The real estate industry in the UAE is gearing up for growth with the introduction of various government policies and the advent of the Expo. Investors are ensured a very well-regulated industry, with strategies set by the new real estate committee.
Relaxed visa rules for foreign investors, people above the age of 55, and homeowners as well as long-term residency visas for investors, UAE’s zero-tax regime, and the Central Bank’s removal of the 20 per cent cap on bank real estate lending combined with low-interest rates, boost the Emirates’ real estate market.
Private developers’ role
These policies and initiatives are part of the foundation that enable and encourage us to work toward boosting the sector by capitalising on trends that will help private developers fortify and position this city on the world real estate map.
Beyond looking at the market as a whole, it is also our role to consider other factors that could create a real difference – from technological innovations and sustainability efforts all the way to better understanding the investor and end-user, and predicting their needs before they may be aware of them themselves.
With rapid changes in the industry, most of which are driven by technological advancements, we cannot emphasise enough the need to adapt. Deep analysis, supported by big data, allows for the measuring of client requirements, buying patterns, and global trends, all of which have to be captured.
Tools like virtual and augmented reality are used to give home tours, providing buyers with a realistic experience with selecting their ideal home. As developers, much like all other stakeholders in the industry, we cannot be mere bystanders who adapt passively, but have to assume a proactive role in which we catalyse change.
For a business to thrive in today’s digital era, and for it to operate in alignment with its stakeholders’ needs, ensuring the team is digitally native is absolutely pivotal. Businesses need to not only keep up with the pace of disruption, but do their best to lead it - a pursuit that governs growth and development.
Similarly, RPA (robotic process automation) has digitised some of the tedious and repetitive processes, effectively reducing a certain portion of operational expenditure (OpEx) and minimising the possibility of human errors.
Moreover, we have deployed business intelligence and data analytics solutions that help in gathering information and creating actionable strategies for existing or new business opportunities. We are now planning to implement Artificial intelligence (AI) for analytics and predictive decision-making.
An extra mile
Developers have to instil trust into investors for the industry to excel. Although the government has implemented guidelines to ensure investor interests are protected, it is their duty to build credibility among investors by advocating transparency as well as provide security beyond formal regulations.
Customer engagement is a key source of transparency. Our strength lies in frequent communication to clients, updating them about developments, and dedicated social media teams to address queries almost instantly. Negative feedback is also responded to.
Being responsible on all fronts
The UAE has witnessed a rapid population growth and speedy construction through the past two decades. Climate change concerns and minimising energy usage in the desert have been challenging. Naturally, developers have to move towards sustainable means of construction and design environmentally conscious smart homes.
We have implemented a multitude of sustainability best practices across our communities to develop smart and sustainable residences that achieve a perfect balance between economic and social development and help preserve the environment, in alignment with UAE Vision 2021. It is our duty to ensure that our developments reflect the latest global trends in green buildings.
This entails using the right materials, construction processes, well-thought-out building and community designs, and readily-available technology to support water and energy conservation.
The small things
We need to understand that today, property seekers are looking for more than just a home; they are in search of a certain lifestyle that a property represents and enables through distinctive features and amenities, location, design and other important factors. With better legislation comes a demand for state-of-the-art mid- and high-rises, innovative features and creativity that the global property market has yearned for.
Investors not only value strategic, up-and-coming locations, vicinity to business, leisure and retail hubs, and connectivity to major highways, public transportation and airports, but also the homes’ quality standards and amenities.
The path to success has been smoothened for us by tax exemptions, favourable legislation, trusted governing bodies, and grand events like Expo 2020. It is now our responsibility to transform and introduce new concepts, adding real value not only to the UAE’s property sector as a whole, but to investors and end-users whose needs and wants constantly evolve.
By listening closely to them and researching their aspirations meticulously, UAE developers can respond creatively and put forth offerings that lead the global real estate market into a new paradigm of innovation.
- Farhad Azizi is CEO of Azizi Developments.