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DREI concludes virtual ‘UAE-KSA Real Estate’ post COVID-19 conference

Dubai Real Estate Institute (DREI), in Dubai Land Department (DLD), concluded the virtual ‘UAE-KSA Real Estate – post-COVID-19’ conference that was organised in cooperation with the Smart Decision Training Center (SDTC) in KSA via remote communication technology. The objectives of the two-day conference included achieving coherence and communication among public and private sectors in the UAE and the KSA to develop real estate knowledge.

The conference consisted of seven main tracks, and its activities concluded with a number of recommendations and lessons from the proposed tracks, comprising the economic, financial, marketing, education, technology and information technology, strategy and legislation, and investment tracks.

The virtual conference witnessed the participation of more than 200 participants, along with a group of prominent speakers and experts in the real estate field from both countries to develop real estate knowledge, which represents an important aspect of joint cooperation, where challenges and innovative solutions for a better future for the real estate market were discussed to establish trust and happiness. The participants came up with many recommendations during their discussions of the various challenges in each of the seven tracks, including working to reduce procedures within an integrated system supported by legal procedures.

In her opening speech during the conference, Hend Obaid Al Marri, CEO of DREI, welcomed the participants, and called for benefiting from the experiences of all speakers and joint work, with the aim of reaching optimal solutions and reducing the effects of the pandemic on the real estate sector. She stressed that the conference confirms DREI’s keenness to spread real estate knowledge locally and regionally as well as our values to enhance education, innovation and cooperation, in line with the vision of our exceptional leader, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who urges us to always excel. One of his most important and inspirational quotes on education that always inspires us is: “We are counting on education in the race of nations, Investment in human development is the only investment that does know loss. Our goal is to be the best in education globally.”

Al Marri added: “We realise the importance of joint coordination with partners, experts, and real estate professionals, through supporting technologies, to discuss the challenges and solutions faced by the sector, discuss solutions to explore future needs, and formulate appropriate tools to meet them, in order to ensure that the real estate market continues to progress and prosper.”

Mohammed Ali Al Bur, CEO of SDTC, said: “The exchange of experiences and opinions represents one of the main pillars in business success, hence the idea of this conference to overcome current and future challenges in the real estate sector. We have made important steps in the distinguished alliances in the field of training and consulting, in cooperation with DREI. Our conference represents the fruitful efforts made by both teams, which was strengthened with the participation of a group of specialised speakers who discussed its tracks, whereby several proposals and solutions were reached to help us overcome the current crisis.”

Challenges and outcomes

The conference began with a discussion of the economic track moderated by Mohammed Ali Al Bur, with the participation of Mohammed Shael Al Saadi, CEO of Corporate Strategic Affairs in Dubai Economy, and Saad Al Twaim, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Tathmeen. During this session, the focus was on issues related to government support for the local economy and its help in overcoming the crisis, with the financial incentives, challenges and economic impacts the real estate sector is facing in the current circumstances.

The economic track discussed the importance of direct contact between the Dubai government and the private sector from the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the next nine months following the pandemic, a survey of participants’ opinions in the economy of Dubai is being conducted on an ongoing basis and includes 14 sectors to focus on, most prominently Dubai’s real estate and retail sectors.

The majority of the results of customer and investor surveys in Dubai’s real estate market were in line with global trends, especially in the real estate and retail sectors, considering that Dubai has an organised and attractive investment environment, thanks to government and financing support. The survey showed that 78% of the investors in Dubai’s real estate market at the present time are the same investors from 2008 – 2012, and that the investors and business owners are still optimistic due to the positive long-term expectations in Dubai’s real estate market. The survey also showed the need to reduce office space by 50%, in line with the remote work system, with the presence of legislation, supportive liquidity, and economic diversification. Many companies headed to the retail sector and called for the role of the government and banks to encourage and stimulate the real estate sector.

