AN_INVESTMENT_ALTERNATIVE_NOT_TO_BE_IGNORED

AN INVESTMENT ALTERNATIVE NOT TO BE IGNORED

By Mohanad Alwadiya
CEO, Harbor Real Estate
Advisor & Instructor, Dubai Real Estate Institute (DREI)

For investors, 2016 arrived with a bang or, as some might argue, a dull thud felt around the world.

At the time of this writing, financial markets had been acidic on investors’ net worth, burning through asset values, and essentially whatever value that had been accumulated during the pre-Christmas period has been melted away.

Since the New Year’s Eve celebrations were wound down and hopes for a better year in 2016 were dialed up, the Dow Jones had fallen 7 percent, the S&P 500 by 8 percent, and the NASDAQ a nerve-jangling 13 percent. What usually exacerbates investor nervousness is that these financial markets are located in the US which is, of course, still widely regarded as the strongest of the major global economies and being held as the bastion of economic growth heading into 2016.

A quick review of every other major financial market in the world reveals similar outcomes in Japan, China, London and Germany – all showing significant declines during the same period, with virtually all markets globally showing double digit declines when compared to the same period in 2015.

There are some “contrarians”, of course, such as the Hungarian Budapest Stock Exchange which did not participate in the global financial market rout in the last month, and has returned a healthy year-on-year return of 36 percent, or Latvia and Slovakia which returned 47 percent and 36 percent year-on-year, respectively.

Although the list of financial markets that have bucked the global downward trend is short, and only represent a miniscule proportion of the total capital invested globally, it does show that there will always be opportunity somewhere in the world. For investors, the challenge is to find the opportunities and access them.

While many investors expected the initial period of 2016 to essentially become a continuation of the previous year with a modicum of the volatility and irrational market gyrations continuing, nobody ever really expected 2016 to announce its arrival with such mayhem and drama. This only goes to show that many of the issues that affected investor confidence around the world in 2015 remain, and policymakers, corporate executives, investors and consumers at large continue to harbor doubts about the ability of leaders to navigate the multiple crises that has beset the world. In short, most investors are peering into a fog of uncertainty with only continually negative headlines to guide their reasoning.

The issues are as varied as they are significant. Everything from the US presidential race that has the world bemused (and perhaps frightened as to its would-be outcome)  to doubts regarding the capability of China to effectively manage and steer its economy away from being export-driven to relying on local consumption and the development of its middle class.

Meanwhile, the European refugee crisis will continue as long as there is violence in the Middle East which, of course, shows little sign of abating. Then there is the continuing saga of the US Federal Reserve’s shift from near-zero interest rates that continues to spook investors to the extent that all rational and fundamental analyses enabling investment decisions seem to have been replaced by an intense and sometimes amusing focus on the vocabulary and grammar used in Fed statements in an effort find some hidden indication of their intent.

Meanwhile, the ongoing collapse of oil and commodity prices remain likely to trigger recessions in emerging economies like Russia and Brazil – all at the time that Europe continues to struggle for growth. Not surprisingly, the IMF trimmed its global growth outlook for 2016 to 3.4 percent, down from 3.6 percent and, in all likelihood, will trim it further as the year progresses.

So, what should an investor do… who, in the depths of despair and confusion at the deluge of negative headlines, seemingly shallow financial advice and at the direction of global economies and financial markets, is feeling clueless as to where the opportunities for returns on his hard-earned capital might be? How does today’s investor make some progress towards increasing his wealth in 2016?

Investing in Dubai real estate has significant potential to satisfy the appetite for investment returns and the fundamental reasoning is compelling.

From a macro level, Dubai needs people to support an economy that is expected to grow at an estimated 2.5 percent+ in 2016 but increasing exponentially as the end of the decade draws near. The reason for this growth trajectory is the commitment and determination to deliver on 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, do not currently exist. Much of the city’s planning comprehends the number of people living in the emirate to grow to 3.4 million by 2020, a 7 percent annual increase from today’s population of 2.25 million.

