The outlook for uber luxury real estate in 2023

The outlook for Uber luxury real estate in 2023

While there’s a global air of doom and gloom regarding the economy, looming recession and geopolitical turmoil, I believe the outlook for uber luxury real estate remains positive in 2023.

Statistics reveal that the number of High Net Worth Individuals (those worth more than $1m) is increasing, with Knight Franks’s annual wealth report revealing the number of ultra HNWIs (those with wealth exceeding $30m) grew by 9.3% globally between 2021 and 2022. Indeed, a recent report reveals that there are around 67,900 HNWIs in Dubai, a figure analysts say is rising month by month.

Indeed, 2023 is set to be a year characterised by the greatest influx of UHNWI migrations into the UAE, mostly comprising millennials. The UAE’s nascent digital nomad visa, as well as a raft of attractive investor programmes, certainly offers tempting incentives for those looking to make the UAE home. Dubai has the highest concentration of millionaires in the Middle East, according to data compiled by Henley & Partners.

This group of influential people are ever more drawn to property as an investment class, while cryptocurrencies and stocks and shares seem to be viewed as increasingly volatile. Add this fact to scarcity in the uber-luxury home sector, and we will continue to see price buoyancy, if not a slight increase. I believe 2023 will remain a seller’s market, especially here in the UAE, where Dubai recently topped a global list of luxury property growth markets. Luxury property prices are only expected to rise by 2% in the emirate this year, but given the higher price tag for uber luxury, that’s still some increase.

Scarcity is an issue, with builders seemingly inundated by demand. Our city’s most luxe developments are limited by space, of course – especially the Palm Jumeirah and Emirates Hills, for example, where a mansion sold in 2022 for a record-breaking AED75 million ($20.4 million). And more recently, an Emirates Hills villa hit the market with a $51.7m price tag.

Meanwhile, Palm Jumeirah’s fronds are picking up the moniker of ‘Billionaire’s Row’ as prices continue their upward flow.

Last year saw a large influx of wealthy people, drawn by the UAE’s infrastructure, property prices, lifestyle, ease of visa application and of course, the advantageous tax regime.

A brief glance over the daily news unearths plans for penthouses, uber luxury villas, serviced and managed apartments and unique properties such as those on the World islands. As Dubai tops the world’s most desirable places to live, and is named the fastest growing luxury real estate market, it’s no surprise that we expect to see continuing interest from the global UHNWI sector.

Globally, US cities remain popular, with Miami and Los Angeles attracting investor interest. But the US market is more likely to fall into recession, mortgage rates are high, and there are rumours of a mansion tax in LA.

And what trends are emerging in the sector this year? I expect to see more spending on purchasing uber-luxury property as safe haven investments. I also believe the price predictions will come true – and the global market will remain tipped in favour of sellers, due to scarcity and the ever-growing popularity of uber luxury property.

The 2022 Douglas Elliman and Knight Frank Wealth Report underlines just how large a proportion of private capital is being invested in property, with private investors increasing real estate investments by 52% in 2021.

While we may be living through a period of great global uncertainty – one thing is certain in my mind – uber-luxury properties will continue to be extremely popular throughout this year.

Top five global locations for luxury real estate in 2023

Top five global locations for luxury real estate in 2023

It’s that time of year when it’s a useful exercise to consider where the luxury property buying and investment trends are heading. It’s fascinating to see how certain places fall in and out of favour with investors and buyers; and where in the world remains perennially popular.

In its annual survey, property consultancy Knight Frank ranks Dubai the number one city for growth in 2023, with expected price hikes of some 13.5%.

While we saw a surge in property prices across the board in the pandemic years, there’s a global downward trend set to continue through 2023.

The luxury – or prime – residential property market is a little more immune to global issues like geopolitics, inflation and economics – but it’s certainly not immune. I predict a continuing shift from a seller’s to a buyer’s market this year.

Analysis from Knight Frank suggests prime prices would need to fall by an enormous 30 to 40% in some cities – such as Dubai – to return the pre-pandemic prices we saw in 2019. Overall, things look positive for 2023.

Every year, Knight Frank tracks the leading 25 cities for luxury property, and its current predictions suggests prime prices will rise by 2% this year – but despite something of a slowdown in price increases, aggregate growth in 2023 will still be greater than rates recorded in six of the last ten years across the prime residential markets that the consultancy tracks.

Pundits suggests that while Dubai tops the growth charts in the luxury sector, the slowed growth rate is more sustainable, certainly compared to the rapid growth rates we’ve witnessed over the last few years, as Dubai’s affordability, location, infrastructure, lifestyle and tax advantages came onto investor’s radars.

Next on the list are Miami and Los Angeles. But Knight Frank revised its forecast growth rate downwards in the past six months, on fears of recession, US fixed mortgage rates exceeding 7% and, in Los Angeles, news of a Mansion Tax being mooted on properties priced above US$5 million.

European cities remain high on the chart this year, taking six of the top ten rankings with Dublin, Lisbon, Madrid and Paris sharing joint third place with an expected growth rate of some 4%. With the dark clouds of recession gathering over the eurozone, safe haven capital flight seems likely to bolster these prime markets over the coming year.

What’s clear to me is that savvy investors are heading to safe havens – well-established trusted markets, and, as trust in asset classes like cryptocurrencies and stocks drops, property is a highly attractive asset. Volatility in certain asset classes is pushing buyers towards the more mature and transparent luxury markets.

Cash will also be king in 2023, as nervous sellers favour unleveraged buyers to speed up property sales. Efforts in the UAE to create greater market transparency will be mirrored in other markets too, as international policymakers increase their efforts to track property ownership, to improve transparency and accountability while maximising revenue.

