Expats in their twenties and thirties are the most interested in buying property in Dubai as they regard the emirate as likely to be their home for their prime career years, new research suggests.

According to the Dubai Statistics Centre there are 1.2 million expats aged 25 to 39 years old living in the emirate and a survey by classified website Dubizzle has found that many want to buy property but for a variety of reasons.

Most of them earn anywhere between Dh20,000 to Dh35,000 a month, 30% work at middle management level and 13% own their own business.

Some 44% surveyed said that they wanted to buy a home in the United Arab Emirates in the next three years and 59% said they wanted to buy outside the UAE in the next three years. The 59% who want to buy outside the UAE said they would prefer to buy in their home country as they do not know how long they wished to stay in the UAE.

There was, however, a crossover in regard to buying property both abroad and in the UAE within the next three years, with the intention that the UAE would serve as an ideal base during the prime years of their careers.

When asked about the importance of buying a home in the UAE, Westerners and Arab expats scored higher than Asian expats, who would rather buy a property back in their home country. The research confirms that the UAE remains a prominent choice for Arab expats to buy with 54% wanting to purchase in the emirate as they regard their home country as a risky place to invest in and/or that they did not want to go back to their home countries to live long term.

But Asian expats, most Indians, were more in favour of purchasing their first property back home. However, more established Indian expats who already own property in India said they would buy in the UAE due to it's convenient geographic proximity to India, as well as it being able to provide an ideal business environment to set up shop for new business entrepreneurs.

Some 25% of expats said that it was too early for them to purchase a home, and that instead they wanted to invest their money in their own business or other businesses with ideas they support.

The research also looked at where expats would buy a property and found that the most popular were one and two bedroom homes in Dubai Marina, one bedroom homes in JVC, two bedroom homes in Motor City and Sports City, one bedroom apartments in JLT, and two and four bedroom homes on the Palm.

Not included in the research, but relevant is that prices of property have been falling in Dubai and this could also influence the buying decision. Some 50% are expecting the housing market to improve and those renting are keen to buy with 51% indicating so, the latest residential market sentiment survey from international real estate firm Savills shows.

Of those tenants seeking to buy, some 62% were leaning towards buying a home for their own use rather than buying to let and more than half were looking to purchase a property within the next 12 months, a trend in line with Savill’s previous forecast of the growing pool of buyers looking to enter the bottoming market.

Confirming the general optimism, only 17% were not planning to buy real estate in Dubai anytime in the future, while 32% were unsure.

Savills is expecting sales to rise with 58% of existing owners saying that they are likely to buy over the next 12 months and almost 46% are inclined to expand their existing residential portfolio.