Tamweel: Financing homes the Dubai way

The region’s home finance market has grown rapidly over the last few years, buoyed by a strong economy. With the announcement of freehold property ownership rights in some of the GCC countries, the market looks like it will expand even further. Zoe Naylor meets Tamweel CEO, Adel Al Shirawi, to talk about these recent developments.

  • E-Mail
By  Zoe Naylor Published  October 15, 2005

Tamweel: Financing homes the Dubai way|~|91vis200.gif|~|Adel Al Shirawi: “About 80% of our clients are expats. Our Shariah-compliant services are designed to appeal to all customers, whether Muslim or not.”|~|What is Tamweel’s background?

We are a Dubai-based finance company focusing on home finance services and products. We provide rental finance solutions for the major local developers Emaar, Nakheel and Dubai Properties.

Tamweel was established in March 2004, bringing together Dubai Islamic Bank — the first Islamic bank in the world — and Istithmar, which is part of the Corporate Office Group (including the Dubai Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, Nakheel, Dubai Metals and Commodities Centre
and Tejari).

Tamweel crossed the US $460 million (AED1.7 billion) mark within the first 10 months of its operations.

In November last year, we launched our own apartment tower which sold out in just two days. We have also formed alliances with a number of developers and real estate agents and have our own panel of approved developers. As part of our expansion plans, we have opened a second branch (full sales and service) on Sheikh Zayed Road.

What home finance products have you launched recently?

We recently launched Yusr, the first ever Shariah-compliant adjustable repayment mortgage finance in the world. It allows customers to make lower monthly repayments in the initial years and amortise the difference over the remaining years of the repayment period.

What do you think of investor confidence in the UAE property market?

Confidence levels here are still high — the proof of this is in the number of new projects that have been announced and
continue to be announced. Last year the size of the market was $1.9 billion of real estate — this year we’re expecting between $3.2 to $4 billion worth of real estate deals to be made in the UAE. This figure has doubled, which indicates to me that there is no apparent slowdown just yet.

How savvy are investors in the region?

I think that investors are becoming smarter and are definitely becoming more aware of home finance concepts. Two years ago, only 30% of customers were familiar with Islamic finance. Since then, this figure has almost tripled to over 82%. They are also becoming a lot more choosy between the products and look for those that deliver, rather than merely promise to deliver.

Tamweel, as well as our colleagues in the local financial market, have done a lot to help raise awareness. We run various seminars and programmes to help educate people to make informed choices. About 80% of mortgage buyers here are expats. Our Shariah-compliant services and products are designed to appeal to all customers, whether Muslim or not.

What do you think of the move to offer freehold property
ownership rights within the region?

There are a number of value-added benefits that it will
bring. First of all it will stimulate the demand in the real estate market and will create a comfort level within the market for lenders.

Environmental health and safety is another issue — people who own a property will make sure that it is looked after more than if it was being rented. International investors will also feel more secure investing in the region.

How do you see the property market in the region in the next five years?

I don’t think there will be any slowdown in the Dubai market in that period, despite what some people are saying.
I see more growth towards Abu Dhabi and the rest of the UAE because there is still a gap between the level of supply
and demand. As far as Dubai is concerned, there are still big developments that are not as yet open, such as Nakheel’s Palm Jumeirah.

Do you think that the residential projects will create an over supply in the market?

It will be a good thing to have an over-supply of around 20%. With this kind of surplus we can monitor and control the market, so that prices and inflation will stabilise.

With the raft of real estate projects being announced back to
back in Dubai, what is going to distinguish one from the other?

They are different right from the beginning. If you look at China, for example, you see many developments with the same kind of buildings — they are like dominoes. In Dubai, each one provides a lifestyle. The Palm, for example, offers a lifestyle by the Gulf; Dubai Sports City offers golf, tennis and football. They’re creating their own unique sub-culture and living space.

Most of Dubai’s projects offer some way of attracting a certain type of customer, which is what we have been aiming for from day one.

Dubai has been and will continue to be about value-added projects, not ‘cut-and-paste’ real estate. ||**||

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code