27th August 2014

Build-to-lease strategy serves Wasl well

Dubai: There is one developer who goes about launching new projects, releasing units and filling the properties without any matching fanfare. It is a script that has served Wasl — which oversees a substantial portfolio of properties available on lease in Dubai — quite well.


Look at the numbers — there are 21 projects under development, its staff deal with nearly 48,000 clients each day and its projects run at high occupancy levels, of even 99 per cent. In terms of the project location, these are split between the older and new parts of the city.


“Emerging trends [in the local realty market] are location driven,” said Hesham Abdullah Al Qassim, CEO of Wasl, which was set up to manage Dubai Real Estate Corporation’s portfolio. “Wasl caters largely to white-collar workers who are looking for high quality recreational outlets to form part of their housing requirements.

“These facilities are a major incentive for tenants; there is also growing demand for retail and food outlets within communities, with the trend being towards more stylish lifestyle options. The company is developing a number of projects, the majority of which include shopping magnets that will provide the community with premium grade amenities.


“The more recent developments — vita, trio and district — already incorporate such facilities as part of the company’s mixed-use policy. Where existing residential developments lack these, [e.g., Samari], Wasl is busy adding units to enable it to fully cater to the neighbourhoods.”


The company is evaluating some freehold plots before moving into the launch phase. Its association with Dubai Real Estate Corporation offers it access to a substantial land bank in all of the prime areas of Dubai. But all of its funding requirements are met on its own.


“We apply systematic and stringent processes when utilising this land — due diligence procedures include conducting yield management studies, performing market analysis and developing concept design,” said Al Qassim. “Since inception, in 2008, the business model has been to provide the very best in build-to-lease residential apartments, villas, furnished accommodation and commercial and retail space.


Wasl’s overall objective is to reurbanise and upgrade the older areas of Dubai, characterising them with accommodation and services that offer modern living in an authentic, heritage-based environment.”