Dubai commercial real estate

Will commercial property pick up this year? CEO and Founder, Michael Lahyani, discusses Dubai’s high quality infrastructure and geographical location – two factors which position it as one of the best cities in the world to live and do business.

Commercial realty market on the rise
Michael Lahyani (Property focus) / 20 April 2014

Dubai real estate

Commercial real estate values are on the rise, as Dubai’s office market continues to pick up this year. There are a number of reasons to remain optimistic about the prospects for commercial real estate. For one, market fundamentals are strong. Dubai is also benefitting from its tourism and retail boom, driving up visitor numbers particularly at its malls, which is in turn benefitting big and small businesses. Numerous companies have taken advantage of the surging retail market and asset prices to plan public offerings.

The first quarter of this year was particularly noteworthy for the return of IPO and capital raising activity. Emirates Reit, a UAE-based real estate investment trust, recently launched shares on Nasdaq Dubai. Emaar’s shares rose significantly after the master developer disclosed plans to choose Nasdaq Dubai and London to list its shopping malls and retail subsidiary. By listing in London, the major stock market for emerging companies, Emaar’s move is likely to attract a greater pool of foreign investors.

Dubai skyline

Dubai holds a unique position from which international businesses can operate globally, due to its central location, lack of foreign ownership restrictions, tax-free environment and international workforce. The city has been identified at the forefront of cities that demonstrate the combination of strong short-term socio-economic and commercial real estate momentum and longer term foundations for success. Earlier last month, Abu Dhabi and the UAE Central Bank agreed to refinance the $20 billion loan that was extended to Dubai at a lower rate — positive news for Dubai and further reassurance for investors of Dubai’s economic growth. Further, the emirate’s huge concentration of high-net-worth individuals and improved global connectivity are driving international investors to seek opportunities in the emirate. Dubai Internet City and Dubai Outsource Zone recorded strong growth in 2013, with around 181 firms joining the two clusters.

Whilst Indian, British and Pakistani nationals continue to lead the Dubai property charge, investment from other overseas markets is growing. Chinese investors are ramping up their investment in the Middle East in order to diversify their asset base. Not only has China’s biggest contractor tied up with a Dubai firm to build a luxury resort on the Palm, individual Chinese investment and the numbers of companies setting up operations in the region are expected to grow strongly. The emirate’s diversifying investor base was also reflected in Dubai Land Department’s report which revealed that in 2013, buyers from 162 countries purchased over Dh100 billion of real estate.

Throughout 2014, property values are expected to rise markedly in line with the improving business outlook and economic confidence. Over 600,000sqm of office supply is expected to come online by the end of 2014 and infrastructure projects worth over Dh12 billion are in the pipeline to get Dubai ready for 2020. Given that job creation is key to increasing demand in the commercial real estate sector, with over 250,000 jobs estimated to be created in the next six years, more multinationals and fledgling enterprises are expected to establish offices and invest in expansion into Dubai. The increase in employment is in turn likely to cause consumers to spend more and positively impact businesses, large and small.

Our quarterly report for 2014 revealed that Business Bay remains the most searched community for buying and renting office space in Dubai — in addition to accounting for close to 50 per cent of the new supply between 2014 and 2016. Dubai International Financial Centre and Dubai Silicon Oasis are also tipped to see new completions during this period. Additionally, there has been a considerable uptick in rental values. For instance, rents in Business Bay in Q1 2014 were 27 per cent higher than those in Q1 2013 whilst leasing prices in Jumeirah Lake Towers rose by over 15 per cent during the same period.

Dubai aerial view

In a bid to make Dubai attractive to global investors and businesses, the Dubai Investment Development Agency was formed earlier this year. By reviewing the emirate’s business climate, drawing up policies and strategies and planning new long-term projects, the new body is expected to ramp up the inflow of investments worldwide.

Over the years, valuable lessons have been learnt and everyone’s grown smarter and wiser. As the retail market continues to improve alongside the launch of new real estate projects and burgeoning tourism and hospitality industries, there’s little doubt that the commercial property sector will emerge as one of the key talking points this year.


Take a look at the most expensive home ever sold in the Noe Valley neighbourhood of San Francisco for USD 7 million.

This ultra-modern four-bedroom, six-bathroom home has a modern, angular facade.

At nearly 6,000 sq. ft., the house is estimated to cost $1,167 per sq. ft.

