Investors confident about Dubai property market

Article from Gulf Today

Article from Gulf Today

DUBAI: Real estate industry experts say that investors have started expressing confidence in the Dubai property market in the long term, though the property prices in Dubai have not been affected by the recent Dubai World debt restructuring talks.

Speaking to The Gulf Today the CEO of Leo Sterling, Laura Martorano said that despite all the negative economic indicators, Dubai will continue to thread a bright future.

At the same time the managing director of Harbor Real Estate, Mohanad Alwadiya, also confirmed that property sales enquiries have picked up.

He believes the hike in interest is a result of the debt crisis. “Since the Dubai World announcement, we have recorded a noticeable increase in the number of queries from private and institutional investors who are interested in taking advantage of the impact that the announcement may have on the overall prices of property in Dubai and in Nakheel developments in specific.”

Martorano says that investors who bought property in Dubai not later than two years ago still stand to make a profit despite the current low prices.
She however added that people who are suffering the most are those who bought properties last year on mortgage because prices were extremely high with mortgage rates high as well.

Martorano adds that those people who bought property before 2007 have not lost, even if they sell they will still make a profit. She further says that property prices in Dubai were not much affected by the recent Dubai World debt restructuring talks.

“We were closing transactions with a few owners in JBR and they are sticking to their own price and we closed it on their price,” said Martorano.
On the other hand, Alwadiya says that although the Dubai World request caused global markets to plunge and attracted criticism in the international press, the situation he says has been overblown. However, he feels the incident has affected investor confidence.

We definitely feel that the international media is blowing this news out of proportion and a major effort will be required to reverse world opinions, he adds.
“Prices in a ready market will not change much because there is competition. In a ready market, about 60 per cent of the purchases are cash purchases. Therefore, these people may not necessarily be so desperate as opposed to the 40 per cent who have mortgages and bank loans,” explains Martorano.
Industry sources however claim that property transactions in Dubai have fallen in November compared to figures posted in the previous month.

Statistics from Dubai Land Department show the number of villa sale, have increased by 24 per cent from 88 to 109 but there was a 41 per cent decline in the value from Dh290m in October to Dh170m in November.

Flat sales saw a 4.8 per cent increase in number from 1,354 to 1,420 but values took a 7.7 per cent dive from Dh1.3bn to Dh1.2bn.
Dubai’s average monthly market index in November has also seen a 6.98 per cent contraction to 2,124.98 from 2,284.42 in the past month.
October also reported other positive indicators with average monthly market index posted at 11.25 per cent hike and trade as per issued Dubai certificates of origin rose by 10 per cent in volume and nine per cent in value.

Despite all the negative economic indicators, Martorano is convinced that Dubai will continue to thread a bright future.
She says investors with the means should shop around, “It’s a great time if you are a cash buyer, because banks are anticipated to get more tight-fisted, as they will come under pressure in a bid to keep a safety net due to their exposure to Dubai World.” Martorano thinks the debt issue is unlikely to stop the market from rebounding.

How mergers could save the property and financial sectors

Article from Dubai Real Times: Official Magazine of RERA

Article from Dubai Real Times: Official Magazine of RERA

Mohanad Al Wadiya, Managing Director of Harbor Real Estate Brokerage, shares his thoughts on upcoming mergers

For many players in the local market, mergers and acquisitions appear to be a logical solution to stay afloat during the global financial crisis. Opinion is divided as to whether these mergers and acquisitions will have a positive or negative impact in the short and medium terms, and it is too early at this stage to predict success or failure. Nevertheless, it seems clear that without these actions, the result would be a freeze in financing facilities and diminishing activity in the property sector, which would have an adverse effect on the overall economy.

Within the financial sector, these kinds of mergers really started as early as last year. It all began when Amlak and Tamweel announced a merger to create Emirates Development Bank in November 2008. The new bank will have access to federal funds and hopes to strengthen the UAE’s home finance sector. The merger news gained considerable media attention and created veryhigh expectations.

