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GCC property market 'lacks experts'

Dubai, April 23, 2008

The booming real estate market in GCC could be severely hit by a shortage of qualified property development and management professionals, says a study.

The crisis looms at a time when the region is witnessing unparalleled real estate developments, both in magnitude and numbers.

A study conducted by the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) reveals that developers are finding it difficult to find high-calibre professionals, despite offering salaries and perks that are among the highest in the region.

The study preceded the launch of the UAE’s first full-fledged, full-time undergraduate program in Property Development & Management by UOWD at its Knowledge Village campus, starting September 2008.

The study corroborates findings of some leading research agencies. An earlier study done by Colliers International revealed that more than 16.35 million sq m of Gross Leasable Area (GLA) would be added by 2010 in the GCC.

According to the study, the UAE and Saudi Arabia will see the highest increase, contributing 44 per cent and 30 per cent respectively of the GLA by the end of the decade.

Kuwait will be the third largest provider, making up 10 per cent of the supply coming online by 2010, with Qatar supplying eight per cent, Bahrain seven percent and Oman with one per cent.

“There has been a tremendous increase in the number of property developers and real estate agents, creating a strong demand for professionals in all aspects of property development and management,” commented Marwan Bin Ghalita, CEO of Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA).

“The real challenge is not the execution of the project, because we have already excelled at it, but to find people with the right skills to maintain and service the real estate sector. A specialised degree program from a prestigious university could fill this vacuum.”

“The region’s relatively young real estate industry has seen some the world’s most stupendous projects being built right in front of our eyes, from the amazing Palm Islands trilogy to the magnificent Burj Dubai,” said David Rome, president of UOWD.

“At the same time, a sound legal framework has been introduced to support and further promote development in this sector. In line with this, we can expect to see the need for trained professionals with a strong understanding of the local needs and practices,” he noted.

“Our study showed that most developers find it tough to find trained professionals to take up challenging positions. In such a scenario, there is need for trained and focused professionals who will direct and execute projects to global standards.'

'We have, therefore, designed a program that seeks to equip students with knowledge, tools and expertise that are relevant to this market, supported by a strong internship program in collaboration with the region’s biggest developers,” said Dr Lejla Vrazalic, chair of UOWD’s College of Undergraduate Studies.

“It is evident that the property industry is booming at immense speed in UAE and it has its own distinctive flair that is different from other foreign markets,” said Simon E. Azzam, chief executive officer, Union Properties.

“The market is currently limited with options of providing property professionals training to keep them abreast with market trends and changes, which is a crucial element to improve their understanding of the industry in order to guarantee the success of their projects.”

“The introduction of a full-time degree programme will be an added benefit for the industry. It will expose the graduates to the market at a very early stage, thus making it easier for developers to groom them into the practical workforce efficiently. The new programme should also appeal to UAE nationals seeking careers in development and management of property,” added Azzam.

Graduates completing the program at UOWD can look forward to rewardi




Tags: real estate | GCC | Professionals | study | lack |

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