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Power letters 2019: Fred Durie, CEO of Dubai developer Nshama

Power letters 2019: Fred Durie, CEO of Dubai developer Nshama

One of the driving forces of Dubai’s development strategy for the property sector has been the addition of new geographies

I have been asked what the one differentiating strength of a developer is. My answer in one word is ‘trust.’ Developers gain trust by delivering on their promise.

And there are no short cuts in achieving customer trust. The market will always have its challenges; there are going to be periods of lows and highs, as is natural in any economic cycle; and there are going to be roadblocks in any project management.

It is when developers focus on being agile and flexible in their development strategy that they can overcome the odds and achieve the milestones they have set. Managing efficient work processes does not mean cutting corners: It means identifying opportunities that can help maximise value.

At Nshama, we have been diligent in our planning and execution. As the pioneer of elegant and thoughtfully designed homes in trendy neighbourhoods, our priority from our inception has been to focus on resource optimisation.

We have seen our flagship community – Town Square Dubai – come to life and thrive as a preferred neighbourhood for families by delivering on our promise of helping people shift from rental living to an owned-home lifestyle. But we have also revisited our strategy to address relevant industry white space – for example the demand for co-living and co-working spaces that are sought-after by the millennial generation.

We can shift our development approach – and diversify our offering –­ because we operate with flexibility. As the modern adage goes, build and they will come. But from our proven example, it is when you build for them, that they will stay with you.

The need for the real estate industry today is to innovate and think beyond conventions. Of course, no winning idea will be exclusive: Every development approach will find its emulators, but many tend to forget that beyond price considerations if there is one factor that will help win repeat business – which is important for any developer here for the long-term – it is the trust you build among customers.

One of the driving forces of Dubai’s development strategy for the property sector has been the addition of new geographies. A new high-growth corridor is evolving through the Al Qudra and Al Maktoum International Airport perimeter, where investors can record strong return on investment and rental yields. And with affordable homes being given priority by the government, to meet the needs of the community, there will be even more development activity in this zone.

We are witnessing the evolution of a new skyline that stands diametrically opposite to the cityscape formed along Sheikh Zayed Road. The hectic pace of activity is often construed as leading to oversupply and concerns about price. This has also led to developers tending to focus on being price-sensitive than quality conscious, which, in the long run is detrimental to their interests as well as to the market.

While factoring in price for the end-user is important it must not be at the expense of their wellbeing. Cutting corners on space planning, including the size and layout of the houses, and undermining the need to deliver the right amenities – with just price serving as the benchmark – is not healthy.

For customers, it is not just a house that developers offer: It is also the experience that awaits them. It is the sense of place and belonging that communities must strive to offer. By designing, developing and maintaining elegant neighbourhoods with relevant amenities that enhance the lifestyle of residents, you earn customer confidence, which sustains your business and enables developers to grow.

For us at Nshama, trust is about keeping our promise to our customers through integrated developments that promote well-being and community spirit. From carefully selecting locations in high-growth centres of the future to designing homes that add to the wellness of our residents, and showcasing amenities that enhance their lifestyle, we prioritise the fundamentals that are crucial for long-term success.

And that is what we will continue to focus on. We have ambitious new developments planned for 2019, and new concepts being finalised that will define our communities as trend-setting destinations delivering sustained value.

We also know that with trust comes accountability and greater responsibility – and that is why every brick we lay to build our communities is backed by a commitment to creating sustained value for our customers.

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