Dubai’s real estate sector measured by counting the number of expat children

A novel method of gauging the property market in

Dubai has been launched that involves counting the number of expat schoolchildren around the city.


US banking giant Citigroup has issued a report which uses school enrolment patterns to estimate growth levels among the expat population. This, in turn, links to economic wellbeing in Dubai, which is a good indicator of the health of the property sector.

Farouk Soussa, Middle East economist for Citigroup, said: “In an economy where 96 per cent of the workforce is made up of expatriates whose right to reside in the emirate is linked to their ongoing employment, the feedback between growth and demographics is particularly acute.”

Western banks are limited in the information that is available from Dubai Statistics Centre so are forced to find inventive ways for measuring employment, property prices and other economic data.

Mr Soussa added: “Unfortunately, timely and reliable population statistics for Dubai are not available, hindering meaningful analysis of population trends and their impact on growth. To get around this problem, we have identified one available indicator which we believe gives us a reliable proxy for growth in the expat population – enrolment of expat children in schools.”