Can you tell me a bit more about yourself and the company and when you arrived in Dubai?
Cluttons has been established in the UAE since 1976 and prides itself as being the first real estate consultancy to operate in the country. It is a global company of chartered surveyors with offices in Europe, Russia, South Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.
I have been in Dubai for four years now working as a head of an estate agency department. I joined Cluttons a year and half ago to start up their residential broker department.
How many people do you employ?
In the Middle East Cluttons employs 200 people, but in my department I currently look after 10. My plan is to increase this by 100 per cent in the very near future as we look to expand the department when we have more offices.
How long have you worked in the market?
I have been in Dubai for four years, but in real estate I have worked a total of 28 years –mainly in London.
Why did you choose Dubai for real estate?
I saw the recession coming to the UK in late 2007 and had heard the good business that Dubai was doing in terms of real estate and how the government was growing the city, so I wanted to be a part of this.
What one deal will you always remember?
Selling a Springs villa that backed directly onto the main Springs drive road and was located opposite the mosque – some properties really need all the marketing help they can get!
Where do you live and what do you like about the area?
I live in JBR and have done ever since I moved to Dubai. I have The Walk at the foot of my tower and I am very close to the beach and marina. JBR’s location is great for getting to everything that the marina offers. I am looking forward to the new shopping and leisure facilities coming there too!
What type of services do you propose on top of the typical real estate services e.g. relocation services, interior design etc?
Apart from residential and commercial agency services, Cluttons offers strategic consultancy, valuations and appraisals, industrial and logistics, property and facilities management, hand-over and project completion services and strata management.
2008 saw a massive downturn in the real estate market, you made it! How did you make it through the financial turmoil?
I remained focused on the job at hand. It’s strange how when you don’t know where your next deal is coming from how this focuses the mind. Suddenly, you become single minded and very determined.
What key areas have you seen significant changes in since you have worked in real estate in Dubai?
During the years I have been in Dubai I have noticed more legislation and the market moving towards being better regulated.
Where in Dubai do you think prices are going to rise?
We have seen rises in all the established areas, especially villa complexes and developments with excellent recreational and retail facilities.
Where in Dubai do you think prices are going to decrease?
I think all the areas of Dubai have seen price increases, even the less attractive projects. So I do not believe we will see price decreases in the near future.
Which community do you think will provide the best value for money for investors this year?
The Golden Mile on Palm Jumeirah represents excellent value for money.
25-30,000 new properties are expected to come on to the market in 2012. Do you think this will have an effect on price?
Obviously this could soften prices but there appears to still be plenty of people coming toDubai, either working for companies or opening their own businesses. These people will obviously need accommodation.
What are the most important factors to you when selling a property?
The property must be well presented and have the correct paperwork from the seller (title deed) etc.
What is your favourite restaurant in Dubai?
In terms of location, Shimmers in Madinat Jumeirah – there is something magical about dining on the beach. For great food and a fabulous night out, it has to be Frankie’s in JBR.
Where do you spend your weekends?
I love soaking up the sun with my family around the JBR pools or on the nearby beach.
Where do you first take your guests when they visit Dubai?
I always take them on a desert safari.
What is your favourite project in Dubai?
If money were no object, where would you live in Dubai?
It hast to be Emirates Hills, a lovely villa that had a lake and golf course view.
Which of the unfinished or proposed projects would you most like to see completed?
Palm Jebel Ali
When you leave Dubai, where will you go?
Either the Far East or Singapore or perhaps back to Europe.
Who is your business icon?
Sir Alan Sugar
If you could do anything to improve the real estate market in Dubai, what would it be?
I would prohibit the re-sale of off plan units for at least 18 months to prevent flipping.
What achievement are you most proud of in your life?
Apart from my family, I am proud of consistently providing professional agency services to all of my clients, and always with a sense of humour. Life should not be taken too seriously.
What is the most relevant piece of advice that you have picked up along the way?
You get out what you put in.
What are your projections for the year ahead?
Steady as she goes! I believe positive news will continue within the property market with hopefully sustained gradual increases rather than a bubble that will burst.