DREI concludes ‘Return of Real Estate Markets with New Opportunities’ conference

  • Hend Al Marri: The conference embodies the strong brotherly relations between the UAE and Bahrain as well as supports real estate cooperation between them
  • Nasser Al Ahli: We discussed a number of real estate issues to support national economies in the Arab region

Dubai Real Estate Institute (DREI) at Dubai Land Department concluded the virtual ‘Return of Real Estate Markets with New Opportunities’ conference that was organised on 18–19 October in cooperation with the Bahrain Businessmen’s Association and Erteqa House for Exhibitions & Consultancy in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The objectives of the two-day conference included achieving coherence and communication among public and private sectors in the UAE and the Kingdom of Bahrain to develop real estate knowledge.

The virtual conference witnessed the participation of more than 200 participants, along with a group of prominent speakers and experts in the real estate field from both countries to develop real estate knowledge, which represents an important aspect of joint cooperation, where challenges and innovative solutions for a better future for the real estate market were discussed to establish trust and happiness.

In her opening speech, Hend Al Marri, CEO of DREI, welcomed the participants and said: “This conference is an embodiment of the strong brotherly relations between the UAE and Bahrain. We have discussed the consequences of the pandemic that affected the whole world. However, through cooperation and joint coordination and the exchange of knowledge, we will be able to face its repercussions by finding the best solutions and the most appropriate ways to revive the real estate sector by relying on our experiences and our capabilities in facing previous crises. In addition, the conference supports our mission to provide real estate knowledge inside and outside the UAE.”

Al Marri added: “We are happy to share our experiences with colleagues in Bahrain and to provide opportunities for those interested in the real estate sector to join our specialised courses to enhance their skills and enable them to compete in the markets. At the same time, we are fully prepared to work with BBMA and Erteqa on more future projects to provide our sectors with the necessary expertise.”

Nasser Al Ahli, Board Member and Head of the Real Estate Committee at BBMA, said: “The conference covered a number of important topics related to the real estate sector, which represents one of the major contributors to our national economies in the region. The sector was not immune to the challenges faced by all sectors and economies in the world due to COVID-19. These challenges led us at BBMA to cooperate with DREI in organising this conference during this trying period with the participation of a group of experts and specialists in the real estate sector to discuss ways to return the real estate markets to life with new investment opportunities.”

Al Ahli added: “We have succeeded in attracting a distinguished group of specialists, most notably Economic Development Board and the Real Estate Regulatory Authority in Bahrain to participate in the conference and reach the desired results while also providing solutions and proposals that would develop the real estate sector and create new investment opportunities during and after the pandemic.”

Day one

The conference began with an individual session titled ‘An Overview of the Real Estate Sector and Investment Opportunities In the Kingdom Of Bahrain’ that was presented by Ali Murtaza, Director & Sector Head – Real Estate, Tourism & Leisure Investment, Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB). Murtaza focused on EDB’s programmes that promote the real estate sector in Bahrain and on the facilities provided by the government to stimulate real estate transactions during the pandemic. He also discussed the local conditions, reports and incentives provided by developers in the real estate market, in addition to government incentive packages for beneficiaries and consumers to ensure that investors do not exit the markets, which is a very important step to maintain sustainability in the real estate market.

A panel discussion titled ‘Supporting the Real Estate Market and the Importance of Partnerships and New Strategies’ was also held. The panel was moderated by Dana Salbak, Head of Research, MENA in Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), and witnessed the participation of Eng Muhammad BinGhatti, CEO & Head of Architecture at Binghatti Holding; Dr Ahmad Bin Hezeem, Senior Partner at BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem Advocates & Legal Consultants; HE MP Mahmood Al Bahrani, Member of Financial & Economic Affairs Committee, Council of Representatives; Dr Isa Turki, Lawyer and former MP at Bahrain Council of Representatives; Nasser Al Ahli; and Zeeba Askar, CFA, Investment Director at Ithmaar Development Company.

