Key Challenges Faced by the Commercial Real estate Investors

Dubai’s commercial real estate has been thriving for the last few years and the current year has begun with a blissful start. According to the Dubai Commercial Property Market Report for Q1, 2022, the first quarter of the current year has been one of the best quarters in the last several years for Commercial real estate. The sector experienced a 107% increase in sales value for Q1 2022 compared to Q1 2021. Office and retail sales remain at the forefront of the growth, with offices experiencing a 31% increase and retail a 104% increase for units sold over Q1 2021. The total sales value also continues to rise, as offices have seen a 71% increase and retail units a 49% increase over Q1 2021. 

However, despite this monumental success achieved by Commercial real estate (CRE) in years, there is still a vast list of challenges faced by investors while investing. 

Top Challenges Faced by Commercial Real estate Investors

Here are the top  Challenges faced by commercial real estate investors in Dubai

1. Lack of Institutional-grade Opportunities

In the last few years, there has been a substantial rise in the number of global alternative investment firms interested in investing in Dubai’s commercial real estate; however, they are limited by the lack of institutional-grade opportunities and clarity on regulations. There is an urge to develop more quality stocks that can generate mature investments in the form of institutional investments, Real estate Investment Trusts (REITs), and pension funds.

2. Lack of Prime Investment Opportunities

To leverage the advantage of new & existing investments in the office spaces as well as retail locations, CRE investors expect key segments like logistics hubs to target Warehousing 2.0 concepts. Investors also expect multi-generational assets to emerge as a prime investment opportunity. 

3. Securing Grade A Stock to Attract Affluent Buyers

Due to Dubai’s exponential growth in the last decade, there has been a huge proliferation in the demand from the number of corporations who want to set up their headquarters in the city rather than just a branch office.  However, the commercial real estate is of very limited quality office stock which is making it very difficult for CRE investors to secure Grade A and Prime stock for the affluent domestic & international tenants. 

4. Complex Financing and loan-terms

The CRE investors expect better quality stock available at a low cost. They also expect the cost to be regulated by the government to make it more attractive for the investors. However, the key challenge is that developers are facing a tough time in delivering institutional-grade properties due to complex financing & loan terms, and capitalisation rates. A vast majority of loan terms are around the 10-year mark.

5. Limited Support from the Financial Institutions

It has been observed that financial institutions are more inclined to asset-based lending with residential projects compared to commercial real estate. This is very evident from the vast difference between residential & commercial real estate transaction numbers. There is an urge for the banks & financial institutions to have more trust in commercial real estate. With the revolutionary policies adopted by the government such as – Masterplan 2040, Golden visa, legal reforms, etc. there will be a substantial surge in the population of Dubai in the coming years, which will create demand for shopping malls, offices, hotels, etc. Better transparency and regulations will make it more comfortable for the banks to lend money to institutional investors and offer interest-only loans.

6. Attracting Pension Funds

Real estate investments are the way to diversify asset portfolios and minimize the risk for pension funds. According to the Asset Allocation Insights 2021 report by Mercer, pension funds are the second largest category of institutional investors after sovereign wealth funds in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. To counter the market slowdown amid Covid-19, GCC pension funds made investments in areas such as equities, listed infrastructure, and real estate. However, like global pension funds, regional pension funds also want to stay away from taking the development risk. They are more inclined toward assigning their allocation to products with higher yields. There is a very minimal number of assets that are ready to attract such funds, or even available for sale.

7. REITs not Available for Sale

Even in the case of Real estate Investment Trusts (REITs), the story remains the same as pension funds. There is plenty of stock available however it is not always available for sale. Dubai must develop a self-sustaining ecosystem which facilitates easy mergers & acquisitions with institutional investors. This will empower asset investors as well as commercial real estate developers in building commercial real estate which caters to the requirements of future investors such as government entities.

A Quick Analysis of the Real estate sector’s Performance in Q2, 2022

The second quarter of 2022 has been the best quarter for Dubai’s real estate industry since 2009. The sector witnessed a 25% rise in sales compared to the same period last year. Comparing the Q2, 2022 with the Q1, 2022, there was an increase of 9.1% in the number of mortgage transactions which increased from 4,415 in Q1 2022 to 4,820 in Q2 2022. On a year-on-year (YoY) basis, there was a 44% increase in transactions in Q2, 2022 with the number of mortgage transactions increasing to 4,820 deals in Q2 2022, compared to 4,764 in Q2 2021.

With rising awareness about digital payments, the number of cash transactions fell from 10,833 in Q2, 2021 to 8,611 in Q2, 2022. This was a 20.5% decline on a year-on-year (y-o-y) basis. 

Real estate Transaction in Q2, 2022

According to theDubai Real Estate Market Overview 2nd Quarter 2022’ data available on DXB Interact(an interactive data tool launched by the Dubai Land Department this year to provide a comprehensive picture to investors of the real estate market) Dubai real estate sector witnessed 22,482 real estate transactions worth AED 59.3 billion in Q2, 2022.  This includes 15,106 apartments (AED 29 billion), 5,212 villas (AED 17.8 billion), 712 commercial properties (AED 1.3 billion), and 1,452 plots (AED 11.2B) in Q2, 2022. There was an over 6% increase in the value of real estate transactions in Q2, 2022 from AED 55.7 billion in Q1, 2022. 

The total sales in the primary and secondary markets reached AED 18.55 billion and AED 40.45 billion, respectively in Q2 2022.

A Fair 7% Increase in Average Transactional Price 

The average transaction price per square foot in Q2, 2022 was 1,391 AED/sq. ft. – an increase of 7% compared to Q1, 2022, and 22% compared to Q1, 2021.

New Milestones Achieved in June 

June has been the best month in the second quarter of 2022. The number of property transactions increased 41.23% in terms of sales volume and 54.9 % in value terms compared to the same month last year. 

The value of the total number of real estate transactions that took place in June 2022 was AED 22.7 billion – the highest sales figure since June 2009. This was almost 71% of the total 2021 sales volume. The June transaction figures are 32.9% higher in volumes and 24.21% in value terms on a sequential basis, compared to May 2022. Over 60.45% of the transactions were in the secondary market and 39.5 % in the off-plan market in June this year according to DXB Interact.

Most Popular Areas

The top areas which witnessed the maximum average sales price in June 2022 include – Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai Marina, and Downtown Dubai. 

The average sales price of a property in Jumeirah Golf Estates was AED 6.46 million, followed by Dubai Marina with AED 1.945 million and Downtown Dubai with AED 1.4 million. Nationalities which have been the top sellers in June 2022 were British, Indian, and Canadian while British, Indian and French have been the top buyers. 

In terms of rental value, Dubai Marina was at the top in June 2022 with an average rental of AED 132,771 followed by Downtown Dubai with AED 130,455 and Dubai Hills Estate at AED 144,955

Millionaire Migration Boosted the Demand for Luxury Properties 

According toDubai Real Estate Market Overview 2nd Quarter 2022’, the number of transactions for luxury residential properties increased by 113% year-over-year as transaction value jumped by 141%, while the demand for the ultra-luxury property segment grew 28% annually and 50% quarterly. Effective handling of Covid-19, Expo 2020, favourable and business-friendly policies, and one of the highest ROI on real estate have resulted in an exponential increase in the migration of millionaires and High-net worth Individuals (HNWIs) from across the globe to Dubai. This has led to a huge proliferation in the demand for luxury residential properties (AED 10 million and above) and ultra-luxury properties (US $10 million and above) segment. 

