Gulf News Freehold – Ask the Agent

ls Dubai’s realty market about to enter a new period of oversupply? With new projects being announced and the market now in decline, will this prolong the current market correction?

Calculating optimal supply levels, particularly when emerging from a recessionary period, is particularly challenging. it depends on an accurate estimation of demand for real estate assets which will emanate from population growth which, in Dubai’s case, will be largely driven by overall economic growth. It also needs to comprehend a lag effect from the time that conditions conducive to development are identified by developers and when properties are finally released into the market. Given that the Dubai economy is expected to grow at an estimated 5%+ annually and initiatives such as the Expo 2020 are expected to generate more jobs, the demand for housing and commercial facilities is expected to grow significantly.

l recently arrived in Dubai. Can you give me tips on what l should consider when looking to rent a property?

There are six key considerations when going for your first rental.

  1. Know what you can afford and allow 30% of your gross household income for rent.
  2. Give yourself time to find the best solution that fits your budget. Do not jump at the first possibility and do not settle for less.
  3. Make sure your agent is registered with RERA. You can log on to the Dubai Land Department (DLD) website to check.
  4. Make sure the tenancy agreement is as per the RERA standard template. Check DLD website.
  5. Ensure you document any property defects before you sign the contract. Raise them with your agent before you sign anything.
  6. Ensure your rental contract is registered in RERA’s Ejari system. Insist that your broker completes the registration as it is the first step towards safeguarding you rights as a tenant.

I have owned my home for over seven years and I am looking at how I can save money by upgrading particular aspects of the property.

  1. Here are seven ideas that may help you save a few dirhams:
  2. Use low-flow fixtures to cut water usage by up to 40%.
  3. Buy fluorescent bulbs which last four to l0 times longer than regular light bulbs
  4. Update your dishwasher. Modern units use 42% less water than older models.
  5. Consider a tankless water heater and save on electricity.
  6. Good ceiling fans can reduce air-conditioning costs. They dispel the need to turn on the aircon often.
  7. Apply energy reducing film on windows to reduce internal temperatures.
  8. Consider fitting solar panels.

Our contract states there is payment due at handover and payment as maintenance advance. The developer is asking all payments on “completion date.” ls “completion date” not the same as “handover date?”

“Completion date” and “handover date” are not the same. The building can be deemed complete once the official “Completion Certificate,” which ensures the building passed all inspections has been received. Just because a building has been issued a completion certificate does not mean it is ready for handover and occupancy. Often, there are a number of small items that need to be completed before it can be occupied. l suggest you confirm that your SPA definitely refers to the “handover date” as what triggers the final payment and maintenance advance. If so, you should not make the final payment until the developer is ready to hand over the keys to you and only after you (or a professional) had the chance to inspect the apartment to ensure you are receiving what you paid for.

With the current correction in the market having been underway for some time now, do you think the market has bottomed and represents a good opportunity to buy?

There are definitely opportunities available and advantages to be gained from purchasing now. The market will pick up again as the next five years are expected to see strong economic growth in Dubai, but picking the exact timing is always difficult.

Start your property search immediately as a property investment requires the same approach and set of considerations regardless of the state of the market.

Know what you can afford. If you have the cash , I suggest you pay for it outright; however, do not be afraid to take out a mortgage as long as you plan and understand the impact of interest rate rises in the future.

Think carefully about location, surrounding infrastructure, construction quality, developer reputation and building amenities. Properties which are close to the beach, with a sea or golf course view, or part of an iconic development usually provide good returns. If you have close access to the metro, even better.

Also consider the effectivity of the owners association, service charges and the quality of maintenance services as these will have an effect on the long-term value of your investment.

Send in your property issue-related questions to be answered by industry experts, mentioning ‘Ask the Agent’ in the subject line, to:


H1 2015… and where are we?

