It seemed a mixed year for the real estate in the country. Some buyers took advantage of affordable home prices and low interest rates whereas others preferred to sit on the sidelines and monitor the market before taking the plunge. \'Emirates24|7\' spoke with experts in the industry to find out the most important events, both external and internal, that had an impact on the UAE\'s real estate sector in 2011. “The events that took place in 2011 that had an impact on property prices were mainly external, although there were some UAE events that made an impact,” Charles Neil, Chief Executive Officer, Landmark Properties, told this website. According to him, the positive internal events were: “Changes in visa regulations allowing owners of properties of over Dh1 million to have a 3-year residency visa, mortgage rates continued to fall and banks were more liquid, oil prices remained buoyant which supported the local economy, announcements by Emirates Airlines and Dubai Civil Aviation expanding the aviation sector and supporting growth of tourism.” On the other hand, events that had a negative influence as per Neil were mainly, “Planning review by Abu Dhabi resulting in job losses and [the fall in] stock markets.” Talking of the external events, he added: “Arab Spring highlighted the UAE as a safe haven for investment.” “[The] US budget crisis, Euro crisis/European debt crisis, slowing down of BRICS economies and threat of another recession, falling rupee, falling Iranian Riyal,” were the negative as stated by the Landmark expert. “The overall effect of all these factors was that prices in some areas stagnated and stopped falling, but overall the prices for sale, and rentals fell for apartments and commercial properties albeit at a slower pace. More investment/sales purchase transactions did take place in 2011, but could have been higher had it not been for the bad news out of Europe,” he explained to this website. Vineet Kumar, Head of Business Development, Asteco, Dubai believes that 2011 was much better for the real estate in the country as compared with the previous years. “Financing has remained tough since the property downtown began in the third quarter of 2008 but sentiment has improved as banks began to offer more attractive mortgage rates this year. The government’s declaration that property buyers in Dubai will be given a visa for three years instead of just six months will also help boost investor confidence. Transaction levels have also risen as job security and increased market confidence result in people seeking tenancy upgrades and home ownership,” he said.