Leading Executives Confident About U.A.E. Real Estate Sector Post-Covid-19

Originally published on Dec 09, 2020 | US-UAE Business Council

​Senior executives from Aldar Properties, DAMAC, and the Sharjah Investment & Development Authority (Shurooq) underscored their confidence in the U.A.E.’s real estate sector post-Covid-19 during the final videoconference in the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council “Back to Business” webinar series. Please view a recording of the videoconference here .

This webinar, which took place on December 8th 2020, featured three distinguished Emirati executives from leading U.A.E. organizations: Mr. Talal Al Dhiyebi, Chief Executive Officer, Al Dar Properties; Mr. Hussain Sajwani, Founder & Chairman, DAMAC Properties; and H.E. Marwan Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman, the Sharjah Investment & Development Authority (Shurooq).

Mr. Talal Al Dhiyebi described 2020 as “a year of resilience” and praised the U.A.E.’s leadership for its handling of the pandemic from “a health and economic perspective,” noting they took “very timely and decisive action to keep the people safe”. He spoke about Aldar’s measures to mitigate the crisis by launching a stimulus program of 50 million dollars to support homebuyers, retailers, and supply chains so as to make sure that “the entire ecosystem was able to weather the storm and that we would all come out of this much stronger.” He underlined Aldar’s “strong 3rd quarter” and rise in “their development business” as well as their recent agreement with ADQ. Calling data “the new oil”, he emphasized the importance of understanding customer needs to future success in a rapidly changing and nuanced market. Mr. Al Dhiyebi stated “we are seeing strong signs of recovery and that’s why we remain quite bullish about 2021 and beyond.”

Mr. Hussain Sajwani underscored that Dubai always emerges stronger from every crisis, noting the “way the city has recovered is amazing”. Mr. Sajwani stated that, while developers are hurting, the property sector is “a beautiful market for buyers”, who would benefit from low prices. Mr. Sajwani said he does not foresee a major recovery in the sector in 2021 and that the year would be one of “consolidation” but he is optimistic about 2022. Mr. Sajwani said he was “very excited” about recent changes in U.A.E. foreign ownership laws, which “will open huge amount of investment doors”.

H.E. Marwan Al Sarkal stated that real estate in Sharjah had “rebounded” and was “10 percent higher than last year”. He underlined that in Sharjah non-Arabs “can now have a 100-year lease which has opened up the real estate market dramatically”. His Excellency also reviewed important projects in Sharjah in different business verticals, asserting “it is the right time to invest in real estate”.

Following the panelists ’ remarks,  Business Council President Mr. Danny Sebright moderated a question and answer session with the panelists  during which they walked through the nuances of the real estate sector in their respective Emirates, recent developments with their companies, and the impact of two momentous developments: Expo 2020 Dubai and the signing of the Abraham Accords.

Mr. Sajwani said he “was very positive” on Expo 2020 Dubai, saying that “they had done a great job” and that the event “would push Dubai forward”. H.E. Al Sarkal noted that Expo 2020 Dubai “would benefit the whole of the U.A.E.” as it would “showcase not only Dubai but all of the U.A.E.”

Reflecting on the Abraham Accords, Mr. Al Dhiyebi said “the U.A.E. has always been a beacon of peace” and that there will be many opportunities in real estate and other sectors between the U.A.E. and Israel. Mr. Sajwani agreed that Dubai and the real estate sector would likely benefit from the Abraham Accords. H.E. Al Sarkal concluded, “with peace, our economy can always grow.”