Singapore, the only Asian city in the top ten (sharing the third spot with the European cities) is one of only four cities that made Knight Frank’s 2023 list with an upgraded growth forecast. Reasons for the upgrade include government efforts to attract more family offices and new visa measures. Singapore seems to be gaining a reputation as Asia’s regional wealth hub.

Singapore and Hong Kong are launching new visa rules to attract HNWIs and talented people, perhaps following the UAE’s lead – but this will undoubtedly lead to a growth in demand and price of prime property.

New York, at 13th rank, is expected to see 2% growth – a rate above prime price growth recorded in nine of the past ten years.

London and Seoul sit at the bottom of the rankings with prices forecast to drop by 3% in 2023. However, Knight Frank’s researchers suggest central London prime real estate will grow, and by the end of the year, will still be higher than figures we saw at the end of 2021.

Dynasty: Welcome to the world of Abbas Sajwani and AHS Properties

Dynasty: Welcome to the world of Abbas Sajwani and AHS Properties

Below is an article which appeared as Cover Story in the January edition of Arabian Business Magazine.

Few names are as intrinsically connected to the UAE business world as that of Sajwani.

The family behind the legendary DAMAC Properties, the Sajwani clan have a storied history tied to that of the UAE’s own meteoric global rise.

The company was founded by visionary Emirati entrepreneur Hussain Sajwani, but now the next generation have begun to take their place as heirs to the empire.

In this, Abbas Sajwani strikes a slightly different note. Simultaneously humble in the roots that moulded his impressive real estate acumen, while ambitious, with plans on conquering the market in ways unlike his own family.

“From a very young age, it was always DAMAC at lunch and dinner at home,” Sajwani explains.

Having real estate for lunch and dinner likely helped prepare Sajwani for his latest venture – launching luxury property firm AHS Properties.

“I think that really helped me understand the real estate market, understand the whole business model, it’s really helped dealing with authorities and really helped motivate me to start AHS Properties.

“It’s been a natural progression,” Sajwani explains.

AHS Properties is an offshoot of AHS Group, a firm founded in 2017 by Sajwani when he was just 18 years old focused on ventures, investments and properties. Over the span of five years, Sajwani has taken this freshman to the business world and transformed it, with the firm now employing more than 2,000 employees with an asset value of $800 million.

Perhaps AHS Properties represents the Group’s turn as a sophomore, with ultra-luxury properties placed firmly under the spotlight.

“We launched it in 2021. Our focus was just pure luxury, ultra-luxury properties. We’ve learned a lot about the market, what the clients like, what they don’t like, where the market stands today in luxury,” Sajwani explains on the company’s launch.

Dubai, AHS Properties’ home, already features a staggering array of breath-taking real estate projects, with Sajwani’s latest projects adding to the market’s vibrant mix.

Take AHS One Canal, a nine-storey building in the highly desirable downtown area built around the concept of bringing villa living to the sky. Designed by Shaun Killa from Killa Design, the designer of Dubai’s Museum of the Future, and located at Dubai Canal, Sajwani’s favourite location in the city, the building offers a luxury product in a market that has struggled to cope with an overwhelming increase in demand over the past year.

“When I saw that location, I fell in love with it. I thought it’s the ultimate address… I think that whole area is going to be the Mayfair of Dubai,” Sajwani says.

In addition to AHS One Canal, the company launched property at another highly exclusive Dubai address – Palm Jumeirah. Prices for property on the Palm have skyrocketed this year, jumping well over 100 percent as overseas investors flock to the UAE’s shores.

For Sajwani, it all has to do with beach living, “Beachfront property is very scarce, and there’s not much beachfront property in Dubai overall.”

The fundamental scarcity of beachfront property has helped drive prices in the ultra to high-end luxury real estate market, although for Sajwani “it’s still not expensive.”

“The market is good, but I don’t think it’s a bubble, Dubai is still undervalued. When you compare to London, New York, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Paris, even other cities in the Middle East, Dubai is not very expensive,” Sajwani says.

Indeed, the ongoing price inflation in the market has come as a result of Dubai real estate being “undervalued.”

“I think the prices will keep going up, as the buyers who bought from us are all end users, they’re not speculators, that means they’re buying for themselves.”

As Sajwani explains this, it becomes obvious as to the gap he has sought to service with AHS Properties – the fundamentally supply constrained high-end luxury market.

So, with constrained supply representing one side of the equation that has driven prices sky-high, what’s the other side of the coin? Well for Sajwani, he believes that the long-hand of Covid-19 continues to play a role – in particular, the UAE’s remarkable ability to handle

the pandemic.

“Dubai offers many things that many cities in the world don’t, and people didn’t realise that. During Covid they moved here because it was open during Covid, and spent three or four months here with their family and got used to it. They can’t go back now as they have realised what Dubai has to offer and that’s why they all want to stay.”

In its short span of time in the market, AHS Properties has already seen some success, with three mansions in Palm Jumeirah sold, and two more under development and heading to market soon.

Can the growth ever end? Not if Sajwani has anything to do with it, for him there’s room for price growth “in a big way.”

“I think prices will keep growing because demand is going to keep becoming stronger. And supply for ultra-luxury products is limited. You don’t have another Palm Jumeirah,” he says.

Sajwani’s bullishness extends further, to the emirate’s authorities, noting that Dubai is home to a “very, very, very good [real estate] system. I think one of the best in the world.”

On the spectre of the 2009 financial crash, Sajwani dismisses the notion, “I don’t think there’s a bubble in the market.”

Nor does he see the prices falling, instead he believes they will continue to go up. In this, Sajwani has put his own capital on the line, revealing that he purchased two plots of land on Jumeirah Bay Island to build his house.

“It’s already up over 80 percent. I’m getting offers from people who are all end users and I’m not selling.”

On his journey so far, Sajwani attributes his success to the lessons learned from his father, property mogul Hussain Sajwani: “I think I’ve learned a lot from my dad, everything I’ve learned is from him.”