In terms of property development, we have seen similar mergers within the last year. Dubai World, the major property and ports conglomerate, recently consolidated its management and property operations of Leisurecorp, Dubai Maritime City, and the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, all of which it owns. The property divisions of these companies will now be run by Nakheel, another property arm of Dubai World.

There is also continued discussion of a merger between Deyaar Development and Union Properties, with news about the latter having liquidity problems and losing its long-time chief executive recently.

While these developments are important for the sector, the most significant merger in the region is currently being discussed between Dubai Holdings’ ‘Big 3’ companies and Emaar, a most popular developer in the Middle East. Dubai Properties, Tatweer, and Sama Dubai—collectively known as ‘The Big 3’—are fully-owned subsidiariesof Dubai Holding Commercial Operations, a holding company of Dubai Holding Group with total assets of Dh126bn at the end of 2008, as quotes by Emaar.

There is a growing consensus among the officials involved that allowing healthy businesses to acquire companies in jeopardy of failing could stabilise the economy by bolstering confidence in both the financial and property sectors. For some of these companies, merging with a partner that has a strong balance sheet is a pressing and essential step in preventing dissolution. Other benefits include leveraging economies of scale and having stronger negotiation positions with regard to suppliers and contractors. The mergers will allow companies to work together to achieve long-term, strategic benefits by uniting complementary businesses into a single, sufficient and more successful operation. For the property sector, these mergers will also allow consolidated companies to have better control of the overall supply introduced into the marketplace and the quality of the products and services offered. This will definitely have a positive impact on the market in the long run.

On the other hand, there are concerns that these mergers will place heavy burdens on the stronger companies
involved. These partners are not just taking over assets, but may also be inheriting large liabilities and debts. Furthermore, these mergers are likely to generate a lot of uncertainty among the investors and shareholders involved. Investors might have to accept further delays until these mergers are finalised, and will then have to evaluate the impact of the mergers on their investment.

Whatever the impact, the number of mergers involving financial and property organisations is increasing. For these new companies, the ability to provide prompt, transparent, and practical information that guide all stakeholders through the merger process and expected outcomes could make the difference between success and failure from the public’s point of view.

Investors hunt for bargains

Article from Freehold Monthly

Article from Freehold Monthly

Investors hunt for bargains after debt scare

Property sales enquiries have picked up, despite Dubai World’s request to creditors for an extension of debt repayments for its subsidiaries, Nakheel and Limitless, say real estate agents.

Mohanad Alwadiya, managing director of Harbor Real Estate, believes the hike in interest is a result of the debt crisis. “Since the Dubai World announcement, we have recorded a noticeable increase in the number of queries from private and institutional investors who are interested in taking advantage of the impact that the announcement may have on the overall prices of property in Dubai and in Nakheel developments in specific.”

Aditya Awtani, of Fine and Country UAE, has also witnessed a surge in investor interest. “We have already noticed in the last few days that vulture investors are pooling together, forming informal/quasi funds, in order to take advantage of the so-called distress situation.”

Although the Dubai World request caused global markets to plunge and attracted criticism in the international press, Alwadiya feels the situation has been overblown. However, he feels the incident has affected investor confidence. “Since the beginning of the economic crisis, consumers and investors have been extremely cautious. Whether we like it or not, they are fragile. The old adage of ‘once bitten twice shy’ will never be as apt as in the next few months. It is as much understandable as it is unavoidable. Simply put, many people have been hurt by the Dubai real estate crash and they don’t want to be hurt again. In effect, they have lost confidence and trust in the industry and have developed a risk aversion which will take some time to overcome. The recent request by Dubai World for an extension on debt repayment timings, resulting in speculative press coverage around the world regarding Dubai’s ability to avoid defaulting on its debts, will further erode confidence in the emirate. We definitely feel that the international media is blowing this news out of proportion but unfortunately, perception is reality and a major effort will be required to reverse world opinion.”

