Dubai Asset Management Set to Launch New Projects, May Consider Acquisitions
Interviewed by: Melhem Al Zubaidi
In an interview with Al Khaleej, Arif Mubarak, CEO of Dubai Asset Management, part of Dubai Holding, revealed the company's plans to achieve several long-term goals, including expanding its existing communities and developing new projects that cater to the various needs of Dubai's residents.
Mubarak added that the company may consider acquisitions, but the focus will remain on expanding its existing assets as well as exploring investment opportunities in new avenues including education.
What is Dubai Asset Management and what is the extent of its portfolio?
Dubai Asset Management is an independent vertical of Dubai Holding that focuses on developing, acquiring and managing one of the city's largest portfolios of residential communities for rent that serve a diverse set of customers, with a vision towards creating communities that enrich lives, deliver lasting value and sustainable revenue.
How does its extensive portfolio cater to the needs of Dubai's residents?
Dubai Asset Management is committed to creating trusted, lasting relationships with Dubai's residents across its communities through providing them with an enriched living experience, enabling them to call Dubai home.
Through its diverse selection of residential units for rent, ranging from studio apartments to four-bedroom villas, Dubai Asset Management meets the requirements of a broad spectrum of end users. The company operates one of the city's largest portfolio of rental-only residential communities that provides viable options for every stage of the customers' life journey.
Conveniently located across the city, Dubai Asset Management's communities boast desirable locations, whether in the heart of Mirdif, along the banks of Dubai Creek, by Al Khail Road and Al Qudra, that offer their residents convenience and ease of access.
What are the benefits of leasing with Dubai Asset Management?
Most communities owned and managed by Dubai Asset Management are self-contained with on-site retail amenities and recreational facilities. Efficient operation through digitisation and innovation allows the company to deliver prompt service and convenience to residents.
Dubai Asset Management offers its residents the unique opportunity to move within the existing communities in its portfolio, and avail special benefits.
Additionally, the in-house property management teams ensure a seamless and convenient experience for residents. The team offers an assurance of quality, timely service, convenience of being in contact with one team, standardized pricing, and qualified service professionals.
How does Dubai Asset Manage its communities to create comprehensive, living experiences?
Dubai Asset Management actively promotes co-existence and coherence. Its 10 communities are home to more than 100,000 people from over 130 nationalities.
Dubai Asset Management is dedicated to the rental customers, and as an insight driven company we continuously work on improvements within our communities to ensure they're maintained to the highest standards, with the incorporation of necessary and timely upgrades. The company invests tens of millions a year into capital improvements.
We have a prolific annual community events calendar designed to bring residents together and create a social and neighbourly environment. In 2018, we hosted and organized more than 50 events, across our communities that were attended by over 50,000 residents. The calendar of events included yoga sessions, boot-camps, family fun days, night markets, outdoor movie nights, Ramadan Iftar gatherings, and much more.
What are some of your most popular communities and what makes them a top choice for people to build their lives in?
All our communities are popular, as indicated by the high occupancy rates of over 95%.
Al Khail Gate is among our most popular communities, as its convenient location, and various amenities make it an attractive community for Dubai residents. While Shorooq and Ghoroob, located in Mirdif near popular shopping centres and schools are also among the popular housing options within our portfolio.
Does Dubai Asset Management see a future in the build-to-suit sector?
We are looking into expanding our build-to-suit portfolio, to extend into the education sector. Late last year, we were partners in opening the first school within the Remraam community. The company will also consider expanding existing successful communities such as Al Khail Gate, Ghoroob and Remraam.
Dubai Asset Management's residential development and community management expertise positions the organisation as an accommodation partner of choice for corporates interested in customised housing solutions.
How does Dubai Asset Management retain customers, and what are your retention rates?
As a customer focused company, retention rate is an integral measure of the success of Dubai Asset Management's operations. At Dubai Asset Management we pride ourselves in understanding customer needs and regularly measure customer satisfaction by conducting surveys to identify customer priorities. The company then works on areas of improvement to match residents' expectations, as delivering an enriched living experience for residents is a key focus area for our business. All these factors are instrumental in ensuring that our average customer retention is 4.5 years, versus the market average of only 3.5 years.
What are Dubai Asset Management's upcoming plans – both short and long-term goals?
The short-term goal of Dubai Asset management is to implement digitization across the entire customer journey, facilitating better interaction, enhancing convenience and adding more value to customers. These objectives are aligned with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum's vision to make Dubai the happiest place on Earth, through smart transformations.
The company is working on several initiatives that will be rolled out soon to integrate digital services within its operations.
As for the long-term goals, these are focused on increasing the customer life-time value by offering products and services that are relevant to their needs throughout their life stages. Dubai Asset Management's future will continue to focus on offering a comprehensive portfolio of assets through expansions of existing communities and new projects, keeping in mind the various needs of Dubai's residents. The company is also exploring new avenues in industries such as education, among others.
What are some of the key locations you're focusing on in Dubai, and are you planning to expand in these areas?
Dubai Asset Management's existing communities are strategical located in key areas of the city that offer their residents convenience and ease of access, including Mirdif, Al Khail Road and Al Qudra. This is a key factor that contributes to the portfolio's 95% occupancy rates.
The company is exploring plans for expansions across areas that support Dubai's horizontal expansion.
What are some of the immediate changes that have already taken place under your leadership? Moving forward, what are some of the key areas you will focus on?
Dubai Asset Management's focus is the rental customer – both individual and corporate. Since its establishment as an independent company under Dubai Holding, we now have a stronger potential for accelerated growth by focusing on the expertise we bring as specialists in this space.
The Build-to-Rent and Built-to-Suit portfolios will continue to address and fulfil customer needs across various market segments. This is particularly the case for corporate customers, whereby the company is exploring new solutions and investment opportunities intended to support their staff housing needs. We are constantly exploring investment opportunities that support our business and growth objectives.
A positive outlook for 2019
In my opinion, the focus in 2019 will be on the end customer where real estate companies will continue to work towards customized and convenient experiences for the customer. The right product and good quality service will continue to be the preference drivers. In addition, neighbourhoods and communities complete with facilities required to live a holistic lifestyle will continue to be in demand.
The one key thing that will be a continuing trend will be affordability. The middle-class segment continues to increase in numbers thus ensuring that affordability will continue to stay relevant in the real estate market.
The growth in the economy in line with Expo 2020, Vision 2021, etc. coupled with more affordable housing options should provide for a healthy, positive and upward trend for 2019.
An added value to customers
What makes Dubai Asset Management unique is the fact that it owns the assets that it manages. This ensures involvement in every touchpoint of the customer journey, and adds value to the residents as the company continuously invests in improving its assets, and enhancing its offerings.
Therefore, Dubai Asset Management would consider acquisitions of new assets, however, its focus remains on expanding the assets it currently owns.