While the price of oil is a big issue for the region’s economies, Dubai has managed to develop a level of diversification that will allow it to weather the current global oversupply of oil. With oil representing only about 4 percent of Dubai’s GDP, the effect of the decline in oil prices is not as drastic as some may think. While a reduction in public spending is to be expected, Dubai’s economy is being driven by fundamentals such as tourism and trade, and the focus of spending will be on new projects to grow these important revenue-generating economic segments and further diversification.

In 2015, Dubai attracted over 14 million visitors continuing a growth trend of approximately 10 percent per annum since 2010, and is well on track to attracting over 20 million visitors in 2020.

And the 277,000 extra jobs that are generated to ensure the estimated 20 million visitors to the Expo see Dubai in its most favourable light cannot be underrated in terms generating significant demand for real estate assets. This is where the Dubai economy has an advantage over many Western economies in that, looking forward, there is a requirement for intellectual and human capital which is not residing dormant and unutilised in the economy and attracting this critical resource can only result adding to economic growth, providing additional impetus for Dubai’s Real Estate industry to enjoy the predictable surge in demand for accommodation and commercial space of all types, from labor camps to offices to warehouses to apartments to executive Villas.

There is no doubt that Interest rates in the US will continue to rise and the AED will continue to get stronger. However, to invest in a market that nearing the end of a 20 percent correction in a currency that certain to appreciate over the coming 3 to 4 years only makes sense, especially when finance is still relatively affordable and will remain so for quite some time, and when the Expo is sure to have a significant effect on property values.

And the market itself is becoming more efficient. Developers have learnt from the past and are only releasing properties into the market after analysing current demand, and are continually revising projects still in the feasibility stages after carefully analysing future demand. This newfound prudence in managing supply will help preserve values and confidence in how the market is operating, going forward, and is yet another indication of the market’s rapid progress towards full maturity.

The structural shift towards more affordable housing in 2015 will not only serve to accommodate the expected rapid population growth associated with the 2020 Expo, but will 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.

And speaking of alternatives, there is an array of asset choices which hasn’t been seen for some time, and the availability of off-plan purchases with highly lucrative payment plans is unprecedented. Whether it’s an affordable studio or a luxury villa, there are investment opportunities in every segment of the market supported by the most affordable payment plans seen in years.

But the most compelling reason as to why Dubai real estate represents such a tempting investment opportunity in 2016 are the financial returns that you can expect. For a superior investment yield and strong return on your investment, the total returns that Dubai real estate provides will be hard to beat over the next 5 years.

Properties in the burgeoning affordable segment continue to provide gross rental returns of 8 percent with 10 percent rental yields not uncommon and, because of the recent price correction in the market and the slew of financial incentives that have been introduced, accessing the yields and returns can be done with comparatively minimal capital outlay. And the good news is both rental yields and property values are expected to increase as the 2020 World Expo draws nearer.

But returns are only one side of the equation… what about the risk?

One of the main reasons why the Dubai real estate industry has matured so rapidly is because of the unprecedented level of governance, oversight and scrutiny that the industry is being subjected to. The ongoing development of the industry’s regulatory framework and implementation of laws and regulations to safeguard both consumer and investor interests, the overall industry and the economy at large from rampant and irresponsible speculative, predatory or unethical practices, reveals a mature and balanced approach to shaping an industry which exhibits sustainable growth over the long term.

The industry is much more resilient in 2016, and investors have benefitted enormously from the developments in this area.

Every investor has a finite set of investment opportunities to consider. There is no doubt that the past year has been challenging for equity investors, frustrating for fixed income investors, and costly for investors who saw the valuations of their mutual funds, many leveraged with cheap finance, lose 20 percent to 30 percent of their value.

Investing in Dubai real estate simply cannot be ignored as an alternative, whether as a primary source of returns or as a contributing participant within a broader investment portfolio, to successfully generating wealth.