Mohanad Alwadiya, MD of Harbor Real Estate & Instructor at
the Dubai Real Estate Institute, the Official
Training & Certification Arm of the Dubai Land Department

For the past 6 months, headlines have been making many and varied references to the Real Estate correction in Dubai. This is not surprising as yes; indeed, Dubai’s Real Estate industry is in the midst of a correction. For many, the term “correction” is viewed with suspicion and trepidation, particularly those with a more tactical, less strategic, short term point of view. For those who are taking the long term perspective, the term “correction” is viewed with anticipation as the term refers to the elimination of systemic issues and making the necessary adjustments to deal with impacts of external issues on the efficient operation of the real estate market itself.

There is no doubt that a “correction” was overdue. 2013 will long be remembered as Dubai’s comeback year as the total value of Real Estate transactions reached AED 234 Billion, a 52% increase in the prior year which was clearly unsustainable as witnessed when the correction began in 2014 when AED 218 Billion worth of real estate assets were sold, a reduction of over AED 16 Billion on the prior year. At the time of writing, just over AED 63 Billion worth of transactions had taken place during 2015 indicating that the market is well and truly into its correction phase.

The market definitely benefitted from high levels of liquidity during 2012 and 2013. Capital inflows seeking safe haven from regional conflicts flowed strongly, however, they were sure to weaken and have. Geo-political events such as the wrangling over the Ukraine and  subsequent economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the West meant a rubble which was declining rapidly in value made investing in Dubai an increasingly expensive proposition for Russian investors who historically have been prevalent amongst the investing community.  In  addition,  changes  to mortgage  laws  also  dampened  the availability of capital for those investors wishing to use  leverage  to  capitalize on attractive property valuations and the  promise  of  high  and  sustainable rental  yields.  A slew of new projects being launched as a result of renewed developer optimism also placed pressure on liquidity levels and, eventually, prices market-wide.  Initially, launches were made with prices for off-plan units consistent and supportive to prices for completed units. However, with each additional launch competition for the investor Dirham intensified, leading to a gradual reduction in prices for off plan units making the risk reward equation more palatable for off-plan units versus completed units.  In addition, the shift of developer focus in response to the call for more affordable housing also meant that investors gravitated towards this, perhaps the most important structural correction in the market to date.

The  number  of  new  launches has been impressive, leaving many to question  whether  over- exuberance on  behalf  of  developers  will  result  in a  significant  oversupply.  Calculating optimal supply levels, particularly when emerging from a recessionary period, is particularly challenging. It depends on an accurate estimation of demand for real estate assets which will emanate from population growth which, in Dubai’s case, will be largely driven by overall economic growth going forward. In addition, it needs to comprehend a lag effect from the time that conditions conducive to development are identified by developers and when properties are completed and are released onto the market.

We at Harbor take, at minimum, a 5 year view when looking at equilibrium or imbalances in the market. When taking into account the nature of the markets resurgence, the strong growth in fundamental economic drivers such as tourism and trade, the levels of investment into infrastructure and initiatives and stakeholder commitment to sustainable growth, we believe that, while inventory levels may spike in the interim, they will not be excessive at the end of our 5 year forecast period. There will be around 11,000 villas, 7,500 townhouses and 35,000 apartments delivered between now and January 2020. While this may seem a lot, remember that we are a entering period where demand for properties, particularly those which are affordable, is expected to rise significantly and, given average current occupation rates are around 80 – 85%, there is not much margin for error in terms of satisfying expected demand.

Put simply Dubai needs people to support an economy that is expected to grow at an estimated 5%+ annually for the remainder of the decade and to deliver initiatives such as the 2020 World Expo. The Expo alone is expected to generate an additional 270,000 jobs and drive demand for housing and commercial facilities that, by and large, don’t currently exist. Much of the city’s planning comprehends the number of people living in the emirate to grow to 3.4million people by 2020, a 7% annual increase from today’s population of 2.25million.

There is no doubt that a stabilized real estate market will provide a much better launch pad for what will be a period of significant economic and commercial activity over the next 5 to 7 years. The structural shift towards more affordable housing will not only serve to accommodate the expected rapid population growth associated with the 2020 expo, but also serve as an important factor in the development of the Dubai economy overall.

