International property agency Chestertons closed property sales worth over AED610 million ($166 million) on behalf of Middle East investors in 2015.
London was the most attractive market for Chestertons’ Mena (MIlddle East and North Africa) investors, with more than AED265 million ($72.15 million) invested into the UK capital’s real estate market. This represented over 70 per cent of their total sales of nearly AED379 million ($103.19 million).
“London has long been a favoured destination for investors from the Middle East region, it is a mature, well regulated market with a solid track record for capital appreciation and many Middle East investors are familiar with London, visiting on a regular basis,” said Declan McNaughton, Managing Director UAE, Chestertons Mena.
Based in its Dubai office, Chestertons has a dedicated team of London property experts, who provide prospective investors with up-to-date market insight and a comprehensive database of investment opportunities.
Investors from Kuwait topped the GCC list, accounting for 21 per cent of total London sales through Chestertons, followed by Saudi Arabia (17 per cent), Qatar (10 per cent), UAE (10 per cent) and Bahrain (7 per cent). The balance of other buyers was made up of nationals from UK Switzerland and Iran.
However, it was not all capital outflow from the region, Chestertons’ Dubai office sold properties worth almost AED232 million ($63.16 million) in the UAE, with almost 40 per cent of the total sales value coming from Middle Eastern investors. Emirati investors topped the nationality breakdown accounting for around 25 per cent of investment, with single digit percentage contributions from investors in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon. Indian and UK nationals were also prominent nationalities contributing approximately 15 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.
“Our nationality breakdown for UAE sales is more or less in line with the Dubai Land Department’s (DLD) nationality breakdown,” added McNaughton.
In the Middle East Chestertons has grown from a single Abu Dhabi office in 2008, to a network of locations that includes the existing Dubai headquarters, Qatar and presence in three key Saudi Arabian hubs Riyadh, Jeddah and Al Khobar.
“Due to increased investor appetite, our focus moving forward is to enlarge our regional footprint in key locations across the Gulf, starting with the addition of a third Dubai office, located in the Al Barsha area and one in Ajman,” added McNaughton.
The company’s new Al Barsha office will be staffed by a 50-strong team of Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA)-approved property and valuations experts, swelling Chestertons’ in-house expertise to a total of 130 seasoned real estate professionals to manage a property portfolio of up to AED185 million ($53.3 million).
Its expansion strategy focuses on increasing both investor and developer/landlord awareness of and access to a wide-ranging portfolio of services as the market dynamic continues to shift with multiple opportunities across the different vertical asset classes from residential and commercial through to industrial and hotels.
“Naturally with an expanded footprint, increased headcount and a strategy focused on specific vertical sectors of the real estate market, we are confident that our 2016 revenue performance will comfortably exceed the excellent figures we returned in 2015,” said McNaughton.
Chestertons’ portfolio of services includes the full suite of sales and leasing disciplines with all agents RERA approved and fully schooled in industry legislation as well as the nuances of purchasing property in different jurisdictions.
Its in-house listings team is also connected to a network of other RERA-approved agencies, for specialist sourcing requirements and McNaughton highlights international-standard customer service and consistent follow-up as one of Chestertons’ key business advantages.
“Our valuations team is made up of RICS-accredited and DLD certified international multilingual experts with five chartered surveyors and 16 valuers with decades of Mena experience between them; which has garnered us a high profile line-up of regional clients and been instrumental in the development of long-lasting partnerships with more than 40 local financial institutions,” remarked McNaughton.
As well property and corporate valuation services, Chestertons Mena also offers, research and advisory expertise, covering feasibility studies, project development consultancy, market research, and investment and disposal strategies and property management.
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