UAE-based Damac Properties has delivered 37 buildings to date and has another 65 under construction, Ziad El Chaar, its managing director told Gulf Business.
“We have been very busy in the last three years. We have delivered 8,000 units and are building 12,000 now. We have focused on construction, because this is what a developer does. And a big learning from the past has been to get closer to our customers and continuously communicate with them,” he said.
Damac faced a number of disgruntled customers immediately after the crisis, especially regarding its cancelled Palm Springs project. But all those investors have been offered a 100 per cent refund, said Niall McLoughlin, the company’s senior vice president.
And all the current customers are happy, he said.
“We are convinced that customers are satisfied because of the repeat business. When we launch a new product the first people we go to are our existing customers and we see a large percentage of them buying from us again. And they wouldn’t buy from us if they weren’t happy,” he told Gulf Business.
Investors in the company now come from more than 120 countries across the world, added McLoughlin.
“An important thing that we stress to our investors is that they have to do due diligence before buying property in Dubai,” said El Chaar.
“Dubai has some of the most protective laws for investors. Today, for a developer to launch a new project, you need to own the plot in full, take handover of the plot, get the construction permit, get the approval from RERA(Dubai’s real estate regulatory authority) and either build 20 per cent of the project or deposit in escrow 20 per cent of the value of the project. All the money from investors also has to be deposited into escrow.
“But because these laws were enacted in August 2008, right before the financial crash in September, people did not pay attention to them,” he added.
Investors should make sure that they are aware of these laws, and ensure that they check the title deed of the plot, permit, RERA approval and escrow account of the developer before making any investment.
Going ahead, Dubai’s property market will see double digit growth very soon, according to El Chaar.
“In our premium properties we have seen close to 10 per cent growth this year,” added McLoughlin. “It’s all down to location and products. Dubai has matured to the level where the growth trajectory will continue for the remainder of the year. We are seeing good growth.” he added.
The company is also planning to launch new hotel apartment projects across the Middle East by the end of this year.
Will all this expansion lead to an IPO? No plans at the moment, said McLoughlin. “We are currently well financed. But we are open to all kinds of financing needs and if the requirement is there, then it is certainly something we will consider.”