Ameen Al Qudsi, CEO of Nationwide Middle East Properties in Abu Dhabi, discusses his company’s ambitious plans, and why he thinks 2017 will see optimism return to the market
Founded back in 2011 by one of the UAE’s most seasoned real estate agents – Ameen Al Qudsi –Nationwide Middle East Properties has become known for delivering turnkey solutions in Abu Dhabi with a heavy focus on customer satisfaction. No fly-by-night approach to deals here.
The firm has weathered a few storms during its rise to prominence – notably the crash of 2009 – but Al Qudsi says the key to success has been seeing beyond any grey clouds to the shining possibilities on the horizon.
“I’ve been working in the UAE real estate market for ten years and the crisis period, as well as the big gap evident between the demand and supply, was that click needed for me to get established in the field and finally open Nationwide Middle East Properties,” he recalled.
The company offers consultancy, leasing and sales, as well as property management, and started with five agents. Today it has 70 employees, as well as an additional branch – Nationwide Excellency Real Estate Investment, serving Investors and VIP clients.
So far so great. But even the most upbeat UAE real estate firm would have found the property market scene in 2016 somewhat exasperating. How did Al Qudsi view it?
“There is no doubt, 2016 was a buyer’s kingdom,” he said. “The demand was holding the reins, market price wise, putting a pressure on owners to further reduce prices and hurry to sell out their properties, as they were uncertain about the actual market situation and its future in.
“The brokers started panicking and fell into the tornado of selling at any cost, even sharing commission with buyers – which of course affected the other companies who are following real estate market regulations.
“The developers, however, placed their focus on injecting and launching a good number of off-plan projects, considered as affordable price wise, as compared to the ready properties with competitive payment plans.
Refreshingly, Al Qudsi is optimistic about the outlook for 2017 and predicts a much healthier market all round.
“I predict there will be less fear and uncertainty in the real estate market this year; prices on the market will be more regulated with less fluctuation and a smooth stabilization will be established,” he said.
He added that he believes 2017 will be a great year for investors due to owners selling their properties at good prices, and that the overall mood will be sunnier due to Expo 2020 approaching, bringing with it a new wave of expats.
On an individual level, Al Qudsi says Nationwide Middle East Properties is gearing up for a bumper year ahead selling newly launched off-plan projects in prime locations with competitive payment plans – and no commission.
He also hopes that the so-called bad eggs of the UAE property market will be gone for good, taking with them practices that damage the industry. He says without hesitation that now is the time to really get tough.
“Developers should strictly apply the new rules and regulations that have come in and make way for brokers instead of being the sole and powerful players in terms of sales and marketing,” he said.
“Real estate brokerage companies need more control from the economic department and municipality, more rules and regulations should be set up and applied – which would then have a positive repercussion on the reputation of the industry.”
He added: “I also think we need to classify and categorise the real estate companies by portfolio, achievements, and experience, and open a tender system for them to access more markets and opportunities.”
Al Qudsi’s passion for what the UAE property sector could be is clear, and he admits achieving success requires grit and a willingness to absorb the pressure.
“To reach this level I have had to work hard and maintain a constant rhythm, no matter what time of day it is, and have no concrete weekends or holidays,” he said.
But he adds that family is where relief lies. “I make sure I forget about all the hassles when I am with my children. They are my source of inspiration, my source of energy.”
And his main vision as we move into a brand new year? Simple: “I aim to get Nationwide Middle East Properties listed in the UAE stock market,” he said.
And with his focus, it’s hard not to consider it already done.
By Emma Procter – Prestige Magazine