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Thu 24 Jan 2019 09:14 AM

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Damac chairman says next two years will 'not be easy'

Damac chairman Hussain Sajwani said that it will take at least two years to absorb the supply of property

Damac chairman says next two years will 'not be easy'
Sajwani said he plans to invest as much as $1.3 billion in London’s real estate market, taking advantage of a “great opportunity” in which the weaker pounds makes properties cheaper.

The next two years will “not be easy” for the company, according to Damac chairman Hussain Sajwani.

Speaking to CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Sajwani said that he views 2018 as having been “a difficult year”.

“Prices have come down, sales have come down. I think ’19 and ’20 are going to also be not easy years,” he said. “I think we are at the bottom, from a price point of view, but it will take at least two years to absorb the supply.”

In the long run, however, he added that Dubai’s economy is “very resilient”.

“It’s always going to go through the cycle. As a free capital economy, people are going to overbuild, and then going to catch up,” he said.

“The leader [Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum] is very open-minded…he doesn’t want to restrict the supply or the demand. He says ‘let the supply demand naturally take its place’.”

During the interview, Sajwani said he plans to invest as much as $1.3 billion in London’s real estate market, taking advantage of a “great opportunity” in which the weaker pounds makes properties cheaper.

Additionally, the chairman said that Damac is “really quite interested” in striking deals in American cities including Miami, Boston, New York, as well as Toronto in Canada.

China, where Sajwani said he has met with 20 top property developers, is a market he believes is “very closed”.

“The property market in China is very much politically controlled, so the land is controlled by the government. Even the permission is controlled by the government, and you need very big Chinese politically connected investors,” he said.

“If we ever think of China, we’d probably buy some stocks in the public market. That’s all.”

In November, Damac properties announced revenues totalling AED 5.2 billion ($1.4 billion) and net profit of AED 1.1 billion ($299.4 million) in the first three quarters of 2018. In the same period, Damac said it delivered 3,800 units, double the figure reported in the same period of 2017.

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