Dubai’s Omniyat aims to boost its property portfolio to $15bn in next two years

Company planning new projects and acquiring assets as part of its growth strategy, chief executive says

Omniyat Infinity project in Palm Jumeirah. Photo: Omniyat
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Dubai’s luxury developer Omniyat is aiming to grow its property portfolio by 50 per cent to $15 billion in the next two years amid plans to launch new projects and acquire assets, according to its chairman and chief executive.

“Our portfolio was about $5 billion just about two years ago. We've doubled that to $10 billion, which is basically under different stages of construction or delivered already,” Mahdi Amjad told The National in an interview.

“And we are planning to grow that number substantially for the next two years to $15 billion with a mix of residential, hospitality and commercial property.”

Omniyat, founded in 2005, is developing a number of luxury projects at Palm Jumeirah and Business Bay, including The Lana, Dorchester Collection, Ava and Dorchester Collection at the Palm, among others.

It recently acquired a new waterfront development called Marasi Bay Marina from Dubai Holding as it continues to boost its portfolio.

It launched another new project called Orla Infinity, part of the $2 billion Orla collection, at Palm Jumeirah on Tuesday and aims to start one more project in Downtown Dubai by the end of the year. Orla Infinity will have 20 duplex residences.

The company plans to fund projects through a mix of debt and equity, said Mr Amjad, who is also the founder of Omniyat.

“Always from the beginning, we have a very strong investment side in Omniyat and we do a lot of private equity at every project level and make sure that [the project] … is well capitalised and that has been our model for more than 15 years,” he said.

“And we, of course, work with the local banking community.

“We have a very clear philosophy on making sure the project is 100 per cent funded as we start the construction process so that there is zero interruption regardless of sales cycles.”

Dubai's property market has bounced back strongly from the coronavirus-induced slowdown, helped by government initiatives such as residency permits for retired and remote workers as well as expansion of the 10-year golden visa programme.

The total number of $10 million home sales in Dubai for the first nine months of the year reached a record high of 277, driven by rising demand for luxury homes in the emirate, Knight Frank said this month.

The emirate registered a 40.7 per cent annual jump in the volume of residential sales, valued at more than $10 million in the third quarter of 2023.

The volume of homes priced at more than $10 million in Dubai – the commercial and tourism centre of the Middle East – totalled more than $1.59 billion in the July-September period, the report said.

In the first half of the year, Dubai emerged as one of the world's busiest markets for sales of more than $10 million, recording 189 transactions. It surpassed other global cities, including New York (125), Hong Kong (109), London (99), Los Angeles (77) and Singapore (67).

Omniyat recorded close to 70 per cent growth in sales in the first nine months of 2023, compared with the same period last year, with customers from Western Europe, North America and Asia buying property. It expects to achieve a 70 per cent annual jump in property sales for the full year amid higher demand from buyers.

The company, however, did not disclose the total value of sales.

“I think quarter four will be a strong quarter for us,” Mr Amjad said. “We have already seen good momentum and also next year the trends are positive.”

He added that there has been higher demand from “sophisticated investors” to buy a home in Dubai.

“These international sophisticated investors, who are actually coming to Dubai for the first time … a lot of them … consider Dubai as a destination for first or second home and are engaged in a property purchase which is a trend that started accelerating post-Covid.”

Global high-net-worth individuals plan to spend $2.5 billion on Dubai property this year, a report has found.

About 22 per cent of HNWIs are prepared to commit $5 million to $10 million to real estate in the emirate, while 8 per cent are ready to spend more than $80 million, according to another report by Knight Frank in May.

East Asian buyers have a higher spending propensity, with many prepared to allocate more than $20 million to buy Dubai property, the consultancy said.

“We do see [in the] long term Dubai continually having a capital gain opportunity … it will continue to be a very compelling offering to the global community,” Mr Amjad said.

Dubai's luxury residential market is projected to record the highest growth rate for any prime market globally, at 13.5 per cent in 2023, driven by a demand-supply imbalance and positive economic growth, according to another report by Knight Frank.

He added that prices in Dubai are still low compared to other cities like London, New York, Singapore or Hong Kong, which will attract more customers to the emirate.

The company has no plans to list its shares on local stock markets but is “evaluating different options on the public market with regulators to see what is the right model to continue to support our growth”, he said without elaborating.

Updated: October 18, 2023, 3:36 PM