The task of managing properties

The task of managing properties

By: Mohanad Alwadiya, CEO, Harbor Real Estate
Published in: Expert Eye, Gulf News 
Dated: 16th March, 2016

Many people misunderstand the role of a property manager, thinking that the role does not extend beyond the collection and remittance of rental receipts, and acting as a buffer between the landlord and the tenant. Little do they realize that a good property manager will generate greater returns from their property portfolio and enable their long-term portfolio strategy to be realized.

So what should you look for in selecting a professional to manage your property?

Well, first of all, you need a professional who is experienced in the market. Not just in any market though, in this instance, the Dubai market. Typically, if you find somebody with at least 7 years experience, you will have found somebody who has witnessed and survived the global recession, and that should provide a reasonable indication that they are in the business for the long term, and that they had the skills needed to navigate and survive Dubai’s last property slump. Many didn’t.

A competent property manager will provide a whole host of services for you but the most important is the development of a Property Portfolio Strategy. Your chosen professional must be able to articulate and present his thoughts after conducting a thorough assessment of your personal situation and property portfolio. He must be able to provide you with a credible strategy and activity plan designed to harness the true potential of your property and provide you with the maximum rate of total returns It is essential to have a well-thought out strategy for your property portfolio if you are to maximize your returns.

Not just anybody can formulate a credible and implementable strategy. It requires years of expertise and a fundamental understanding of what makes real estate such a worthwhile and superior investment. A true professional will have a strong knowledge base on topics including industry history, current market factors and trends, risk factors, and the likelihood of relevant future events that will affect the performance of your property investment. This knowledge should span global, regional and local landscapes, and will require a good understanding of economic factors, industry knowledge extending to government policies and regulations, finance and market dynamics.

Forming a strategy is one thing, but being able to bring the strategy to life is quite another. You will require an activity plan which will include details of pricing and marketing, customer relationship management and tenant management and policies for the entire portfolio. Essentially, this area of expertise is related to the “topline” or revenue generation and management of the property.

Equally important is the cost management and maintenance supervision of the property. Many times, I have seen excellent “topline” performance being eroded due to poor operational and maintenance cost controls.

Managing your property portfolio will also require proper performance measurement, communications and review schedules, and status reporting and financial statements. You should always seek examples of these elements as transparency and candid performance appraisals are essential to managing your portfolio correctly by addressing shortfalls to objectives, issues requiring redress, and opportunities for performance improvement, in addition to your peace of mind.

You also need to choose a property manager whom you can work with and who, you believe, has your best interests at heart. Your property manager must be customer-centered and, unfortunately, in this business, this is not always the case.

There is no point entering a business relationship that is lacking in mutual trust and respect. You must have confidence in his ability to manage a business… your business… which just so happens to be a property portfolio. As with all investments, but especially investments in property, there will be good times and challenging times. There is no such scenario as “set and forget”. It doesn’t exist. If you do not respect the manager you have appointed, the relationship will not survive the more challenging times and you will need to go through the whole process of finding a replacement.

So take your time but invest your time to your benefit. Be sure to ask for referrals and call some existing clients. Seek out success stories. Ask to see examples of client reports so you have an idea of their work’s completeness, continuity and timeliness. Ask your property manager carefully thought out questions to enable you to gauge the depth and breadth of knowledge that he possesses.

Ensure that the organization you are dealing with has the resources to support the manager of your portfolio. In these times of eliminating overheads, individual performance can be inhibited because of a lack of organizational support. You should ask to meet the team.

Finally, remember, it’s your investment, and you need to ensure it’s in good hands providing you with the returns you expect with as little hassle as possible. Once you appoint a property manager, your ultimate return on your investment is largely in his hands.

Choose wisely.