How does Inflation impact the Real Estate Sector?

Inflation is touching new heights every day and has adversely impacted every sector and the global economy. The global economy was recovering from the catastrophic effects of Covid-19 and then it was badly hit by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that started on February 24, this year. The Russia-Ukraine conflict has disrupted the energy supply and has led to a shortage of raw materials. There has been over a 20% rise in fuel prices in Dubai between April and June 2022. The suppliers are facing supply chain disruptions which are restraining them from coping with the rising demand and leading to an increase in prices. 

To overcome this situation, governments across the globe are injecting more money into the financial system and increasing their spending. Businesses are battling inflation and trying not to lose customers due to the exponential surge in prices. 

Why is Inflation Rising every day?

The inflation rates are climbing new heights.  According to the latest data by the Dubai Statistics Centre (DSC), Dubai’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) jumped by 5.84% year-on-year (YoY) to 105.35 points in June 2022. The exponential rise in the prices of fuel since the beginning of the Ukraine-Russia war has increased transportation costs several folds which have been the main reason behind the surge in the inflation rate. Experts’ forecasts inflation to touch 2-2.5 % in 2022 compared to 0.2 % in 2021. The UAE Central Bank has warned that the country is not insulated from a global inflation surge. In its Q1, 2022 economic review, the central bank stated, “soaring global inflation is a concern for open economies such as the UAE, where imported inflation would ultimately pass through to domestic prices and feed into headline inflation”.

According to Khatija Haque, Head of Research and Chief Economist at Emirates NBD, “the main driver of inflation in Dubai in recent months has been transportation costs, which were up 28.8 % year-on-year in April 2022, accounting for around half of headline inflation. Food prices (8.6% higher year-on-year) were the second biggest driver of inflation in April, followed by recreation and culture costs and restaurant and hotel prices.” The experts believe that Dubai’s high-end or luxury residential real estate will be least impacted by inflation compared to any other nation as the vast majority of elites from across the globe are buying expensive properties in Dubai due to its distinctive laws and business-friendly policies. According to Mr. Faisal Durrani Partner – Head of Middle East Research, Knight Frank, “the majority of residential deals at the high end of the price spectrum are cash purchases, largely due to the unrelenting inflow of ultra-high net worth capital that is targeting Dubai’s most expensive homes. Consequently, the housing market at present is not at risk, since cash remains king, he said.”

The Impact of Rising Inflation on Dubai’s Real estate

Inflation has a detrimental impact on every sector and the real estate sector is not an exception. Inflation results in an increase in the cost of construction as the prices of raw materials also rise which makes the houses more expensive. However, Dubai’s real estate will be less impacted compared to other nations. The vast amount of credit for this goes to the UAE for its diversified imports policy, high currency value in terms of US Dollar, lesser prices of luxury properties compared to several other major western cities, highest return on investment (ROI) on the property, ease of doing business, etc. Global Real estate investors don’t have better options than Dubai to invest, which is the major reason it will have a very minimal impact on the rising inflation rate. Furthermore, the Dubai government is cutting down its dependence on imports by following a diversified import policy to minimize the impact of imported inflation. 

With the launch of the Golden Visa program, Dubai Masterplan 2040, and District 2020, there will be a huge proliferation in the population and the number of businesses in Dubai this year and in coming years which will boost the demand for housing.  This is very evident from the latest report by Knight Frank which reveals that the Dubai residential market recorded AED 61.9 billion ($16.85 billion) worth of apartment and villa transactions as of May 2022 despite a record spike in inflation worldwide. 

Knight Frank believes the impact of global inflation on the UAE economy and Dubai’s residential market is likely to be limited for now due to effective government measures. However, despite its unparalleled performance compared to the rest of the world, it’s no secret that Dubai’s real estate sector will face the headwinds of rising inflation rates globally. 

Here are the Top 6 Ways the Rising Inflation Rate will Impact Dubai’s Real estate sector –

1. The rise in the Cost of Raw Materials

There has been an over 25-30% rise in the prices of construction materials since 2021. The prices of all necessary materials like steel, wood, copper, glass, and concrete have increased up to 25% in the last year. The cost of labour and machinery used in the construction of the building has also increased several folds. This has put more pressure on the construction companies and developers to increase the prices of the property to manage the rising cost.  According to Faisal Durrani, house prices in Dubai are expected to grow around 5-7% this year for the mainstream market and 12-15% in the prime market. Dubai remains an excellent inflation hedge.” 

An increase in the prices of the property delays the buying decisions of several potential buyers and results in lower sales and poor occupancy rates for the developers.

2. Higher Interest on Home Loans

The rise in inflation is also forcing commercial banks to increase the interest rates on home loans to cover up the increase in their operational cost. The Interest rates increased by 0.50 % in May 2022. According to Mr. Michael Hunter, Co-founder of Holo, the online mortgage platform, the half-a-percentage hike on May 3 would reflect on mortgage rates by between 1-1.5 basis points across lenders. “This means, for every Dh500, 000 borrowed, it could cost an additional Dh5, 000 per year,”

An increase in inflation makes it more expensive for potential homebuyers to take home loans and they delay their decision until inflation and home loan rates come down. This has an adverse effect on property sales. Furthermore, a rise in inflation also devalues the currencies which forces many lenders to raise rates further. This makes the cost of debt expensive for the developers.

3. Increase in Rents

Surge in the prices of the property followed by higher interest rates on home loans charged by banks discouraged a vast number of buyers from buying the property and looking for rented accommodations. The substantial rise in the demand for rented accommodations allowed landlords to increase the rents which tenants have to accept with a ‘pinch of salt’ as paying increased rent is much cheaper for them than paying a higher mortgage. This has substantially increased the rental rates of the property in the first quarter of 2022. In Dubai, as many reports have shown this quarter, average rental rates increased by 13.1% in Q1, 2022 which is the highest rate of growth recorded since December 2014.

4. Increase in Resident Dissatisfaction

Inflation results in an increase in the operational cost of a community or a building as all items required to maintain and manage the building become expensive. In this scenario, property management firms are left with no choice than increasing the service charges to manage the cost of the community without compromising on resident welfare and safety. However, an increase in service charges often opens up a “pandora’s box” for the property management firms as it results in a surge in resident dissatisfaction, an increase in tenant turnover rate, poor occupancy, and a decline in revenues. The service charges in Dubai have increased between 10-25% since 2017. Furthermore, the Ukraine-Russia war has further aggravated the situation and has resulted in an exponential increase in the price of fuel, electricity, and other raw materials.

5. Payment Delays 

An increase in service charges also creates a problem of payment delays as it becomes expensive for several residents who were making timely payments of service charges. These residents either delay their service charge payments or move to more affordable communities. Non-payment of Service charges in Dubai dates back to 12 to 18 months. In both ways, it hurts the developers and property management firms in terms of revenues and Occupancy rates. The decline in revenues also limits the capabilities of the property management firms to launch initiatives for the betterment of the community. This results in a rise in overall resident dissatisfaction.

6. Adverse Impact on Vacation Rentals

The rise in inflation rates discourages tourists to plan their holidays or vacations. This is indeed bad news for vacation or short-term rental real estate which relies heavily on tourists and retirement communities.

