The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly transformed the way we function as a society by bringing sudden and unexpected changes to our industry and our community. In this time of uncertainty, having a transparent and open discourse about the challenges and concerns all the key stakeholders are facing, is crucial. With Honesty, Innovation and Ownership as Bayut’s guiding pillars, we believe it is our responsibility to initiate these open dialogues for all our partners and clients in the UAE real estate market.
In an effort to facilitate this transparent communication, we decided to launch a virtual webinar series titled ‘The State of Real Estate’ where we discuss all things property related. Check out the highlights of the first Bayut Webinar held on April 7, 2020 below or watch the full video of the Bayut Webinar to understand the specifics of all the topics discussed during the live session.
WHO WAS PART OF THE BAYUT WEBINAR?
For the first session of this Bayut Webinar, we invited distinguished representatives from the brokerage industry and Bayut, to discuss topics such as social distancing and its effects on consumer interest in the UAE’s real estate market. To support the changing needs of our users and clients we also announced initiatives and features that will help create a seamless property search experience for our clients and users during this unprecedented time.
The moderator for the session was Spencer Lodge who is an influential Entrepreneur, Business Expert and Author.
Our CEO, Haider Ali Khan, was the main speaker for the event and addressed some of the concerns clients and end-users in the market are encountering.
Finally, for the panel discussion, we had Lewis Allsopp, CEO of Allsopp & Allsopp Real Estate; Firas AlMsaddi, CEO of Fam Properties; and Abdullah Al Ajaji, CEO of Driven Properties, sharing their expertise on how to navigate through these challenging times.
NEW FEATURES LAUNCHED ON BAYUT
Our real estate webinar commenced with our CEO Haider Ali Khan, sharing his views on the current situation. He stressed the importance of working together as a community, to come out stronger in these difficult times.
Haider Ali Khan also spoke at length about the different plans Bayut has set in motion to help our users stay informed about the current situation. He also elaborated on the support systems we have created for our clients to come out of the situation stronger.
Staying true to our commitment to providing a seamless property search experience for our users, we’ve launched some interesting features to virtualise the different steps of the user journey.
Bayut already has a robust set of innovative PropTech solutions like TruCheck™, which is one of the exclusive features on BayutPro, that allows brokers to easily advertise the availability of a property. We also have Map View and 2D and 3D standardised floor plans of over 45,000 properties, which can be used to conduct a virtual search for properties online.
Adding to this, users on Bayut will soon be able to access our latest feature: 3D Live Floor Plans, which offers a three-dimensional virtual tour of the property and allows users to interact with the rooms through different vantage points. Available on both desktop and mobile, the 3D Live Floor Plans will give users a clear idea of each floor plan of properties available on Bayut for rent and sale.
Along with the 3D Live Floor Plans, we will soon integrate high-quality videos of property tours which go live on our Facebook page, as well as the professionally produced House of the Week videos, on the search results page. This will help prospective buyers and tenants to get a more immersive experience of properties they are interested in, from the comfort of their homes. To find out more, here’s an in-depth look at how we are implementing virtual property search in the UAE with these game-changing PropTech features on Bayut.
PANEL DISCUSSIONS ON THE CURRENT STATE OF THE UAE REAL ESTATE MARKET
The second half of the #BayutWebinar was dedicated to a panel discussion with industry experts. The main focus of this panel discussion was the pandemics’ effect on the UAE real estate market and how clients can navigate through the current conditions and emerge successful.
THE MARKET WILL GET BETTER EVENTUALLY
All three panellists on Bayut’s webinar reiterated the fact that while the market is facing difficult times, it will eventually recover.
“Real estate is a necessity for living. Whether the COVID-19 pandemic gets better or worse, the market has to improve again,” said Firas. He further elaborated on the resilience of the property prices in the UAE. He noted that in 2009, during the financial crisis, property prices were quite high, however, over the years, these prices have softened and become reasonable.
“Even with the massive drop in the stock market and related sectors, we didn’t witness the same in the UAE real estate market. Till now we have not seen a free fall in real estate prices or panic among landlords. Prices have been softening over the past six years in Dubai. Whoever invested in the last few years are not speculators. They invested with a medium to long term view and likely have the financial holding power to wait until the market bounces back.” he added.
Firas’s comments fall in line with the data seen in our recently published report of property prices in Dubai. The report shows that the Dubai real estate market is showing promising signs of stability in the first three months of 2020.
The panellists further discussed how the financial stimulus packages launched by the UAE Government are supporting the market during these unprecedented time. For the real estate sector, increasing the loan-to-value ratios (LTVs) for mortgages from 75% to 80% is encouraging more buyers to purchase real estate in the UAE.
According to Lewis Allsopp, his agency has had multiple contracts come through over the past few weeks because of the new LTV. He believes that further increasing the LTVs to 90% will improve the conditions of the market.
Commenting on the stimulus package Abdullah Al Ajaji said, “There isn’t a systemic risk as there was before. The market is already adjusting to the reality that things will go back to normal. The stimulus schemes provided by the governments, to banks and SMEs have provided a lot of relief.”
THE WAY FORWARD FOR REAL ESTATE AGENCIES IN THE UAE
When discussing the way forward for the UAE real estate market, Abdullah mentioned that businesses are using this opportunity to negotiate contracts with landlords and service providers. This is to secure their business and be able to successfully bounce back once the situation returns to normal.
The same is happening with respect to the rental market. Firas confirmed that tenants are renegotiating tenancy terms with the landlords to revise rents or ask for extensions in the contract duration.
For the off-plan market, Abdullah mentions that developers are being flexible towards their buyers by deferring late payment fees and introducing massive incentives. He added that delays can be expected because of the current situation however, there won’t be a complete standstill in the off-plan market in Dubai.
With landlords and tenants taking positive steps to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, Lewis advised real estate agencies in the UAE to work on managing their cash flow during this time. Abdullah also added that because of social distancing, now is the best time for brokers to connect and nurture relationships with landlords and build a strong resource base for when the situation returns to normal. Firas added to these helpful insights by advising agents that this can be done by utilising online platforms to build familiarity.
Those were the highlights from our first webinar. As you can see the industry remains positive about the future of the UAE real estate market, post this pandemic.
What are your thoughts on the current situation and the impact it will have on the market? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.