Property Weekly Broker Profile: Big shift to affordability

PWMohanad Alwadiya

What’s the best property deal you have made in the past year?
We have obtained the exclusive property management rights for Emaar Business Park Building Nos. 2 and 4, which I have always considered as among the most iconic corporate addresses in Dubai.

How many new agents has your firm hired in the past year?
Our brokerage division is always growing and we have hired over 20 new brokers in the last 12 months. We always have room for [new recruits] and actively seek experienced agents and property managers.

What is your outlook for the UAE property sector for 2016?
Dubai real estate has been undergoing a correction for some time now. In the first quarter, we have already witnessed significant growth in investor activity and strong land sales. Both are leading indicators that the market is heading into its next cyclical phase. We believe that by the end of the year, the market will enter the next phase of growth, which is expected to accelerate as we draw closer to the World Expo 2020. 

What types of property are selling most in the market under the current circumstances?
The market has definitely shifted towards the affordable segment. We have witnessed a strong increase in demand for affordable property from both end users and investors. Gross rental yields of 8-10 per cent are still achievable in some areas.

What are some of the challenges unique to this market?
There are a few major challenges that are totally unique to the Dubai market. Real estate markets globally are feeling the effects of a general decline in global economic growth, and the ongoing issues associated with geopolitical upheavals. The world is still, after some eight years, trying to shake off the effects of the global financial crisis. While some economies, such as the US, have fared reasonably, other major economies in Europe and Asia are still struggling with systemic issues. The resulting headlines affect consumer and investor confidence negatively, and we all know that confidence is a key prerequisite for growth in the industry.

What tips would you offer to buyers as well as sellers?
I would like to tell real estate buyers that the affordable segment is still providing very good value, while for sellers, my advice would be not to sell unless they have a compelling reason to do so, as it’s a buyer’s market now. Selling simply because of a market correction, which is part of a normal cycle, is both shortsighted and wasteful.

What type of training is mandatory for new agents?
The Real Estate Regulatory Agency and the Dubai Real Estate Institute (DREI) have set a mandatory certification programme for new and experienced agents, who wish to work in a real estate brokerage in Dubai. DREI also organises licence renewal courses and exams along with a very rich variety of career development programmes that help elevate the standards of professionalism and effectiveness of brokers in Dubai.

Does your firm have a designated trainer?
Harbor has always been big on training and we know that it pays a huge dividend. Every agent and property manager at Harbor receives extensive and tailor-made training. Our rigorous internal training programme includes industry, soft skills and specialised training courses that help our employees attain mastery in all the macro and micro aspects of their profession. We offer over 30 training courses every year, and each consultant receives a customised training plan that will help enrich his or her knowledge and skills.

What motivated you to pursue a career in real estate?
I have always been passionate about real estate and I am thankful that Dubai has allowed me to utilise my entrepreneurial skills to pursue my dream of establishing a world-class organisation.

Harbor Real Estate
Harbor Real Estate is an integrated real estate service provider, offering holistic real estate services to individual and institutional clients.

With ISO 9001:2008 certification for its operational guidelines and processes, “Harbor continually strives to set the highest standards of customer service”.

The company says it has built a team that is “passionate while pragmatic, creative while logical, and aggressive while accountable”. It credits its strength to its ability to create innovative solutions and work in partnership with clients as a trusted advisor and reliable executor of wealth-generating strategies.

With a growing portfolio of exclusive properties worth over Dh14.8 billion, Harbor Real Estate is now considered one of the largest property asset management firms in the UAE. Harbor’s success at embracing change and adjusting to new industry dynamics has resulted in the Dubai Real Estate Institute (DREI), the official training and certification arm of the Dubai Land Department, entrusting Harbor to author and teach its official Property Management Certification course since 2009.

The course is now being taken by real estate professionals from all over the GCC.

Up close
Mohanad Alwadiya is CEO of Harbor Real Estate and also serves as senior advisor and instructor at the Dubai Real Estate Institute, the official training and certification arm of the Dubai Land Department. He is also presenter/content producer of Memaar, the first property reality TV programme in the Middle East. A celebrated and influential voice in the industry, Alwadiya is also among the top 10 best-performing brokers in Dubai.

Source: Jobannie Tabada, Features Editor, Property WeeklyPW


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