7. Economic Crisis

Inflation often brings instability to the real estate sector and is an invitation to an economic crisis. The US and Spain are the best examples of how rapid house price inflation in the early 2000s has led to a credit bubble. The rise in property prices in the 2000s encouraged developers to come up with new construction and motivated banks to increase lending to a wider range of buyers. This credit bubble later proved unsustainable for the sector as well as for the economy and ultimately led to the credit crisis and economic failure. 

Dubai Land Department and Emirates NBD Join Hands to Digitize the Rent Collection Process

In a historic move, Dubai Land Department (DLD) has joined hands with one of the top banks in UAE, Emirates NBD to strengthen the UAE’s real estate sector. As a part of this initiative, Emirates NBD will empower DLD in automating rental cheque payments and will digitize the rent collection process using the Central Bank of the UAE’s Direct Debit System (UAEDDS). 

The collaboration between the Dubai Land Department and Emirates NBD is perceived to be a big support for the UAE rental market. This move will revolutionize the existing system of paying rents by cheques with online payments and will bring a plethora of opportunities for all the real estate stakeholders.

The Impact on Landlords and PM Firms

This digitization of the rent collection process is in line with Dubai’s ambitious vision of building a paperless payment ecosystem and the Dubai 10X initiative. This move is indeed encouraging news for the landlords and property management (PM) firms as the partnership aims at automating a vast majority of administrative tasks involved in managing the post-dated cheques manually. 

Digitization of rental cheques will minimize the need to maintain huge paperwork for the landlords as well as for the PM firms and will lead to a substantial reduction in their operational costs. This will also curtail the impact of their operations on the environment and save more trees.

How Will Digitization of the Rent Collection Facilitate Tenants?

The digitization of the rent collection is also in the best interests of the tenants. It will provide a seamless digital option for them to pay their rent using a bank account. This will also facilitate tenants in moving away from the conventional ways of making payments via. cheques and avail the flexible payment plans from their landlords and property management firms.  This collaboration will lead to the automation of all real estate transactions and lead Dubai towards digitization.

Big Boost for International Investments 

The journey of investing in the Dubai property market for international investors has now become much easier. Investors can now buy property by opening non-resident savings accounts with Emirates NBD which will facilitate them throughout the property purchase process and in managing it and collecting rent later on. The overseas investors will be assisted by a dedicated relationship management team to streamline the account opening process.   

How Do Online Rent Payments Work in the West?

The online rent collection process has been working well for more than a decade in western nations like the US, UK, and EU.  It allows landlords to automate the rent collection and manage their rental property income and expenses. Digitizing the rent collection process is equally beneficial for the tenants as they can securely transfer their rents to the landlord’s or Property management firm’s bank account. 

Popular American Rent collection Application Zelle Pay allows sending and collecting rent payments instantly through the banking app, or the Zelle app if the tenant/landlord bank doesn’t support Zelle Pay yet. The transfers are free and but the user must have a valid US mobile number or email address (as long as the other person already has Zelle). Another popular US rent collection appRentRedi is a Landlord app to manage rent, late fees, and evictions, and send rent reminders from one dashboard. RentRedi app. provides flexible payment options and allows Landlords to collect Rent via. bank accounts, ACH, credit card, and cash. Once the app. is downloaded by the tenant, they can schedule auto-pay enabled for ACH, banking account & credit card payment methods to pay their rents. RentRedi also allows landlords to customize and control payments from their dashboard and settings, including setting up partial payments or block payments, in the case of evictions.

Venmo Software/ App. is widely used to collect rent. It facilitates sending and receiving money quickly and easily through their app to people on your contact list. The user must connect to people through social media and can use their email or phone number if they already have a Venmo account for collecting rent. 

Paypal is widely used in the UK & European nations to pay and receive rent payments. been around for a while now. Paypal allows tenants to quickly, easily, and securely send their rents to the landlord who has a Paypal account through their app or online. Landlords also use Payal to collect rent.

How Can Developers & Landlords Attract Tenants to Dubai South Area?

The brainchild of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai South is one of the largest urban master developments in the emirates. The Residential District of Dubai South covers an area of 6.7 million sq. km and focuses on the aviation and logistics ecosystem. Furthermore, the Dubai South area is also complemented by a multi-modal transport infrastructure connecting air, land, and sea,  Dubai Investments Park, and Expo 2020 metro stations.

The most auspicious feature of the Dubai South area is its proximity to the Expo 2020 site as well as to the major commercial areas of Dubai. The Dubai South project can sustain a population of 1 million people which is a record itself.

Dubai South – Overview

Dubai South is decorated with the presence of several stylish villas, luxury apartments, and commercial offices which are easily available for rent as well as for sale purposes. The residential properties in the Dubai South area are a true representation of contemporary living as they are designed with the idea to offer a luxurious lifestyle at affordable prices.

(Source: Dubai South Website)

Dubai South is segregated into several diverse districts with the presence of elite properties from the biggest developers in the UAE. Some of the biggest and most popular developments in Dubai South include – Emaar South(a mega-development headed by Emaar Properties in partnership with Dubai South) Mag 5 Boulevard by Mag Property Development, (residential development comprising 1,452 units in 13 seven-story buildings), and The Pulse Villas and Townhouses by Dubai South Properties.

Undoubtedly, the Dubai South area possesses everything which potential tenants look for. It truly exemplifies the elegant yet affordable lifestyle. Developers can follow some of the practices discussed below to ensure the highest occupancy rate at the properties –

Here are 6 Tips for Developers to Attract Tenants and Buyers to Dubai South Area

1. Focus on Marketing its Proximity With Major Centres 

While attracting tenants to the Dubai South community, the real estate developers must strongly emphasize the presence of 8 significant districts in the area. These are Commercial District, Golf District, Humanitarian District, Logistics District (Dubai Logistics City), Aviation District, Business Park (free-zone area), Exhibition District, and the Residential District. Furthermore, developers must also focus on marketing Dubai’s south proximity to Al Maktoum International Airport and Jebel Ali Port, and Dubai Internet City (DIC). Dubai South is backed by a fully integrated ecosystem with conveniences for both commercial and residential areas. Due to its strategic location, Dubai South enables the inhabitants and entrepreneurs in saving both money and time. Dubai South was also a site for Expo 2020 and also offers several free zone benefits to the corporates.

2. Promote World-class yet Affordable Villas & Apartments

Dubai South area has a strong presence of several elegant villas which are available in the affordable price range. According to the data from Bayut, a two-bed villa in the Dubai South area can be rented for AED 49,000 yearly, a three-bed villa can be rented for AED 63,000 per annum, and four-bed villas can be rented for AED 114,000. This is far cheaper than villas at locations like – Emirates HillsJumeirah Golf Estate, The Lakes, Meadows, or Arabian ranches. The magnificent villas at Dubai South offer an ideal combination of indoor and outdoor luxury living.

3. Focus on Sustainability Initiatives

With a rise in education level and awareness, several buyers have started considering the sustainability measures or initiatives taken by the community while making a decision to buy a property. This is indeed a glad tiding for the developers with properties in the Dubai South community. 

Dubai South is widely known for its eco-friendly and sustainable residences which distinguish it from several elite locations in the UAE. The region has laid special emphasis on promoting sustainable and green living and this is the aspect that developers should highlight while promoting their properties based in the Dubai South area.

