HOME AND DESIGN
Article | August 26, 2021
The belief that green properties bring multiple benefits for both residents and developers is becoming universal. The real estate buyers are realizing the integral role played by the green buildings in minimizing carbon emissions and contributing toward one of the biggest global agendas – Climate Change. Across the UAE, some landlords are evaluating the cost and the benefits of making their portfolios greener to meet the expectations of the property buyers as well as the tenants who are becoming more environment-friendly.
Rising international focus on climate change, Conference of the Parties (COP26) summit and UAE’s net-zero initiative to minimize emissions and pledging to invest almost $165 billion in clean energy by 2050 are the other major reasons for the landlords to construct green buildings.
Covid-19 has created an urge for employee safety to ensure they feel comfortable coming to the office. To take employee safety to the next level, corporations are choosing green properties to prioritize employees’ well-being and adapt to their occupational strategies and achieve their sustainability goals.
What is a Green Building?
The World Green Building Council (WGBC) defines a green building as – “a building that, in its design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive impacts, on our climate and natural environment.”
Some of the features suggested by WGBC which make a building green include –
Efficient use of energy, water, and other resources
Use of renewable energy, such as – solar energy, pollution, and waste reduction measures, and the enabling of re-use and recycling
Good indoor environmental air quality
Use of materials that are non-toxic, ethical, and sustainable
Consideration of the environment in the design
Construction, and operation
Consideration of the quality of life of occupants in design
Construction, and operation
Design that enables adaptation to a changing environment
Exponential Rise in the Demand for Greener Properties
There has been a huge rise in the demand for greener and energy-efficient properties not only in the UAE but across the Middle East. As per the Knight Frank – 2021 survey – proximity to green space and good air quality topped the list of location features and are more important to home buyers in the Middle East than their global counterparts. Half of the respondents cited the energy efficiency of their next home as being a ‘very important‘ issue, compared to 42% of global buyers.
There has been a rising demand for green and energy-efficient properties in the UAE. The region is at the pinnacle in the Middle East in the national concentration of sustainable buildings and stands at the 14th spot in the world with 869 green-rated buildings, according to the 2nd edition of Knight Frank’s (Y)our Space report – 2021 which surveyed almost 400 businesses worldwide on their workplace strategies and real estate needs.
This sends a strong signal to the developers and planners to embrace building green properties to attract eco-friendly homebuyers in the UAE.
Reasons for Rising Demand for Green Properties
Here are the top 7 reasons for the rising demand for Green Properties in the UAE
1. Increasing Awareness
The last decade has witnessed a colossal rise in the awareness among the UAE real estate developers and homebuyers about sustainable construction practices and the adverse effects of climate change, rising energy consumption, and carbon emission on their health and life which has significantly increased the demand for greener properties.
The rising awareness about the advantages of green buildings is very evident from the leading studies conducted recently. The research conducted by EcoMENA in 2021 titled – ‘Green Building Trends in the Middle East’ reveals that in the last decade, green building design has become a top priority of real estate developers across the Middle East. The number of LEED-registered buildings has increased rapidly across the region, from 623 in 2010 to more than 2500 in 2020. UAE is ranked among the top 10 countries that hold LEED certifications in the world with Dubai ranked 3rd in the list of cities having the highest number of LEED-certified buildings. UAE has more than 600 LEED-certified projects.
2. Supportive Government Policies
UAE has launched the ‘Net-Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative’ to reduce carbon emissions and will invest over AED 600 billion in renewable energy to minimize carbon emissions and move the nation towards cleaner energy.
Other initiatives launched by the UAE to reduce carbon emissions which will increase the sales of green properties include – UAE Vision 2021, the UAE Centennial 2071, and the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, which sets a 50% target for clean energy in the country, among others. The UAE government has already established several sustainable development goals which serve as a guiding principle for most upcoming real estate projects in the region.
