Better Homes, Dubai’s largest real estate agency, is planning to increase its workforce by around 60 percent by recruiting an additional 150 agents to cater to growing demand in the emirate’s real estate sector.
Better Homes, which currently has around 250 agents servicing the residential and commercial sectors, recruited 100 agents in the last 12 months and is looking to add another 150 new recruits in the coming months.
“The demand from the market is there, and has been for some time,” said Better Homes CEO Ryan Mahoney.
“We are matching what our customers want, and that is more agents on the ground. We have 250 agents in both Residential & Commercial - but the market is showing the need for more.”
Partho Bhattacharya, head of Human Resources, said the company had set up a special portal to recruit the new agents and the company had received over 10,000 CVs for a range of roles over the last 12 months.
“Agents and entrepreneurial minds are seeing the turnaround in the market, and we have received more CVs in the past year than in 2011 and 2012 combined,” he said.
As evidence of the recovering market, Dubai was one of the top five best performing real estate markets in the world last year, according to a the latest report from international consultants Knight Frank.
According to the latest Knight Frank Prime Global Cities Index, the emirate ranked 4th on the list of 29 global cities studied. Prices rose 18.3 percent in the twelve months between March 2012 and March 2013, with prices up 5.4 percent in the last three months, it claimed.
Dubai was the only Middle East city on the list and ranked higher than traditionally popular real estate markets like Monaco, London, Hong Kong and Moscow.
Dubai was one of the hardest hit markets during the financial downturn, with prices dipping up to 60 percent from their peak in 2008, but local analysts have warned that the city’s resurgent housing market needs to be monitored more carefully as residents start to feel the effects of a rising cost of living.
In its latest report, property consultants CBRE argued that if new supply and further regulations are not added to the market, Dubai’s “competitiveness as a burgeoning global business environment” could be affected.
The firm also warned that the return to the market of speculator activity, and the consequent rise in prices, could be “a little ahead of reality”.
“The residential sector has maintained positive momentum amidst solid market fundamentals and steady economic growth,” the company said in its latest research note. “However, there is a modicum of concern that the recent escalation of sales and leasing rates could actually be a little ahead of reality."
CBRE pointed out that while sales volumes had grown by 30 percent in the first quarter year-on-year, figures had actually dropped since the last quarter of 2012.
Transactions dropped by 24 percent quarter-on-quarter, while the overall value of properties sold fell by 17 percent.
The firm said that 60 percent of all sales had taken place in well-established locations, such as the Marina, Emirates Hills, the Palm Jumeirah and Downtown Dubai. Rents of two-bedroom units in these locations rose by 27 percent year-on-year.
The highest rise was seen in the Greens, where rents rose by 40 percent in the last twelve months.
Average villa prices rose by almost 5 percent in the first quarter, with smaller villas registering much higher growth.
In the office market, which has been oversupplied ever since the financial crisis rocked Dubai in 2009, CBRE reported “growing demand” for commercial space. It said that prime rents in the CBD had risen by 4 percent on quarter-on-quarter, while there was evidence of rental growth for selected areas in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Business Bay and TECOM.
Dubai has seen a slew of new megaprojects announced in recent months, including the giant Mohammed Bin Rashid (MBR) City, a mixed-use development located in Dubailand. It will include the world's biggest shopping mall, more than 100 hotels, a Universal Studios franchise and a public park larger than Hyde Park.