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Indian property investors buying ‘bargain’ real estate abroad

Dubai is proving extremely popular as is the UK. In both countries prices have dropped and the markets are regarded as being full of opportunity, a London based broker has found.

'The property slump is not just confined to India. Prices have crashed considerably in the US, the UK and the Middle East and many Indians are seeing this as an opportunity to buy property there,' said Rajesh Goenka, chairman of Axiom Estates, the London based provider of property services in India.

He believes that high net worth Indian property investors are spoilt for choice. 'Dubai is the hottest destination. Real estate prices were so steep that very few could afford property there. Now as the slowdown has hit the Dubai realty market also, rates are down by 30 to 50%,' Goenka said.

Syed Mazaz, the Mumbai representative of Dubai-based real estate brokers Better Homes has also noticed an increased number of inquiries from Indian investors. 'Buying property in Dubai attracts no government tax and even if you put your property on rent, the income is completely tax-free,' he said.

According to him, property prices in Dubai are comparable to those in Delhi or Mumbai. 'I'm getting many more enquiries and about one-third of them end up buying a home in Dubai,' Mazaj said.

In Europe, Britain is the favourite destination for Indian property investors. 'We alone are receiving at least 100 queries for the UK every week,' Goenka said. Two bedroom apartments are proving the most popular.

Countries such as Singapore, Mauritius, Thailand and Malaysia where prices have dropped up to 40% in recent months are also attracting Indian investors. Some are buying for children who are studying abroad but according to Jaideep Singh, head of the India desk at global property consultant Knight Frank there are more who are buying second and even third properties as holiday homes.

'People are buying property abroad because these are even cheaper than in India, which makes it perfect for getting a second, or a third home,' he explained.