3. Lower Construction & Operational Cost
Research conducted by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) reveals that the cost of installing green building features and technologies is significantly overestimated. Many developers perceive that the upfront cost of a green building is, on average, 17% higher than the original cost of a similar traditional building, however, that’s not true.
The research by the U.S. Green building Council (USGBC) reveals the initial cost of a green building is only 2%-3% higher than its non-green counterpart. Moreover, green buildings consume 25%-35% less energy than non-green buildings and have 14% less operation and maintenance costs than their traditional counterparts.
Modern property owners also prioritize renting or leasing green buildings or apartments due to their cost benefits. Green buildings also allow developers to save 20% of the initial construction cost annually by reducing energy consumption. Furthermore, green buildings allow developers to complete large-scale green projects at a much larger scale resulting in more revenues and business expansion.
Using incentive technology such as Virtual Power Plants (VPP) combined with an onsite solar asset will further allow real estate developers to reduce the operational cost and utility cost and explore new models of maximizing income outside of increasing rent and making their properties more attractive for eco-friendly homes buyers.
4. Lower Rents & Service Charges
Green properties are a win-win situation for every stakeholder. Due to their lower construction cost and energy consumption, green buildings have minimal operational costs. This is indeed good news for the homeowners and tenants as lower operational cost of the building leads to a reduction in their energy bills, service charges, and rents.
The lower service charges and rents often result in higher resident satisfaction and occupancy rate for the landlords and developers.
5. The rise in Environment-friendly Buyers
Rising awareness about the adverse impact of emissions on the health of humans as well as on the environment has attracted a number of homebuyers toward green properties. This is encouraging real estate developers to construct more green properties to foster quick sales.
Two years ago we had to convince property developers to go green and think about efficient energy. The majority didn’t know what ‘green’ meant and assumed there was an extra cost attached. Now developers want to go green and some are achieving Leadership of Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, an internationally recognized green building rating system. Many large developers are creating their own green design guidelines to be followed by smaller developers building on their plot of land.”
Khalid Bushnaq, CEO of Energy Management Services (EMS)
There has been an exponential surge in buyers prioritizing green properties as they support a cleaner environment for future generations.
6. Investors Prioritizing Greener Properties for Letting & Sales
There has been a rise in the investors and businesses prioritizing the green credentials of a property while making their purchase decision. This will indeed spur their saleability and rentability in the coming days. To cater to the demand of modern and environment-friendly buyers, real estate developers are coming up with greener properties and are evaluating the cost and the benefits of greenifying their portfolios.
7. Rising Sustainability Concerns
There have been rising concerns about sustainability among both residential & commercial clients. Corporates across the globe are showing great interest in going sustainable and prioritizing sustainable buildings for their offices.
According to the 2nd edition of Knight Frank’s (Y)our Space report, “40% of firms have set a net-zero carbon target and, of those, 77% are aiming to achieve this by 2030. 87% of firms surveyed had less than half of their current global real estate portfolios either ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’.
Rising sustainability concerns among the buyers will accelerate the sales and rents of the green properties and will play a crucial role in minimizing the emission rate of the UAE.
Here is the summary of the article –
There has been a rise in the attractiveness of greener properties among buyers across the UAE to reduce carbon emissions and move towards a healthy lifestyle.
Climate change, COP 26, and UAEs investment in clean energy by 2050 have been the major drivers in raising awareness of green properties
Along with the residential, the commercial sector is also prioritizing moving their offices to green properties to prioritize employee’s safety and adapt to their occupational strategies
A Green building is a building that, in its design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive impacts, on our climate and natural environment.
The Knight Frank – 2021 survey on Middle East buyers reveals that proximity to green space and good air quality topped the list of location features. Half of the respondents considered the energy efficiency of their next home to be a ‘very important’ issue, compared to 42% of global buyers.
