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Dubai’s Real Estate Market: Investing Made Easy with Stake

Investing in property has always been a priority for Rami Tabbara. Growing up in Dubai, he learned from his parents that putting money into real estate is a smart move. At the young age of...

Investing in property has always been a priority for Rami Tabbara. Growing up in Dubai, he learned from his parents that putting money into real estate is a smart move. At the young age of 23, he purchased his first property – a one-bedroom apartment that was still under construction. However, the process wasn't smooth, and it took three long years to finally receive the keys. This experience taught him a valuable lesson: focus on ready and income-generating properties. Inspired by this, Tabbara co-founded Stake, a company aimed at making real estate investment affordable and accountable.

Dubai's real estate market is currently experiencing a boom, with construction cranes filling the skyline, new property developments being advertised, and vibrant neighborhoods emerging from the desert. According to Prathyusha Gurrapu, head of research and advisory at Dubai-based property consultancy Core, the real estate market is at an all-time high, with no signs of slowing down. The second quarter of this year alone witnessed an unprecedented number of residential transactions, both in terms of volume and sales value. In fact, the Dubai Land Department recorded over 43,000 property transactions worth more than $31.3 billion in the first half of 2022.

This remarkable growth has led to rental prices in Dubai surpassing those in major global cities like New York, London, Singapore, and Hong Kong. While efforts have been made to make Dubai more appealing to foreign investors through visa reforms, challenges remain for those looking to invest from outside the UAE. Foreigners often face difficulties in banking and securing mortgages, forcing them to rely on cash purchases. This exclusivity restricts the market to only the wealthiest individuals.

Rami Tabbara, co-founder and CEO of fintech company Stake Rami Tabbara, co-founder and CEO of fintech company Stake, at the Stake offices in Dubai, July 6, 2022. (Photo by Anna Nielsen)

However, Rami Tabbara wants to change this narrative and make the Dubai real estate market accessible to small retail investors. In 2019, he co-founded Stake with the mission of reducing the barriers to entry for investors who lack significant down payments or full sale prices in cash. Stake's user-friendly app enables people from around the world to invest in Dubai properties with as little as $136 (AED 500). The company thoroughly vets all properties listed on the platform, allowing investors to browse and purchase shares proportionate to their investment. Stake handles property management, ensuring investors receive monthly dividends.

Tabbara's vision extends beyond democratizing real estate investment; he also aims to provide guidance to new investors. Having worked in sales for Dubai-based property developers, he witnessed a lack of transparency in the industry. To address this issue, Stake operates under the regulation of the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and collaborates with graduate students from MIT to develop an algorithm that evaluates the quality of potential real estate deals.

According to Gurrapu, there is a noticeable gap in Dubai's real estate market for retail investors, and platforms like Stake are quickly gaining popularity as the market soars. However, transitioning real estate into the digital space remains a challenge. Despite a strong tradition of real estate investment in Dubai, the process is often cumbersome, filled with bureaucracy, and predominantly offline. Tabbara hopes that a new generation of investors will revolutionize the market, making it more streamlined, accessible, and truly global.

In conclusion, Stake is breaking barriers in the Dubai real estate market by offering an affordable and accountable investment platform. By leveraging technology and embracing transparency, the company is empowering smaller retail investors to participate in the city's thriving real estate sector. With Stake, investing in Dubai's property market is no longer a privilege reserved for the wealthy – it's now an opportunity available to anyone, anywhere in the world.

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