Here are extra tips for the developers to attract eco-friendly tenants to Dubai South

  • Must come up with innovative sustainability programs
  • Launch a site-wide recycling service can foster high tenant engagement
  • Developers can also implement composting as an option to attract eco-friendly tenants
  • Must build LEED-certified buildings as due to rising awareness on health, safety, and environment, tenants are prioritizing LEED-certified buildings. Tenants are also thoroughly evaluating factors such as – air quality, lighting, and green area cover while making their purchase decision.

To know more about our tips on Energy conservation and how Kaizen AMS converse energy at its managed properties – you can go through our articles How Does Kaizen Curtail the Energy Cost at its Managed Properties? andPropTech – An Innovative Way to Conserve Energy & Curtail Cost”.

4. Target the Millennials 

The UAE has one of the highest percentages of the young population on earth. According to Global Media Insight 2021 report, over 90% of the UAE’s over 10 million population falls under 54 years of age. Out of this, 66.35% of the population falls under the age group of 25-54 years.

Dubai South has one of the highest percentages of millennials working in hundreds of companies based in the community. To target the millennials to their properties, developers must embrace digitalization and invest significantly in equipping their properties with faster and time-saving applications such as – tenant management portals; advanced payment portals, chatbots, property management softwares, etc. Developers must also implement unconventional PropTech applications to make the property more advanced to allure the millennials. This will also curtail the operational cost of the building and will result in lower maintenance bills & service charges – making it more attractive for the millennials.

5. Organize Networking Events

Humans are social creatures and they love to meet, interact, & network. Millennials are more attracted to buying or renting homes in those properties which are welcoming and conducive for social gatherings & community functions. Organizing community events fosters a feeling of inclusion and belongingness and also boosts the tenant satisfaction rate and occupancy rate. Developers must clearly highlight the list of networking events organized by them in their advertisements to attract millennials.

As a top 5 property management firm in Dubai with 15+ years of experience managing some of the most reputed notable real-estate clients (such as – Emirates REIT, Meydan, Meraas Estates, Mazaya, and Al Futtaim, etc.), Kaizen AMS truly understands the significance of networking events in galvanizing the attractiveness of the property as well as the developer. We organize a vast range of social networking events at frequent intervals at our managed communities such as – Krafty Kids, Family Day, Movie Night, Valentine’s Day, and Gala nights to name a few. 

To know more about our networking events, go through our article – “Creating Memorable Experiences to Increase Occupancy.

6. Flexible Payment Options

Flexible payment plans & schemes work wonders in attracting the large number of buyers who never thought of owning a property in Dubai due to high property prices. Real estate developers can implement these schemes to make their properties more affordable and increase the number of buyers.

Summary

  • To ensure the occupancy rate at their properties remains at the pinnacle, the elite developers in the Dubai South area must focus on highlighting & marketing the proximity of their properties to the employment hubs, significant districts, commercial centres, The Expo 2020 site, Al Maktoum International Airport and Jebel Ali Port and Dubai Internet City and other major attractions of the area. 
  • The real estate developers must also highlight in their advertisement the availability of cost-friendly and affordable villas & townhouses in the Dubai South area to attract tenants from the middle-income group who generally avoid buying the property perceiving it’s very expensive. 
  • Real estate developers must also highlight the list of sustainability initiatives launched by them or are in the process to conserve energy and other natural resources in their advertisement along with their impact on curtailing the service charges & energy bills at the property. This will not only attract the cost-conscious buyers to make the purchase of the property but will also reflect positively on the brand image and corporate social responsibility (CSR) goals of the developer.
  • The real estate developers in the Dubai South area must also adopt digitalization to make the services faster, efficient, and resident-friendly to make the services faster and make their properties more attractive to millennials. They can do that by investing in the development of advanced property technology (Proptech) applications like chatbots or by joining hands with Proptech companies to build these applications for them. 
  • Furthermore, developers must frequently organize social events at their properties to foster networking among the residents and bring a feeling of belongingness & inclusion. Networking events make the property a preferred choice for the millennials and also ensure longer stays and increased resident satisfaction. This often results in more revenues for the developers.

Following these practices, developers in the Dubai South area can expect to witness a substantial increase in their property sales & occupancy rate and can leverage the benefits offered by the thriving property sector in Dubai to their advantage.

For more informative articles like this, visit – https//www.kaizenams.com/blogs/. Let us know if you like the article by commenting on our social media pages – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

Will ‘Metaverse Mansions’ be the Future of the Real-estate Sector?

As the world is becoming more digital day by day, investors are also banking on virtual real estate to achieve high returns on their investments. Metaverse is a digital space which allows participants represented by 3D digital representations to interact. It is an online equivalent of a person transacting and interacting in the virtual world. Payments in Metaverse are made in cryptocurrencies that operate on the blockchain. Thus, they are highly secured. Metaverse has no defined owner and the network can be expanded internationally. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg predicts that the Metaverse will be mainstream in 5-10 years. Facebook will be spending over USD 150 million to train the next generation of creators to build immersive learning content and to increase access to devices.

Metaverse encompasses all emerging technologies like blockchain, Artificial intelligence (AI), 5G, and content creation. The top real estate developers and brokerage firms are betting big on metaverse mentions and are investing hugely in the virtual world.

What are ‘Metaverse Mansions’ and Why they are Important to Investors?

Metaverse mansions are the parcels of land in virtual worlds. They are programmable spaces in virtual reality platforms which allow people to socialize, attend meetings, play games, sell non-fungible tokens (NFT), attend virtual concerts, and perform thousands of other virtual activities. Creators can monetize the content of their property by just charging for access or trading their NFTs.

Metaverse Mansions or properties are equally important for the corporate sector. A large number of Fortune 500 companies are using virtual properties to advertise their products & services. Metaverse Mansions allow real estate investors to earn lucrative returns on their investments by investing the parcels of digitalized land. Metaverse mansions can be leased as well.

 Global Real estate Sales on Metaverse

The 2021 report by MetaMetric Solutions reveals that real estate sales on the four major metaverse platforms reached US $501 million in 2021, and the sales volume is expected to double in 2022.  Another study by Brandessence research projects the metaverse real estate market to grow at a CAGR of 31% from 2022 to 2028.

Where Does Dubai Stand in Metaverse Mansions? 

Dubai is all set to launch the first Metaverse mansions in the MENA region in 2022. Dubai-based real estate brokerage firm, Union Square House (USH) has announced the launch of the first Metaverse mansion this year. Banking its hopes on 80%+ of Dubai’s young population who are familiar with the virtual property, USH is in the process of developing and selling luxury digital properties as a non-fungible token with or without their physical twins. With this Dubai will become the second city in the world after Hampton in England where the metaverse mansion was put on sale in the form of Hampton Hall for £29 Million in February 2022

The rising adoption of Web3 and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) among the corporate sector in Dubai has been the biggest driver. The real estate sector is expected to be the biggest beneficiary of Web3 adoption. Furthermore, there has been a substantial increase in the number of lenders who are willing to offer mortgages at fair rates to support investors in buying virtual properties. This will accelerate the pace and value of their virtual assets in the metaverse.

Dubai will also witness its first set of Non Fungible Tokens in July this year with only super-luxury properties located in The Palm Jumeirah, District One, Emirates Hills, and Dubai Hills Estates will be sold. Union Square House is in the process of turning it into reality and will replicate the success in Abu Dhabi and other major cities in the Middle East. 