عقاريون يطالبون بتشديد ضوابط الترويج محلياً لعقارات مقامة خارج الدولة

By Mohanad Alwadiya, CEO, Harbor Real Estate
Published in Emarat Al Youm
Dated: 13th March, 2016

طالب مسؤولون عقاريون بتشديد الرقابة على الشركات المسوّقة للمشروعات العقارية المقامة خارج الدولة، عبر إخضاعها لمعايير وضوابط محددة يتم من خلالها ضمان حقوق الأفراد الراغبين في ضخ استثمارات في هذه المشروعات. وأوضحوا لـ«الإمارات اليوم» أنه على الرغم من أن الإمارات قطعت شوطاً في هذا الجانب من حيث وضع لوائح وقوانين منظمة لعمليات التسويق لهذه العقارات الدولية، إلا أن الأمر يتطلب المزيد من الجهود لتنظيم هذا النشاط.

من جهتها، أكدت دائرة الأراضي والأملاك بدبي، أن مؤسسة التنظيم العقاري (ريرا)، وضعت شروطاً محددة لعمليات التسويق للعقارات الدولية، مشيرة إلى أن دبي لا تمنع أي ترويج لمشروعات عقارية من الخارج. ودعت المستثمرين إلى الحذر عبر التأكد من المستندات القانونية ومعاينة العقار قبل التعاقد مع شركات تروّج لعقارات خارج حدود الدولة.

في المقابل، أكدت إحدى الشركات المطورة لمشروعات عقارية خارج الدولة، أن الكثير من المستثمرين في الإمارات يهتمون بشراء عقارات خارج الدولة، بالتزامن مع انخفاض الأسعار بشكل كبير في دول محددة، فضلاً عن أن العائد الاستثماري مرتفع نسبياً.

تشديد الرقابة

وتفصيلاً، طالب المدير التنفيذي لـ«شركة الرواد للاستشارات العقارية»، إسماعيل الحمادي، بتشديد الرقابة على الشركات المسوّقة للعقارات الدولية، خصوصاً التي تنشر إعلاناتها بكثرة في الصحف الإعلانية المجانية، عبر إخضاعها لمعايير وضوابط محددة يتم من خلالها ضمان حقوق الأفراد الراغبين في ضخ استثمارات في هذه العقارات. وأكد الحمادي ضرورة توفير الجهات التنظيمية لقطاع العقارات بالدولة، أدلة استرشادية للتعريف بالاستثمار العقاري بالدول التي تتوافر فيها هذه المشروعات العقارية.

بدوره، قال مدير العقارات في شركة «الوليد للعقارات»، محمد تركي، إن «دائرة الأراضي والأملاك بدبي وغيرها من الجهات التنظيمية بالدولة، لابد أن يكون لها دور أكبر من خلال تعيين إدارة للتفتيش تراقب الإعلانات الخاصة بشركات وساطة عقارية التي تروّج لمشروعات عقارية دولية، وذلك للوقوف على حقيقة هذه المشروعات، وأنها موجودة من عدمه، ويتم ذلك من خلال مخاطبة الجهات الرسمية وهيئات التطوير العمراني في هذه الدول التي يتم الإعلان عن عقاراتها داخل الدولة».

السوق العقارية

من جانبه، أوضح المدير الإداري لشركة «هاربور العقارية»، والمحاضر بكلية «دبي العقارية»، مهند الوادية، أن «السوق العقارية في دبي تشهد منافسة عالمية، وأن الكثير من الدول تهدف إلى جذب استثمارات عبر تسويق عقاراتها في الإمارة والدولة ككل»، لافتاً إلى أن «البعض يقوم بالترويج لعقارات دولية من دون وجود ضمانات، وهو ما يستلزم معه تشديد الرقابة على الإعلانات المرتبطة بهذه العقارات والشركات التي تقوم عليها».

ولفت الوادية، إلى أن «الاستثمار في الداخل أفضل من الاستثمار الخارجي، على اعتبار أن الاستثمار الخارجي يوجد به مخاطر عالية مقارنة بسوق العقارات في دبي والدولة، التي تتمتع بدرجة كبيرة من الأمان». وأكد الوادية أنه «على الرغم من أن دائرة الأراضي والأملاك بدبي تقوم بدور كبير في ضبط سوق الإعلانات العقارية عبر المخالفات، التي تصل إلى 50 ألف درهم لمخالفة نشر إعلان من دون موافقة الدائرة، إلا أن كثرة هذه الإعلانات واستهدافها السوق العقارية في الإمارات بهذا الشكل يستهدفان مراجعة الضوابط وتغليظها».