In particular, Sajwani vaunts his father’s detail-orientated approach to getting business done, along with his “very hands on leadership style.”

“I think my management style and everything I’ve learned in business is from him.”

As the interview comes to a close, it becomes clear that Sajwani’s obsession with producing the next generation of Dubai’s futuristic real estate developments is rooted in his own personal relationship with the property market.

“It’s all I’ve heard about for the last 20 years, it’s all I’ve dreamed about. It’s always been real estate, real estate, real estate. I think that’s what really helped me found AHS Properties.”

He has no plans to slow down as he continues to develop AHS Properties, while supplying and creating Dubai’s future luxury real estate

Click here to access the digital magazine or read the full story here.

Five ‘must-haves’ all uber-luxury real estate should include

Five ‘must-haves’ all uber-luxury real estate should include

How do you define ‘uber-luxury’ in property terms? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, trying to discover the elements that make a property a cut above others.

I’ve surveyed global markets – even though there’s a remarkable amount of uber luxury property right here on our doorstep – and compiled a list of some elements which comprise a truly ‘uber luxury’ experience.

Space, I believe, is key to an uber-luxury experience. From formal and informal lounges, via in-home gyms, spas and salons, to different types of kitchens for different activities, uber-luxury is defined by large spaces to luxuriate in.

An uber-luxury property should include ample bathrooms, multiple areas to relax in, and even the more functional elements should come oversized as normal, from walk-in wardrobes to wet rooms.

Room to move comfortably around a property exemplifies luxury, a sensation that can be amplified by good storage – an uber-luxury property isn’t one that is cluttered or disorganised. A well-designed property will include built-in storage and clever use of space to enhance the feeling of space.

A focus on bespoke leisure is another sign of an uber-wealthy property. As remote working has become a norm, so has more emphasis on home leisure and sporting activities.

Indoor and outdoor swimming pools and gyms, for example. Bespoke cinema or media rooms. Conference and meeting facilities within the property, reflecting the move towards more flexible work practices.

Perhaps the property owner enjoys star gazing, so a home-observatory might be included in the plans? Maybe a basement bowling alley, a nightclub or a nine-hole golf course within the grounds?

An uber-luxury property must include areas for entertaining guests – so look for multiple reception areas, large dining rooms, oversized terraces, a rooftop designed with entertainment in mind, and, of course, ample parking.

Like every property investment, location is also highly relevant here. It’s best to consider uber-luxury properties in well-established areas, with a reputation for certain lifestyle aspects that HNWIs expect. Buy in a well-established, upmarket area, and this will help your investment retain and increase its value.

Within considerations of location, it’s important to also bear in mind convenient transport options. The one ‘uber-luxury’ means of transport that springs to my mind is a helicopter – with a private landing spot. Garages for multiple cars are a must, and for a car collector, perhaps a personal car wash.

Look for unique features, facilities and, of course, commanding views. That view is what often helps a property retain and increase in value.

Sustainability and eco-consciousness are creeping into the uber-luxury sector. I’ve seen increasing use of more sustainable materials, and the emergence of green architecture and design. From an uber-luxury perspective, such properties should include large private gardens, rare plants within the property and perhaps features like waterfalls and living walls.

If an uber-luxury property is being purchased with an exit date in mind, eco-friendly features are a key consideration. In our carbon-neutral feature, a property will lose value if it has a low energy efficiency rating, relies on fossil fuels for energy or otherwise includes aspects which may be frowned upon in future.

Technology perhaps delivers the cherry on the uber luxury cake. We are all wowed by personal and home technology, and an uber-luxury property must surely include the latest advancements in home tech.

A smart home is designed to make life more luxurious, from electric locks and curtains or blinds to automated home appliances, lighting and media. I wouldn’t be surprised if some uber luxury homes in the near future will be 3D printed to unique and unusual designs, using rare and unusual materials, and include elements such as VR and AR suites.

Being able to remotely control cooling, lighting, heating and the like is still within the realms of luxury but becoming more commonplace. Uber-luxury means investing in bleeding-edge technology, like a built-in metaverse suite, perhaps. Automation is certainly synonymous with a luxurious lifestyle, especially in a home setting.

To me, what defines true uber-luxury is a sense that the property is bespoke in every aspect – from the building materials via the shape and size of the rooms to the garden and surroundings. What would your uber-luxury property be like?

Why invest in luxury real estate

Why invest in luxury real estate?

We all know that luxury real estate is described as such because it is scarce. Luxury properties command a higher price, but let’s not forget that an investment in a property that many others covet will always generally result in a better (higher) return on investment.

Certain destinations – Dubai included – have positioned themselves as luxury ‘hotspots’, desirable locations with several premium features that people want.

Invest in a luxury hotspot, and your investment will – at the very least – retain its value. It’s all about the old adage – location, location, location.

It might seem like a good idea to invest in a unique property in a relatively unknown location, but buying in a renowned, well-established district, resort or city has manifold benefits, from transport links to a strong economy, great schools and good healthcare. All these factors -and many more – help retain a property’s investment value.

Luxury property in a desirable location will, of course, will attract wealthier tenants and buyers, who are more willing to pay a premium for the luxury facilities and amenities your investment offers.

To me, a luxury property should also come with convenient facilities that help foster an upmarket lifestyle. High-end neighbourhoods – like Palm Jumeirah, for example – tend to come with upscale facilities that, in turn, help bolster property values, and you’ll see them increase over time.

Places like Dubai, Monaco or the Algarve in Portugal, for example, offer high-end lifestyles to match the investment property. Sporting and social facilities in the district can always help sell, as can features such as beaches, mountains or views.

Exclusivity is key – whether a property sits atop a location which offers stunning views, or unmatched landscapes.