Every emerging economy needs to develop a strong middle class as its expansion is critical to growing a sustainable economy and developing resilience in the face of external financial and economic shocks. In addition, for Dubai to compete effectively on a regional and global basis, it needs to ensure that the cost of doing business in the emirate does not position it as an outlier when entrepreneurs or corporations are considering alternatives for their operations. When taking this perspective, the correction could not have come at a better time.


إيجارات دبي” تتمسك بأدائها عند المستويات نفسها في النصف الثاني”

دبي ملحم الزبيدي:

حافظ سوق إيجارات الوحدات السكنية (الشقق والفلل) في دبي منذ بداية النصف الثاني من العام الجاري على نفس مستويات الأداء الذي استهله خلال الأشهر الستة الأولى من 2015، حيث تمسكت أغلبية المناطق بالأسعار نفسها مع تراجعات طفيفة في بعض المناطق على حدود الإمارة.
من المرجح أن تحافظ أسعار إيجارات الوحدات السكنية على مستوياتها نفسها حتى نهاية العام الجاري نظراً لضعف تأثير المعروض الجديد الذي سيدخل إلى السوق الذي لن يتعدى الموازنة بين كفي معادلة العرض والطلب.

ورجحت المصادر ل«الخليج» أن تميل أسعار الإيجارات تدريجياً إلى التراجع بحلول الأشهر الأولى من العام الجديد 2016 بنسبة تراوح بين 5 و10% فقط مع دخول المزيد من المعروض من الوحدات السكنية الأمر الذي سيؤثر لمصلحة العرض.
وتستشهد مصادر عقارية عاملة في سوق دبي بأن الدور الأبرز للقانون العقاري رقم 43 الذي أسهم بشكل واضح في تحديد زيادة بدل إيجار العقارات في دبي، الأمر الذي عكس حالة من التباطؤ في ارتفاع الأسعار وميلها إلى الاستقرار.
وذكرت المصادر أن أسعار إيجارات الفلل والشقق ارتفعت خلال 2014 بنسبة 4 و7% في المتوسط على التوالي، لافتة إلى أن الأسعار ارتفعت بنسبة 65% للشقق و55% للفلل منذ 2011 غير أنها لاتزال تقل بنسبة 25 و20% على التوالي عن أسعار 2008.

مهند الوادية: الاستقرار يغلب على أسعار الإيجارات في 2015

وأوضح مهند الوادية، المدير التنفيذي لشركة «هاربور العقارية»، والمحاضر في «كلية دبي العقارية»، أن أسعار إيجارات الوحدات السكنية في أغلبية مناطق دبي لا تزال تميل إلى الاستقرار والثبات عند نفس معدلاتها التي أنهت عندها 2014، ومن المتوقع أن تبدأ بالتراجع التدريجي بنسب بسيطة جداً تراوح بين 5 و10% فقط حتى بداية العام المقبل 2016.
وأشار الوادية إلى أن المرسوم رقم 43 لسنة 2013 أسهم في تحديد زيادة بدل إيجار العقارات في إمارة دبي، حيث وصّف المرسوم نسب الزيادة القصوى الممكنة عند تجديد عقود الإيجار.
ما أدى إلى خلق حالة من التباطؤ في ارتفاع الأسعار وميولها إلى الاستقرار.
ونص المرسوم على ألا تكون هناك أي زيادة في القيمة الإيجازية للوحدة العقارية إذا كان بدل إيجارها يقل عن 10% من متوسط أجر المثل، فيما حدّد الزيادة بنسبة 5% من القيمة الإيجارية إذا كان بدل إيجار الوحدة يقل بنسبة ت`راوح بين 11% و20%، من متوسط أجر المثل.
وحدد المرسوم زيادة قدرها 10% من القيمة الإيجارية للوحدة العقارية إذا كان بدل إيجارها يقل بنسبة تراوح بين 21% وحتى 30% من متوسط أجر المثل، وزيادة قدرها 15% إذا كان إيجار الوحدة يقل بنسبة تراوح بين 31% وحتى 40% من متوسط أجر المثل، فيما تبلغ الزيادة 20% من القيمة الإيجارية للوحدة العقارية إذا قل بدل إيجارها بنسبة تزيد على 40% من متوسط أجر المثل.
وأضاف الوادية قائلاً: «سيكون الاستقرار هو الطابع الغالب على أسعار الإيجارات في 2015 في الوقت الذي سيؤدي الطلب من جانب المستثمرين إلى تعزيز القيمة بفضل تجدد الثقة بالاقتصاد الذي أظهر نمواً قوياً على أرض الواقع في 2014».

