Memo to Dubai Property Festival exhibitors: no discount, no entry

The Dubai Land Department (DLD) describes next week’s Dubai Property Festival (DPF) a “mega property sale” — rightfully so. In fact, anyone intending to purchase property at the three-day event is virtually guaranteed of a discount, which may come in different forms, shapes and sizes.

“We will basically not allow developers to participate without offering something,” Dawood Al Shezawi, head of the DPF organising committee, tells PW. “We’ll sit with the developers to agree on a criteria, such as the minimum they need to offer in terms of discount percentages for example.”

Apart from developers, Al Shezawi says companies offering real estate-related services will also be taking part in the festival. “We have also started discussions with the banks,” he says.

The festival will be part of this year’s International Property Show (IPS), which will run from April 9-11 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. “The DPF is the first initiative of its kind in collaboration with the IPS to encourage new buyers and investors to invest in the real estate sector by offering the best deals. As the DLD, it is our duty to help drive our ruler’s economic vision and his aspirations for the sector,” said Sultan Butti Bin Mejren, director general of the DLD, in explaining the main objective of the event and its significance in the economic game plan of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE.

Inclusive industry

Majida Ali Rashid, assistant director and head of the Real Estate Investment Management and Promotion Centre, the DLD’s investment arm, says the event is also part of the government’s efforts to make the property market more inclusive.

“The DLD believes success wouldn’t happen unless we have collaboration with everyone in real estate,” she says. “What is special about this festival is that all developers, banks etc. will offer discounts.”

According to the organiser, incentives to buyers would include discounted prices, low down payments and reduced registration fees. Participating banks are also expected to wave processing and service fees, as well as offer low interest rates and on-site approval. Visitors at the event can avail of free legal consultancy.

Atif Rahman, director and partner of developer Danube Properties, welcomes the initiative. “I can visualise the goal behind this show is to gives us piece of mind that the government is involved,” he says.

Talal Al Gaddah, CEO of MAG Property Development, says his company has been in discussion with the organisers on the packages that would be offered at the event. “Maybe we will offer to pay the registration, bank and broker fees on ready properties, as sometimes these are what’s holding buyers back,” says Al Gaddah. “Or we may come up with new payment plans. We need to see what we can offer to the end user and investor.”

Al Shezawi points out that the government is committed to organise and expand the festival every year, with developers and agents becoming strategic partners in eliminating barriers to home ownership.

Tourists as buyers

The festival will also include a Brokers’ Village, Investors’ Lounge and spaces for other activities. “We’ll have a lot of seminars for educating buyers and all stakeholders in real estate, as well as networking events to bring local and foreign developers together at the IPS,” says Al Shezawi. “We’re also attracting tourists to buy property.”

While the discounts provide a short-term boost to the market, Al Gaddah says the main focus must be on the long-term potential of the property market. He says the concerted efforts to promote Dubai as both a tourist and an investment destination have played a critical part in nurturing the long-term gains of the real estate market. Noting the 120 million travellers who pass through Dubai’s airports each year, he says, “If you take just 0.5 per cent of those people coming into Dubai, that’s another three to four million people who will spend, work and invest. That is an added value for Dubai and for us as developers.”

Another new feature at the exhibition is a three-day live auction for distressed property. “The auction is for developers or individuals, who have properties for sale. It is already on-line so people can register for it,” Al Shezawi explains.

Al Gaddah says auctions help move property at realistic prices.

“Some property or land owners want to sell in the market but are not getting the price they want,” he says. “So many go to Emirates Auction as they will do a valuation before listing. The DLD will give you the real value of the property today, and put it in the auction.

“The seller can reach a lot more and also different categories of people than just advertising it.”

Al Gaddah says properties tend to get a good bidding price, citing studios in Al Barsha that sold for a good price with bids starting at Dh380,000.

Next week’s IPS marks a strategic shift for IPS, which has been mainly geared towards developers and brokers from outside the UAE, such as Turkey, China, Russia, Pakistan, India and Europe, as the DPF provides a UAE component to the show.

This  is mainly for UAE developers because we don’t have the control over overseas developers,” Al Shezawi explains. “[Foreign developers] can participate as exhibitors, if they have offers fine, if not we won’t push them.”

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