I always recommend that clients consult with a financial advisor prior to embarking upon the purchase of a property. Investing in property requires careful planning and a clear understanding of what it will entail.

How much do you really know about property as an investment?

You must have some knowledge about any investment that you might be considering. Property is no different. The old adage of “Don’t invest in anything you don’t know” applies. You may not be an expert, but you need to be able to communicate intelligently and knowledgeably with the experts.

Do some homework on the industry and gain an understanding of where the industry is now, where it is headed and what is driving its direction and development. “Get a feeling of its composition and what it has to offer you in terms of wealth generation opportunities, how you might be able to engage those opportunities and when you envisage starting your foray into the property investing space.”

It’s difficult for anybody to accurately assess opportunities and the risks associated with those opportunities if they have little knowledge of what it is they are investing in.


Are your investment objectives clearly defined and well considered?

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.

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 investment portfolio. What proportion of your total investment portfolio is allocated towards property? towards stocks or bonds? towards gold or commodities? Etc.

The only person who can determine what you are trying to achieve is you so be sure you know you’re your objectives are before doing anything.


What is your source of finance?

Needless to say, investing in property is often a capital intensive exercise and, depending on your strategy, returns can be subject to relatively long lead times. A sufficient and robust finance plan is essential. What is your source of finance and where do the greatest risks lie in the event of an economic downturn or change in circumstances? How liquid might you need to be? How exposed will you be to interest rate increases and or exchange rate fluctuations? What level of gearing or leverage are you comfortable with? Will you be able to preserve capital invested in your property portfolio during cyclical swings in the market or will you need to move capital among portfolios?

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.


Do you have a financial advisor? (That you trust)

I always recommend that clients consult with a financial advisor prior to embarking upon the purchase of a property. Investing in property requires careful planning and a clear understanding of what it will entail; the effects it will have on lifestyle, the risks it may pose, the stresses that may emerge while, at the same time, the benefits of generating wealth in, what can be, a very lucrative industry . A financial advisor can help you understand and assess all these elements by helping you determine what you actually need to do (or do without) to achieve your objectives.

Ask yourself if you know definitively what you can afford, how best to use available finance, how to accurately assess alternative investment options, how best to utilize your current assets and how investing in real estate is going to enable you to grow your wealth in the future. A financial advisor will view your investment as one part of your overall financial landscape and should be able to guide you into committing the right type and the right amount of resources to acquiring that dream home that everybody aspires to.

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.


Do you have a team of professionals (that you trust) who can assist you in your quest?

Are you able to identify, engage and work with a professional in the industry? Do you have the skill to select the right agency? Do you know what separates professionals that will provide you with tangible added value rather than simply line their pockets with your money? It’s up to you to choose wisely and remember, cheapest is not always best. Do you know where to find an experienced and passionate team with people who really enjoy what they are doing? An agency that exhibits a breadth and depth of industry knowledge and expertise? This is important. Look for longevity and evidence of good relationships with key industry stakeholders such as the major developers or authorities such as the Dubai Land Department, RERA, DEWA or Economic Department. And finally, look for an agency that has received some form of Industry or peer recognition. These are the hardest plaudits to get! ■

Investing in a Pre-World Expo Environment

Investing in a Pre-World Expo Environment

Event expected to provide the impetus for continued growth in all segments. 

A lot has been said, and much has been written about Dubai’s Expo 2020 bid, and the successful aftermath of the long wait for this prestigious event that is scheduled to start Oct 2020.

Many industry insiders have been predicting how a world Expo would lead to the escalation of property rates in the emirate, and people waited, with some enthusiasm and excitement, and a tinge of fear, thinking that a sudden bubble could form and hurt the industry on the long run.

Logic dictates that hosting the 2020 World Expo will provide the impetus for continued growth in all segments of the Dubai real estate industry but, as with all extraordinary events, there are many nuances that must be considered.

The residential segment will enjoy a surge in demand for accommodation of all types, from labor camps to apartments to executive villas, for the additional 270,000 or so new jobholders that will enter the market.

However, we expect a gradual rise in rents leading up to and including the period of the event to be more likely than a sudden spike.

This expectation is based upon analyses of existing supply-demand streams, increasing industry regulation and oversight, and the fact that Dubai winning the Expo 2020 bid was already partially priced in by the market.

Values will rise, but differing asset types and locations will not move in unison. As the Expo 2020 preparations continue to move from the analytical and planning phases through to implementation and eventual launch and operational phases, real estate requirements will differ.

Initially, investor demand will drive much of the value appreciation. However, initial end-user demand is likely to increase for accommodation, both for villa and apartment units, with close proximity and easy access to the Expo 2020 site itself.

The demand for this type of property will continue to increase in the run-up to the launch and duration of the Expo, and the capital return curve will steepen as the event approaches.

Meanwhile, office and commercial space in general some located within the Jebel Ali Free Zone will also benefit from a rise in demand as operations are commenced for those companies involved in the initial construction or preparatory phases.

Developments in close proximity to the Expo site will be in focus as logistics, storage and service providers look to set up operations. Labor camps will be required from the initial stages as the race to implement the infrastructure required to cater with so many visitors begins in earnest.

Demand for residential, retail and commercial space alike will spread to the more central areas of Dubai at a later stage as retailers, hotels, service providers, and those operations supporting the tourism industry hire additional staff and set up operations to support the event, service the bevy of new business operators, or the millions of additional shoppers.

So, while the World Expo 2020 is great news for the industry, it brings with it a new set of considerations for the prudent investor. Which assets, located where, purchased in which timeframe are likely to provide the best return on the investment dollar and, perhaps, more importantly, what is the likely performance of the asset when the event is over? The 2020 World Expo will provide many opportunities for real estate investors, but maximizing returns will require some very careful planning.