“Look beyond the uncertainty and adapt to long-term strategies”

Published: 4 February 2020 - 4:45 a.m.

Real estate and advisory firm JLL has shared insights on how to enhance and optimise the performance of real estate assets during periods of uncertainty at its annual outlook event hosted in Dubai.

“As conditions remained soft across most sectors of the UAE real estate market in 2019, we are keen for entities to now focus on rising above it and making the most of the opportunities that are ahead this year,” said the MENA head of research at JLL, Dana Salbak.

She added: “Our aim is to look beyond the uncertainty and start adapting more long-term and sustainable strategies in order to successfully pursue a period of stabilisation, and ensure the best utilisation of real estate assets.”

The chief executive officer of JLL MEA, Thierry Delvaux, and the head of project and development services, Ben Jackson were also present at the event titled Beyond Uncertainty: Towards Optimizing Real Estate, which provided an overview of how investors, developers, and occupiers can adapt as the property markets adjust to a period of ‘normalisation’.

Commenting on the need to adapt to short-term trends in the real estate markets, Delvaux said: “Real estate markets are clearly influenced by shorter term cyclical factors impacted by global geopolitics and subdued market conditions. Given this, we want to ensure the short-term trends are being adapted to, with a view on longer term structural trends.”

He added: “We strongly believe that 2020 will be characterised by opportunities to optimise the usage and performance of existing real estate as the market continues to evolve and mature.”

The core insights shared by JLL to help entities optimise their real estate assets in 2020 included:

Life-cycle and costing

Experts at JLL recommend estimating ahead of time the funds required to cover the ageing-related costs of buildings – preferably at the very start of the project – in order to ensure that the property lasts for a long period of time.

Sustainability practices and retrofitting

Finding ways to make buildings – including offices and homes – run more efficiently can make a big difference when it comes to sustainability, according the experts at JLL.

In terms of retrofitting: from smart windows that minimise energy usage to microgrid-generated renewable power, ever-advancing technology is coming up with the necessary solutions.

Buildings today must make use of sensors for real-time energy monitoring to better understand their carbon footprint and how it can be improved, says JLL.

There is increased evidence that more sustainable buildings not only reduce operating costs, particularly if these are accounted for across the entire life cycle of the building, but they may also achieve rental and value premiums.

JLL recommends that developers, occupiers, and investors place more importance on the sustainability and environmental impact of their projects in 2020.

Space management

Co-working and other changes in the way that occupiers utilise their office space has resulted in rapid growth in the amount of flexible office space being delivered across the Middle East.

While the UAE has also experienced rapid growth in the demand for such space, it currently accounts for less than 1% of the total office supply in Dubai, compared to more than 6% in London.

2020 may well prove to be the year when flexible offices come of age in the UAE, according to JLL.

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