A wall of windows offers sprawling views of San Francisco.

The kitchen offers plenty of storage space and a prep island with a sink in the centre.

The dining room bleeds into the living room.

The front balcony is great for entertaining.

The home also comes with a private backyard.

Source: Sotheby’s International Realty


UAE real estate market

Renan Bourdeau, our Deputy CEO, reflects on how the UAE property market has transformed since the downturn and why the solid growth is likely to be a sustainable one.

The evolving UAE real estate market
Renan Bourdeau (Property focus) / 6 April 2014

Steering towards maturity, the UAE real estate market has taken off to a solid start this year. It’s no secret that property prices have begun surging. However, despite significant price rises, average apartment prices in Dubai continue to be lower than where they were during the 2008 peak, suggesting that they still have scope to rise. The UAE has also seen a population rise of close to 400,000 over the last two years with Dubai recording a 200,000 increase in resident numbers during the same period.

Investing in UAE property

The market has also transformed significantly since the downturn. More regulation is kicking in with the industry moving away from the off-plan sales model towards a longer-term model and experiencing growth in terms of prices, transaction volumes, equity and rental yields. The Dubai Land Department recently revealed that property transactions in 2013 jumped 53 per cent from 2012 figures. The department, which increased property registration fees to discourage flipping, has indicated that more regulations to control speculation are likely to be announced in the coming months.

At the crossroads of Asia, Europe and Africa, Dubai is a global investment hub, featuring amongst the world’s strongest performing and fastest growing luxury property markets. The population of high net worth individuals attracted to the emirate’s favourable tax environment, multi-world charm and plethora of properties is rising. Whilst Indians, Britons and Pakistanis have always topped the list of Dubai’s most active buyers, Chinese investors are now one of the fastest growing investors in the market. Many wealthy Chinese seek to invest abroad to diversify, given that prices in Dubai are much lower than those in China. Expo 2020 will further enhance Dubai’s status as an investment destination as buyers home in on the city ahead of the exhibition.

Dubai skyline

Aside from mega projects, newer addresses are emerging due to the development of infrastructure in suburban areas in preparation for the Expo. The launch of master-planned communities in Dubai World Central, which includes the Expo site and the new airport, are driving the trend towards developments in the fringes of the city. Our latest quarterly report provides statistical evidence to illustrate the growth that these emerging addresses offer — both to investors and renters — for their developing infrastructure, affordable pricing and long-term value. For instance, we see a 100 per cent quarter-on-quarter rise in renter interest in Dubailand. The community has moved up one spot from its position last quarter, ranking fourth in the list of neighbourhoods most searched by buyers this year. Dubai Sports City, which placed 11th in Q1 2013, has also climbed two places to grab ninth spot in the list of sought after rental neighbourhoods this quarter.

Burj Khalifa Downtown Dubai

Interestingly, we’re also seeing the blending of real estate with leisure. Developers are launching projects that integrate luxury residences with world-class tourism ventures and using real estate to fuel Dubai’s ambitions of trebling the contribution made by tourism to its economy. The increasing impetus on real estate can also be seen from the launch of new projects every other week. Emaar has been rolling out new developments since the start of this year, beginning with the “Lila” Spanish coastal villa project in Arabian Ranches, “Vida Residence”, “Boulevard Point” and BLVD Crescent” in Downtown Dubai, other townhouse communities in and around Arabian Ranches and the latest Samara villas project.

Whilst all this growth is exciting, price expectations and supply need to be managed in the years leading up to 2020. We also need to sustain the positive investor sentiment and build greater transparency so that we continue to move ahead as a mature market. Earlier last month, Abu Dhabi and the UAE Central Bank agreed to refinance the $20 billion loan is a sign of confidence in Dubai’s recovering property market. Late last year, Dubai became the first country to announce its support for an International Property Measurement Standard, an initiative that looks at addressing global inconsistencies in the way property is measured, leading to greater transparency and market stability.

UAE real estate

Given Dubai’s ever-changing landscape, don’t just consider the immediate value a property may offer you. Instead, hold on to it, because by 2020, Dubai — in terms of its skyline, resident mix and economic performance — will be different from what it is today.