Government Initiatives to Boost the Growth of Metaverse Mansions

Here is the list of initiatives launched by the Dubai government to boost Metaverse 

  • In April 2022, Dubai World Trade Centre launched MetaIncubator, the first Metaverse incubator in the Middle East. MetaIncubator was the first Metaverse Incubator in the Middle East with a mission to incubate early-stage Metaverse and Web3 projects through Dubai as a hub. It strengthens & supports the idea of Dubai’s digital strategy and offers world-class engineering, marketing, tokenomics, and investment services to startups. It also supports startups that want to get into the growing MENA regions. 
  • In March 2022, Dubai Municipality launched a programme called One Human Reality Talks. The programme aims to bring companies & investors together to develop & invest in new reality platforms.  

The Future of Metaverse Mansions in Dubai

There has been a substantial rise in the number of big real estate players betting their fortunes on Metaverse properties. Some of the biggest names include Emaar and Damac. Damac Group has entered the metaverse to build its own digital cities. The real estate developer has announced in April 2022 to invest US $100m in building metaverse digital cities. 

Dubai has gone one step far from the rest of the world by organizing Meta Ramadan Majlis (a traditional gathering) on Metaverse. The Meta Majlis was co-created by Chikara Global, a women’s group, and Biennale.io, a community-curated digital ecosystem. The Majlis witnessed the participation of experts and youth. There were discussions hosted on the future of communities and exploring more possibilities for community development in the Metaverse.

With an exponential rise in Metaverse mansions in the last two years, experts predict that Dubai will become a major metaverse hub in the Middle East soon. Dubai is designing the blueprint for the next phase of humanity’s virtual future with extended reality (XR). The government will work with investors and private sector firms to create a futuristic, human-centered version of the metaverse cities. Bedu, a UAE-based start-up focused on the metaverse decided to launch its operations in Dubai to make it a hub for emerging technologies. The company is a leader in Web3 technologies and solutions and will attract investments and talent from across the world to the UAE to boost metaverse activities, blockchain, NFTs, and Web 3 revolution in the region.

Metaverse mansions are gaining global attention. It is indeed a golden opportunity for the real estate sector to maximize its revenues. Dubai is emerging as a frontrunner in the race; however, the business climate is very dynamic with new activities & developments taking place every minute. 

The Role of Real estate 2.0 in Simplifying Home Buying Experience

Real estate has emerged as the fastest-growing sector in technology adoption. It has moved from being a laggard a decade ago to a frontrunner today. The use of technology in real estate starts at a very early stage when buyers conduct online searches to find out if the property matches their requirements. The use of Artificial Intelligence and Cloud has made the home buying process more simple, personalized, and hassle-free for real estate buyers. Virtual tours, virtual inspections, drone photography, and geolocation tagging, are some of the most prevalent technologies which are assisting buyers in their search for their dream home. Technology is also empowering real estate investors in finding out the soil condition, air quality, and water table of the area where the property is located. The introduction of property listing platforms has made it much easier for property buyers to search for local brokers beyond their geographical reach. 

Real estate 2.0 revolution has positively impacted every stakeholder. The adoption of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) has empowered real estate developers and property management (PM) firms in meeting the expectations of the buyers while maintaining the regulations set by the Dubai land department (DLD) or the Real estate Regulatory Authority (RERA). Real estate 2.0 has been instrumental in enabling developers & PM firms in meeting the two most requirements of every property buyer or resident – Security and Easy access. The usage of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors in residential communities has played a key role in ensuring the utmost safety of the residents and making the community more appealing to the buyers.

Here are the Top 6 ways Real estate 2.0 has simplified the home buying process

1. Deploying Virtual Assistants to Provide Faster Information to the Investors

Virtual assistants are assisting the potential buyers in finding out the information related to the proximity of the property from major areas like downtown, Business bay, Dubai Canal, and other prominent places of Dubai. It is also assisting buyers in getting faster information about the distance of the property from schools, offices, hospitals, mosques, etc. which required physical visits earlier. Property management firms are deploying AI-powered chatbots to answer all relevant queries of the buyers and simplify their property buying process. 

Deployment of virtual assistants has become more common since the beginning of Covid-19 to maintain social distancing. Virtual assistants helped the buyers in getting faster responses to all their queries. They have also enabled real estate developers in minimizing the requirement of hiring Sales agents to handle these queries which has reflected positively on their net revenues & sales.  

2. iBuying – Estimating Right Home Value & Eliminating Intermediaries

IBuying or Instant Buying is a term used for the companies which use algorithms to estimate a home’s value and then buy it directly from the owner for cash. This method is becoming more prevalent as it assists brokers in easily setting up the process using powerful algorithms and providing instant offers to the seller. 

IBuying is playing a key role in eliminating the brokers as well as the banks from the home buying process by generating an automated valuation using mathematical algorithms and providing a seller with a more streamlined way to sell the house. This is leading to the faster sale of the property. IBuying continuously updates new inventory added to the market and provides more desirable options to the buyers which most closely match their requirements. With the help of IBuying, it is become very simple to schedule the property viewings and keep an eye on the condition of the property before the final possession.

3. Blockchain-powered Applications to Boost Security & Transparency

Blockchain-powered applications have played a critical role in streamlining the complex processes for real estate investors by making them digital. This is one of the reasons that there has been a substantial push from the Dubai land department (DLD) on implementing blockchain-powered applications to provide faster information to the investors at a click of a button. Blockchain technology makes real estate transactions more secure and reliable and simplifies the process of land registrations by creating a database which cannot be tampered with and is easily accessible. This minimizes the risks involved in the investment for real estate investors and encourages them to pump more money into the property and reap a high rate of returns.

Initiatives launched by DLD to Implement Blockchain-powered Applications

Some of the initiatives launched by the Dubai Land Department to implement blockchain-powered applications to streamline the real estate investment process are as follows – 

  • In 2022, Dubai Land Department launched ‘DXBinteract.com’ – a blockchain-powered tool to protect the tenants from paying higher rents pitched by the brokers or landlords. The platform provides real-time information to the tenants on the rental history of a property and assists real estate investors with a listing of past values to ensure they don’t end up paying a higher amount for the property and can make wise investment decisions. 
  • In 2020, Dubai Land Department joined hands with Smart Dubai Government Establishment (SDGE), Al Wasl Group, and Emirates NBD to launch of a paperless property rental platform to automate business processes between four connected UAE entities. The primary objective behind the launch of the platform is to integrate all four entities. du and SDGE have built a multi-purpose Dubai Pulse, to offer secure analytic, big data, and compute and storage services for the use of various government entities. It is available through du Blockchain Edge and Dubai Pulse links all the services to a digital tenancy contract through the solution, which is received within a few minutes following completion of the digital application. 

 4. Fractional Investing – Minimizing Risk & Cost of Acquisition

Real estate 2.0 has made it possible to address the challenge of the rising cost of the property. The concept has discovered alternative solutions for the investors to own a fraction of the property rather than buying it as a whole to gain the advantage of the high return on investment (ROI) offered by Dubai’s real estate market. ‘Fractional Investing’ has empowered multiple investors to invest in a property together to minimize the investment risk as well as the cost of the acquisition. This trend is widely popular among millennials who want to invest in high-end commercial properties but have limited funds. They can now buy a fraction of premium property and fetch a high rate of return. 