UAE is ranked 14th in the world with 869 green-rated buildings
The top reasons for the rising demand for green properties are as follows
Supportive government policies
Lower construction & operational cost
Lower rents & service charges
Increase in environment-friendly buyers
Investors Prioritizing Greener Properties for Letting & Sales
Rising sustainability concerns among the buyers
REAL ESTATE ADVICE
Article | June 7, 2022
Are you thinking about selling your current home? If so, the biggest question on your mind may be: if I sell now, where will I go? If this resonates with you, there’s something you should know. The number of homes coming onto the market is increasing and that could make it easier for you to move up this summer.
While this news has clear benefits for buyers who are craving more options for their home search, what does that mean for current homeowners like you? It gives you two distinct opportunities in today’s housing market.
Opportunity 1: Take Advantage of More Options for Your Move Up
If your current house no longer meets your needs or lacks the space and features you want, this gives you even more opportunity to sell and move up into the home of your dreams. As more options come to market, you’ll have more to choose from when you search for your next home.
Partnering with a local real estate professional can help make sure you see these listings as soon as they come onto the market. And when you do find the one, that professional can advise you on how to write a winning offer to seal the deal.
Opportunity 2: Sell Before You Have More Competition
Just know that, in order to make sure your house shines above the rest, it may make sense to put your home up for sale before your neighbors do the same, creating more competition in your area. The increase in the number of homes being listed for sale is expected to continue, and a recent study from realtor.com says two-thirds of homeowners looking to sell say they’ll do so by August.
A real estate professional can advise you on what you need to tackle to get your house ready to list so they can put that for sale sign up in your yard sooner rather than later. That’s because the process of getting a home ready to sell isn’t taking as long as you may think. As a result, you can capitalize on today’s sellers’ market and get ahead of the competition.
If you’re a current homeowner looking to sell, let’s connect to begin the process. You have a unique opportunity to benefit from the additional homes being listed today and sell before your house has more competition.
REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY
Article | June 3, 2021
For first-time homebuyers, making the transition from renter to homeowner can be exciting, overwhelming, and scary all at once. Yet as Gary Keller and Jay Papasan write in the second edition of Your First Home, “Those who live the most fulfilling lives base their decisions on facts, not fears.”
Below, we’ve outlined four powerful facts from Your First Home to help move anxious homeowners toward the fulfillment and abundance Keller and Papasan nod to. Delivered with empathy, care, and your expertise – these facts can help ease fears and move clients closer to experiencing all the bounties homeownership brings.
Fear 1: “I can’t afford to buy a home now.”
Fact: Until you do the math, you don’t know what you can or can’t afford.
If you are currently paying rent, generally you can afford to buy. From a financial point of view, in the United States, the tax savings on mortgage interest alone usually make up most of the difference between your rent and mortgage payments – the tax write-offs you get at the end of year will generally help you save a lot of money.
Additionally, depending on your credit score, you can end up affording more than you realize. Note: The credit scores used for mortgage lending tend to take on a much larger picture of your overall credit score.
Finally, although there may be a higher initial cost to buying a house, if you’re planning on staying in one place for a few years, the equity you build can end up being a financial boon.
Fear 2: “I should wait until the real estate market gets better.”
Fact: There is never a wrong time to buy the right home.
Whether “right” means the right price or the right property for you, waiting for the perfect market timing seldom works to your advantage. If you don’t believe us, look back to the Great Recession when the bubble around the housing market burst, GDP declined 4.5% and unemployment rose to around 9.5%. Everyone still feels the impact of this incredible financial event. But, like those who endured the Great Depression, the people who lived through the Great Recession made it through, and benefited from an era of financial growth. In fact immediately following the Great Recession, the United States entered the longest period of rising prices and general prosperity since World War II. The fact of the matter is, even the biggest economic downturns are, well, normal. Even when there were some events that threatened to dampen the economy, like the COVID-19 pandemic, the housing market still continued to thrive.
In the end, there are two ways to make money in real estate: timing and time. That is you happen upon the right moment to purchase your home before the price appreciates, or you hold it for a long enough time so that appreciation makes your purchase investment right. If you miss the first, you can most certainly count on the second.
