Interview with Dubai Holding Asset Management’s Ahmed Al Suwaidi Interview with Dubai Holding Asset Management’s Ahmed Al Suwaidi
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Dubai Holding Asset Management’s Ahmed Al Suwaidi showcases the company’s tenant-centric focus

Dubai Holding Asset Management’s Ahmed Al Suwaidi showcases the company’s tenant-centric focus

The managing director – Residential Communities shares how DHAM offers a broad spectrum of communities that cater to the needs of Dubai’s residential leasing landscape

Neesha Salian
DHAM - Ahmed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director – Residential Communities, Dubai Holding Asset Management

1. In February 2023, Dubai recorded prime rental gains of 22.9 per cent over last year. How does Dubai Holding Asset Management’s (DHAM) residential portfolio fit into this in terms of occupancy?

Last year was a strong year for Dubai’s property market, reflected in the performance of DHAM’s residential leasing portfolio. We signed over 6,000 new leases across our 15 communities, from premium neighbourhoods to affordable units for young families and professionals. It speaks to a sustained demand for high-quality, enriched living experiences beyond the home.

2. Rapidly rising interest rates in the latter half of 2022 meant that more people chose to rent, adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach. How has this impacted occupancy levels within DHAM’s residential portfolio?

Across the board, we saw high occupancy and retention rates. In fact, by the end of 2022, our occupancy exceeded 95 per cent. While rising interest rates and uncertainty in the global economy factor into buyers’ decision-making, residents – especially newcomers to Dubai – choose rental properties for convenience, affordability and credibility. We embrace a tenant-centric approach that gives residents greater value for money. Residents can rely on us to deliver when they need maintenance, for the security of our community, and even organising engaging experiences for their families. By renting, residents can hand over some of the responsibilities of property ownership and management while enjoying fully-equipped and up-to-date communities.

Dubai continues to provide an environment that is accommodating to landlords’ ambitions, with an influx of tenants that are attracted to its climate, quality of life on offer and strong business environment.  What other factors have contributed to this influx?

Several factors are contributing to an influx of new residents. Dubai’s status as a global business hub has gained traction, and new legislation and visa amendments have made living, working and doing business in Dubai much easier. Dubai’s high safety and stability levels are also a significant draw. On a local level, the city is a melting pot of cultures, home to more than 200 nationalities and offers a world-class array of leisure, recreation, hospitality and entertainment. In addition, there’s a significant focus on delivering high-quality, happy and sustainable urban living experiences, underscored by the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan, which continues to make Dubai an attractive place to call home.

3. Dubai’s leadership continues to invest in economic growth through strategies such as the Dubai Economic Agenda d33 and the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan.  What does this mean for the real estate sector in the UAE?

Dubai’s continued focus on economic diversification and amplification will immensely strengthen the real estate sector. The Dubai Economic Agenda d33’s focus on attracting more investors, business and talent to Dubai and positioning it among the top three global cities will drive demand for high-quality residential properties. We’ll see more young professionals, as well as families, set up their base here, especially with the availability of long-term Golden Visas for eligible categories.

Read: Sheikh Mohammed launches Dubai Economic Agenda, ‘D33’ aims to double size of economy in 10 years

DHAM provides a broad spectrum of strategically located communities that can cater to the needs of Dubai’s residential leasing landscape. From premium living at Dubai Wharf, Manazel Al Khor, City Walk and Bluewaters to family communities at Ghoroob, Shorooq, Layan and Remraam, as well as the value community of Al Khail Gate, residents can find something to fit their budget and expectations at key locations across Dubai. We also have customised staff accommodation and labour accommodation that provide companies with a solution to house all their staff in one central location.

4. DHAM’s portfolio spans residential communities across Dubai, from Bluewaters and City Walk to Layan, Ghoroob and Shorooq. Tell us about the company’s tenant-centric approach.

While we are immensely pleased to see our communities grow with new members, retention remains a crucial priority for DHAM. Our strong performance is directly linked to our commitment to tenant-centricity and ensuring that each of our communities, touchpoints and experiences are designed to cater to our residents’ needs.

DHAM is heavily investing in community enhancement projects in line with the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan and upgrades to our digital solution, all of which aim to provide tenants with a high-quality of life. We are introducing state-of-the-art gyms, sports courts and pet parks to encourage active living for the whole family, as well as enhanced landscaping and common spaces in line with a growing demand for open and green urban areas. We also organise community events and activations to engage our residents and connect them to their neighbours. Last year, we held over 60 events, like home gardening workshops, outdoor family movie nights in partnership with Sony, and the Diwali festival, which drew more than 40,000 residents.

We introduced the DubaiAM app in February 2019 to improve tenant experiences with online tenancy renewals, maintenance requests, queries, bill payment, and more. We are continually working to improve the app so that it caters to the needs of our tenants and provides a more streamlined experience.

To ensure that tenants have convenient access to key amenities as well as entertainment and retail options, several of DHAM’s residential communities include retail centres that have restaurants, supermarkets, health clinics and pharmacies, hair salons, primary schools and even nurseries.

5. Residential communities such as Bluewaters and City Walk sit within retail destinations.  What role does tenant retention play, and to what extent do tenants immerse themselves in the community within the wider retail destination?

Bluewaters and City Walk are exclusive. Luxurious apartments, modern interiors and finishings, and floor-to-ceiling windows that afford unique views of sea, cityscape or vibrant retail destinations depending on where you are. Both communities offer residents unique and premium living experiences. Being closely linked to the city’s most popular retail destinations adds to their appeal.

Residents are walking distance from various original dining concepts, entertainment attractions as well as unique retail and hospitality options, so it’s never dull. It folds residential into the ‘Experience Economy’ trend, so the living experience extends beyond the physical unit and encompasses the environment and energy of the wider community.

Read: Dubai Holding acquires full ownership of The Westin Paris – Vendôme

Also read: Aldar signs strategic JV with Dubai Holding, enters Dubai real estate market

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