The financial track was moderated by Taroub Sleiman, lecturer and real estate consultant, and witnessed the participation of Seema Al-Langawi, Managing Director & Founder of Land Capital Consultancy; Abdullah Abu Shabib, Executive Director of Customer Service and Government Relations at Dubai Properties Group (Dubai Holding); and Dr Yasin Al Jefri, an economic consultant. This track focused on real estate financing and its interaction with the current crisis through challenges and solutions, with a review of government and private financing agencies, and a discussion of their strategy in supporting the real estate sector.

Participants stressed the importance of having new plans to deal with customers in terms of providing financial facilities in light of government support and comprehensive economic support, especially from banks. Participants stressed that the procedures and fees in the banks did not change, and that the percentage of loans remained stable, with an explanation of the difference between commercial and Islamic loans, irrespective of the differing conditions for facilitating and encouraging real estate financing.

In the marketing track, issues related to real estate marketing, new strategies and means under the current circumstances were discussed, including the expected marketing methods post-COVID-19 and their impact on the real estate sector and the market. The discussion was moderated by Mahmoud Al Tamimi, the certified advisor to the International Arbitration Commission and a certified lecturer from Dubai Real Estate Institute. The speakers in this track were Dr Nahla Nana, Business Digital Transformation Consultant and expert in Crisis Management, Marketing and Corporate Communication, and Dr Obeid Alabdaly, Founder of Mazeej.

The participants unanimously agreed on the fact that the real estate product needs marketing, time and confidence, and the pandemic demonstrated the necessity of setting a long-term marketing budget, with the importance of having a positive view of advancement in marketing, and building a name and market reputation needs supportive techniques, with the need to follow innovative solutions in this field.

The educational track shed light on the experience of DREI and the Saudi market in the field of real estate education and the qualification of cadres working in the real estate sector. The session was moderated by real estate expert Ashraf Allam, with the participation of Hend Al Marri, and Engineer Soltan Aljorais, Secretary General of the Saudi Authority for Accredited Valuers (TAQEEM). The track featured a look at Taqeem and their most important future goals as well as the role of DREI and its courses in providing science, real estate knowledge and personal development.

The second day began with discussions in the technology and IT track, where the feasibility of remote learning was discussed, in addition to the use of modern methods in training courses and mechanisms for providing real estate services remotely to beneficiaries in Saudi Arabia. The session was moderated by Dr Marouane Trimeche, Senior Adviser at DREI, with the participation of Daoud Abu Qasheh, Vice President of Sales at Bloovo Middle East; Ibrahim Al Sahn, a member of many government agencies and committees; and Bashar Kilani, Region Executive, Gulf Countries & Levant, IBM Middle East.

In the strategy and legislation track, the role of the entities regulating the real estate sector in Dubai and the KSA was discussed, including the role of DLD and its operations and activities related to the regulation of the real estate sector. The session was moderated by Dr Ebraheim Lahbash, real estate consultant at DREI, and witnessed the participation of Judge Yaqeen Al Hammadi, Judge at the Dubai Rental Disputes Center; and Tariq bin Ali Al-Hefdhi, Deputy Governor – Operations at Real Estate General Authority (REGA). The participants agreed on the role of legislation in granting confidence when dealing with the real estate sector, and the importance of enacting laws to attract investors and ensure they remain in the sector. The importance of positivity in legislation was also addressed, in addition to the existence of strategies and legislation needing digitisation and innovation during the pandemic, especially in the field of litigation.

The closing session discussed the seventh and last track: investment, where the role of government agencies and organisations in stimulating real estate investment and finding innovative and stimulating solutions was discussed. The session was moderated by Ismail Al Hammadi, CEO and Founder of Al Ruwad Real Estate and Biznet Consulting. The speakers in this panel were Eng Muhammad BinGhatti, CEO & Head of Architecture at Binghatti Holding; Noura Yassin, Real Estate Trainer and Strategic Consultant; and Wadee Almoalimi. real estate valuation trainer at TAQEEM.

The discussion focused on how to enter the investment process, and understand the trends of investors who are looking for everything new, with the need to meet the needs of the end user and fulfil their desires in the real estate market in any country, whether in services or other. Participants emphasised that innovation is a fundamental pillar for attracting investment, with the need for deeper cooperation between the public and private sectors, investors, and beneficiaries.

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