Fear 3: “I don’t have the money for a down payment.”
Fact: There are a variety of down-payment options available to you.
While many people believe that making a home purchase requires a substantial down payment, as as much as 20%,, this is seldom true. Options are always available to you that require much less than this number, as low as 5%, some even less. Moreover, most states have down-payment assistance programs that can help you afford to buy.
House-hacking can also be a great way to make homeownership a more affordable option. House-hacking is when you purchase a piece of real estate and lease out one of the bedrooms or units. This rental income can then be applied toward your mortgage. Or, you can participate in home rental programs like Vrbo or Airbnb. While it may not be ideal all of the time, you could always make your month’s mortgage payment by renting your place while you’re on vacation.
Fear 4: “I can’t buy a home because my credit score isn’t good.”
Fact: A less-than-perfect credit score won’t necessarily prevent you from buying a home.
Although it’s valuable to have a good credit score, a poor one shouldn’t necessarily prevent you from talking to lenders to explore your options. You can expect that a good loan officer (or mortgage specialist) will be able to help you resolve your credit challenges, often simply by showing you how to move or consolidate your debts, or by referring you to a credit counselor who will put you on a plan.
If you’re facing the challenge of having no credit history because you are new to the workforce or have not made regular purchases on credit, there are still possible solutions that you may want to explore. One is to secure financing with the help of a cosigner, such as parents or a close relative, who is willing to stand by your ability to make the payments. Another can be finding a lender who is willing to use alternative forms of history such as student loans, rent, and utilities.
Looking For More Homeownership Resources?
Head over to the Your First Home webpage for freebies, including information on how to build out your real estate dream team and for your clients, a resource on how to determine their homeownership criteria.
REAL ESTATE ADVICE
Article | June 6, 2022
If your lifestyle has changed recently and you’re ready to make a move, taking advantage of today’s sellers’ market might be just the answer for your summer plans. With homes continuing to get multiple offers, this could be your moment to get the contract you’re looking for on your house if you’re ready to sell.
And here’s the thing – you need an expert on your side to ensure you make all the right moves when you do, especially when it comes to pricing your house. Even in this competitive market, you can’t stick just any price tag on your home and get the deal you want. A key piece of the puzzle is setting the right asking price so you can help buyers notice your home (and get excited about it) from the very first time they view the listing. That’s where a real estate professional comes in.
Why Pricing Your House Right Is Important
The price you set for your house sends a message to potential buyers. Price it too low and you might raise questions about your home’s condition or lead buyers to assume something is wrong with the property. Not to mention, if you undervalue your house, you could leave money on the table which decreases your future buying power.
On the other hand, price it too high, and you run the risk of deterring buyers. When that happens, you may have to do a price drop to try to re-ignite interest in your house when it sits on the market for a while. But be aware that a price drop can be seen as a red flag for some buyers who will wonder why the price was reduced and what that means about the home.
In other words, think of pricing your home as a target. Your goal is to aim directly for the center – not too high, not too low, but right at market value. Pricing your house fairly based on market conditions increases the chance you’ll have more buyers who are interested in purchasing it. That makes it more likely you’ll see multiple offers, too. And if a bidding war happens, you’ll likely get an even higher final sale price. Plus, when homes are priced right, they tend to sell quickly.
Lean on a Professional’s Expertise
There are several factors that go into pricing your house, and balancing them is the key. That’s why it’s important to lean on an expert real estate advisor when you’re ready to move. A local real estate advisor is knowledgeable about:
The value of homes in your neighborhood
The current demand for houses in today’s market
The condition of your house and how it affects the value
A real estate professional will balance these factors to make sure the price of your house makes the best first impression and gives you the greatest return on your investment in the end.
If you’re thinking about selling, pricing your house appropriately is key. Let’s connect to make sure your house is priced right for the local market, for your home’s condition, and to stand out from the competition.