Certain global locations have carved a niche as luxury ‘hotspots’ – places where a combination of climate, amenities and lifestyle combine to create a highly desired location. Do your due diligence and look for luxury properties in tried and tested locations with strong re-sale markets that have already stood the test of time.

The building itself – from the materials to the design – also helps retain value, of course. Premium build means just that – you can expect a luxury property to be more thoughtfully designed, with high-quality and high-value materials, fixtures and fittings.

Such quality translates to less maintenance, which means you won’t be troubled by building issues, such as leaks, faults or breakdowns. Of course, this also translates to value retention, with less depreciation due to age and wear and tear.

Luxury property normally involves high-end design. Many such properties are linked with well-regarded designers or design firms, and therefore often offer interesting features, design aspects or highly desirable features like open-plan design or floor-to-ceiling windows, on top of that all-important extra space synonymous with luxury.

If you’re investing with a view to renting, a luxury property will always attract renters. Touches such as pools, hot tubs, games rooms and outdoor kitchens deliver a sense of good living and differentiate your property from the crowd.

Of course, globally, now might be the right time to find a well-priced luxury property, as global property markets are experiencing a degree of uncertainty.

There are obvious benefits to buying a property during a time of global economic downturn, but ensure you undertake deep research and advice on how long to keep your property in your portfolio. There is a wealth of advice online, and in person, from companies and people who hold great expertise in the field. Luxury property investment takes a great deal of capital, and should not be entered into lightly.

However, the range of benefits investors gain from purchasing a luxury property, put simply, translates into a higher guarantee of a good return on investment. ‘Bricks and mortar’ have always been seen as a solid investment, but if you really want to reap the dividends, consider putting your wealth into a luxury property.

Abbas Sajwani speaks to Forbes about AHS Properties’ journey and One Canal Project

Abbas Sajwani speaks to Forbes about AHS Properties’ journey and One Canal Project

In a special Young Leader interview with Forbes Middle East, young Emirati entrepreneur Abbas Sajwani, Founder of AHS Properties, explains how he’s grown the ultra-luxury real estate business in just one year’s time, and shares his vision for the future.

Watch the video

Sustainable interiors: why luxury homes don’t have to cost the earth

Sustainable interiors: why luxury homes don’t have to cost the earth

When we think of luxury, we often think of rare and beautiful materials, decorations, and elaborate features involving lighting and water, for example.

Luxury has always been synonymous with scarcity, but what’s becoming increasingly apparent is that energy is scarce, and we must all work together to ensure our finite energy resources are used wisely.

This is beginning to trickle down to the luxury segment.

While luxury buyers’ traditional focus has normally been on location, design and detailing, more and more buyers and investors now have sustainability at the top of their list.

We’ve moved on from an era where people couched property sustainability purely in terms of cost savings on energy, to a time where people genuinely want to feel like they are making a positive contribution to the planet.

And, of course, luxury property is most often purchased as an investment. People need to be reassured that their investment will stand the test of time.

We are certainly already seeing the inclusion of smart home technology in a wide range of properties, from air conditioning and heating controls to window blinds and lighting controls. Items such as electric car charging points are becoming increasingly common as we move towards a world where motoring becomes carbon neutral.

Luxury property investors have come to expect such details, and the convergence of luxury and technology is a fascinating space. Future-proofing a luxury property makes it more appealing to savvy investors, who understand that technology dates quickly but sustainable choices last.

An intelligent homebuyer in the next decade will try to ensure a property on their purchase radar exceeds current sustainability thinking–as sustainability becomes increasingly codified into building regulations. Design thinking is also shifting more towards sustainability.

But it goes deeper. I believe we will see more and more recycled products used in the construction of luxury homes as more consideration is given to the lifespan of products such as lighting, kitchen, and bathroom fittings.

If you have a property beside a body of water, you’re more likely to see an electric craft on the water. A property in colder climes will feature state-of-the-art insulation and smart heating controls.

It’s interesting that hundreds of years ago it was simply practical to use local materials in construction; now it’s becoming an environmental imperative. Expect buildings to be constructed using what is available locally and what materials can be produced by recycling.

We are even seeing a rise in the number of 3D-printed housing – which can, of course, be ‘printed’ using sustainable materials.

The new generation of buyers–millennials and Gen Z–are far more eco-conscious than every generation before them, and those wishing to buy will check the eco-credentials of a property before committing.

Inside a property, of course, owners can do as they wish, but I think it’s important to create a stronger sense – especially in the luxury market – that if a building is built sustainably, it should stay that way. You shouldn’t knock down walls or completely remodel the interior of a property to suit your needs if that means you’re damaging the building’s environmental credentials.

And there’s some irony in purchasing a sustainable property only to fill it full of unsustainable items. We are certainly moving into a more mindful era – and that can only be for the good.

One route to be aware of could be the introduction of a “carbon tax” on the property–again, something savvy investors would want to avoid–but it is a concept being discussed in many ESG circles. But wise governments are acutely aware that such a tax wouldn’t necessarily raise a great deal of funds and would also push HNWIs (ultra-high-net-worth individuals) to other markets.

What impresses potential buyers today is not only the size and scope of a property but its environmental credentials. If you are in the market for a luxury property, you need to ensure it is future-proof. And as we move into ever more sustainable times, luxury and sustainability must surely go hand in hand.

This is what luxury real estate will look like a decade from now

This is what luxury real estate will look like a decade from now

Every year I note the forthcoming trends in luxury real estate, but most pundits merely gaze a year or so into the future, talking about colour palettes, lighting, and advancements in materials and technology.

But what about in a decade? I’m interested in trying and taking a longer-term view – so forgive me for gazing into a crystal ball, but here are a few points I think we must take note of in how to fully embrace longer-term trends in the luxury real estate markets.

Firstly, what looms large over the sector is sustainability. We will see more sustainable materials, more efficient use of energy, and the amalgamation of technology and design to deliver less environmentally impactful homes.