انخفاض7 مناطق

وكشف شركة «أستيكو» للخدمات العقارية، أن سبع مناطق في دبي انخفضت فيها أسعار إيجارات الوحدات السكنية خلال الربع الثاني من العام الجاري مقارنة بالربع الأول، إذ تراجعت إيجارات الشقق في تلك المناطق بنسب راوحت بين 1% و7% فقط.
وأشارت «أستيكو» إلى أن هذا الانخفاض في أسعار الإيجارات يعد الأول منذ بدء صعودها في عام 2012، عازياً السبب إلى استمرار ضخ معروض جديد من الوحدات السكنية في السوق.
وسجلت الإيجارات في منطقتي «ديسكفري غاردنز» و«إنترناشيونال ستي» تراجعاً بنسبة 7%، فيما سجلت مناطق «ديرة» و«شارع الشيخ زايد» و«جميرا بيتش ريزيدنس» انخفاضاً ب1%، في حين شهدت منطقة «دبي مارينا»، التي عانت مشكلات الأعمال الإنشائية والازدحام المروري مدة طويلة، انخفاضاً في أسعار الإيجارات بنسبة 2%، كما سجلت منطقة «جميرا فيليج» تراجعاً بالنسبة ذاتها.

متوسط الإيجار

أفادت الشركة بأن سعر إيجار (الاستوديو) سنوياً في منطقة «ديسكفري غاردنز»، راوح بين 45 و52 ألف درهم، فيما راوح إيجار الشقق غرفة نوم واحدة بين 60 و72 ألف درهم، بينما بلغ متوسط إيجار الشقق ذات الغرفتين بين 80 و90 ألف درهم.

من جانبها، أكدت شركة «ستاندرد للعقارات»، الإماراتية، التي تتخذ من دبي مقراً، أن قطاع الإيجارات شهد استقراراً في الأشهر الأولى من العام الجاري 2015، ولكنه بدأ تسجيل انخفاض طفيف خلال شهر إبريل/نيسان بضغط من دخول المزيد من الوحدات السكنية عبر مشروعات تطويرية تم الإعلان عنها خلال شهر إبريل.

وأرجعت بيانات الشركة تراجع إيجارات العقارات إلى دخول مزيد من الوحدات العقارية الجديدة في السوق أتاحت المزيد من الخيارات أمام المستأجرين وطمأنت السوق بشكل جعل من الهدوء سمة للسوق في الفترة الحالية، ما ضغط على الأسعار بشكل نسبي، حيث لفت التقرير إلى أنه تم الإعلان عما يقرب من خمسة مشروعات سكنية كبيرة في دبي خلال شهر ابريل فقط تستهدف قطاع الإيجار والبيع.


Boost your portfolio

By Mohanad Alwadiya

Long-term planning is paramount to maximize financial gains

I have a property portfolio consisting of a mix of one and two-bedroom apartments in Jumeirah Lakes Towers and Dubai Marina. How can I capitalize on opportunities that arise as the World Expo 2020 draws near?

