Sustaining Excellence: Maintaining Dubai's Luxury Housing Market

REM Times speaks to industry professionals to know more on what makes the luxury housing market of the city so desirable and the challenges involved in the maintenance of these residences
Deepa Natarajan Lobo | UAE | Community Management

For a city that’s often associated with opulence, extravagance and meteoric growth, it’s not a wonder why the luxury housing market of Dubai has been setting one record after the other. A recent report by real estate agency Knight Frank revealed a surge of nearly 50% in luxury home prices in Dubai during the first half of the year leaving behind cities like Tokyo, Singapore and New York.

Moreover, Dubai’s luxury home prices have soared by a whopping 225% since the third quarter of 2020, bouncing back with great vigour after the pandemic low. With the luxury housing market of the emirate growing so rapidly, REM Times speaks to industry professionals to know more on what makes it so desirable and what are the challenges involved in the maintenance of these residences.

Ruling the Roost

With Dubai’s luxury home prices rising steadily, the emirate has cemented itself as the world’s number one luxury lifestyle destination. Andrew Cummings, Partner – Head of Dubai Prime Residential, Knight Frank believes that the city offers the right mix of quality, luxury and comfort. “With Michelin star restaurants and luxury hotels coupled with world-class schools and hospitals, the city has seen an influx of HNWI who have chosen to purchase a residence here. There is an emergence of quality in the market with properties now on par with the quality, style and amenities of properties in other leading global cities,” he says.

The Challenges of Maintenance 

However, everything comes at a price and the same holds true for luxury properties, the maintenance of which can often be taxing. A major challenge that Ekaterina Bakeeva, a community management expert, has encountered when it comes to maintaining luxury properties is the lack of available funds, which can be due to low service charge collection and budget restrictions. “This hampers the ability to plan improvements and rectification works effectively. In such situations, a community manager must rely on his or her creativity and experience to devise a strategy that aligns with the current financial situation, maintenance needs, and the recommendations of the owners' committee. While it may be tempting to focus on quick wins, it is crucial to have a long-term strategy in place,” says the community manager who has a decade of experience in overseeing luxury properties in prestigious areas of Dubai, such as DIFC, Marina, and Palm Jumeirah.

Shining A Spotlight On The People

The solution to this lies in a people-centric approach, say industry insiders. “It is essential for a community manager handling luxury properties to understand the specific needs and preferences of the residents residing in that particular property. When I take charge of a new project, I always put myself in the residents' shoes, prioritising the areas that directly impact their daily lives. While internal maintenance of pump rooms and mechanical areas are crucial, I recognise that residents primarily interact with lobbies, car parks, recreational facilities, elevators, and the external façade,” states Ekaterina. “Therefore, I ensure these areas are impeccably maintained, and the personnel, including security guards and concierge, are well-trained with excellent communication skills and a positive attitude. By creating a positive initial impression, we prevent negative consequences like a tarnished reputation, lower rental and resale values, and resident complaints,” she adds.

Nakheel Community Management, which manages several luxury properties at the Palm Jumeirah in addition to Jumeirah Park and Jumeirah Islands, also echoes the same philosophy. “Our communities are a microcosm of Dubai, reflecting the city’s diversity and aspirations. Hence, our approach is based on our three core pillars – to be community-focused, customer-centric, and technology-driven. We know that the properties we manage are much more than brick and mortar; they are people’s homes, communities and lives. We work hard to understand what our residents want, and to anticipate and prevent issues from arising. We prioritise their interests and always take a highly personalised and curated approach to dealing with them,” says Francis Giani, Chief Community Officer, Nakheel.

Sound financial planning is imperative to the maintenance of these properties too as Ekaterina says, “I emphasise the importance of meticulously drafted budgets that allocate adequate funds to cover all aspects of property management. From routine maintenance to potential improvement projects, having a well-planned budget ensures the property remains in top-notch condition and meets the residents' expectations.”

A Bright Future

From an ultra-luxury penthouse that was sold for Dh 420 million a few months ago to a three-bedroom duplex apartment at the Palm Jumeirah sold for Dh12,387 per square foot, one can be rest assured that Dubai will continue to be the king of the luxury property market in the years to come. “Branded residences continue to make an impact in the market and we are likely to see the number of these developments growing in coming years with globally renowned architects and designers delivering high-end turnkey products, such as the one on Lanai Island in Tilal Al Ghaf where SAOTA and Kelly Hoppen have combined with developer Majid Al Futtaim to develop the region’s first super prime quality mansions,” says Andrew Cummings.

However, the more important factor in this regard is that the finances and people’s requirements should be in place. “The key to sustaining luxury properties lies in a winning formula: prioritising customer experience, strategic financial planning, and a deep understanding of residents' needs. By implementing these strategies, community managers can ensure the long-term success and satisfaction of luxury property residents,” concludes Ekaterina.

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