Increasingly, we will see eco-friendly technology used to create properties that embrace green architecture and design. Future luxury properties will undoubtedly be constructed with locally sourced materials and powered by geothermal, solar, or wind energy. We can also expect humidity-controlled indoor air, filtered drinking water, LED lighting, HEPA air filters, and “smart home” controls.

Speaking of technology, I believe every luxury home will need cutting-edge technology to be given the “luxury” moniker. I’m thinking we will see homes that go beyond the “cinema room” to virtual and augmented reality spaces; places where you can not only hold cloud-based virtual meetings with global colleagues and family, but a space for relaxation, virtual travel, shopping, and other leisure pursuits.

A strong element of luxury property for many is the use of cutting-edge technology and today that extends beyond the kitchen and home theatre to connectivity, communication, and even how we can now move through virtual worlds. Savvy tech companies will push technologies into the sector that allow UHNWIs (ultra-high-net-worth individuals) to work and manage global teams from a simple home office, for example. Tech will also play an increasingly important role in our leisure time; from activities such as virtual fitness glasses and sports such as golf – maybe even virtual hang-gliding or scuba-diving, to exclusive bespoke shopping experiences and attending fashion shows or film premieres.

Millennials might be known as “generation rent”– unwilling to invest in real estate – but I’m already seeing that change. Recent figures suggest that those born between 1985 and 1996 currently represent around 38% of the home-buying market, a percentage I believe is only set to grow. Of course, only a small percentage of those will be on the market for luxury property, but the trend is that when millennials buy, they are more inclined towards the luxury segment.

Common jobs for this demographic tend to be in tech and finance, and statistics show they’re better educated, have higher earnings, and stand to inherit more.

And they have grown up with and around technology. They’re also acutely eco-conscious. I see these two trends converging on luxury real estate in a move towards more green landscapes – both inside and outside the home. Living walls (made up of moss, plants, or both) naturally filter the air inside the home, while heavy foliage outside naturally protects windows from the harshest sun rays, while producing carbon dioxide. We will also see more office-style technology incorporated into luxury homes.

Next-gen luxury properties will include a hyper-connected home office, at the very least, as the working-from-home trend looks set to stay. I’d expect many properties to include a high quality (soundproof, broadcast quality) remote meeting space and possibly a conference or boardroom.

Pushing the envelope further, we are already seeing 3D-printed homes. It won’t be long before this becomes more commonplace, and we will have a combination of a bespoke, 3D-printed living space that encompasses sustainability, the most advanced technology, and unbridled luxury.

In conclusion, I believe that the luxury real estate market is moving towards a more self-conscious, environmentally friendly, and data driven industry. What an exciting era we live in!

Dubai real estate: Two new ultra-luxury projects to launch in Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Canal

Dubai real estate: Two new ultra-luxury projects to launch in Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Canal

Abbas Sajwani’s AHS Properties has announced the addition of these properties in two key Dubai locations.

Abbas Sajwani launched AHS Properties in 2021, less than a year later the luxury real estate company announced two more projects bringing the gross company value to $550 million. The two new projects will be located in Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Canal.

Global architect Shaun Killa from Killa Design, designer of the Museum of the Future, will lead the architecture for these projects.

The buildings will be nine storeys high and comprise of 25 penthouses and sky villas. Each project will feature a state-of-the-art spa, private cinemas, cigar lounges and private swimming pools on all balconies.

“We are working with world-renowned architects and brands to revamp these properties to meet the growing demand for ultra-luxury living. AHS Properties aims to set the highest bar for delivering unique and quality ultra-luxury homes for our clientele and giving them the best of the best,” Abbas Sajwani told Arabian Business.

When asked about anticipated property demand increase, Sajwani said: “The majority of property consultancy firms have noted the rising demand from both end-users and foreign buyers in the past year and we predict this trend to only rise before this year’s end.”

“Government incentives that continue to boost Dubai’s value proposition, along with the excellent handling of the Covid-19 pandemic have incentivised more and more people to invest in Dubai. More and more high-net worth individuals, millionaires and entrepreneurs want to buy a home in Dubai, as they plan to regularly frequent the city,” he added.

The Palm Jumeirah property and the Dubai Canal property will be priced at circa $1,100 per sq ft with interior designs by 1508 London and Hirsch Bedner Associates.

Source: Arabian Business

How are the new visa options going to help the luxury real estate industry?

How are the new visa options going to help the luxury real estate industry?

Dubai’s latest raft of new visa options makes the emirate more accessible to a wider audience than perhaps ever before, but I’m interested in examining those options through the lens of luxury real estate investments.

The gear shift in visa options will enable more investors to live and work in the UAE, and the government made its new visa decisions based on encouraging more people and organisations to settle in Dubai while adding to the sense of security from a visa perspective. Add in the tax and lifestyle benefits, and it seems like a winning combination.

But which visa might be best for a luxury property investor?

Firstly, it’s worth noting that a property can be purchased by a company or an individual. Buying as a company delivers greater confidentiality and avoids inheritance issues.

A “Special Purpose Vehicle” is an inactive type of holding company that can be relatively easily created, mainly to provide an additional degree of confidentiality relating to ownership and to avoid inheritance issues. An SPV allows investors to make property purchases under a company, creating a business holding which isolates potential financial and legal risk.

Those looking to take this route must have a connection to the UAE or GCC or already have assets or a business here.

As an individual, if you purchase a property of AED750,000 or greater, you can apply for a three-year ‘property visa’ (where no more than 50% of the value is subject to a mortgage), or at least AED 750,000 needs to be paid to a bank.

Remember that here in the UAE, what in many countries would be considered a ”luxury” property is more commonplace. Most villas feature spacious designs, swimming pools, double parking, gardens, high ceilings, and other features that you simply would not get for the same level of investment in other countries.