Among the most important outcomes were the existence of a unified digital platform to display investment opportunities between the two countries, investment methods between the private and public sector and how to benefit from social media influencers, and the need for comprehensive and integrated general legislation to regulate real estate development and learn from past years. The participants also suggested the need to allocate residential areas for workers close to their work in an organised and modern way to limit the spread of COVID-19 and preserve the old residential areas.

There were two other individual sessions, one of which was presented by Bashar Kilani, Region Executive, Gulf Countries & Levant, IBM Middle East, titled ‘The New Approach to the Real Estate Industry – Connecting Digital Solutions And Reality Experience.’ Kilani discussed the technologies that would soon change the way we lead our lives and conduct our work, while also affecting information, prices, and attractiveness indicators in the future of the real estate sector.

Karim El-Jisr, Chief Sustainability Officer – Social at Diamond Developers, The Sustainable City, presented the other individual session, shedding light on real estate sustainability and public health. He also addressed the beauty of nature and cities whose maintenance is everyone’s responsibility — including developers, beneficiaries, governments and the private sector — to reach harmony between the environment and people in general. He also addressed the role of laws, regulations and energy in ensuring sustainability in life.

The first day concluded with the Dubai International Property Consultant course, where DREI offers a qualification certificate to brokers outside Dubai, in support of real estate promotion in the emirate, to attract new skills in the market by qualifying brokers and internationally licensed real estate sales representatives and giving them the opportunity to market and sell properties in Dubai.

Day two

Day two began with an individual session presented by Dr Manaf Hamza, Executive Director at Manaf Hamza Engineering & Surveying Company, that focused on ‘The Real Estate Market post-COVID-19 — Lessons Learned from the Pandemic.’ Hamza focused on the importance of recording our observations and data on developments and events occurring during the pandemic. He also called for the monitoring of current technologies and how they are used and adapting to them.

A panel discussion titled ‘Anticipating the Future and Creating Innovative Opportunities In the Real Estate Market’ was also held on day two, moderated by Walid Shihabi, Head of Asset Management at Urban – Real Estate and Founder and President of Hometown Fund Management. The panel witnessed the participation of Asma Dakak, Senior Manager at CBRE; Ahmed Khalfan, Head of Sales & Marketing at GFH Properties; Eng Faisal Al Doseri, Managing Director Business Development and Bin Faqeeh Real Estate Investment Company; Mohamed Rajab, Founder and Member of Board of Directors at AMFA Holding; and Ahmed Dashti, Managing Director of MLS Real Estate.

The session covered many topics, including the importance of liquidity for the return of markets to normal life pre-COVID-19; it also covered investment in digital transformation and the need to establish an infrastructure to serve e-commerce and the importance of this type of digital transformation for the future of the real estate sector. Participants also discussed the importance of keeping abreast of developments and best practices for the public and private sectors, companies, and individuals to enjoy activity, flexibility, and the ability to adapt to the new changes imposed by the pandemic. Participants stressed the importance of government support in promoting real estate markets, the role of electronic platforms that connect all users, and monitoring future changes that focus on supply and demand compatibility and the importance of cost. They also emphasised the importance of education, the need for renewed thinking, and the importance of the government’s response to rapidly changing real estate markets and trade in general, with the need to establish a youth support fund.

Day two concluded with the ‘Accredited Diploma in Real Estate’ course, the professional programme that combines academic education and practical experience to work in the real estate market successfully. The course provided knowledge; fundamentals of real estate activities; principles of understanding real estate work; changing real estate market data and related fields, such as real estate management, marketing, economics, and investment basics; through training methods that integrate theory and practice.

The conference represented the first cooperation between DREI and BBMA, an embodiment of the desire of both parties to enhance opportunities for cooperation and support economic partnerships in the real estate sector and the knowledge field.

Over the past two years, DREI trained more than 300 Bahraini professionals in various topics, such as brokerage, real estate management, and valuation. Despite the circumstances of COVID-19, this conference enhanced learning and communication as well as emphasised the importance of continuous learning, especially crisis management skills in real estate, through a multitude of facts, figures, and lessons from the pandemic that were presented and discussed during the panels.

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