Real estate transactions in the UAE no longer require personal interaction, at least while maintaining a safe distance is necessary to contain a pandemic. And online real estate platforms, combined with smartphone apps, fill the gap caused by social distance.
COVID-19 served as a catalyst for the UAE sale and rental market services transition to digital media, as digital interaction replaces personal communication. Potential tenants can now take virtual tours of their chosen property, “visit” houses using a smartphone to open digital locks, submit documents and pay their rents online. Real estate apps for property search provide tenants with a convenient and safe way to find a new home in these difficult times.
Over the 21 days of last month, apps for searching rental properties demonstrated a 60 per cent increase in number of active daily users, while the number of rental offers posted on electronic classifieds increased by 92%.
Landlords and tenants are now forced to adapt to the new reality. People are looking for rental options, but are justifiably concerned that viewing a property would violate the principles of social distance. And landlords are worried that the virus may reduce rental demand.
And in this case, online platforms come to the rescue of both of them: these tools are used to easily bring together landlords and tenants, providing the latter with the opportunity to view high-quality houses with the help of virtual tours and even on-site viewing on their own. Even in the field of Property Management, a free application launched by one of the Dubai brokerage companies allows small investors to act independently, and also calculates RoI (investment income), sends reminders about the need to pay and/or for renewal of current agreements.
However, there is a concern growing among brokers, that technology may to some extent replace them in the UAE real estate industry. But given the fact that real estate is the space where people live, digital tools are unlikely to fully take into account consumers’ needs and desires. They can show potential buyer the available options, but they won’t be able to take into account emotions, wishes or reactions to a particular property, as a professional agent does.
But today, with the help of virtual reality and 3D modeling, investors can have a 360-degree look at a property they want to buy for lease. And successful brokers, including IMEX Real Estate, are incorporating the latest technology into their practice to move forward. We offer our clients not only virtual tours of Dubai districts, but also virtual tours of selected real estate or video reviews of the available options, such as this review of apartment in the mega-sought after new Sparkle Towers complex.
At the same time, speaking about landlords’ fears regarding a drop in rental demand, we can reassure owners of rented units. UAE real estate experts believe that rental market will remain stable as new housing projects will now appear at a much slower pace, which means some reduction of available rental offers. But rental demand will ultimately depend on the economy’s ability to maintain jobs and keep the rental market competitive.
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IMEX REAL ESTATE BROKER LLC, UAE
Office 2502, Marina Plaza, Dubai Marina, Dubai, UAE