You need to seek professional advice. Many landlords across Dubai are bound to miss out on the revenue-generating opportunities that the Expo will bring because of poor or non-existent planning. A competent property manager will maximize your financial gains by providing an assessment of the opportunities and a strategy. Do  not  make  the  mistake  of  leaving  your  planning  for  too late. You will need to comprehend current and future market conditions and events, factors that may enable or inhibit revenue growth, inflation and cost increases as well as a complete understanding of financial modelling and the ever-developing area of industry policy and regulation. Depending on the size and complexity of your portfolio, you should have, as a minimum, a rolling five-year activity plan, which covers cost management and maintenance schedules, pricing and marketing, and tenant management and policy. A competent property manager will also provide you with communications and review schedules, as well as status and financial reporting.

There are a lot of opportunities to buy off-plan at the moment.  How can I protect myself against buying an apartment of inferior quality?

Firstly, make sure that you are dealing with a reputable developer. A positive effect of the recession was that a lot of inferior developers were exposed and are no longer in business. Seek professional guidance — those in the industry have a good understanding of who the reputable developers are. Secondly, ask about the proactive measures taken to ensure the product is built to an acceptable standard and take the time to inspect the developer’s completed projects. Warranties and any quality assurance policies should be discussed in detail. Get the sales and purchase agreements reviewed by a professional so you have legal recourse should any issues arise. Upon completion you have the right to inspect your apartment and report any legitimate issues to the developer for rectification. Matters that can be remedied in the short term should be fixed immediately.  Remember, once you have taken ownership of the apartment, the developer is obliged to fix any issues that may arise for 12 months following the transfer of ownership.

Mohanad Alwadiya is Managing Director of Harbor Real Estate and advisory board member and instructor at the Dubai Real Estate Institute, the official training and certification arm of the Dubai Land Department.


Good broker, bad broker

By Mohanad Alwadiya

Does your agent do things right? Here’s what you need to look for:

We work in an industry that stirs up as much emotion as it does distrust and, in extreme circumstances, disdain. As an industry professional, I am not always comfortable with how my profession has been categorized, being compared at times to dodgy lawyers and unscrupulous used car salesmen. Not fair, I say.

There is no doubt that there are both good and bad practitioners in every profession; the trick is separating the gold from the gravel. Finding a strategic real estate partner to manage your project, however large or small, and act as a real extension of your team is not easy. There is a lot at stake and you want to engage a capable and reliable ally who you can trust to deliver the results that you expect. As the owner-occupier or investor, there are many considerations you have to take into account.

Look for an experienced and passionate team. You want people who really enjoy what they are doing, not just collecting the commission. It also helps if you engage an agency that can provide you with a broad range of services because investing in real-estate typically does not stop with a single transaction. Check whether the agency has a history of innovative solutions delivering tangible results. It’s a crowded market, and you want somebody who can make your property or project stand out. The key to getting the price that you want for your property is generating high levels of interest and intrigue. This requires excellent marketing and sales skills, and your broker should possess ample expertise in both.

The broker should also be in a position to immediately provide examples of past successes. An important part of the skill set that your broker must possess is the ability to advise how to best stage your property. Too many brokers limit their property presentation advice to a coat of paint and sweep of the floor. A properly staged property will always stand a much greater chance of commanding a premium price. Look for longevity.

The recent recession cleared out lot of marginal operators from the industry, and those who survived must have been doing something right. Seek an agency with strong network of corporate and industry partners. The agency that has good relationships with key industry stakeholders such as the major developers and authorities such as the Dubai Land Department, Real Estate Regulatory Agency, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and Department of Economic Department will be able to operate more efficiently and effectively.

Find a company that exhibits a breadth and depth of industry knowledge and expertise. Those who under-stand the industry are more likely to succeed within it and the advice that you receive from a knowledgeable, experienced and committed broker can save or make you tens of thousands of dirham’s. And finally, look for an agency that has received some form of industry or peer recognition. These are the hardest plaudits to get.

Mohanad Alwadiya is Managing Director of Harbor Real Estate and advisory board member and instructor at the Dubai Real Estate Institute, the official training and certification arm of the Dubai Land Department.