New consumer property show finds its feet

Property ShowImage Credit: Nicole Walter

The new three-day consumer property show Next Move Live, launched by the organizer of Cityscape, is widely considered to have been successful, although there is room for improvement.

Held at the Madinat Arena, it intended to be a one-stop shop for buyers, featuring around 30 exhibitors, including developers, real estate brokers and mortgage providers. Properties from all over the UAE were showcased.

“Overall, we’re pleased as this is a launch event. We’re positioning in the market focusing on the consumer, so it is more niche than Cityscape,” says Wouter Molman, Director of the Cityscape Group. “It is only natural that the numbers are different.

“We’ve reached good numbers, in line with what we’ve communicated for the event — 4,000 people were registered, but we have to wait for the show reports for the exact number.”

“We were looking for quality — people who genuinely want to buy property. After speaking with most of our clients, we believe we’ve actually achieved that,” adds Molman.

Bojana Ducanovic, Marketing Manager at Flash Properties, echoed this sentiment. “The number of visitors increased over the days — Saturday was quite a good number. Not as many visitors as we expected, or as at Cityscape Global, but definitely of a very good quality. It is a quality over quantity event.”

Says Karen Magee, Client Relationship Manager at Sloane Real Estate, “It was really worthwhile being here. We didn’t sell at the event, but got lots of leads. But it’s been really good, as well as for general marketing.”

Molman says they are planning to grow the event in the future. “We are pleased with the result — this is an event we can build on, and plan to run again around the same time next year, with some tweaks to grow the event further, but not to Cityscape standards. More in quality,” he says.

Ducanovic says Flash Properties would certainly consider participating again, but they also expect some adjustments. “I think this show needs more marketing — more people need to be aware of it. But that is quite normal as it’s the first time.”

End users and investors Roshan Chaudhry, Head of Sales and Leasing — Freehold Properties at Rocky Real Estate, also feels the show could have done with some additional marketing. “We expected a lot of people, because this particular event was focused on showcasing UAE-based properties, but the footprint was not that big, considering the market has picked up,” he says.

“But still, we showcased some interesting properties and they did well in terms of response from end users.”

Thursday was probably the busiest day, attracting a lot of interest from other brokers looking at what’s available. Saturday was more popular among end users, while the event also drew investors.

“We had a mix of consumers and investors,” says Magee. “A lot of people were also looking for plots and for off-plan property as well,” she says.

Flash Properties also saw interest in bulk deals, signaling the presence of investors, but Ducanovic says there was a balanced mix. “We had a good number of end users as well, and the visitors were very international, diverse.

“We were focused on The Opus and The Pad for this show, but they are very exclusive. People were interested, but because of the very high pricing it wasn’t for everyone. Having said that, we got a lot of interest for other properties across the gamut, from the Dubai Marina to Sharjah,” she adds.

Rocky Real Estate was highlighting one residential community with a difference — Dubai Sustainable City, coming up in Dubailand behind the Arabian Ranches.

“We organised a lot of requested sight visits to Dubai Sustainable City,” explains Chaudhry. “The consumers need to understand what this project is all about, because at present you have two types of villa projects—either it has a golf course or a lake. But this is something different, with solar power, etc.

“In general, we had lots of people who wanted to buy who already had mortgage approvals and wanted to see what they could get,” he adds.

Getting finance
Finance providers such as Mashreq and Abu Dhabi Finance were at hand for those who hadn’t organized mortgages yet, as well as an independent mortgage advisor, who was rather busy. The ME Group, an investment, financial and mortgage advisory firm, had also previously exhibited at Cityscape. Ian Kennedy, its CEO, says, “The traffic might not have been the same as in the larger shows, and the marketing for this show wasn’t as huge, but people came here to find out about our services.

“Friday was quieter, but our team of seven was busy all day Saturday with no time for lunch break, so we generated a lot of interest,” Kennedy says, adding that participation was also about raising the company’s profile.

“We got pre-booked appointments. It wasn’t so much about doing business during the event, but we were the only independent mortgage broker there, and on the back of the real estate boom and the changes in the law, taking a mortgage can become a little complicated, so people came to get help.

“The proof in the pudding in terms of business generated, is what happens next week,” he adds.

Guiding buyers
Kennedy points to the show’s raison d’être — a one-stop shop as well as an opportunity to buy or to get their house in order before doing so. “People are not just thinking about buying but about their asset protection, such as having their wills in place and the costing over and above the standard 25 per cent deposit, the transaction costs of around 7 per cent, etc.

“They are really thinking through how much they need to buy and they need guidance. People are very interested in buying and rightly cautious. We’re trying to educate them further. Buying makes sense, but people should go into it with their eyes wide open,” Kennedy adds.

That said, there were buyers ready to take the plunge during the show. Says Molman, “Several developers and brokers sold properties at the event, both ready-built and probably a bit of off-plan as well.”

Prominent developers such as Aldar and RAK Properties were on site and on the Dubai front, Deyaar was gathering interest in its Business Bay projects and Central Park in Dubai International Financial Centre.

“Especially on Saturday there was a lot of potential customers who were serious buyers,” says Mona Al Tamimi, Assistant Vice-President — Marketing and Corporate Communications at Deyaar. “They came not just to see what is there in Dubai, like what happens at Cityscape. End users and investors were asking about studios, oneand two-bedroom units.”

She says interest came from UAE residents as well as from abroad. “We had a lot of investors from the GCC as well.”

Looking ahead
Pacific Ventures, another Dubai-based developer, intended to create customer awareness by branding a map with its projects in Jumeirah Village, as well as Business Bay and Pacific Village, sandwiched between City of Arabia and Falconcity of Wonders in Dubailand.

“We weren’t there to sell but to tell potential customers who we are and to give them the information,” says Miguel Guadalupe, Chief Operating Officer at Pacific Ventures.

“We’re happy to show people the site — it is better to take the clients out than trying to explain a project via a model.”

Guadalupe says there were a lot of end users, and his company is happy with the event. “It’s a small event, held for the first time and taking place on the weekend,” he says. “It is kind of new for the organisers as well, and they will have to sit down and review the show’s performance.”

Says Molman: “We’re learning and we know now that we have to tweak the timings. Thursday night doesn’t work as well as we thought; people are probably tired from work. Staying open until 10pm is maybe a bit too late, and maybe we should open a bit earlier on Friday. Saturday was the busiest day, though — definitely the key day.”



Source: Nicole Walter, Special to Property WeeklyPW


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