من جهته، قال الرئيس التنفيذي لشركة «إس إيه إس انترناشيونال للعقارات»، سيف بن يوخة، إن «دائرة الأراضي والأملاك بدبي عليها أن تقوم بزيادة الرسوم الخاصة بالإعلان عن هذه المشروعات العقارية الخارجية، بما يعود على الدائرة بعوائد مجزية على اعتبار أنها تخلق بيئة استثمارية جيدة لبيع هذه العقارات من خلال وجودها في مدينة مثل دبي».

عمليات التسويق

إلى ذلك، قال مدير إدارة الترخيص العقاري في دائرة الأراضي والأملاك بدبي، علي عبدالله آل علي، إن «مؤسسة التنظيم العقاري (ريرا)، الذراع التنظيمية لدائرة الأراضي والأملاك بدبي، تضع شروطاً معينة لعمليات التسويق للمشروعات العقارية من خارج الدولة، ويأتي في مقدمتها المستندات الواردة من خارج الدولة، ويجب أن تكون مصدّقة من سفارات الإمارات في هذه الدول ووزارة الخارجية ومترجمة باللغة العربية عن طريق مترجم قانوني».

وأضاف آل علي، أن دبي لا تمنع أي ترويج لمشروعات عقارية من الخارج، ولكن يتم التأكد أولاً من مدى صدقية هذه المشروعات عبر توثيق الأوراق الخاصة بها، فضلاً عن طلب استيفاءات محددة من الوسطاء العقاريين داخل الدولة، حتى يتم إعطاؤهم الترخيص للترويج لهذه المشروعات، مشيراً إلى أن «الأوراق المطلوبة في هذا الجانب تتضمن صورة من ملكية العقار وعقد تسويق بين مالك العقار ومكتب الوسيط العقاري، ورسالة توضيحية من الوسيط توضح نوع العقار (شقة) أو (فيلا) أو (بناية) أو (مبنى جاهز أو على الخريطة)، بالإضافة إلى تعهد من الوسيط بتحمل المسؤوليات القانونية كافة من ناحية البيانات المقدمة إلى (ريرا)». وطالب آل علي مستثمري هذا النوع من العقارات بالحذر عبر التأكد من المستندات القانونية ومعاينة العقار قبل التعاقد، مع شركات تروّج لعقارات خارج حدود الدولة.

في السياق نفسه، قال الرئيس التنفيذي لشركة «الوادي الأخضر»، (إحدى الشركات المطورة لمشروعات عقارية خارج الدولة)، زياد عباس، إن «دائرة الأراضي والأملاك في دبي تتخذ الكثير من الإجراءات التنظيمية الخاصة بالترويج لعقارات خارج الدولة، ومنها إلزام الشركات بتوثيق جميع العقود والأوراق الخاصة بالمشروع، وهو شرط لحصولها على ترخيص لترويج مشروعات عقارية يتم إنشاؤها في الخارج». وأكد عباس، أن الكثير من المستثمرين في الإمارات يهتمون بشراء عقارات خارج الدولة بالتزامن مع انخفاض الأسعار بشكل كبير في دول محددة، فضلاً عن أن العائد الاستثماري مرتفع نسبياً.

THE BEST INVESTMENT IS CLOSE TO HOME …

For investors, 2016 has arrived with a bang or, as some may argue, a dull thud that has been felt around the world. Since the New Year’s eve celebrations were wound down and hopes for a better year in 2016 were dialled up, The Dow Jones has fallen 7%, the S+P 500 8%, and the NASDAQ a nerve jangling 13%. Every other major financial market in the world reveals similar performances with Japan, China, London and Germany all showing significant declines during the same period. The Dubai Financial Market has recovered in recent weeks but is still 4% in arrears when compared to the start of the year.