Real estate investors can now take advantage of a ten-year “golden visa” upon purchase of property worth at least AED 2 million (down from AED 10 million, previously) upfront or via a specific bank loan – now including ‘off-plan’ properties.

Certain developers will offer payment plans entitling you to a golden visa with an investment as low as a 10% down payment of 10% without a mortgage (AED 200,000) and 25% with a mortgage (AED 500,000). This change has facilitated the arrival of a mass of new investors–both local and foreign–into the market and served to bolster Dubai’s real estate market, resulting in record transactions.

According to CBRE, the total volume of transactions in Dubai’s residential market hit a 13-year high back in May as investors, high-net-worth individuals, and entrepreneurs planned business migration to the city. Meanwhile, transaction volumes continue to rise.

A five-year golden (investment) visa is available to those investing in any residential property valued at more than AED 5 million, with a similar approach and application path as the ten-year golden visa.

And in our highly competitive real estate sector, developers are now offering a wide range of incentives, including help with visa applications and freezing of service charges, as well as offers to pay the Dubai Land Department fees.

As an investor, do your research and search out the best deal, which can rapidly land you the security of a ten-year visa. The new visa offerings make an already extremely attractive and vibrant real estate market even more attractive, with scarcity now commonplace.

Savvy investors should look to make a purchase sooner rather than later, as prices look set to continue their record-breaking rise. I’m reminded of all the record-breaking sales figures this year and believe that it’s never been a better time to invest in a luxury property in Dubai.

I believe that now there are a variety of ways of obtaining a long-term visa as part of a property investment, the government’s wisdom will reap dividends in terms of the long-term economic success of the UAE property sector.

AHS Properties sells three mansions on Palm Jumeirah with a combined value of more than USD $75 million

AHS Properties sells three mansions on Palm Jumeirah with a combined value of more than USD $75 million

Total Gross Development Value of units sold or under development in last year exceeds USD $150 million

Dubai, UAE, October 12th, 2022: In less than a year after Emirati entrepreneur Abbas Sajwani launched his uber-luxury real estate company, AHS Properties, the Company has announced it has already sold three of its uber premium villa projects on the Palm Jumeirah with a combined value of more than USD $75 million.

AHS Properties’ asset portfolio comprises sought-after and high-end properties which includes the uber luxurious Amara Villa at Emirates Hills with a value of USD $45 million. The property, which will go on the market in Q4, already has high interest from potential buyers. Additionally, AHS is developing a fifth mansion in Palm Jumeirah with a value of USD $40 million.

“In less than a year of launching AHS Properties we nearly sold out our existing portfolio and we have several pipeline projects that will be announced soon. The ultra-luxury market in Dubai is booming and I am thrilled with what we have been able to achieve in such a short period of time,” AHS CEO Abbas Sajwani said.

AHS Properties announced its entry into the market in November 2021 with a total asset value of more than USD $100 million, comprising four luxury villas in Emirates Hills and Palm Jumeirah.

The announcement comes at a time when demand for ultra-luxury homes is on the rise, following the successful launch of Expo 2020 Dubai. Coupled with the government’s excellent handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, Dubai has become an even more attractive destination for tourists and end users alike, who wish to make the city their permanent residence.

Some of the world’s wealthiest investors have been flocking to Dubai, snapping up some of the most expensive homes. According to recent reports, there has been sky-rocketing demand for properties in high-end neighbourhoods such as Palm Jumeirah and Emirates Hills. In the past 12 months, the market has recorded a more than 100% price surge on these premium homes.

Premium residential values have risen by 29% in the third quarter alone, driven by high-net-worth individuals living abroad who wish to make Dubai their second home.

“There is great opportunity to be had in this niche market, but it takes shrewd business judgement and acumen to select the right properties and acquire them at the right price,” Sajwani said.

“AHS Properties has seen great success in only less than a year after its launch and wishes to capitalise on this positive momentum in the coming years. I have ambitious goals for the near and medium future, and I am confident that AHS Properties will continue to be a dominant player in the luxury real estate market in Dubai,” Sajwani concluded.

Looking to grow your property portfolio? Five things to consider before deciding where to invest your money

Looking to grow your property portfolio? Five things to consider before deciding where to invest your money

When we look at growing our property portfolio, it’s easy to simply ‘follow the crowd’ or the latest online trends, buying in the current hotspots or where it has been widely reported there will be future growth.

But a wise investor will take a few additional steps before committing to a new property, which I’d like to share here based on my own knowledge and experience of the real estate sector.

Speak to several agents

It’s all too easy to skip this step, especially when you think you’ve found the perfect property. But why deny yourself insight from people with a strong interest in the local property market? Most realtors become experts in their areas and can offer in-depth knowledge that isn’t readily available elsewhere (such as online). They will also have first-hand experience of market trends and may well have key facts about new developments, work in the area or issues in a specific location. They’ll know all about the current prices, the rental brackets and the future sales potential of any asset, so use this to your advantage.

Eye the local market

Doing your due diligence is a given. Sizeable investments such as real estate require a firm understanding of what you are putting money into. When looking at a potential property, take your time in examining the broader market and, wherever possible, compare similar assets. If you’re thinking about that seven-bedroom villa on the Palm, it’s good practice to examine the price trends, but it’s also worth considering how long they take to sell, how many are currently on the market (and why) and cast your net further afield to see what your investment might bring if you were to buy in another area. In my experience, getting more ‘bang for your buck’ now will only help to secure more generous returns in the future.

Learn about law and taxation

International property investment can be fraught with tax and residency laws. While Dubai has a well-established regulatory framework and world-renowned tax and residency advantages, not everywhere is so forward-thinking.

For instance, some property purchases come with occupancy or residency rules and regulations, tax implications and short-term leasehold or freehold arrangements. Over and above these factors, do some research into local build quality, rental prices and the state of the market’s real estate sector.

