Ask the agent

Can you explain the term capitalization rate?

Capitalisation rate (cap rate) is the rate of return on a real estate property based on the income that the property is expected to generate. It is used to estimate the investor’s potential return on investment. It maybe calculated by dividing the investment’s net operating income (NOI) by the current market value, where NOI is the total revenue derived from renting or leasing the property minus all operating costs. Put simply, the cap rate = NOl current market value. Given that the capital values for Dubai properties have shown greater volatility than the income being derived, the NOI being generated from the property at today’s value needs to be looked into. This allows us to see whether the property’s performance is improving or declining by referring to the cap rate. If the cap rate is declining, this leads us to conclude that selling the property would generate greater income.

Where do you think the best investment opportunities are in the Dubai real estate market?

Definitely in the affordable segment of the market!

We are encouraging clients to invest in this important segment as there are some great opportunities and the demand for affordable housing is likely to continue increasing as Dubai heads towards the Expo 2020. There are many affordable developments that have been sprouting in Dubailand and other parts of the city, especially in the outskirts. They are strategically located, with easy access to major road networks like the Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, thus residents enjoy fast transit times to most of Dubai’s popular areas. The demand for this type of affordable accommodation will continue to grow. invest in apartments and retain ownership for atleast five years to gain superior capital growth and enjoy healthy net annual rental return in the meantime.

Do you think the property prices will fall further in this current cycle? If so, would now be a good time to sell?

The fact that the property industry is notoriously cyclical is widely known yet viewed differently. Investors with a clear strategy and long-term plan simply accept, foresee and plan for cycles in the industry. They look for longer—term sustainable growth rather than take additional risk by trying to accumulate wealth by taking advantage of shorter-term spikes or dips. Investing in property has a very simple purpose: to create wealth over the long term. However, your portfolio needs to be nurtured, maintained and managed to ensure its wealth-creating potential is achieved as it rides the inevitable cycles that occur in the industry. Adopting a short-term vision and reacting unreasonably to inevitable industry slowdowns will lead to underperformance in the longer term. Consider engaging a good property manager who will ensure that you maximize returns.

I plan to purchase our first family home. What are the factors to consider when getting a mortgage?

There are a number of considerations that you need to factor into your plan of buying a home. One of these is getting a mortgage. Generally speaking, you are much better off financially in applying your hard-earned money towards building equity, but keep in mind that mortgage payments can be subject to fluctuations as interest rates rise. Not all mortgages are the same. Try and have the mortgage establishment fees waived. Depending on the institution, this may save you up to Dh3,000. Also request that you are not penalized for paying the mortgage down faster or in its entirety. By law, the mortgage provider cannot charge you more than 1% of the outstanding amount or a maximum of Dhl0,000, but try to have this stipulation dropped from your contract. Make sure your provider will allow you to utilize the equity you build in your home over time. Some lenders will allow you to use this as security for further borrowing.

Question of the week

I am buying an off-plan property. Can you explain the principles of escrow?

An escrow can be described as a legally recognized financial instrument held by a third party (typically a bank) on behalf of two other parties (typically a buyer and a seller) who have agreed to conduct a particular transaction in accordance with certain conditions. Funds are provided by the buyer and held by the party (bank) providing the escrow service until it receives the formal advice that certain previously agreed obligations of the seller have been fulfilled upon which time, the seller can receive funds to the amount specified in the agreement between the seller and buyer.

The use of escrow accounts by Dubai developers has now been mandated by law for the purpose of protecting the prepayments made by buyers. This limits developers from gaining access to funds until certain construction milestones are completed, helping ensure developers are not misappropriating funds provided in advance for purposes other than which they are intended.

Anybody can open an escrow account but not anybody can open one for the purposes of property development in Dubai. The developer must first be registered as a bona fide developer with RERA which involves providing documents ranging from those which establish the bona fide nature of the developer including details of its officers and solvency, title deeds proving ownership of the land to be developed, NOC from relevant parties to performance guarantees.

When your property yield is not enough

Post-recession, investors take greater risks to generate goal-satisfying yields

Dubai’s property rental yields have always been strong when compared to countries where rental income is taxed at high rates. With a market that boasts an average gross yield of around 7.0%, it has stood as a beacon for those who appreciate the structural and regulatory developments it has undertaken which decrease the risk perception associated with investing in the market.

What is gross yield? It is the income of an investment prior to deduction of expenses expressed as a percentage. It only measures the income as a percentage of the original purchase price and does not reflect the significant effects of underlying fluctuations in underlying asset values.

The ratio can reveal how accurately market factors were comprehended, analysed, forecasted and modelled when planning a particular development. It can highlight inefficient and costly construction methods and techniques, future price/revenue adjustment opportunities, and new segment or geographic concentration opportunities. It can reveal superior (or inferior) sales, branding and marketing techniques, or superior product attributes. It can highlight impending revenue and eventual margin pressure where yields appear a little too extravagant when compared to the market, or even highlight where an industry is with regard to its cycle.

The expectations of net yield will pressure gross yield and the cost of resources required to generate that gross yield. In times of tight supply, inefficiencies in construction, administration, maintenance and operating methodologies are hidden because elevated gross yields driven by excessive market demand are likely to drive acceptable net yields. But the real test of an effective yield management is when supply exceeds demand.

