Five Minutes With… Ammar Abulohom, CEO, Dar Al Aqar

Dubai’s real estate market still has plenty of growth opportunities, says the CEO of property brokerage service provider, Dar Al Aqar.



What is your company focusing on this year?

Our focus remains on identifying healthy real estate investment opportunities for our clients and we continue to do this through our personalised and tailor-made brokerage services. This is our interpersonal approach, which forms a founding pillar of our ethos. It is challenging, as the industry doesn’t necessarily operate in the same way. We exert a lot of energy in endeavouring to change this commodity based transaction behaviour by educating both buyers and sellers.

Will you be launching any new properties/services this year?

We have several opportunities in the pipeline, which we will be announcing very soon. Furthermore, we are working to support our partners in escalating development of projects to be launched exclusively for Dar Al Aqar.

When it comes to services, we will evolve our turnkey solutions in a way that best realises our partners’ investments beyond short-term transactions. By turnkey solutions, I am referring to an aggregate of services that we offer through our strategic partners that steward a project from conceptualisation through to financing, development, project management, marketing and sales.

What are the main challenges in the Dubai property market? Do you believe that a bubble is in the making?

The definition of a bubble is a market that is overheating with little alignment to fundamentals. Dubai’s market today is in a positive correction with all the fundamentals intact. Yet, being responsible towards our partners, investors and Dubai’s property market, we will continue to closely monitor the movements and steer our clients away from risk, if and when the need arises.

How can these problems be addressed?

The main cause of a market heating up is unjustified demand by inexperienced speculators, specifically those who are short of the liquidity and collateral to support the acquisition. The most effective antidote is a more logical minimum down payment requirement, higher scrutiny on finance approvals and a naturally greater oversight by the market as a whole. Having said that, Dubai’s authorities and regulatory bodies are doing exactly that through various tools and laws.

What are the growth areas currently for the real estate business?

Dubai’s real estate market still has plenty of growth opportunities both in re-activating dormant developments and projects with sound concepts and planning and through the expansion of existing projects where healthy room for growth still exists. These include Dubai Land projects, Dubai Waterfront and Downtown Jebel Ali. However, we strongly believe areas such as Business Bay and DIFC have more room to grow.

Will you be hiring this year?

We are always looking for individuals who share our passion and commitment in serving our clients’ best interests and addressing not just their wants but also their needs. Combining this commitment with the right set of experience and attitude, this individual will be a welcome addition to our team of real estate investment advisors.

Going ahead, are you planning to expand into new territory?

We are closely monitoring real estate markets in Abu Dhabi and the Northern Emirates as we see them as a natural expansion to our existing market in Dubai. This is expected as we are well versed in the behavior of the market.

What’s your leadership style?

The people who work for Dar Al Aqar have been selected for their talent, experience and dedication to the cause. This means that they are more partners than employees. With that said, I lead by example – patience, transparency and commitment to always deliver a quality experience. By default, 9/10 times these work ethics deliver outstanding results to both our clients and Dar Al Aqar. This type of partnership brings out the best in people, as I believe it encourages constructive contribution and ownership.

What makes the perfect employee?

Commitment. Commitment = maximum effort, maximum organisation, maximum efficiency, maximum self-development, maximum satisfaction.

Define success in five words…

Determination, inspiration, ethics, trust and a true sense of achievement.

Three tips for becoming the boss…

Have a clear vision.

Rally people around who share that vision.

Celebrate each and every milestone achieved towards that vision.

When I’m not at work I like to…

I invest time with my family, friends and in myself.