Location

The old adage that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is, has never been more pertinent than in the case of property investment. Make sure that you visit the property, tour the area and speak with the locals. Look at the wider economy, tourist figures and future government plans too. A good investment today could turn sour tomorrow if you buy somewhere with lax regulations, poorly thought-out laws or the potential for political turmoil.

Fix your finances

Check the payment schedule for the property you are interested in and take advantage of any scheme that allows you to spread your costs. Country by country, pre-purchase costs can vary wildly, and it’s worth ensuring that you have legal and accounting advice before diving into another asset for your portfolio. If you are investing in a rental property, secure a local manager and allow for ongoing fees and unexpected costs when you consider your budget. Things can (and do) go wrong, so take care.

There are a lot of things to consider when buying a property, especially when investing to enhance a growing portfolio. However, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.

Wherever and however you invest, I hope your experience is both stress-free and smooth.

What are uber-luxury real estate buyers looking for

What are uber-luxury real estate buyers looking for?

I’ve spent my life in and around the UAE’s real estate sector, both due to my family’s involvement in DAMAC Properties and, more recently, my uber-luxury venture, AHS Properties. I’ve witnessed numerous changes within the prime and super-prime sectors, but which – if any – trends have stood the test of time, and what are likely to be the next big trends?

Location

Among the primary considerations for any uber-luxury buyer are privacy and position. Understandably, buyers in this segment also want something with the ‘wow factor’, and with a wealth of unique vistas, high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) living in the UAE can choose from stunning beachfront or waterside residences, golf course villas, mountain backdrops or penthouse views of our unique city skyline.

For expats and entrepreneurs who choose to make the UAE their home, our nation has more to offer than stunning scenery alone. Several advantages come with this territory. The new golden visa scheme, for example, provides security for visa holders and their families, who can enjoy 10-year renewable residences (Golden Visa) with a host of other benefits. Visa flexibility is a must-have for those looking to relocate to a new country.

World-class travel links are also high on the priority list for high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs), as choosing a well-connected location makes it hassle free while travelling for business and visiting family. With that in mind, Dubai is ideally positioned as a travel hub, with the world’s busiest airport, Dubai International (DXB), on its doorstep. Amazingly, one-third of the world’s population lives within a four-hour flight of DXB, and two-thirds are reachable by an eight-hour flight. It’s easy to see why our Emirate is the location of choice for skilled professionals, entrepreneurs, and innovators alike.

Customisable living

When investing in uber-luxury real estate, bespoke spaces are king. Buyers at this end of the market are looking for properties that truly encompass their lifestyle requirements, with one-of-a-kind features to make their properties unique and reflective of their personalities. Indoor pools, personal libraries, bowling alleys, or even full-sized golf courses are just a handful of ways that uber-luxury buyers have customised their spaces.

On top of this, it seems the global pandemic shifted the mindset of buyers towards wanting a greater degree of flexibility from their plot. No longer do these spaces fulfil a sole function as residences; they must also become offices, sports clubs, and wellness centres. A home that can not only provide the highest standard of household living but also deliver many of the amenities that you would usually seek elsewhere really does speak to purchasers at this level, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To protect themselves, their families, and their investments, ultra-luxury real estate investors have begun to place greater emphasis on security. Companies such as Oppidum are building secure underground residences (panic rooms) with an ultra-luxurious edge. Imagine a subterranean ‘bunker’ equipped with fully kitted-out lounges, bedrooms, and perhaps even a luxury spa or indoor garden space. Of course, the UAE is one of the safest places to live globally (perhaps another reason for expats to relocate here!), so the practical applications for such spaces are limited. Nevertheless, these installations are an impressive addition to HNWIs.

Sustainable spaces

Those with close-to-unlimited budgets can create uber-luxury homes that are constructed to the highest sustainability standards. In doing so, they can drive positive change within the broader real estate industry.

Innovative and sustainability-focused technologies are increasingly in demand among high-end investors in Dubai. The addition of solar panels, electric vehicle infrastructure and water recycling systems to a property increases its desirability among eco-conscious investors who want to secure not only the future of their investment but of the planet too.

While the finer details of these factors are always fluid, location, customisation, and sustainability are likely to remain constant within the uber-luxury segment. Fortunately, how these elements are achieved will vary infinitely between developers and investors, enabling a greater degree of flexibility and choice for the buyer.

After all, making the place your own will never go out of style.

The top five things I’ve learnt about luxury real estate

The top five things I’ve learnt about luxury real estate

Source: Cityscape Intelligence

My uber-luxury property venture, AHS Properties, has gone from strength to strength, and I’m thrilled that our portfolio has grown despite the seeming global economic issues caused by the pandemic.

Established in early 2021, AHS Properties’ portfolio now has a total asset value of over USD 115 million. My vision is to grow it to US$500 million by the end of 2022 – and we are on our way to achieving that figure.

An overarching point I’ve noticed is that luxury property is a booming sector, with strong opportunities for investors.

The sector has weathered the pandemic, and I am very optimistic about the future. Here are a few points I’ve noticed after my focus on the sector over the last few years.

  1. DESIGN, MATERIAL, AND QUALITY

Those investing in exceptional properties demand and expect a higher level of build quality, facilities, materials, and attention to detail. And rightly so. We see properties with a host of ‘extras’ such as imported flooring, designer pieces, and future-proof technology.

Gyms, pools, saunas, and cinema rooms turn a great property into a luxury property.

  1. SPACE AND PRIVACY

Properties with more space-  including gardens, pools and even private beaches – are attracting more interest than ever before, as the post-pandemic mindset is still mindful of spending more time at home – or creating a safe, private second home environment as an escape from the rigours of urban life. This is perhaps reflected in the fact that properties located next to water – especially those Palm Jumeirah villas – are attracting a premium over inland properties.

