Australian real estate firm sets up UAE hub in Dubai

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Australian real estate firm sets up UAE hub in Dubai

Raine & Horne brings 132 years of experience to brokerage industry

By Deepthi Nair (senior Copy Editor/ Reporter)

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Published: Fri 20 Mar 2015, 11:53 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 7:36 PM

Dubai — In terms of real estate pedigree, it really doesn’t get any better than this. Raine & Horne is a 132-year-old Australian family-owned real estate group that is making a foray into the Dubai property industry.

With more than 300 offices spread across Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Fiji and China, it was a natural progression for the Australian property pioneers to establish their Gulf base in Dubai.

The brokerage firm will offer sales and leasing services in the Dubai residential, commercial and retail sectors, and also dabble in property management and facilities management.Raine & Horne

The Dubai headquarters is a Dh5.5 million-worth office at the Oberoi Centre in Business Bay. Led by Sanjay Chimnani and Surender Bhojwani, who have several years of Dubai realty experience under their belts, the Raine & Horne Dubai team comprises 12 property agents (five from Australia).

“We will have ongoing training for agents hired locally from their counterparts in Australia,” says Chimnani.

“We will stand apart from other brokerages in Dubai with our service levels, our ethics and the way we do business. I advise my agents to be quicker, nimbler and smarter than others. Competition keeps us on our toes,” says Angus Raine, chairman, Raine & Horne International, who was in town for the official opening ceremony at The Oberoi Hotel on Thursday.

Transactional activity has been subdued in the Dubai property market for the past few months. On whether this was a good time to open a busines, Raine says: “Markets come and go, it’s about picking the right partners. The best time to open a busines is when the market is subdued. You learn more when a market is nimble than during a boom time. As an agent, you have to work much harder to bring buyers and sellers together in a soft market.”

Raine & Horne plans to open another office in the southern part of the freehold market in Dubai in the next 12 months. An Abu Dhabi office is also on the cards in a timespan of 18 months.

Meanwhile, the promoters say business in Ras Al Khaimah can be handled from the Dubai headquarters.

“We will always be on the lookout for projects that are prestigious and exclusive. But that will be further down the line. Right now, the idea is to put the structure in place. We can leverage the expertise of the firm’s 300 offices for an iconic project, if need be,” adds Chimnani.

Its international network will also ensure that client’s properties can be promoted on a global platform.

With higher property transfer fees and stricter mortgage rules, the Dubai real estate market is well-regulated today.

“We will not go into a new market if it is not heavily regulated,” says Raine, adding: “It is in Australians’ DNA to own property. Because our market is so mature, our agency practices are very sophisticated. All our systems and procedures are going to be emulated here in Dubai.”

On why it makes perfect sense for Raine & Horne to move to Dubai, Chimnani informs: “The rental market is very strong. The freehold market seems softer because the transfer fees were hiked and short-term investors have exited the market. You now have a mature marlet with more long-term investors and end-users. Prices have corrected over the past six to nine months. This must have been caused by the state which needs to ensure the property market is not over-heated. Yields have gone up and long-term investors are looking at this market seriously.”

While the company, which has 3,000 people working for the brand globally, will watch out for opportunities in affordable housing, a much under-served market in the UAE, it will also specialise in big-ticket luxury projects, thereby covering both ends of the spectrum.

“Dubai has become the most logical place to do business in the Middle East due to its strategic location, tax-free living and strong economic outlook. It has also positioned itself as an ideal base for multinationals and other companies targeting markets in Central Asia, Africa, the Asian subcontinent and the Eastern Mediterranean. This has resulted in capital flowing back into the residential and commercial markets of Dubai, which makes establishing Raine & Horne Dubai plenty of sense,” concludes Raine. 

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