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As a scion of a 132-year-old family owned company Raine & Horne International, Angus Raine knows the dangers of repeating things. He has seen the family enterprise evolve into a bigger organisation over the years. This, he says, is testament to the importance of reinventing oneself to become more relevant and successful in an evolving business environment. ''I believe many companies do not last for a long time because they do the same things every year,'' he says.
This year the fourth generation realtor from Australia is taking on a new challenge by entering new territory with the opening of the Dubai office of Raine & Horne International. Dubai is just part of a bigger plan, says Raine, who sits as the firm's CEO, as he intends to make the emirate a springboard for operations across the UAE and the rest of the Middle East.
Raine & Horne's office at the Oberoi Centre in Business Bay district joins a global network of more than 300 offices in Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Fiji. He admits that Dubai is quite soft in some sectors, but working with the right partners will be key to success in this market. ''Our partners Sanjay Chimnani and Surender Bhojwani have extensive experience in Dubai's property space and they would lead our Dubai's offices,'' he says.
Raine talks about his plans and his company's formula for growth.
- What are your views on Dubai's property market?
Comparing Dubai's young property sector with any other real estate market that has been experimenting with the practices for 150-200 years is not fair. However, the extent of construction activity happening in the city is very impressive. There are cranes on Dubai's skyline everywhere which is very encouraging. It is also refreshing that regulators in Dubai are very proactive, receptive, and always on the move to improvise the market. This does not happen in many countries.
The rental market is extremely strong and property prices have softened due to the positive effects of tighter norms, including raising the [property] transfer fee. This has eliminated short-term investors, mainly speculators from the market, which brings in long-term investors and end users, making the market more sustainable.
- What is your company's expansion plan for the UAE and GCC?
We chose a central location in Business Bay for our first office in Dubai to be able to manage operations of the entire emirate. In a span of 12 months, we will open another office in the southern part of the freehold market towards Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Lakes Towers and then in Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah. Going forward, we have also discussed possibilities of expansion to Qatar and Saudi Arabia, but for now, the focus is on Dubai.
- What makes your company stand apart from other firms in Dubai?
We are going to be smarter, quicker and nimbler to put deals together in a faster and easier way. Our strategy is to keep things simple. We understand our customers' expectations, spend time with them until they meet their goals. Raine & Horne has followed this simple strategy in its 132 years of business and the Dubai office will follow the same route.
The company will bring the expertise, knowledge, practices and processes of a highly regulated and matured market, Australia, and its worldwide global experience of working in emerging markets to its Dubai office.
We have already employed 22 people, five of them are Australians and two have worked for Raine & Horne for several years, so this will fast-track the process. What will differentiate us from other companies is the way we market to consumers, since Australia probably leads the world in how it markets and sells property along with New Zealand.
- What services will Raine & Horne Dubai offer?
Our company's focus is on Dubai and Australian properties. Raine & Horne Dubai will follow a classic real asset model of offering sales and leasing services in the Dubai residential, commercial and retail sectors. We will also look into property management services. We are open to handle any developer's property and work on some projects in an exclusive basis. Two major projects are already under discussion.
We will also look at taking regional investors to Australia, which is a very attractive tourist destination for people of this region. It has a mature real estate market with great possibilities, but not many people have looked at taking regional investors to Australia. We will leverage our 300-office network to serve the requirements and preferences of our clients.
- What should regional investors know about investing in Australia?
The Australian economy leads the world. At a macro level, Australia has a secure government and political system. The country's financial services industry is very mature and heavily regulated, similar to the UAE.
We love regulated markets, which brings us to Dubai. It is like an insurance policy that keeps dishonest people away, be it a broker, developer or any other. The interest rates in Australia are at an all-time low and the property market is very buoyant.
- What is Raine & Horne's formula for growth?
Raine & Horne has been in the business for a long time only because we have been continuously reinventing ourselves. My father started franchising in 1976. He was one of the first people to bring the franchise concept to Australia. Now we have 3,500 people working under our brand.
I believe many companies do not last for a long time because they get repetitive. We kept on reinventing ourselves and looked at new opportunities in the marketplace.
We have four distinct property service brands, including Raine & Horne Residential, Raine & Horne Commercial, Raine & Horne Rural and Your Broker financial services.
Our offices are in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Fiji and Dubai. We are also looking at Indonesia and the Philippines, but we are always cautious about the place we expand, which is one of the reasons we have been around for a long time.
Read about IFA who gets back into development mode
Source: Hina Navin, Special to Property Weekly