Lootah Real Estate Development has been creating a holistic lifestyle experience for buyers and end users, marrying innovation and luxury with affordability in modern communities. PW caught up with Saleh Abdullah Lootah, executive director of Lootah Real Estate Development, to talk about the company’s philosophy, plans for 2018 and long-term view of the Dubai property market.
The real estate space has always been a very competitive one in the UAE. What has been your vision since the inception of the company?
Since its inception in 2002, Lootah Real Estate Development has been the real estate development arm of Lootah Holding, which has played a role in key industries such as construction and real estate, energy, financial services, logistics and FMCG. We’ve always had a clear vision of positioning ourselves as leaders in innovation in real estate development, and accordingly become the lifestyle developer of choice within the region, recognised for creating modern communities.
Our mission is to provide the highest standards of living and ensure client satisfaction. We have delivered several state-of-the-art residential and commercial properties in the UAE. These projects speak for themselves in terms of quality and excellence.
How would you differentiated yourself from other developers?
Our goal is to create homes that celebrate the spirit of elegant living through high-end finishes and plush amenities, while giving each resident a feeling of space and freedom. Our properties are all conveniently located in accessible areas across the city and offer everything from studios to one- and two-bedroom apartments and of course town houses, making sure that we cater to all segments whether they’re individuals, young couples or larger families. We are also very mindful of the levels of sustainability we introduce into each project. Whether that’s finding sustainable materials or management of waste, we always seek ways to make things both affordable and sustainable.
Are you optimistic about the local property market?
We are very optimistic about the future. The World Expo 2020 has provided a huge boost to the market. The GCC is also facing an economic and social transformation due to the national GDP diversification, liberating itself of its oil dependence. The UAE is investing in a variety of non-oil sectors, making the country extremely attractive for investment, businesses and tourism, a move that will hopefully bring stability to the economy. The UAE government is also investing tremendous efforts in growth plans in response to declining oil prices, so adjustments such as the introduction of value-added tax will play a key role in boosting the country’s property market.
What are the top trends to watch out for?
Despite a slow beginning to the year, investors have now regained confidence as they see Dubai as a better-value option. Activities in the housing market have shown signs of improvement. Dubai is a far more complete, more regulated and far more mature city today. For potential investors it is now possible to achieve net yields of 8 per cent and more, with net returns on equity of approximately 10 per cent for finance buyers using 75 per cent loan-to-value mortgage products. This provides good financial incentive to buy rather than rent. We also come up with very attractive payment and pricing plans for new schemes.
Additionally, the demand for new projects and the size of investments entering the country are on the rise. The Dubai 2020 Vision, aiming to attract 20 million tourists by 2020, will require the property market to be able to host and accommodate the increasing numbers of tourists, workforce and businesses entering the country.
What more needs to be done to strengthen the real estate sector?
Purchasing or selling property is often a life-changing decision. Investors need certainty that suitably qualified people are managing this sector. We need continuous upgrading of laws that protect the investor and keep improving consumer confidence.