Costly Homes Are Popular in Dubai During the Pandemic
Sales of costly homes have been booming in the Middle Eastern city of Dubai during the coronavirus health crisis.
People from Europe and the United States have been moving to the city, which is one of the United Arab Emirates. They say it is because the city follows a "business as usual" policy.
Christophe Reech is a wealthy French businessman who lived in London for nearly 30 years. But when Britain put in place restrictions because of COVID-19, he decided it was time to leave.
In Dubai, he said, the plan for dealing with the virus is simple: "Let's make sure everyone's vaccinated and keep everything open."
"Of course that attracts people like me," he said.
The U.A.E. is mainly using a vaccine from China to protect people from the virus. The country has a population of about 9 million and has provided over 10 million vaccine doses so far. Other vaccines from Pfizer and AstraZeneca are also available.
Dubai reopened to tourists last summer. It had a sharp increase in virus cases in January. But, unlike some countries, not very many people in the U.A.E. died.
The country used to be a place for rich people from the Middle East and Africa. Now people are coming from places like China, Russia, India and Europe. One reason is that it is easy to get vaccinated.
Reech was able to get an appointment for the Pfizer vaccine as soon as he arrived. In London, the waiting list was four months long.
It is also easy for foreigners to get permission to live in the U.A.E. The country is offering visas for people who are able to work using the internet.
In the past, some westerners worried about moving to Dubai because of its Islamic laws. But recently the country changed its rules to permit people from other parts of the world to observe some of their own laws and traditions. For example, it used to be illegal for men and women who were not married to live together.
These changes made some people think about moving to Dubai: a busy city with beaches, bars, restaurants and tall buildings on the Persian Gulf.
In March, a home in one of the city's rich neighborhoods was sold to a family from Switzerland for over $30 million. Less costly homes are being bought at record rates. Ninety homes worth over $2 million changed hands in April.
But there are some signs that the housing boom is ending.
Prices for space in the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, have fallen nearly 70 percent from their height in 2013. Prices are falling in other buildings, too.
Home sales experts say there are now too many places to live in Dubai. Jackie Johns is a home sales expert. She said the "boom time... can run too quickly and it all falls apart."
Matthew Cooke works for a business that sells costly homes. He said people are buying without thinking too much about the future.
Robert Mogielnicki studies the Middle East at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, D.C.
He said a property boom does not usually hurt rich people. If the market changes, they are in a good position.
"The people who lose out are on the lower end," Mogielnicki said.
I'm Dan Friedell.
1. business as usual 一切如常；处之泰然；
The Queen was determined to show it was business as usual.
2. change hands 变换所有权；易主；易手；
The firm has ch anged hands many times over the years.
3. fall apart (机构或体系)解散,瓦解；
Breeding and management programs for beef cattle fell apart.
4. lose out 失败；受损；吃亏；
Avoid cashing in a policy early as you could lose out heavily.
欧洲人和美国人搬到了这座属于阿拉伯联合酋长国的城市 。他们表示，这是因为该市遵循“一切如常”的政策 。
克里斯托夫·里奇是在伦敦生活了近30年的法国富商 。但当英国因为新冠肺炎出台限制措施时，他认为是时候离开了 。
阿联酋主要使用中国的一款疫苗来保护人们免受病毒侵害 。该国约有900万人口，迄今已提供了1000多万剂疫苗 。这个国家也提供辉瑞和阿斯利康的疫苗 。
迪拜去年夏天对游客重新开放 。该市在1月份病毒病例急剧增加 。但是，与一些国家不同的是，阿联酋的死亡病例并不多 。
这个国家曾是中东和非洲富人的聚集地 。现在的居民来自中国、俄罗斯、印度和欧洲等地 。原因之一接种疫苗很容易 。
里奇一到迪拜就能预约辉瑞公司的疫苗 。在伦敦，接种疫苗要等待四个月之久 。
外国人也很容易获得阿联酋的居住许可 。该国为能够使用互联网工作的人士提供签证 。
过去，一些西方人因迪拜实行伊斯兰法律而对迁居迪拜感到担心 。但最近阿联酋改变了规定，允许来自世界其他地方的人们遵循自己的部分法律和传统 。比如，以前未婚男女同居在迪拜属违法行为 。
今年3月，该市富人区的一栋房屋以超过3000万美元的价格出售给一个瑞士家庭 。价格较低的房屋正以创纪录的速度被购买 。今年4月，90套价值超过200万美元的房屋易手 。
世界最高建筑哈利法塔的房价较2013年的高点下降了近70% 。其他建筑物的价格也在下跌 。
房屋销售专家表示，现在迪拜有太多房子可供居住 。杰基·约翰斯是一名房屋销售专家 。她表示，“繁荣时期可能发展得过快，一切都崩溃了 。”
马修·库克在一家销售豪宅的公司工作 。他表示，人们在购买时过多考虑未来 。
他说，房地产繁荣通常不会伤害到富人 。如果市场发生变化，他们处于有利地位 。