Affordability Matters Most

Affordability Matters Most

This year’s Cityscape Global Exhibition and Conference is forecast to be the largest yet and comes at a time when Dubai’s Real Estate industry is expected to start entering a cyclical growth phase in the lead up to the World Expo 2020.

The importance of Cityscape Global cannot be overstated. As with many exhibitions, it provides a concentrated and focused forum which allows the industry to showcase its vision and capabilities and demonstrate what shape Dubai will take in the future. But Cityscape is much more than that.

Cityscape Global is an open invitation for all stake-holders to understand, evaluate, participate and prosper in an industry that continues to literally change the shape of Dubai. It is a meeting place of some of the biggest and brightest minds representing all stakeholders in the industry and a confluence of opinions, ideas and opportunities which are shared, debated and developed. It allows stakeholders to gain a macro sense of in-dusty direction and a micro understanding of the various elements that will shape the industry going forward.

For buyers and investors, there is no better place to gain an appreciation of the myriad of opportunities that are on offer, but the sheer scale of the exhibition can become a little overwhelming, especially when you are looking to invest.

As a general theme for this year’s Cityscape, I will be advising most of my investors to look for value opportunities in the affordable housing segment, particularly in the Dubai South areas, as this segment in this location is likely to be the subject of some very attractive easy payment plans to further enhance affordability and, to some extent, mitigate risk.

This segment has outperformed its more luxurious alternatives for some time now and continues to show lots of potential, even though the recent cyclical correction. Affordable properties will continue to be on high demand as Dubai’s population growth gains momentum during a period of expected strong economic growth leading up to the end of the decade. And while the value is irrefutable, the risks associated with investing in the affordable segments of the industry as opposed to the luxury segments are much lower. Demand for affordable accommodation will continue to grow as Dubai’s population swells in the run up to the Expo. As Dubai continues to grow, so does the need for affordable housing.

Yet, although I see great value in investing in the affordable segment, it doesn’t mean some interesting opportunities won’t appear in other segments as well.

So, while you might focus on identifying opportunities in the affordable segment, you need to keep an open mind and be wary of unique opportunities that may be present.

I always advise my clients that the best way to get the most out of the event, is to canvass all the interesting opportunities on display and gradually yet efficiently establish a short list of the best opportunities.

Establishing such a list from an exhibition as huge as Cityscape is not easy and requires a disciplined approach. This is where a property asset management professional can assist…

Why? It’s important to understand what factors are going determine the potential of any investment. For property, these factors include everything from macro level influences such as global economic performance and policies, geopolitical issues, currency rates and oil prices to more regional or local factors such as industry supply I demand levels, consumer confidence, government policy and regulatory framework, industry cycles and liquidity in the marketplace.

So, in reality, a lot of the work in ensuring that investors and potential buyers make the most of their Cityscape experience is actually done beforehand in preparing an understanding of what the overall investment environment looks like. This enables a more efficient and focused assessment of all that is on offer.

But in addition to understanding the invest environment, it’s important for the investor to understand why he or she wants to invest in property and what the investment objectives are. Too many investors formulate the answers to these questions “on the run”, once they are traipsing around the exhibition. This lack of preparation just leads to confusion and ultimately, poor decision making.

Every industry has its shows, whether it’s the myriad of motor shows held around the world, film festivals, fashion events, airshows and the property industry is no different. What many don’t understand is that Dubai’s Cityscape Global has established itself as one of the best Real Estate and Property events globally… and its right on our very own doorstep!

So, for those of us with a passion for the industry, it is going to be an exciting 3 days. It always seems to end too early!

Stalling will get you nowhere; invest today



The  opportunities currently available  will certainly  never come again
By Mohanad Alwadiya
CEO, Harbor Real Estate
Senior Advisor & Instructor, Dubai Real Estate Institute

Stalling  will get  you nowhere invest today“opportunity knocks only once” is an oft-quoted proverb in life, and it rings even truer when it comes to real estate. Others may argue that other opportunities will present themselves in the future; true, but will they be the exact-same opportunities?

It would, of course, be great if these future opportunities actually materialize; excellent, if they turn out to be better opportunities. But then, what if they don’t – which is usually the case as far as opportunity in real estate is concerned. After all, land is not unlimited and a building or unit, once sold, won’t likely change hands several times in the course when it is perceived to be at its peak value.

Expertise derived from hindsight has no place at the table of successful people, and regret is a fruitless and pointless emotion. Successful people thrive on opportunities, not lost opportunities. If they cannot make one opportunity work to their satisfaction, they move on and find another opportunity. Regret simply diverts energy and focus from the effective pursuit of the next great opportunity.

For those still currently on the fence about real estate investment, resolve to buy TODAY. After all, oil prices aren’t expected to go anywhere soon, the decline of the Russian ruble and the Euro versus the US dollar has effectively made offshore investing appear too expensive for many, there are reports of a growing oversupply and the inevitable interest rate increases on the US dollar, and its AED cousin, will only further hamper overseas investment and overall market liquidity.

While these considerations are valid and worthy harbingers of the dreaded procrastination, we need to put our positive hat on for a while, and consider the following…

Put simply, Dubai needs people to support an economy that is expected to grow at an estimated 5 percent percent-plus 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 277,000 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 percent annual increase from today’s population of 2.25million.

While the price of oil is a big issue for the region’s economies, 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. Dubai’s economy is being driven by fundamentals such as tourism and trade and a slew of new projects to grow these important revenue-generating economic segments. Dubai welcomed 4.1 million overnight visitors in the first three months of 2016, which represented a 5.1 percent increase over the same period last year continuing a growth trend of approximately 10 percent per annum since 2010.

But those visitor numbers will seem paltry once the 2020 Expo kicks off. And the 277,000 extra jobs that will be generated to ensure the estimated 20 million visitors of the Expo see Dubai in its most favorable light cannot be underrated in terms of generating significant demand for real estate assets.

And though the ongoing speculation surrounding the US Federal Reserve’s intention to raise interest rates is making many people nervous, we can be sure that interest rates in the US will eventually rise and the AED will continue to get stronger. To invest in a market that is undergoing a 10 percent to 20 percent correction in a currency that certain to appreciate only makes sense, especially when financing is still cheap and will remain so for quite some time.

While on the topic of certainty, 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.

Still unconvinced or undecided?

Remember the opportunities that have come with 2015 and 2016 – the period of opportunity for the astute investor – will most certainly never come again. Ask around for expert advice, conduct your own research, make the calculations and decide now, today, so you won’t find yourself scratching your head in disappointment five years hence.