So, what should an investor do? …  How does todays investor make some progress towards increasing his or her wealth in 2016?

Investing in Dubai Real Estate remains a realistic and lucrative alternative which has significant potential to satisfy the appetite for investment returns. The fundamental reasoning is compelling.

From a macro level, Dubai needs people to support an economy that is expected to grow at an estimated 2.5%+ in 2016 but increasing exponentially as the end of the decade draws near. The reason for this growth trajectory is the commitment and determination to deliver on initiatives such as the 2020 World Expo and 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.

Dubai has managed to develop a level of diversification that will allow it to weather the current global oversupply of oil. With oil representing only about 4% of Dubai’s GDP, the effect of the decline in oil prices is not as drastic as some may think. While a reduction in public spending is to be expected, Dubai’s economy is being driven by fundamentals such as tourism and trade and the focus of spending will be on new projects to grow these important revenue generating economic segments and further diversification.  Dubai’s attracted over 14 million visitors in 2015, continuing a growth trend of approximately 10% per annum since 2010 and is well on track to attracting over 20 million visitors in 2020.

And the 277,000 extra jobs that are generated to ensure the estimated 20 million visitors to the Expo see Dubai in its most favourable light is a significant statistic. The Dubai economy has an advantage over many western economies in that, looking forward, there is a requirement for intellectual and human capital which is not residing dormant and unutilised in the economy and attracting this critical resource can only result adding to economic growth, providing additional impetus for Dubai’s Real Estate industry.

Interest rates in the US will continue to rise and the AED will continue to get stronger. To invest in a market that nearing the end of a 20% correction and in a currency that certain to appreciate over the coming 3 to 4 years can only make sense, especially when finance is still relatively affordableand when considering the availability of off-plan purchases with highly lucrative payment plans.

And the market itself is becoming more efficient. Developers have learnt from the past and are continually revising projects still in the feasibility stages after carefully analysing future demand. This prudence in managing supply will help preserve values and confidence in how the market is operating going forward and is yet another indication of the markets rapid progress towards full maturity.

The structural shift towards more affordable housing in 2015 will 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, the cost of doing business in the emirate must be competitive when entrepreneurs or corporations are considering alternatives for their operations.

For a superior investment yield and strong return on your investment, the total returns that Dubai Real Estate provides will be hard to beat over the next 5 years.  Properties in the burgeoning affordable segment continue to provide Gross Rental returns of 8% with 10% rental yields not uncommon and, because of the recent price correction in the market and the slew of financial incentives that have been introduced, accessing the yields and returns can be done with comparatively minimal capital outlay. And the good news is, and both rental yields and property values are expected to increase as the 2020 World Expo draws nearer so capital appreciation is expected to average 7% per annum between now and 2020

But returns are only one side of the equation… what about the risk?  The ongoing development of the industry’s regulatory framework and implementation of laws and regulations to safeguard both consumer and investor interests, the overall industry and the economy at large from rampant and irresponsible speculative, predatory or unethical practices, reveals a mature and balanced approach to shaping an industry which exhibits sustainable growth over the long term. The industry is much more resilient in 2016 and investors have benefitted enormously from the developments in this area.

There is no doubt that the past year has been challenging for equity investors, frustrating for fixed income investors and costly for investors who saw the valuations of their mutual funds, many leveraged with cheap finance, lose 20% to 30% of their value.

An investment in Dubai’s Real Estate cannot be ignored as an alternative, whether as a primary source of returns or as a contributing participant of a broader investment portfolio, to successfully generating wealth.

Highest return on realty investment

By Mohanad Alwadiya

CEO, Harbor Real Estate

Advisor & Instructor, Dubai Real Estate Institute

 

Do you feel discouraged by the current real estate climate? Are you ready to give up?

A lot of us know that it is the trying times that usually make or break our fortunes. And there is no better time than right now to look inward, think deeply and test your mettle when it comes to property investment.