The capitalisation rate (or cap rate) of a property also comes into play. It is the rate of return on a property based on the income that the property is expected to generate. It is used to estimate the potential return of an investment. It may be calculated by dividing the net operating income (NOI) of the investment by its current market value, where NOI is the total revenue derived from renting or leasing the property, less all operating costs.

Put simply, cap rate = net operating income / current market value.

Given that the capital values of properties in Dubai have shown greater volatility than the income being derived from them, we need to look at the NOI being generated from the properties at today’s value. This allows us to see whether a certain property’s wealth-generating performance is improving or declining by referring to the cap rate. If the cap rate is declining, it may lead us to conclude that selling the property and reinvesting elsewhere will generate greater income even if the gross or net yield still looks very impressive.

Cap rates are used when establishing a client’s property portfolio. Real estate firms determine the lowest cap rate that the client should accept to make the investment worthwhile. Typically, they suggest a cap rate of between 5% and 10% depending on expectations of asset value fluctuations. As revenues are typically locked in courtesy of rental contracts for at least 12 months or up to five years for commercial leases, the ability to accurately forecast the potential and likely shifts in property asset values will be essential to establish realistic cap rates and form longerterm portfolio strategies.
There is another useful application of the cap rate. When you divide 100 by the estimated cap rate, you arrive at an estimate, expressed in years, which will provide an indication of the payback period of the investment. Caution must, however, be used when using this ratio, and it must be reviewed periodically as the underlying asset value and the revenues generated from the asset will always exhibit different rates of volatility

Investors

Property Times – June 2015

I have been lucky in my professional life to have met and worked with some very successful investors. While I have found each to be different in personality, style and even investment philosophy, there are some attitudes, traits and perspectives that are shared among the most successful investors I have had the privilege to have met.  Thinking  back  to  many  interesting discussions I have had with these people… some  of  whom  are  my  most  loyal  and respected  clients…  there  are  several statements  that  we  often  hear  in  our everyday professional lives which I have not heard from this group of achievers. This is what separates them from the rest.

I hate (insert anything) … “

I have rarely heard my successful investors project a negative stance about anything in their professional life. This is not to say that they support every philosophy, concept or idea and they will also not accept an occurrence which is contrary to what they think should have happened. But instead of expressing such a negative emotion as hate, they continue to think positively and seek positives from a situation or take a positive approach to remedying that which they do not agree with. As a result, the dialogue is always positive, creating an environment positivity, proactivity and energy directed towards progress. Taking this approach also helps to create a pleasant, purposeful and fruitful environment in which to work and helps to maintain or even build esteem and confidence among those that can contribute to achieving exceptional results. It promotes objectivity, focus and decisiveness.

“That’s not fair”

The world is not a fair place never has been and never will be, and successful investors understand, embrace and accept that. This allows them to be immune from the negativity that can arise when an individual feels hard done by or cheated.  It  also allows them to plan, create contingencies and  maintain  a  positive  attitude  when a  seemingly  unfair  occurrence  occurs resulting in a greater chance to respond to a situation rapidly and appropriately rather than dwelling on the fact that an occurrence was “unfair”.

“That’s not how it’s done here”

An open mind is essential to develop, progress and eventual success. Successful investors will embrace new ideas and innovation.  To not realise that progress is created from ingredients consisting of past experience and innovation is to rely too heavily on tried and true practices that gradually lose relevance over time. This form of decay has destroyed entrepreneurs, global corporations and even whole economies and societies. With globalization, the world has become a much smaller place. To not embrace, improve and implement world’s best practice and only holding close what you are comfortable is the biggest threat to creating continued success.

“I am a self-made man”

Nobody has ever made it on their own. It was once thought that the iconic, independent, totally  self-sufficient,  unchallengeable, silent-type, hard-nosed entrepreneur who left  metaphorical  bodies  in  his  wake  as he  doggedly  climbed  the  mountain  of success was the role model that should be emulated by all who craved achievement. Many have tried and they all failed. No-one can achieve success on their own.  As a matter of fact, the most successful people I have met have surrounded themselves with successful people and ensured that those people shared in their success. They seek opinions, listen carefully, discuss intelligently, consider alternatives and have their decisions reviewed. They reward those who contribute to their achievements and help them succeed as well for this is also a valuable way to learn and build momentum at the same time.

“That’s impossible”

Successful  people  know  that  nothing  is impossible and hold the belief that every problem  has  a  solution,  some  of  which just haven’t been thought of yet. Anything is possible as long as there is a willingness to  explore,  question  and  challenge  and imagination  is  intensely  applied  and ingenuity  is  rewarded.  Achievers do not complain about obstacles. They embrace them so as to gain an understanding as to how they can be overcome for they truly believe that nothing is insurmountable. Negative words like “can’t,”  “won’t,” and “impossible” are never heard from the mouths of successful individuals. They know complaining will not help them, but actually doing something about the issue at hand will.

“I could have”

Could have… would have … should have. We have all heard these expressions of retrospective folly. Experts in hindsight have 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 slows down the effective pursuit of the next great opportunity.

“I have no choice”

Victims have no choice. Successful investors create alternative solutions to every problem and will carefully consider all of them. In this way, successful investors are never victims for they create an environment filled with choices. Then it’s just a matter of deciding which choice represents the best way forward. Successful investors know how to create opportunities where normal people think none seemingly exist.  Successful investors believe that opportunities always will exist, but they are hidden in the recesses of our individual and collective imaginations.  The reason why they are successful is largely due to their determination and ability to extract those opportunities, while others are stagnating in the belief that they don’t exist!!