES—The Russian attack on Ukraine that happened on February 24, 2022, has affected the whole world. And this applies not only to the military but to all aspects of life, including the real estate market. With each passing day, sanctions limit the lives of Russians and make any international transaction, purchase, or sale impossible. And the political forces of the West are not going to remove the restrictions, but on the contrary, are looking for more ways to isolate the Russian Federation.

That’s why many panicked Russian oligarchs are thinking about ways of saving their millions and moving them safely while they still can. That is why the elite of the country is directing all its efforts towards the United Arab Emirates, looking for ways to buy property in Dubai.

Since the UAE has not joined Europe in its sanctions against Russia, it became a logical safe haven for all the Russian money. However, banks are still being cautious to avoid reputational risks of association with an aggressor. So what is the real situation in the real estate market in the UAE? Can Russians expect to buy property here? Let’s see what experts are saying.

Russian Action on the Current UAE Real Estate Market

Dubai is ready to accept money in cash or cryptocurrency and sell its luxury villas to the Russian oligarchs. According to the New York Times, some lands in Dubai already belong to top authorities from Russia. Dozens of villas, hotels, and apartments belong to famous Russian oligarchs.

Currently, the UAE real estate market is full of offers. The challenge is how to pay for the property. The first question that Dubai brokers ask when Russians turn to them is where their finances are located. If the money is in Russia, the time has passed, and it is almost impossible to get it out. And the fact that all the property of Russian oligarchs is being seized also affects the UAE’s inclination to help.

The United Arab Emirates has a strong political and economic bond with Russia. The country’s refusal to call the situation a war or invasion, as well as its abstinence from joining in on all of the sanctions and condemnation, signals the UAE’s support of Putin. This leads Russians to believe their money will be safe in Dubai and the area.

What Real Experts Say?

Experts from various industries in the United Arab Emirates say that Russian businessmen are focusing on buying or renting property not only for housing but also for commerce. They want to completely relocate their business whether it is a restaurant or a factory.

Among the issues that experts are trying to solve are obtaining licenses, documents, opening bank accounts, and even arranging a move for the whole family, starting with choosing a school for the children.

However, a predominant number of requests for rent is for the short term — 2-3 months. Such businessmen do not lose hope to return but give themselves time to go through turbulent events. And Dubai welcomes everyone. This hospitality policy is understandable, as the majority of the UAE’s population is foreigners, like those who once fled the effects of the war from Syria or Lebanon.

Brokers in the UAE admit that the demand for real estate from Russian oligarchs has been increasing rapidly in the last few weeks. At the same time, the supply in the country remains vast, so the situation is not likely to affect prices.

How Russians Can Buy Property in the United Arab Emirates

By purchasing property in the UAE, Russians can secure residence in the country. Thus, an investment of Dh750,000 ($204,000) is enough to expect a permit to live in the Gulf for three years, while larger sums can mean an even longer stay.

Conducting financial transactions can be a problem, though. If the bank account is in Russia, the transaction will be most likely denied. That is why many Russians are turning to cryptocurrencies to move their wealth.

While popular cryptocurrency exchange platforms like Binance and Coinbase are pledging to block accounts that belong to Russians, it is not always possible to do due to crypto’s anonymous nature. This means that Russian citizens can buy crypto and then liquidate it in a friendly jurisdiction like the UAE, and then use the cash to buy real estate.

Summing Up

The real estate market in the United Arab Emirates is of great interest to Russian oligarchs. Given that local authorities remain neutral in Russia’s military action, cooperation between the two countries continues. Therefore, this oil-rich country does not pose any obstacles to the Russian elite’s investment in the local real estate market.

The UAE brokers are experiencing a strong influx of customers with requests to buy different types of real estate. Money is accepted both in cash and in cryptocurrency, and the UAE government generously accepts investors regardless of their nationality.