Seven Tides’ CEO on technology and investment in UAE real estate

Published: 10 April 2020 - 10 a.m.

The UAE has always been a destination that ultimately provides peace of mind for investors, even during times of global uncertainty and unrest – and this holds truer than ever amidst the escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, approximately 90% of real estate buyers start their search online, placing significant focus on digital capabilities, and this figure is likely to increase over the coming months as investors, both here in the UAE and abroad, turn to virtual viewing technology to view properties online instead of in person.

During the first two months of 2020, Dubai witnessed strong property transaction volumes, with overall transactions growing 12% YoY during January and 33% in February, according to Property Finder. Off-plan transactions, meanwhile, increased 76%.

As you would expect during any major crisis, there will be a short-term economic dip, and this is expected to impact the property market as well as all other industries.

However, while several countries across the globe are in the process of looking at possible solutions to curb the COVID-19 outbreak, the UAE has already taken concrete steps towards ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the country and its residents.

As the country continuously works to stay ahead of the curve, there is optimism that Dubai’s real estate will remain one of the soundest property investments you can make during these uncertain times.

Advancements in technology and innovation, including virtual reality, over recent years have made it easier than ever for potential property buyers to receive remarkably realistic ‘walk-through’ tours of properties from the comfort of their own homes.

In 2018, Seven Tides became one of the first premium developers to respond to this evolving trend by implementing a Visual Navigator tool, revolutionising the way in which buyers interact with both real estate developers and agents.

The Visual Navigator is a 3D platform which utilises a dynamic, media-rich web interface to present a virtual 3D walkthrough tour of any chosen apartment within our developments.

Not only does the tool allow prospective buyers and investors to view 2D and 3D floor plans, but also provides specialised 3D tours and access to a variety of relevant images, videos and floor plans.

In addition, the web-based 3D functionality allows buyers to view interior styles and configurations to fully visualise their dream home, before committing to a purchase.

While, the current situation has obviously had an impact on activity levels within the property market, developers are still recording a high level of interest from investors, particularly local buyers, as a result of virtual walkthrough home tours.

The UAE property market is mature enough to react quickly to current and changing market trends, and we are seeing this first-hand as developers work to enhance their digitalisation and technological offerings.

It is important to note that this crisis is not going to last forever, of course. The UAE, and indeed the rest of the world, will recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and when that time comes, we expect the resilience of the country’s property market to be more apparent than ever before.

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