Dubai, UAE -- (ReleaseWire) -- 06/03/2014 -- With its property market resurging—and regaining its place in the investment portfolio—the United Arab Emirates is the best place to be indeed. Especially online.
So announced Tariq Alwahedi, founder of Humming Crowd Realty (HBR), as his company launched the pioneering the real estate crowdfunding for UAE real estate in May 2014. “With our technology-propelled HBR portal, we hope to be accelerating the revitalization of the property sector in the emirates, initially in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.”
Patterned after the IT-powered crowdfunding sites that are now sweeping across the Americas, Western Europe, and South-East Asia, the HBR portal connects UAE-registered project operators with retail investors from the world over. “Our online platform has opened a new avenue for investment opportunities, and is expected to widen the investor base because our services are available universally.”
Alwahedi further said, “The crowd that the HBR portal caters to is composed of regular people and average-sized organizations that, in their own small but important ways, want to participate in the collective financing of big-ticket projects, such as the renovation of luxury residential and office buildings, or the expansion of resort hotels. Correspondingly, HBR investors stake a claim in the properties that they have chosen to fund.”
As with most real estate crowdfunding sites, the rates of return in HBR investment opportunities vary, although 20 per cent will not be uncommon. The minimum placement is AED1,000, a highly affordable amount.
Revolutionizing the Middle East landscape
The HBR process does not deviate much from the real estate crowdfunding model, except in the aspect of regional nuances.
“We operate in the same manner as our foreign counterparts, but under a different set of laws,” Alwahedi stated. “Our most challenging role yet is to formulate a policy, to evolve good practices, based on Islamic financing principles and Shari'ah investment standards.”
Otherwise, the goals and mechanics are the same.
“To ensure the success of this novel property-investment experience, the HBR portal assumes a two-pronged role. On one hand, we vet projects before we include these in the HBR portfolio. On the other, we screen investors. Either way, we conduct thorough due-diligence work.”
As for ease of use, the HBR portal is in open-house mode, 24/7, which means that depositing funds or withdrawing earnings can take place anytime, anywhere there is Internet connectivity. “Our secure payment gateways online facilitate all transactions, and can be made by using laptops or mobile devices.” Alwahedi said.
Majority of the first wave of investors are citizens from the GCC states, the greater Middle East and North Africa (or MENA) growth corridor, and the pool of ever active British, Indian, and Pakistani investors.
However, the HBR management anticipates an influx of placements from China and the bigger economies in the Far East due to the brightening market prospects. “We have logistically prepared ourselves to process a large volume of users because we see an optimistic and highly responsive crowd. This is especially in light of the momentum spurred by Dubai's winning bid to host the World Expo 2020, which has already begun to impact real estate and other industries like transportation and tourism.”