Lack of data dents credibility



The CEO of Cayan Investment and Development has called for a system to supply accurate information about Dubai’s real estate sector, which he says lacks transparency and credibility.

Kareem Derbas said some real estate companies, particularly small ones operating outside the UAE, were giving customers misleading information about prices of residential units. “Such incorrect information harms the Dubai realty sector and weakens confidence in it,” said Derbas, who is a partner in Cayan.

“Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority and private real estate companies should work out a mechanism to supply credible information.”

He said the finance services available in Dubai were limited compared to those in markets in the West.“But today’s real estate finance services are certainly better compared to those of five years ago, and the market still wants more initiatives,” he said.

“When there is greater competition in the market you will find more and better services here.”He said Dubai’s real estate investment boom would retain its momentum in the long term.

“In the light of the credit crunch that has rocked the US and several major European countries, Dubai retains its attraction for consumers and investors.

“Nevertheless, Dubai’s real estate market has started to stabilise. The return on investment in real estate has fallen over the past few years from 40 per cent to between 30 and 35 per cent.“I expect it will soon reach 25 per cent, which will still be the highest in the market.”

Derbas denied his company was currently considering launching an initial public offering but did not rule out such a move in the future.

He said Cayan, which entered the real estate markets in Dubai, the United Kingdom and Spain six years ago, was currently investing Dh7 billion from its own resources in seven projects involving 10 residential and commercial buildings.

Cayan is the largest developer at Dubai Marina and its Infinity Tower there is the company’s biggest project to date. Some of the world’s top architects are working on plans for the building, he said.

He said the price of a square foot in the first phase of sales, announced two years ago, was Dh2,000, while the price in the second phase to be launched soon – is to jump to Dh5,000.

Dubai Marina projects developed by the company include the Jewels  which has been completed – and Dorrabay and the Cayan Business Centre. Work on the latter two will be completed in the middle of this year.

The Infinity and Silverene towers will be completed in mid-2010, while Lamar Tower in Saudi Arabia will be ready in December 2010.

On the possibility of Cayan investing in Abu Dhabi, Derbas said the company wished to expand and had a duty to look at all available markets.

“But when we study the situation we find Dubai wins every time,” he said. “Prices in Dubai are better and the contractors are better. Also the real estate legislative environment in Dubai is more suitable for us.”

He said the emirate’s developers were fortunate as they did not face marketing or sales problems. “Dubai markets its projects in an excellent manner. Our expenditure on marketing does not exceed 2.5 per cent of the investment return.”


Kareem Derbas

Co-founder Of Cayan


Kareem Derbas is a co-founder of Cayan has been integral to the company’s accelerated growth over the past six years.
He previously worked for Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young in the fields of management consulting, risk consulting, valuations and corporate governance.