Aditya says investors with the means should shop around, “It’s a great time if you are a cash buyer, because banks are anticipated to get more tight-fisted, as they will come under pressure in a bid to keep a safety net due to their exposure to Dubai World.”

Myles Bush, managing director, PowerHouse Properties, thinks the debt issue is unlikely to stop the market from rebounding. “I believe in Dubai and am very confident about its property market in the long term.”

Secondary Market Prices in Springs and Meadows Surge

Article in Emirates Business 24/7

Article in Emirates Business 24/7

Secondary market prices of properties in the Springs have increased in the range of 11-33 per cent since the beginning of this year, while prices in the Meadows have surged in the range of 16-19 per cent in the same period, according to a real estate firm.
Vineet Kumar, Head of Sales, Asteco said: “In Springs, two-bedroom villas currently sell for Dh1.5 million onwards, up 36 per cent from Dh1.1m at the beginning of this year. Three-bedroom villas start from Dh2.8m from Dh2.6m in January.
“In the Meadows, current prices for four-bedroom villas start from Dh3.8m, up 18.75 per cent from around Dh3.2m at the beginning of the year. Five-bedroom villas, meanwhile, are around Dh4.4m now, up 16.5 per cent from Dh3.8m on January prices.”
According to Asteco, in the fourth quarter of 2008, prices for two-bedroom villas in the Springs were around Dh1.75m. In Meadows, a four-bedroom villa was around Dh4.5m during the same period, while a five-bedroom villa was around Dh5.2m.
“Prices in the Springs and the Meadows have seen a quarter-on-quarter steep fluctuation owing to market conditions. It would seem that prices are trying to find stability in these developments and their current levels are trying to catch up with the third to fourth quarter prices of last year,” said Kumar.
He said prices were static in the first quarter and began to rise from the second and third quarter.
Claire Collier, Manager, In-Style Real Estate said: “Currently the average price of a three-bedroom villa in the Meadows is in the region of Dh3.9m and Dh5m. A four-bedroom villa in the Meadows is also in the region of Dh3.9m and Dh5.5m. A five-bedroom villa is currently around Dh5.9m to Dh7m.”
Mohanad Alwadiya, Director, Harbor Real Estate said: “Prices appear to have stabilised in the Springs and the Meadows largely due to the increase in demand.
“The residential market is currently being driven by a flight to affordable assets. The mid- to low-income earners, who were previously excluded from the market due to high prices, are now taking advantage of the new levels of affordability. Projects such as the Springs and the Meadows are in demand, with buyers taking advantage of prices which are anywhere between 35 per cent and 50 per cent lower than the peaks of 2008.”
“When it comes to sales, we have noted a small segment of owner-occupiers that are after building equity rather than wasting money on rent,” he said.
“Overall, although villas and townhouses demand a higher tag price compared to apartments, we believe the investors will still be interested in investing in villas due to the high demand and the high return on investment that these components have been delivering.”
Collier said the Meadows is geared more towards the end-user, since it has became more affordable. “The Springs is a mixture but still offers a good buy-to-let market and is the affordable choice for young families that require a garden area.
“Also, as an Emaar project, banks have been more inclined to lend on it. The Meadows and Springs are both older and more established communities, so when some projects were put on hold, buyers turned to these developments to move into as their homes.”

Study Shows Consumers Dissatisfied With Dubai Real Estate Brokers

Harbor Report on DubaiCityGuide.com

Harbor Report on DubaiCityGuide.com

Harbor Real Estate interviews 178 owners as a way to develop future company benchmarks

Harbor Real Estate Brokerage, an integrated real estate service provider in Dubai, says that 61% of consumers who bought property in the last two years are dissatisfied with the performance of real estate agents who brokered their purchases, according to a recent study conducted by Harbor Real Estate.

