Daniyar Serikbay Examines Opportunities and Challenges in Middle Eastern Real Estate

Daniyar Serikbay

The Middle Eastern real estate market is a thriving hub for real estate opportunities for savvy investors. However, as with any emerging market, these opportunities come with a few potential challenges, explains real estate entrepreneur and investor Daniyar Serikbay.

First and foremost, the most dynamic Middle Eastern real estate markets are in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), and Saudi Arabia.

The Real Estate Market in Dubai

The Dubai market is experiencing a peak in real estate prices and investment as it’s flooded with cash, and it’s becoming increasingly more challenging to find good value. Nevertheless, Daniyar Serikbay, based in Dubai, says it’s possible to find bargains by participating in UAE auctions for plots and buildings. Often, these are big-ticket real estate investment opportunities starting at tens or hundreds of millions of dollars.

Other opportunities can be found by purchasing plots from existing developers in big communities, although these tend to take more work to come by. Offices and warehouses are also attractive opportunities. There has been a significant underinvestment in Class A buildings in Dubai, which is reflected in the current high demand. You can find value in refurbishing older offices with attractive views and renting them out as smaller spaces.

Waterfront Residential Communities, Class A Office Space Development in Abu Dhabi, RAK, and Saudi Arabia

This strategy is also attractive in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. Waterfront residential communities, such as Yas Island and villa projects, are attractive in Abu Dhabi for their picturesque living experience. Yas Island, for example, is home to an F1™ race track, world-famous theme parks, an excellent links golf course, a beautiful beach, stunning hotels, and much more. Significant investment has been made in the sector recently.

With a 40-mile coastline on the Persian Gulf, Ras Al Khaimah is experiencing a boom due to the recent announcement of the planned $4 billion Wynn Al Marjan Island casino and resort set to open in 2027 on Al Marjan Island. Every single plot is being developed by Dubai developers, with cheaper waterfront residential properties that are not readily available in Dubai. Everyone is anticipating a boom in RAK tourism with the casino.

In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, there are many attractive opportunities in residential and Class A offices, both in construction and leasing.

The Value of an Experienced Local Partner

As with any other market, the Middle Eastern real estate markets have challenges, explains Daniyar Serikbay. The main risk is in not working with a local partner who has experience navigating the market. Although the markets in UAE are transparent, with clear licensing and permit requirements, having a local partner for the first few projects will help international developers avoid the headaches of having to learn through their own mistakes. Local partnerships will also facilitate speedy execution, which is critical in such fast-paced markets.

Other challenges involve robust bureaucratic development procedures, with many master developers having vastly different requirements and regulations. Even so, the Middle East remains among the few global spots with attractive and reasonably priced real estate investment opportunities.

About Daniyar Serikbay

Daniyar Serikbay is a self-made international entrepreneur and business leader with multi-country investment experience. Mr. Serikbay leads a world-class team in Dubai that executes a proprietary, high-quality, real estate development pipeline in a fast-growing market. He also co-founded a private equity fund that operates a successful portfolio of companies in real estate development, construction materials production, and retail.

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