5. Using Advanced Analytics to Create more Personalised Experiences

Advanced analytics softwares is empowering real estate developers to bring personalization to the property purchase process.  The article titled – The Value of getting Personalization right—or wrong—is multiplying’ by consulting giant, McKinsey & Company states that ‘personalization most often drives 10 to 15% revenue lift (with company-specific lift spanning 5 to 25%, driven by sector and ability to execute). The more skillful a company becomes in applying data to grow customer knowledge and intimacy, the greater the returns.’ Advanced Analytics is playing a crucial role in attracting millennial buyers in buying a property. Using advanced analytics tools & applications, developers are making their conversations more personalized and appealing for the millennials.

6. Bringing Sustainability to the Real estate Sector

Millennials are now prioritizing the sustainability and green features of the building while buying or renting a property over price, rents, or service charges. To meet the demand of the millennials, developers are implementing Real estate 2.0 practices like – Net Zero Concepts to build more sustainable and environment-friendly buildings. Developers are installing green insulation, cool roofs, low-emitting materials, and Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) to minimize the energy consumption of the building and reduce its carbon emissions to become a preferred choice of the millennials. 

Leveraging Real estate 2.0 sustainable practices, Dubai has become the third city in the world with the highest number of green-certified buildings in the ‘Sustainability and Wellness in Dubai’. The report by Core Savills reveals that there are over 550 projects under LEED certification. U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has ranked the UAE in 6th spot in the World in 2021 with 73 LEED-certified projects occupying over 13.7 million square ft. of area. 

Key Factors that can Hurt Developer’s Reputation

The real estate developers in Dubai face fierce competition. The sector has the presence of some of the most prominent and mammoth developers like Emaar Properties, Damac properties, Nakheel Properties, Dubai Properties Group,  Select Group, BinGhatti, and Sobha Realty to name a few. UAE’s favorable and business-friendly policies, rising investments in infrastructure, and low-tax environment is attracting the world to invest, live, and work in the city. There has been an exponential growth in transaction value and investment in UAE’s real estate sector in 2020, resulting in an increase in new development projects. This is also encouraging several international developers to develop new properties in Dubai which is further making the market more competitive.

As the business environment becomes more competitive, the developers must lay special emphasis on building their favorable brand image and must avoid making these 5 costly mistakes which can have a detrimental impact on their reputation –

1. Oversupply

It is of paramount importance for the developers to perform a critical and well-thought analysis of the current property demand as the oversupply results in downward pressure on the sales prices & rental returns. Furthermore, if the demand is low, oversupply leads to a large number of unsold units, which not only hurts the developer’s revenue but also dents its reputation. The supply for the property outpaced the demand in Dubai between 2014 and 2019. This widening gap between demand & supply has resulted in a large number of unsold units and developers cutting back on the new projects. The problem of oversupply has resulted in a 40-50% decline in property prices with a 5-10% decline in rents since 2014.

2. Lack of Financial Planning

Another pressing challenge faced by the property developers which can significantly impact their reputation is lack of financial management.  It is no secret that developers of all sizes face budget & cost constraints. Non-availability of funds can put a hold on the work at the construction site and leads to a delay in the possession of the property to the homeowners. In many cases, it has been witnessed that developers have failed to release funds to the contractor as their clients defaulted on monthly installments. This can seriously hurt the reputation of the developer. Effective management of finances determines the triumph of the developer. They must come up with a plan to ensure all their related parties pay on time. 

In the last few years, financial institutions in Dubai have revised their flexible lending policies related to loans, mortgages, etc., making it much more difficult for the developers to secure funding. Focusing on effective and efficient financial planning will enhance developers’ abilities to secure hassle-free business loans from financial institutions.

3. Operational Challenges 

Engineering problems or other technical issues can dramatically impact the performance as well as the brand image of the developer. Some of the most common technical issues faced by the developers during the construction process are related to civil, mechanical, and electrical works, etc. If these technical issues persist, they can adversely impact the overall quality of the building.

The most common root cause of quality constraints is the usage of poor quality raw materials and low-cost alternatives by the contractor due to insufficient budget. This often results in frequent breakdowns, leakages, and faults at construction sites.

4. Project Delays

It is pivotal for the developers to ensure better time management and achieve every task on time. There can be delays in procuring materials and equipment, allocating manpower, drafting change order requests, and resolving numerous issues pertaining to contractors, sub-contractors, and consultants within the internal management of the developer, shortage of materials on-site; unrealistic project scheduling; late delivery of material; lack of skilled labour; the complexity of the project; labour absenteeism; delay in payments, poor site management; and delay by a subcontractor are some of the top reasons for the delay in the project completion.

Better planning for these issues will allow developers to complete the construction work before the due date.  

5. Considering Hiring an Owners’ Association Firm as a Cost

It is a common adage amongst several small developers that they will save a substantial amount of money if they manage all the tasks themselves. However, that’s not true. Hiring the right owners’ association firm will allow the developers to save costs.

It is indeed very important for developers of all sizes to work on their public perception and the way people perceive them and their properties. Timely and professional resolution of tiny issues can have a positive effect on their reputation and vice-versa. It’s always a wise choice to invest money in the effective maintenance of the property at the right time rather than losing big on rental opportunities in the future.

A professional asset management firm can play a crucial role in building a positive brand image for the developer. This will attract more tenants and will have a favourable impact on the occupancy rate of the property as well as on the revenues of the developer from the rental income. A positive brand image will also empower the developers in accomplishing their mission & vision and long-term goals. 

Kaizen AMSa top 5 property management company in Dubai with over 15+ years of experience in serving some of the biggest real estate developers in Dubai can play a pivotal role in boosting the reputation of the developer by ensuring utmost tenant or resident satisfaction, finding out tenants to occupy the vacant units, ensuring rents are collected on time, and property value of the asset is preserved. 

Kaizen AMS also emphasizes maximizing the supplemental income of the property by generating additional sources of income from the building. We do that by leasing the parking space, terrace space,  Vending Machines, Marketplace, and storage room on an annual basis which resulted in more than 2% of the additional annual revenue for the building. 

Here is the case study titledCurtailing Costs & Boosting Occupancy for Commercial Buildings which talks about how Kaizen AMS has boosted the occupancy rate for a Grade A office building in Dubai Internet City by maximizing the supplemental income and focusing on keeping the rents & service charges minimal for the tenants. We have also invested in several energy-saving technologies to ensure lower energy bills for the tenants living in our managed communities. 

Undoubtedly, all the efforts laid by Kaizen AMS’ have resulted in a substantial increase in tenant satisfaction, a surge in the occupancy rate of the property by happy tenants, an increase in income from the property, and above all enhanced reputation for the developers of our managed communities. 

Why there is Rising Demand for Green Properties?

The belief that green properties bring multiple benefits for both residents and developers is becoming universal. The real estate buyers are realizing the integral role played by the green buildings in minimizing carbon emissions and contributing toward one of the biggest global agendas – Climate Change. Across the UAE, some landlords are evaluating the cost and the benefits of making their portfolios greener to meet the expectations of the property buyers as well as the tenants who are becoming more environment-friendly.  