The study interviewed 178 property owners over a four month period in a series of face-to-face interviews. Participants evaluated property brokers according to knowledge and skills, ethics and behavior, consultative ability, and empathy. The respondents were asked to rate their individual experiences on a 5 point scale ranging from excellent to very poor. Of those interviewed, 61% of respondents rated their brokers as either poor or very poor.

According to Mohanad Alwadiya, Managing Director of Harbor Real Estate Brokerage:
“What we have here is an indicator of an industry which is still relatively immature. The level of proficiency in effective consultancy, based on sound knowledge of the market and an understanding of the buyer’s requirements, appears to be the main shortcoming. Buyers today have choice and are more knowledgeable about the market, and they seek advice from professionals that they feel they can trust. Unfortunately, in the majority of cases, consumers are left feeling disappointed.”

The research, originally intended to serve as a barometer on service levels in the local industry, has provided Harbor with valuable insights into areas requiring development within its own operations. Harbor has already begun to benchmark and monitor its own service-level performance against those of its overseas affiliates, with the aim of surpassing service levels of established successful operations in mature markets.

Of those interviewed, 73% had purchased their property prior to the recession—set as October 2008—while the remainder had purchased their property after October 2008 (post-recession). About 23% of those interviewed purchased within the last four months.

About 12% of consumers who made their purchase prior to the recession stated that their experience was excellent or good. In the post-recession period, that number fell to about 11%, although satisfactory ratings improved from 25% pre-recession to 31% post-recession. In the post-recession market, 58% of respondents rated their experience as poor or very poor, brining the two year average of dissatisfied customers to 61%. The main causes of buyer dissatisfaction were in the areas of knowledge, consultative ability and empathy.

“What we are seeing globally is a race for improvement,” said Alwadiya. “Real estate has been under tremendous pressure due to the recession, and those who wish to thrive in the market will only do so by identifying and responding to the needs of their clientele. Because we are a service industry, we can benefit greatly from observing and adopting best practices of more established markets around the world.”

More information about Harbor Real Estate Brokerage, including “The Harbor Report”, a quarterly publication on news and trends in the real estate industry, can be found at www.harbordubai.com.

61% Unhappy with UAE Estate Agents – Survey

AmeInfo.com article

Article on AmeInfo.com

A new report has found that 61% of consumers who bought property in the last two years in Dubai are unhappy with the performance of real estate agents who brokered their purchases. The study, conducted by Harbor Real Estate, interviewed 178 property owners over a four month period. Participants evaluated property brokers according to knowledge and skills, ethics and behavior, consultative ability, and empathy. Of those interviewed, 61% of respondents rated their brokers as either poor or very poor.

Merger saga expected to continue

Article in Property Monthly Magazine
Article in Property Monthly Magazine

Lack of clarity leaves investors and shareholders anxious.

For many in the local real estate market,
mergers and acquisitions appear to be a
logical solution to stay afloat during the
global financial crisis. Opinion is divided
as to whether these moves will have a
positive — or negative — impact in the
short- and medium-term. Yet, it seems
clear that without these mergers and
acquisitions, the result would be a freeze
in financing facilities and diminishing
activity in the property sector, which
would have an adverse effect on the
overall economy.

Within the financial services sector,
the merger plays started as early as last
year. It began with Amlak and Tamweel
announcing their plans of coming together
to create an institution that would have
access to federal funds and strengthen the
country’s home finance marketplace.

When it was announced in
November last year, the possibility of
an Amlak-Tamweel joint venture gained
considerable media attention and
ratcheted up expectations.

In terms of property development,
we have seen similar plays within the
last 12 months. Dubai World, the portsto-
property conglomerate, recently
consolidated the management and
property operations of its subsidiaries,
including Leisurecorp, Dubai Maritime
City and the Dubai Multi Commodities
Centre. The property divisions of these
companies will now be run by Nakheel,
also part of the Dubai World portfolio

Rumours swirl around about a
possible alliance between Deyaar
Development and Union Properties,
stoked even higher by recent news about
the latter having liquidity problems and
losing its long-serving chief executive.

