Sharjah Plans Real Estate Regulatory Agency

SHARJAH - The setting up of a real estate regulatory agency is under study in Sharjah to give a boost to the sector and provide robust and reliable services, said a senior official.

Director General of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI), Hussain Mohamed Al Mahmoudi, said the new agency is planned to serve as the only destination for all the authoritative and trusted information on real estate sector in the emirate, yet distinguished from similar agencies in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ajman.

“We have to develop an agency that fits the market and environment of Sharjah,” he said.

Partner and Executive Director of Al Murabaha Real Estate Group Khalid Al Bloushi said a real estate regulatory agency is indispensable for having firm control over the real estate market, ensuring its stability, and protecting it against sudden downturns.

“Such an agency will provide clear rules and regulations, and properly streamline the market. It will also save time instead of waiting for eight to 12 months to settle real estate disputes,” he said.

Ibrahim S. Abd Allah, Manager of Al Taj Real Estate Company, said that a regulatory body will help promote and monitor the real estate activities in the emirate, particularly the rents.

“We are in dire need of such an authority to streamline and better control the market. There is a lot of confusion, and no one actually knows how to buy and sell.

“The Rents Committee, being run by the municipal council, needs to work under the proposed agency to ensure smoothness of transactions,” he said.

Al Mahmoudi said that the real estate sector in Sharjah is still in good shape despite the unreal and unsustainable growth over the past three years.

“Though the real estate sector in Sharjah has seen a drop of around 15 per cent this year, it is not possible to exactly determine the type and area of that drop,” he told representatives of Sharjah’s real estate sector at a special business breakfast held at the Chamber’s new facility last week.

Sales Manager of the Taibah Real Estate Company Yasser Saad said while rents across the emirate had seen a drop of 20 to 30 per cent, real estate activities as a whole had seen a fall of 75 to 80 per cent.

“Real estate investment, including sales and purchases, has almost come to a halt. Everybody has enough liquidity but they are all waiting for the last slump to move and start again, as is the case with the equity market,” he said.

Manager of Al Taj Real Estate Company Ibrahim S. Abd Allah said the real estate sector had seen around 80 per cent decrease while the rents had come down by 15 to 30 per cent.

“The drop in real estate activities or rents differs from one place to another. Commercial and industrial lands have seen a drop of 40 per cent while labour camps have dropped by 70 per cent,”he said.

The gathering also focused on the status of the real estate sector amidst the global crisis and explored ways to boost current realestate investments.

The implementation of quality standards, the promotion of excellence, support for sustainable practices and the possibility of applying related quality principles and green buildings conceptswere discussed.

Ahmad Mohammed Al Midfa, SCCI Chairman, said that sustainability plays an important role in growth amidst increasing environmental and social awareness across the region.

“The positive financial, social and environmental impacts of sustainable development have gone beyond being just our organisational aims and have become essential business goals,”he said.

Observing that the crisis started very bad, Hussain Mohamed Al Mahmoudi, SCCI Director General, said that people were quite relieved after prices returned to a healthy level.

“We are going back to normal. We were talking about a dangerous situation over the past three years when things were unbearable. So, this is a good and healthy sign,” he said.

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