The topic of Real Estate Tech in the UAE is a very interesting one owing to the economy and resources of the Emirates as well as the technology advancement of here.
The country of United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of 7 emirates, mainly along the Persian (Arabian) Gulf. While people mostly think of Dubai as soon as one mentions UAE, its other emirates are Ajman, Ras-al Khaimah, Sharjah, Fujairah, Umm al-Quwain and its capital city- Abu Dhabi. Dubai is UAE’s most populous, an international aviation hub as well as a global city. One can get a good view of the UAE real estate market by seeing the high tech real estate development in a concrete jungle/sci-fi type city like Dubai, with its advanced tourist attractions, shows, malls, and hotels.
Dubai is also home to the world’s tallest human-made structure in the world- The Burj Khalifa. This says a lot about the real estate development here and gives a good start to understand real estate tech in the UAE. UAE’s oil reserves are the world’s seventh largest, and it also boasts of a GDP of USD 377 billion, housing a population of 9.2 million. Interestingly, only 1.4 million of this entire population are locals (i.e. Emirati citizens), and the remaining 7.8 million are expats (i.e. expatriates) that have made UAE their home. This expat population, combined with the tourist population, continues to drive the growth of real estate as well as real estate tech in UAE. As fintech happened to the finance sector, the property sector is getting disrupted with technology, giving birth to the new buzzword #PropTech. It is interesting to take a look at the real estate sector of UAE and the technological developments here to then understand real estate tech in UAE.
Real Estate strength of the UAE is Making Real Estate Tech in The UAE very promising
The future looking country of UAE has been witnessing a resilient real estate industry that is ripe with many lucrative opportunities. Post the global financial crisis, UAE witnessed an exponential financial growth from 2012-2014 owing to some factors. Some of these factors are high oil prices, effective governance at the emirate and federal level, tourism boom as well as recovery of the global economy. This helped build a solid infrastructure for the UAE and focus on the growth of the real estate sector of here. It also helped attract foreign investment which in turn helped the UAE develop in more sectors beyond the strength of oil.
It is interesting to note that the constructions and real estate industry made up almost 22% of Dubai’s GDP, and the oil and gas made up only 2%, in 2015. On the other hand, in the other emirate of Abu Dhabi, constructions and real estate industry only made up 17% of its GDP, showing a heavy reliance to the oil and gas industry with its contribution to GDP being 49.2%. It is also a showcase of Dubai’s focus on other industries that contribute to the GDP, a focus that Abu Dhabi is also going to adopt in line with Abu Dhabi’s Vision 2030, one that also mentions focussing on real estate sector as an industry.
Due to the strength of its real estate sector, the UAE generally maintains a positive outlook for the economy. This also ensures that regional and international investors keep interested in this market. With the continued influx of expats and favourable demographics, UAE will continue to be ripe for investment. The upcoming Expo 2020 is sure going to add to the real estate development of UAE. This sets the stage for technology to come in and develop real estate tech in UAE, or add to its #PropTech sector.
Technology advancement in UAE and its Impact on Real Estate Tech in The UAE
To fully understand the deployment of technology in the UAE, we could quote a few very interesting instances that shall help us envision the market. In 2016, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, announced ambitious plans to develop and deploy 3D printing techniques in UAE, a plan that is estimated to have a $550 billion impact on the global economy in the next ten years. To continue UAE’s quest to drive innovation, he also set targets for a quarter of journeys in Dubai to be driverless by 2030. He also shared another target for 2030, of having 25% of all buildings in Dubai to be 3D printed constructed.
The UAE government also intends to make cities smarter, by using digital technologies to improve the lives of the citizens, making processes more efficient and sustainable. Disruptive technologies are helping Dubai plan for the future and avoid potentially expensive pitfalls. It is also important to note that Dubai is the hub and hotbed for these technological innovations, while the other emirates are starting to catch up. This makes Dubai ripe to lead debate of real estate tech in UAE and to promote its #PropTech sector.
Real Estate tech in the UAE
It is fair to accept that the PropTech disruption has entered the UAE market and it is bringing in real estate tech in UAE. Research by HSBC reported that two-thirds of UAE home buyers are turning to digital methods to get more information for their homes. 72% of UAE property buyers search for available properties online, 65% research where to live, and 64% explore prospective home prices. The property websites of here are increasingly turning towards technologies of virtual agents, artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) to disrupt the home buying process and drive real estate tech in UAE.
It was also reported in the research by HSBC that the potential for Proptech is highest in UAE, as compared to other eight countries surveyed. It is also because UAE respondents reported higher stress during the home buying process.
Not just privately, the PropTech or Real Estate Tech in the UAE is being driven by the Dubai Government too, with increased efforts by the Dubai Land Department (DLD). Some of the leading efforts of the DLD include Ejari, which is a lease application and management app; the Trust Account System app for registration of developers and their projects; and the Investment Map Portal, online real estate investment portal for investors and businesses. DLD also offers an app for licensed, and DLD approved property brokers, called Dubai Brokers. To make the process for procedure payment easier, DLD has the Smart Pay Service, via governments secure channels.
There are a number of technologies that are driving the sector of real estate tech in UAE, and making PropTech flourish here. Drones with cameras are being sure for inspection as well as video purposes, and Virtual Reality has changed the way developers are promoting their projects, and well as how a customer views new homes. 3D Printing is increasingly used to construct homes in Dubai. A number of developers are also using Big Data to design better real estate and homes, understanding user behaviour as well as using insights for promotion. Internet Of Things (IoT) has also entered UAE in a big way, with the government looking to make smarter cities and region. There are some companies even experimenting with Blockchain Processing, to change the real estate tech in the UAE and give a boost to PropTech.
Moving forward for Real Estate Tech in The UAE
The real estate sector of UAE has witnessed a remarkable growth of the past few years with a resilient market. With increased tourist / global interest as well as foreign investment, real estate tech in UAE is set to boom. In this ripe market, investment is lucrative to make use of the PropTech opportunities here. As the government moves towards increased interest in technology and innovation, real estate tech in the UAE will become more appealing and innovative.
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Want to know what makes a winning PropTech startup, check out these top 50 Real Estate Tech startups to watch out for in 2018
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