Rising international focus on climate change, Conference of the Parties (COP26) summit and UAE’s net-zero initiative to minimize emissions and pledging to invest almost $165 billion in clean energy by 2050 are the other major reasons for the landlords to construct green buildings.

Covid-19 has created an urge for employee safety to ensure they feel comfortable coming to the office. To take employee safety to the next level, corporations are choosing green properties to prioritize employees’ well-being and adapt to their occupational strategies and achieve their sustainability goals.

What is a Green Building?

The World Green Building Council (WGBC) defines a green building as – “a building that, in its design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive impacts, on our climate and natural environment.”

Some of the features suggested by WGBC which make a building green include –  

  • Efficient use of energy, water, and other resources
  • Use of renewable energy, such as – solar energy, pollution, and waste reduction measures, and the enabling of re-use and recycling
  • Good indoor environmental air quality
  • Use of materials that are non-toxic, ethical, and sustainable
  • Consideration of the environment in the design
  • Construction, and operation
  • Consideration of the quality of life of occupants in design
  • Construction, and operation
  • Design that enables adaptation to a changing environment

Exponential Rise in the Demand for Greener Properties

There has been a huge rise in the demand for greener and energy-efficient properties not only in the UAE but across the Middle East. As per the Knight Frank – 2021 surveyproximity to green space and good air quality topped the list of location features and are more important to home buyers in the Middle East than their global counterparts. Half of the respondents cited the energy efficiency of their next home as being a ‘very important‘ issue, compared to 42% of global buyers.

There has been a rising demand for green and energy-efficient properties in the UAE. The region is at the pinnacle in the Middle East in the national concentration of sustainable buildings and stands at the 14th spot in the world with 869 green-rated buildings, according to the 2nd edition of Knight Frank’s (Y)our Space report – 2021 which surveyed almost 400 businesses worldwide on their workplace strategies and real estate needs.

This sends a strong signal to the developers and planners to embrace building green properties to attract eco-friendly homebuyers in the UAE.

Reasons for Rising Demand for Green Properties

Here are the top 7 reasons for the rising demand for Green Properties in the UAE

1. Increasing Awareness

The last decade has witnessed a colossal rise in the awareness among the UAE real estate developers and homebuyers about sustainable construction practices and the adverse effects of climate change, rising energy consumption, and carbon emission on their health and life which has significantly increased the demand for greener properties. 

The rising awareness about the advantages of green buildings is very evident from the leading studies conducted recently. The research conducted by EcoMENA in 2021 titled – ‘Green Building Trends in the Middle East’ reveals that in the last decade, green building design has become a top priority of real estate developers across the Middle East. The number of LEED-registered buildings has increased rapidly across the region, from 623 in 2010 to more than 2500 in 2020. UAE is ranked among the top 10 countries that hold LEED certifications in the world with Dubai ranked 3rd in the list of cities having the highest number of LEED-certified buildings. UAE has more than 600 LEED-certified projects.

2. Supportive Government Policies

UAE has launched the Net-Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiativeto reduce carbon emissions and will invest over AED 600 billion in renewable energy to minimize carbon emissions and move the nation towards cleaner energy. 

Other initiatives launched by the UAE to reduce carbon emissions which will increase the sales of green properties include –  UAE Vision 2021, the UAE Centennial 2071, and the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, which sets a 50% target for clean energy in the country, among others. The UAE government has already established several sustainable development goals which serve as a guiding principle for most upcoming real estate projects in the region.

3. Lower Construction & Operational Cost

Research conducted by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) reveals that the cost of installing green building features and technologies is significantly overestimated. Many developers perceive that the upfront cost of a green building is, on average, 17% higher than the original cost of a similar traditional building, however, that’s not true. 

The research by the U.S. Green building Council (USGBC) reveals the initial cost of a green building is only 2%-3% higher than its non-green counterpart. Moreover, green buildings consume 25%-35% less energy than non-green buildings and have 14% less operation and maintenance costs than their traditional counterparts. 

Modern property owners also prioritize renting or leasing green buildings or apartments due to their cost benefits. Green buildings also allow developers to save 20% of the initial construction cost annually by reducing energy consumption. Furthermore, green buildings allow developers to complete large-scale green projects at a much larger scale resulting in more revenues and business expansion.

Using incentive technology such as Virtual Power Plants (VPP) combined with an onsite solar asset will further allow real estate developers to reduce the operational cost and utility cost and explore new models of maximizing income outside of increasing rent and making their properties more attractive for eco-friendly homes buyers.

4. Lower Rents & Service Charges

Green properties are a win-win situation for every stakeholder. Due to their lower construction cost and energy consumption, green buildings have minimal operational costs. This is indeed good news for the homeowners and tenants as lower operational cost of the building leads to a reduction in their energy bills, service charges, and rents.  

The lower service charges and rents often result in higher resident satisfaction and occupancy rate for the landlords and developers.

5. The rise in Environment-friendly Buyers

 Rising awareness about the adverse impact of emissions on the health of humans as well as on the environment has attracted a number of homebuyers toward green properties. This is encouraging real estate developers to construct more green properties to foster quick sales.

According to Khalid Bushnaq, CEO of Energy Management Services (EMS) “two years ago we had to convince property developers to go green and think about efficient energy. The majority didn’t know what ‘green’ meant and assumed there was an extra cost attached. Now developers want to go green and some are achieving Leadership of Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, an internationally recognized green building rating system. Many large developers are creating their own green design guidelines to be followed by smaller developers building on their plot of land,” said Bushnaq.

There has been an exponential surge in buyers prioritizing green properties as they support a cleaner environment for future generations. 

6. Investors Prioritizing Greener Properties for Letting & Sales

There has been a rise in the investors and businesses prioritizing the green credentials of a property while making their purchase decision. This will indeed spur their saleability and rentability in the coming days. To cater to the demand of modern and environment-friendly buyers, real estate developers are coming up with greener properties and are evaluating the cost and the benefits of greenifying their portfolios.

7. Rising Sustainability Concerns

There have been rising concerns about sustainability among both residential & commercial clients. Corporates across the globe are showing great interest in going sustainable and prioritizing sustainable buildings for their offices.   

According to the 2nd edition of Knight Frank’s (Y)our Space report, “40% of firms have set a net-zero carbon target and, of those, 77% are aiming to achieve this by 2030. 87% of firms surveyed had less than half of their current global real estate portfolios either ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’.

Rising sustainability concerns among the buyers will accelerate the sales and rents of the green properties and will play a crucial role in minimizing the emission rate of the UAE.

Summary

Here is the summary of the article –

  • There has been a rise in the attractiveness of greener properties among buyers across the UAE to reduce carbon emissions and move towards a healthy lifestyle.
  • Climate change, COP 26, and UAEs investment in clean energy by 2050 have been the major drivers in raising awareness of green properties
  • Along with the residential, the commercial sector is also prioritizing moving their offices to green properties to prioritize employee’s safety and adapt to their occupational strategies
  • A Green building is a building that, in its design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive impacts, on our climate and natural environment.
  • The Knight Frank – 2021 survey on Middle East buyers reveals that proximity to green space and good air quality topped the list of location features. Half of the respondents considered the energy efficiency of their next home to be a ‘very important’ issue, compared to 42% of global buyers.
  • UAE is ranked 14th in the world with 869 green-rated buildings
  • The top reasons for the rising demand for green properties are as follows
  • Increasing awareness
  • Supportive government policies
  • Lower construction & operational cost 
  • Lower rents & service charges
  • Increase in environment-friendly buyers
  • Investors Prioritizing Greener Properties for Letting & Sales
  • Rising sustainability concerns among the buyers

Why Should Investors Buy Land in Metaverse?