In every real estate investment journey, I believe that success is attained only when the objectives of the investor have been realized. It’s as simple as that.

A vital component of a property portfolio investment strategy is the careful setting of financial objectives. These objectives must include such elements as total returns, capital appreciation, revenue streams, net results and the eventual divestment values all wrapped up in a timeframe deemed strategically optimal for the investor. If the objectives of the investor have been met, then the investment can be considered a success. Very straightforward.

However, many investors suffer from what I call the “should have, could have, would have” syndrome. It occurs when the investor feels that their investment did not outperform the market and, therefore, underperformed, leading them to depart from their initial strategy and revert to short-term thinking horizons, and making poor decisions regarding their portfolio. Remember, you are in a race with yourself, nobody else.

An example springs to mind.

We all know that the Dubai real estate market returned an average capital appreciation of around 30 percent in 2013. In the same period, we estimated that the portfolio of one of our investors appreciated around 24 percent.

There was a variety of infrastructural issues that contributed to the constraints in capital appreciation. The investor felt that his investment had underperformed, despite the fact that he had set an objective of 21 percent capital appreciation for the portfolio. He was wrong.

In actual fact, the investment had been a significant success with an enviable overachievement in excess of 14 percent versus original objectives. The investor, whose first reaction was to liquidate part of the portfolio, required some convincing to retain all the assets and stick to the original strategy. He is now significantly better off.

Of all my clients, those who have had the greatest success possess the ability to think long term, make rational, well-researched and carefully thought-out decisions with the end objectives always in mind. They also understand that every real estate industry globally will go through cycles of growth and contraction.

Successful investors don’t panic. They do not get duped into making short-term decisions based on inevitable market fluctuations, and they treat headlines such as oil price deflation as a catalyst for gaining a greater understanding of the underlying events that are shaping the industry, and if any opportunities may conceivably arise.  This is what I like to describe as proactive investing.

As with any investment, investing in property is all about recognizing and capitalizing on opportunities that are consistent and supportive to your overall wealth accumulation objectives.

In order to do this, you must have some knowledge about the industry. The old adage of “Don’t invest in anything you don’t know” applies. This doesn’t mean you have to be an expert, but you need to be able to communicate intelligently and knowledgably with the experts.

The investor fraternity is getting more knowledgeable. More attention is being paid to location, quality of product and maintenance services, and the extent of completion and quality of infrastructure is now playing a big part in investor considerations. With so much supply available at the start of the recovery, astute investors could demand, seek out and purchase the best of what was on offer, and the realization of the importance of these factors has remained a key learning point for most of them.

In the post-recession era, things changed. The chase for yield along with an increase in the level of critical assessment of true values has meant that properties that offer more in way of physical product and potential rental returns are attracting the greatest attention. Successful investors have learnt the meaning of value.

Yet fundamental drivers of market values remain. Location, Product Features and Benefits, Product Quality, and Demand and Supply.

To be successful, you must have a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve and what role your property portfolio will play within a larger diversified portfolio. What proportion of your total investment portfolio is allocated towards property? What is your source of financing, and where do the greatest risks lie in the event of an economic downturn. How liquid would you need to be?

All these questions (and many more) need to be addressed, and the more skillful you are at conceptualizing your wealth generation schematic, the greater your likelihood of generating successful strategies to grow your wealth.

You need to be able to identify, engage and work with a professional in the industry.

As astute, skillful and knowledgeable you may be, a reputable, experienced and client-focused full service agency will greatly enhance your levels of success. The selection of the right agency is a skill in itself, and it is up to you to choose wisely.

Don’t fall into the trap that the cheapest will be good enough as this is rarely ever the case.

Real estate investment is never a decision made lightly, so stick to your guns and watch as the market continues on its course. Know it deeply, analyze and study it some more. Get reliable, professional advice, and listen.

Remember the words of John Barrymore: A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.

The UAE real estate market is still quite young by global standards, and you can accomplish so much more.