But, the most significant merger
possibility was thrown up quite recently,
with Dubai Holdings’ three real estate
arms — Dubai Properties, Tatweer, and
Sama Dubai — initiating the process to
cobble together an all-encompassing
marriage with Emaar.

Way to ward off dissolution

There is a growing consensus among
those involved in fine-tuning the process
that allowing healthy companies to
acquire those at risk of failing could
stabilise the economy and bolster
confidence in both the financial and
property sectors.

For some, merging with a partner that
has a strong balance-sheet is an essential
step in warding off dissolution. Other
spin-offs include leveraging economies
of scale and getting into stronger
negotiating positions with regard to
suppliers and contractors.

In an ideal context, mergers allow
companies to work together to achieve
long-term, strategic benefits by uniting
complementary businesses into a single,
self-sufficient and more successful
operation. When it comes to the
property sector, consolidated companies
have better control of the overall supply
introduced into the marketplace and the
quality of products and services offered.

Inheriting liabilities, debts

On the other hand, there are concerns
these mergers will place a heavy burden
on the stronger companies involved.
These partners are not just taking over
assets, but may end up inheriting large
liabilities and debts. Furthermore, the
mergers, once they are effected, are
likely to generate a lot of uncertainty
among investors and shareholders.
Investors might have to accept further
delays until these mergers are finalised.

Whatever the end result, the number of
mergers involving financial and property
organisations will only increase. For
the new entities formed thereafter, the
ability to provide prompt, transparent
and practical information could be the
benchmark for success or failure from the
public’s point of view.

The writer is the managing director of Harbor Real Estate

UAE housing market chasing ‘affordable assets’

Mohanad Alwadiya on 'affordable assets'

Mohanad Alwadiya onTRADE ARABIA Business News Informations

Residential market activity in the UAE in the second quarter improved significantly over the previous period, driven by a flight to affordable assets, said a report.
Harbor Real Estate Brokerage, an integrated real estate service provider in Dubai, has released of the latest edition of The Harbor Report, which covers a range of the hottest real estate topics, including a special feature on the recovery of the real estate market.

Sales transactions in the UAE, especially in the latter part of the second quarter, increased when compared to rental transactions with middle to middle-lower income earners taking advantage of the new levels of affordability.

“This quarter, the Harbor Report will be focusing on the local market recovery,” said Mohanad Alwadiya, managing director of Harbor Real Estate Brokerage.
“We look at factors that are likely to drive the recovery and the influence of the global economic recovery as it impacts the local scene here in Dubai,” he added.
“Harbor’s results for the second quarter were promising. Not only did we see a 55 per cent increase in the number of viewings but we also saw sales transaction double.’’

Since April 2009 when the first Harbor Report was issued, it has already become well known for its ability to accurately portray industry developments. With in-depth analysis, insider views and trends, the report has already received positive feedback from industry professionals.
Although the report is primarily aimed at professionals in the real estate industry, it also provides valuable information for developers and contractors who want to keep abreast with the latest industry developments, said a statement.

“In our first Harbor Report, which was issued in April, the contents and subjects discussed included credit notes, mortgages and the impact of the global recession on Dubai. This quarter however, the report is focusing more on the initial stabilisation and eventual recovery of the real estate market,” added Alwadiya. – TradeArabia News Service

UAE Banks in Position to start lending soon Reveals Harbor Report

Mohanad Alwadiya on UAE Banks

Mohanad Alwadiya on UAE Banks - Eye of Dubai - 30-Jul-2009

أآد السيد مهند الوادية المدير الإداري لشرآة هاربور للوساطة العقارية بأن البنوك
الإماراتية في وضع قوي يمكنها خلال الفترة الحالية من استئناف عمليات الإقراضفي
المجال العقاري حسب تقرير هاربور الفصلي الذي سيصدر في نهاية الشهر الحالي،
حيث ذآر السيد مهند رئيس تحرير التقرير بأن البنوك الإماراتية تعاملت مع الأزمة
الإقتصادية العالمية بشكل يعزز رؤوس أموالها من خلال التدابير التي اتخذتها بقيادة
البنك المرآزي، فوصلت قيمة رؤوس أموال البنوك إلى 200 مليار درهما خلال شهر
مايو الماضي.