‘Metaverse’ has become one of the biggest buzzwords of the 21st century. The rising popularity of blockchain applications has been one of the major reasons behind the conquest of Metaverse.  The term has become so popular that Facebook’s CEO –  Mark Zuckerberg changed Facebook to Meta–which is an attempt to usher in the metaverse, a new world of built-in virtual reality. Many wonder about the origin of the ‘Metaverse’. The terms first came into the limelight in Snow Crash – a book by famous author Neal Stephenson in 1992. The book was a science fiction which turned out to be a cornerstone in the development of digital platforms.

There has been an exponential surge in the number of blue-chip & Fortune 500 companies buying property in Metaverse as it empowers them in reaching out to new customers. 

Some of the examples of top-notch companies that have bought virtual land at metaverse are as follows –

What is the Metaverse?

For those who are hearing this term for the first time, the metaverse is a digital space where users can communicate and move virtually in their three-dimensional avatars or digital representations. It is expected to be the future of business and human interaction. 

Metaverse is composed of virtual worlds which consist of real estate segments called parcels. The platform allows users to purchase and sell parcels using the Metaverse platform’s currency. Metaverse is based on the principles of augmented reality and merges physical and virtual existences in a shared online space.  The rising popularity of Metaverse has encouraged global corporations from Microsoft to GUCCI to invest in these platforms to elevate the user experience and foster sales.

How do Real Estate Investors Buy Land in the Metaverse?

The most effective way to buy land on the metaverse is through cryptocurrencies. Some of the popular cryptocurrencies used by the investors include – Ethereum, the Sandbox (SAND), and MANA (connected to the community-based Decentraland platform). SAND & MANA have always been the preferred choice of the investors when it comes to owning online land and property due to its established infrastructure. Investors can purchase land directly on these platforms. The sales & ownership of metaverse land are maintained via. transfer of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in a wallet capable of storing these. Some of the most preferred wallets today include – Binance and Metamask. Investors can either buy them directly from the platform or they can choose to purchase them from third-party resellers’ markets.  Opensea.io and nonfungible.com are some of the most popular third-party reseller platforms who act as decentralized estate agents for the digital domain. These platforms allow sellers to list their property & prices and facilitate buyers in negotiating. 

According to an article by CNBC, the last few years have witnessed an exponential rise in investors buying land in Metaverse. Metaverse has completely revolutionized the way real estate used to operate. Not only real estate investors, but lenders and mortgage providers are lining up to make the most of this opportunity and buy digital real estate.

Top Reasons to Buy Land in Metaverse

Here are the top 7 reasons for the real estate investors to invest in virtual property in the metaverse

1. Allows a Large Number of Buyers to Invest

Unlike the actual real estate world, Metaverse allows everyone to invest in Metaverse land. The land parcels are available on various platforms at different prices based on their size, shape, and location. Metaverse allows buyers to set up a cryptocurrency wallet based on their preferences and start investing in global real estate. Metaverse also makes it possible for small investors to buy land by allowing them to purchase micro land parcels based on their affordability.

2. Higher Returns 

 Buying virtual land on metaverse might cost exactly like real land however returns on investments are multifold higher than in the real world. There are instances where investors have enjoyed returns up to 1000% in a very short period of time.

3. Countering Real estate Malpractices 

Metaverse is powered by blockchain technology which makes it impossible for any third party to occupy the land illegally or perform any type of land scam.  Every transaction at metaverse is recorded in a blockchain ledger which makes the entire process of buying land and registry more transparent. This overcomes any possibility of common real estate frauds such as – delays in possession, forced cancellation of land, selling land without authorization, and making fake promises to name a few.

4. Stable Source of Investment

Stability is the most important factor which makes Metaverse an ‘apple of an eye’ of global real estate investors. Buying land in Metaverse allows the investors to use it for multiple purposes such as: constructing a house or an office space. Investors can also buy land in the metaverse for investment purposes as well. However, like any other investment, investing in the metaverse is also subjected to risks. There is no assurance that the value of the land will only go up. However, the data suggests that prices of a parcel of land in the metaverse have increased at an exponential pace. When Decentraland held its first LAND auction at the Terraform Event in December 2017, a parcel of land cost merely US $20. Those parcels sold for an average of over US $6,000 in 2021. By the start of 2022, the prices have skyrocketed to approximately US $15,000 per LAND token. The average prices have increased by a factor of 10 over the past year. There has been a huge proliferation in the interest of the investors in buying digital land as they consider it a stable source of investment which won’t lose its value drastically anytime soon like any other investment despite current economic downturns such as – the Covid-19 or the Russia-Ukraine war. Investors are also banking on buying-to-let options as well to take advantage of the thriving rental market.

5. Size & Location of Land Holds the Upper Edge over Utility

In the ideal scenario, the investors prioritize the utility factor of the land over its size or location. However, in the case of digital real estate, it’s another way round. The real utility is the least priority of the investors as they will never inhabit the land or visit it in person. The primary objectives of buying land in Metaverse are either to develop it or to lease it out to a third-party entity. Thus, size & location become key factors compared to utility. In the last few years, there has been a surge in the number of real estate developers and tech developers looking to build master communities which are equipped with ultra-modern facilities such as – clubs, schools, and high-end restaurants whilst living in the metaverse. Taking it to a new level, a list of real estate developers in the US have unveiled a one-to-one metaverse replica on an augmented reality platform to complement the physical town

Technology companies and real estate developers are joining hands to build virtual cities. Recently, an Indian firm – Lepasa created virtual cities in Metaverse and plans to create 15-20 different cities over 416 sq km, with each city having a different theme.

6. Easy to Secure Loans

Another reason to embrace buying land in the metaverse is it is easy to secure loans. Loans are given easily through a multi-blockchain network which facilitates faster liquidity deployment at a far lower cost. Decentralized finance (DeFi) is the only entity which facilitates money lending or borrowing of a cryptocurrency against collateral. In the metaverse, the collateral is a Non-fungible token (NFT). DeFi allows anyone to borrow crypto assets without requiring KYC documents or performing a credit check. It is highly secured and is automated through smart contracts.

7. Convenient to Host Community Events and Commercial Activities

Buying a digital land at metaverse also opens an opportunity to host real-world events such as: community events, workshops, exhibitions, trade shows, and social gatherings. Attendees can attend these events from the comfort of their homes. Several companies have used metaverse to host events. DAMAC Properties is also in the process to build a novel Metaverse project, featuring numerous brand collaborators such as Paramount Hotels and Resorts, Fendi Casa, Cavalli, Radisson, Versace Home, The Trump Organization, and Rotana. Dubai has also hosted the world’s first-ever economic summit on Metaverse in March 2022.

Summary

Here is a short recap of the top 7 reasons for real estate investors to invest in Metaverse

  • Allows a Large Number of Buyers to Invest
  • Higher Returns 
  • Countering Real estate Malpractices 
  • Stable Source of Investment
  • Size & Location of Land Holds the Upper Edge over Utility
  • Easy to Secure Loans
  • Convenient to Host Community Events and Commercial Activities