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CEO Predictions 2015: Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman, Emaar Properties

CEO Predictions 2015: Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman, Emaar Properties

Emaar’s core growth strategy is to create prime real estate assets, writes Alabbar.

Dubai has been variously described as the ‘beacon of hope’ and ‘an island of stability amidst a conflict-ridden neighbourhood’.

However, I find Dubai’s description as ‘the city on a hill’, by my friend Erin Burnett, who interviewed His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, on her show OutFront on CNN in 2011, as the most befitting.

She notes that ‘building a city on a hill in a part of the world where the hills are few and far between’ has been the focus of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed. But beyond its literal sense, ‘the city on a hill’ stands for one that leads the way and provides hope and belief of a better tomorrow.

Rightly then, today, Dubai serves as a motivation not only for people in the region but across the world, and is seen as a symbol of enterprise, world-class execution and above all, tolerance.

This is further reflected in the Dubai Plan 2021, unveiled recently. One of its six themes is to define the city as the ‘preferred place to live, work and visit’.

The plan is a masterstroke in policy making that puts people at its core and assures them a sense of belonging. This, indeed, has been the focus of Emaar, when we set about our journey in 1997, with the vision of ‘shaping the future’.

Over the years, from building homes to developing integrated communities and expanding to Dubai’s core economic sectors of retail and hospitality, Emaar has consistently emphasised on creating long-term value for our stakeholders – people who come from all walks of life.

And on November 25 2014, Emaar and our newly floated Emaar Malls Group together crossed the benchmark of Dhs100 billion plus in market capitalisation, underlining the success of our value creation model. Even as we aim to create stand-alone profit centres for our malls and hospitality businesses, our core growth strategy is to create prime real estate assets. Property links us with the community and creating ‘preferred places to live and work’ is our fundamental purpose. It enables us to achieve success in other businesses because it keeps us closer to the aspirations of the people.

Being ‘one community’, despite the people coming from nearly 200 countries, makes Dubai a global city with a soul. The spirit of collaboration and partnership also enables us to push our boundaries consistently in every field.

The people-oriented direction of development set by Dubai’s leadership will be a definite game changer for all business sectors, including property, in the coming years.

Specifically for real estate, the key shift will be the rise in demand for affordable luxury and value homes in Dubai. No doubt, the city will continue to witness robust appetite for high-end projects especially as ultra-high net worth individuals from across the world regard Dubai as the secure destination for their investments.

Alongside, with growth powered by the massive preparations to host the World Expo 2020 and the positive performance of Dubai’s diversified business sectors, demand for owned homes to live in, from a larger segment of the population, will gain traction.

Dubai’s real estate market will thus be driven by homeowners, and not by speculators as in the past, and this is a great sign of a maturing market. The smart ‘city on a hill’ that Dubai’s leadership envisions will create a level playing field for developers but for those who are community-oriented, quality- driven and willing to partner in the city’s long-term growth.

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