وقال السيد الوادية “إن أهم هذه التدابير التي طبقتها البنوك هي تقديم أسعار فائدة أعلى
للمدخرين واتخاذ نهج متحفظ على عمليات الإقراض، حيث أن هذه الإجراءات وبلا شك
ستساهم بشكل آبير في تأمين القطاع المصرفي بالإمارات من المخاطر المحتملة وبالتالي يساعد دولة الإمارات على
الإنتعاش من الأزمة الإقتصادية”

ويتطرق تقرير هاربور الفصلي إلى الأسباب التي أدت إلى انخفاض حاد في السيولة في الأسواق إضافة إلى طرحه
لدلائل تفيد بعودتها للتدفق بشكل بطيء، آما يؤآد التقرير على أهمية اتباع قانون معلومات الإئتمان ويسلط الضوء
على حقيقة أن البنوك الإماراتية حاليا مازالت متشددة في اعتمادها لمعاييرإدارة المخاطر لديها .

وذآر مهند الوادية في تقرير هاربور الفصلي بأنه على الرغم من ظهور علامات بدء تدفق السيولة إلى أسواق
العقارات الإماراتية والعالمية إلا أن عدداً آبيراً من المستثمرين العقاريين الحاليين والمستقبليين يشعرون بالإحباط
نتيجة لبطء هذا التدفق. فليس فقط انخفض سعر الفائدة المشترك بين بنوك دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة
“إيبور”مقارنة بأسعار الذروة التي بلغت 4.78 % في تشرين الثاني / نوفمبر من العام 2008 مقابل 2.46 % فقط
في الربع الثاني من العام الحالي 2009 ، ولكن العديد من البنوك مازالت تحافظ نوعا ما على مستويات القروض
المنخفضة نسبيا مقابل الإيداعات المصرفية.

ويتابع التقرير، بالرغم من وجود قابلية ضئيلة للمخاطرة فإن السيولة ستتدفق في القريب العاجل بالأسواق وأنه يمكن
لوآالة ائتمان منظمة الحد من المخاطر المرتبطة بعمليات القروض ومساعدة الدولة على الإنتعاش.
” ينظر إلى تطبيق قانون معلومات الإئتمان على أنه خطوة إيجابية نحو الشفافية والحد من المخاطر التي تواجهها
البنوك وسيخلق هذا القانون إطاراً من الحقوق والإلتزامات لمقدمي البيانات ومستخدمي المعلومات والأفراد على حد
سواء”. اضاف السيد مهند الوادية

وأوضح بأن هذا القانون له آثار إيجابية بارزة تترتب عليه وخاصة من خلال مبدأ الشفافية الذي سيتيح الفرصة
للمصارف بأن تكون سريعة في اتخاذ قراراتها والتخفيف من حدة المخاطر المالية والتقليل من النظام البيروقراطي
آما أنه يعد خطوة إيجابية نحو نضج واستقرار وآفاءة القطاع المالي، مما سيؤدي مرة أخرى إلى ازدهار قطاع
العقارات في الدولة .

سيكون تقرير هاربور الفصلي متاحاً على شبكة الإنترنت اعتباراً من نهاية شهر تموز/يوليو الحالي ويمكن تحميله
www.harbordubai.com/harborreport : من خلال موقع شرآة هاربور للوساطة العقارية