What’s trending in UAE’s residential real estate sector, where is affordable housing headed?
What’s trending in UAE’s residential real estate sector is the significant increase in demand for villas, townhouses and beachfront properties.
Affordable housing has become more competitive due to the layoffs that took place due to Covid. We see a strong recovery in this sector post-summer as flights open up because affordable housing is mainly occupied by the workforce employed by companies. Expo 2020 will also be a main driver behind generating jobs and companies to set up their base in Dubai.
SOL has been responsible for some of the most prestigious developments in the field of hospitality in the UAE. Which are the new projects you are helming?
SOL has indeed diversified into the hospitality sector and this year we are very excited about the upcoming opening of the 275-key, design-eccentric and F&B concentrated Dubai Edition Hotel, the newest 5-star hotel in the Burj Khalifa Downtown district.
SOL has also entered into the short-term vacation rental sphere under the SOL LIVING brand, giving travellers more flexible accommodation options that offer the privacy of a home with hotel-like services and facilities and 24-hour concierge services, which is not available with any of our competitors or short-term rental operators.
How saturated is the retail/commercial space in Dubai, especially in the wake of the pandemic and resultant lockdown emphasising on remote access? How do you see this market turning around?
The retail space dynamic in Dubai has certainly changed after the pandemic. Online has taken a leap whereas restaurant retail spaces are still seeing demand as people want to socialise and experience real interaction even with social distancing. We also have a mall culture due to the hot 5-6 summer months over the course of the year. Moreover, the levels of shopping experience in the malls here in Dubai are among the best in the world.
By keeping itself open and strictly following safety guidelines and protocols, Dubai has proven that it is the safest place in the world.
How do you see Expo affecting the real estate sector and what does this hold for SOL Properties?
We have already started receiving inquiries due to the Expo and this is a very big cushion for the entire economy.
In such unpredictable times, the leadership has stood by its decision to host this Expo 2020, which in itself will prove to the world that the UAE performs the best at all times. This Expo has created lots of jobs, especially after the effects of the pandemic were felt where many people lost their jobs.
SOL Properties along with SOL LIVING and the Dubai Edition Hotel will all benefit hugely from the Expo as it will stimulate economic activity and is expected to generate at least 25 million visitors from all around the world, which would mean more long-term rental transactions and more travellers visiting Dubai and looking for hotels and short-term rental options.
Please share your expansion plans for the long term, are there any new markets you are planning to expand into?
SOL Properties, as part of its expansion into the hospitality sector is also developing a 389-key 4-star beachfront property in Palm Jumeirah, which will be opening in the first quarter of 2022.
We are also embarking into a new venture under the SOL Kitchens brand. SOL Kitchens will be a cloud kitchen facility hosting 30 kitchens and is expected to open by October 2021.