The world is evolving more quickly than ever before. Several megatrends are shaking up the real estate industry, including the rise of the world’s urban population, which has made the need for housing as well as social, transport and utility infrastructure even more pertinent. Met with such obstacles, the real estate industry is almost under a moral duty to transform itself.
The sector’s evolution will have transformative effects on the larger community, by lowering construction costs; on the climate, by improving the use of limited resources or by making buildings more eco-efficient over time, and on the economy, by narrowing the global infrastructure gap and stimulating economic growth in general.
The real estate industry is affected by trends in four domains: markets and consumers, sustainability and resilience, society and workforce, and regulation. The industry needs to recognise and execute optimal solutions to these developments, both in terms of the possibilities they present and in terms of the challenges they face.
As demand in real estate rises, the industry must identify how to best benefit from technological advances and high standards, while considering local market conditions. The convergence of web, cloud and mobile platforms, as well as the Internet of Things (IoT), has drastically helped enhance the customer and agent experience as well.
DAMAC has always catered to customer needs. Earlier this year, we introduced the ‘A La Carte Villas’, which enables buyers to personalise multiple aspects of their homes, including villa type, layout, landscaping, interiors, and furnishings, among others. We also launched the ‘DAMAC Living’ app, that allows users to make payments, schedule handovers, access discounted home services and make amenity bookings.
Sustainability is rapidly becoming a necessity rather than just a desired feature, and its pursuit is bound to impact both the building process and the built asset itself. The more effective use and recycling of raw materials, even of the smallest quantity, provides possible benefits to the real estate industry.
At DAMAC, we’ve integrated green spaces within our communities and have incorporated sustainability measures in the construction and maintenance of our properties. We were one of the first companies to receive a green building certification in Dubai, and we will continue to incorporate best practices that will go a long way in making a big difference in our local communities, society and environment.
According to a report by the United Nations, the world’s urban population is expected to exceed 6 billion by 2045, while there has been a marked shift in workforce trends, with the work-from-home trend set to continue into the foreseeable future. Furthermore, recent events like the pandemic have made the real estate industry concerned with the health and safety of the tenants of their property. Public health authorities could gradually amend building codes to minimise the risk of future pandemics, potentially affecting requirements for HVAC, square footage per person, and the amount of enclosed space. Health and productivity are closely linked to the quality of the indoor environment, and that quality is primarily determined by decisions made during project development and construction.
A further challenge facing the industry concerns the rights and needs of local communities. DAMAC’s success is based on its ability to identify long-term market requirements and community needs while offering real estate developments that are in demand, have excellent ROI and meet the shifting preference for all lifestyle-driven residences. Understandably, DAMAC has in its collection intricately designed real estate, both in office space as well as communities, each catering to the needs of the modern-day office goer or entrepreneur. Flexible floor planning, a range of facilities to encourage a good work-life balance, including restaurants and cafés, health clubs and wide-open spaces are just a few of the standout features of DAMAC projects.
Regulation impacts many aspects of the engineering and construction industry. In a global survey by KPMG, regulation was identified as a critical driver for real estate growth. The real estate sector is significantly affected by changes in health and safety requirements, financial and labour legislation, and environmental standards. New regulations in any of these areas can affect business operations adversely, as developers would have to take on the added cost of adherence to them. But with that said, without regulation, we cannot keep the real estate industry in check.
Luckily in the UAE, we have a robust regulatory system in place. While there are a few more areas that the authorities can improve upon, like regulating supply vs demand, the comprehensive regulatory environment in the country has boosted investor confidence by increasing transparency and clarity in the real estate sector.
With the rapidity of transformation that we are experiencing as a society, if individuals and businesses do not adapt to our current reality, they will be left behind, and it will be a daunting task to keep up with the changes. As technology-enabled transition is imperative, modern human innovation would be the driving force for effective adoption to move the business forward.