Damac enlists property broker 5i5j to ‘sell Dubai’ to the Chinese

One of Dubai’s biggest real estate developers is turning to an army of Chinese real estate agents to sell its residential units.

Damac Properties has signed an exclusive deal with 5i5j, the third-largest property broker in China, to market its pipeline of 37,000 properties to the Chinese.

“They have 30,000 sales people. They sell a unit every four minutes,” said Niall McLoughlin, Damac’s senior vice-president.

“We have 22 of their senior people here. They are being inducted into Dubai and Damac on a three-day programme. They will go back to China and sell Dubai.”

Ziad El Chaar, Damac’s managing director, signed the agreement with 5i5j during Dubai Week in China last month.

Mr McLoughlin said that interest from Chinese buyers in Dubai’s property market had increased for a number of reasons. The number of Chinese visitors to the city is on the rise – up by 25 per cent last year to 285,000. There are about 200,000 Chinese residing in the UAE.

Mr McLoughlin also said there was a pilot programme in five Chinese cities that allowed individuals to repatriate funds outside of China to purchase stocks, bonds and real estate.

A report published by Cushman and Wakefield in October last year stated that there has been a “rapid growth of Chinese outbound real estate investment”, with Chinese investors buying up everything from Manhattan office buildings to Singapore malls. It said that investment in the period from 2008 to the middle of last year had grown more than 200-fold to US$33.7 billion. Investors purchased $5.1bn worth of property in the first half of last year. State-owned enterprises were responsible for about half of all overseas property investments.

One state-backed company that has invested in Dubai is China State Construction Engineering Corporation. It has taken a minority stake in Skai Holdings’ $1bn Palm Viceroy project and in its Suites in the Skai project being built in the Jumeirah Village Circle neighbourhood.


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Michael Fahy

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