The city, a safe haven for global investors, can do more to attract more international investments, industry stakeholders said at a recent Ramadan real estate majlis hosted by the International Property Show (IPS). The event was organised in collaboration with the Dubai Land Department (DLD) under the theme: 'Upgrading real estate sector and investment promotion'. Attendees discussed many factors facing the real estate sector such as lower oil prices, a dollar-pegged local currency, banks' policies on money transfers, reconsidering the mortgage cap set by the UAE Central Bank, possible effects of VAT in 2018, balancing supply and demand, incentives to investors and affordability of housing for end-users. Ahmad Thani Al Matrooshi, Emaar Properties managing director, emphasised the importance of working together to upgrade the Dubai real estate sector. "We have a strong appeal to international investors. As developers, we can do the marketing but we need the continuous support of the DLD and banks in completing transactions getting the money abroad." On controlling supply and demand, Masood Al Awar, chief commercial officer at Dubai Properties, said:

"Eighty per cent of the demand will come from the international market. However, as of today, not even 50 per cent comes from it which means that we still have a huge market to conquer and investors to attract moving towards 2020. So, all developers will have enough demand for the supply they will put into the market."

Essam Hasan Saleh, Jumeirah Golf Estates executive director for business development and property management, called for coordination between different stakeholders to control oversupply. Dismissing any oversupply concerns, Marwan Bin Ghalaita, CEO of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority, said: "With the rapid growth of Dubai as a global commercial hub and tourism destination, increasing population, more job opportunities and continuous interest of foreign investors, demand is there and is continuously growing." There were suggestions for developers to adapt more to market needs by extending payment plans and providing more affordable housing, as well as for the government to provide more incentives to investors both locally and internationally, banks to ease up policies and investment promotion authorities to help attract international investment in the real estate sector.

Bin Ghalaita assured that the Dubai real estate market is in a healthy position and ideal for real estate investments. Sultan Butti bin Mejren, director-general of DLD, said: "This forum was a good platform for knowledge sharing, exchange of views and in-depth discussion on concerns facing real estate developers, sellers and buyers. We hope this is the first of several events to be held regularly to facilitate more understanding and cooperation among the real estate community in order to upgrade the property sector and attract investors and developers in Dubai.

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