There are more cut price real estate assets available in Dubai now than during the worst of the downturn in 2009, as developers and owners seeking to offload units accept losses in order to close a sale, a real estate executive claimed.
The emirate's real estate market was one of the worst hit during the downturn in 2008 and 2009, with prices slumping nearly 60 percent and around half of projects stalled or canceled.
During this time, Masood Al Awar, CEO of Tasweek Real Estate Development and Marketing, launched a US$250m fund which sought to snap up distressed assets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Al Awar, famously the first real estate agent to sell a freehold property in Dubai, said it was difficult to find owners and developers willing to sell properties in Dubai at a loss in 2009. He said this is no longer the case and there are more opportunities to find distressed assets on offer at discounted prices.
“Now there is a lot of people and offers that are coming on board… I would have loved to have seen these in 2009,” he said.
“Certain developers are saying ‘we are out, take whatever you want’… They want to protect their reputation. I predicted it from the beginning and it is coming now,” he added.
Al Awar said there was a number of key areas where opportunities exist. “Dubai Marina, partially Dubai Investment Park, partially Jumeirah Lakes Towers… I think we have not examined those opportunities but it is lying on our table right now and we are thinking about it.”
Saudi is also an attractive market for distressed assets, Al Awar added. “We are at the moment trying to establish our contact and in the next two quarters for sure we will confirm our joint venture and start [in Saudi Arabia]. It is a huge market and has an organic market and the real estate components are very attractive."
Looking further afield, Al Awar said Europe was also now a rich market for assets looking for new owners. “[Europe] is two different markets now. In 2009 it was individuals trying to get rid of their assets, now it is more proper developers. It is a different ball game.”