Atlantis Sanya Hainan, Beach View

With the world’s largest building having been developed in Chengdu this year, China’s commitment to eclectic architecture is set to continue with the unveiling of plans for the world’s third Atlantis resort on the island of Sanya along the Haitang Bay National Coast. Each Atlantis resort rises majestically out of the sea – first Atlantis, Paradise Island in The Bahamas followed by Atlantis, The Palm atop the apex of Palm Island in Dubai – and now in Sanya, China rising from the South China Sea.

Atlantis Sanya Hainan, Aerial View

Atlantis, Sanya Hainan will offer a sense of awe-inspiring discovery, encompassing over 62 hectares of unparalleled excitement with the Aquaventure Waterpark, exotic marine exhibits and incredible dining experiences. A team of over 10,000 expert craftsmen will be engaged in the building of this magnificent ocean-themed resort.

With approximately 1,300 luxurious guest rooms, the resort will employ over 3,500 staff members to bring the Atlantis experience to life, from marine biologists and lifeguards to top chefs and innovative event planners. Construction, which began at the end of 2013, will be complete in 2016.

Category: News

Hong Kong

Pollock’s Path, located in Hong Kong’s The Peak neighbourhood, was recently ranked the world’s most expensive street on the basis of average price per square metre. The Peak is both a major tourist attraction and an exclusive residential area that was originally a colonial enclave for top British bureaucrats and businessmen.

Hong Kong skyline

With stunning views of Hong Kong Island and Victoria Harbour, Pollock’s Path has long been the plush ground of Hong Kong’s super-rich. Whilst prices here rival those on neighbouring Severn Road and Barker Road, new developments on this winding path have pushed up prices. Skyhigh, at 10-18 Pollock’s Path and developed by Hong Kong celebrity Stephen Chow, is one of the most prestigious developments on the street. Records were set in Hong Kong when in 2011, 10 Pollock’s Path sold for HK $800 million (US$103 million).

Singapore Orchard Road

In second place on the list was Kensington Palace Gardens in London, followed by Avenue Princesse Grace in Monaco, Boulevard du Général de Gaulle in Cap Ferrat, France and Singapore’s Paterson Hill, a calm residential cul-de-sac close to the iconic Orchard Road Shopping Belt, known for its designer stores and Michelin-starred restaurants.


Category: News

Dubai real estate

Demand for real estate in Dubai is booming, fuelled by the launch of newer residential addresses, a growing economy and the highly anticipated Expo 2020.

John Lyons, Senior Client Manager at Espace Real Estate spoke to us recently about what it means to list a property exclusively with a licensed brokerage and the benefits to sellers. 

What is an exclusive agency listing? 

An exclusive listing means that the owner(s) of the property have entered into a listing contract with a licensed real estate agency, whereby the chosen agency has the exclusive right to advertise the property and will be the exclusive representative of the seller to close a deal. The exclusive contract is not restrictive, meaning that the exclusive agent can work with agents from other brokerage companies to source a buyer.  This is at no additional cost to the buyer or seller as the two agencies will simply agree a commission split privately.

Dubai property

What are the general benefits of listing exclusively?

It is far more useful to get one qualified agent to put in maximum effort to sell and promote your property rather than have five agents doing the bare minimum. To incentivise an agent to devote a significant percentage of their working week to focus on selling your property, it is important that the agent feels that his hard work has a high chance of being rewarded. In contrast, if the property is listed with 5 other agents, then the agent will feel that he has a lower chance of being rewarded for his/her efforts.

So, whilst it’s important for agents to build strong working relationships with their clients, it is equally important for the client to build a strong relationship with an agent.  In my opinion, this is best achieved by signing up for an exclusive listing.

Most agents have many listings, so the aim of the seller should be to become the agent’s ‘number one’ listing as this will significantly enhance the chance of a sale. It is only realistic to achieve this with an exclusive listing. Simply put, exclusive listings take preference over non-exclusive listings.

Dubai skyline

What does Espace offer sellers who list exclusively?

From offering half and quarter page print adverts, arranging for a professional photo shoot with our in-house photographer and having our in-house graphic designer create a virtual tour of the property, the benefits to sellers are numerous.

Additionally, we feature exclusive listings on leading property portals such as propertyfinder.ae and on half, full and double page adverts in our property magazine, which is distributed to over 4,000 people across Dubai. We also include listings in our E-50 open house events, one of Dubai’s biggest house viewing/buying events.

Finally, we also display details of exclusive properties on our company stand which rotates between the Meadows and Arabian Ranches town centres.

Dubai property

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