  1. HEALTH AND WELL-BEING

There’s great interest in properties with well-established gardens, pools, gyms, and access to health facilities. Again, I think as a result of the pandemic, people are more inclined to ensure their luxury property includes elements which will help them live more healthily and happily within their own safe space. We will also see this increasing, as the region eyes more branded residences, which include full-service spas, gyms, pools, and fitness facilities.

  1. LUXURY PROPERTY INVESTMENT IS A SOLID ASSET CLASS

Real estate remains a trustworthy alternative asset class, despite the turmoil of recent years. We are witnessing a surging interest in uber-luxury as people want to invest in bricks and mortar. There is an increase in the number of HNWIs eyeing the region for investment opportunities, fuelling the growth in high-end properties, branded residences, and unique dwellings.

  1. COVID-19 CONCERNS HAVE IMPACTED INVESTORS’ DECISIONS

Perhaps another overriding trend is driven by COVID-19 concerns. Many individuals have shifted their investment priorities, looking for places to invest like Dubai and the UAE, which offer a perfect investment environment, with tax breaks, easy visas, world-class infrastructure, and the chance to build a portfolio with excellent returns.

As we approach the final quarter of 2022, the uber-luxury market in the UAE and region looks set to continue its growth–driven by global economic and political turmoil. The UAE clearly offers a safe haven for investors looking for certainty in an uncertain world.

Effective CSR needs charismatic leaders to engage employees

CSR in 2022 is a business norm. Today, consumers and stakeholders expect that companies will act with honesty and integrity and aim to give something back to their communities and wider society.

Also, corporate social responsibility has become a critical factor in how employees choose where to work and where consumers choose to spend their money. Large corporates have an (often unwritten) mandate to better understand the impact they have on the world around them.

Danish toy company Lego always scores highly on global CSR tables; its focus on conducting its business fairly, ethically, and transparently has clearly won the hearts and minds of its public.

The company operates with a top-down approach to CSR activities, and I believe this is a key factor to ensure company-wide buy-in of CSR values.

More locally, the UAE CSR Fund is a federally-mandated organisation tasked with establishing the United Arab Emirates as a global leader in Corporate Social Responsibility.

DAMAC Foundation (HSDF) engages in charitable initiatives that provide a wide range of assistance that benefits the underserved and marginalised sectors of society. Recent initiatives include an AED5 million pledge to the ‘1 Billion Meals’ campaign, which was launched at the start of Ramadan 2022, and the ‘Fresh Slate’ initiative, which was developed in collaboration with Dubai Police to help detainees charged with petty offences get a second chance.

The pandemic certainly brought out the best in a lot of organisations, especially from a social responsibility perspective. Abu Dhabi Cooperative Society is perhaps just one good example of a company which has a strong track record of ‘giving back’. As well as making multiple local and international charity donations during the height of the pandemic, it helps fund local university places for underprivileged youth.

Global Investment portfolio company, Dubai Holding Assets Management (DHAM) L.L.C. holds an annual charity walk to raise funds for local charities and raise the profile of our city’s humanitarian ethos. In 2022, “WeWalk” supported the UAE Rare Disease Society, raising hundreds of thousands of dirhams and attracting more than 1,000 walkers.

The company sponsors schools; has installed water fountains across several of its destinations to reduce single-use plastics, and operates a partnership with the World Food Programme to assist in local food security – to name a few of its programmes.

Most importantly, it seems that CSR runs through the veins of Dubai Holding, and it’s no surprise that the company is overseen by none other than Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum himself.

Of course, leadership has to lead by example, but even more so when it comes to CSR. Employees look to management for the lead on ethical matters, on how to represent the company’s values in wider society, and how to ensure the company’s reputation is enhanced by CSR.

When management shares an enthusiasm for positive activities and behaviours, it filters down through the organisation.

And, of course, CSR doesn’t always have to be external – or publicised. Some of the most effective CSR programmes involve catering to staff well-being and mental health through such things as flexible working, creches, different types of leave, and rewards for behaviour that aligns with CSR activity.

Younger employees especially have a higher expectation of great working conditions and practices, and they look for tangible ways a company works to help protect the environment and look after their talent.

We have moved into an era where CSR is no longer something corporates pay lip service to; we must also walk the talk and lead by example.

Ensuring your CSR initiatives are known and acted upon across the organisation is a vital task, underlining how company success is often the sum of many disparate parts. But the benefits are clear:

Increased employee satisfaction

Savvy employees want to work for a company with demonstrable CSR activities. Embracing CSR means attracting employees who share your approach, and studies show they are more likely to stay working with you.

And working toward an ethical, inclusive workplace certainly creates a better working environment.

Improved public image

As well as creating a good feeling amongst your staff, consumers expect companies to act with integrity, honesty, and heightened responsibility towards the environment and the communities in which they operate. Simply put, consumers are drawn toward organisations driven by a noble sense of purpose and form stronger emotional attachments to brands with demonstrable CSR goals.

Increased customer loyalty

Studies have shown that people are willing to pay more for products and services from companies displaying a strong sense of purpose, such as the example of Tom’s Shoes, which invests a third of its profits in “grassroots good”, such as cash grants and partnerships with community organisations, to help drive sustainable change.

Increased creativity

We’ve all had those “wow” moments when we read about organisation’s who adopt clever ways to become more sustainable or help their local communities. Leaders who view their business through the lens of CSR are frequently inspiring, creative and charismatic. Re-imaging a better business in a better world leads to true innovation.

Through engaging in CSR practices and being conscious of the social, cultural, and environmental consequences of business practices, organizations gain great benefits, as well as the wider community.

Reputation is everything, and CSR should be a priority, pushed by C-level executives down through the organisation. By prioritising it, brands can build a stronger, more loyal customer base, but also contribute towards making a more positive impact in the world – and isn’t that something we all strive for?