Podcast: Danube Properties on its focus towards affordable housing

EXCLUSIVE: Atif Rahman, director and partner, speaks to CW about the developer's recent and upcoming projects

Atif Rahman, Danube Properties.
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Atif Rahman, Danube Properties.

The director and partner of Dubai-based property developer Danube Properties, Atif Rahman, has discussed the company's focus on affordable housing as well as its recent and upcoming projects during the latest episode of the Construction Week Viewpoint podcast.

Rahman also revealed in the podcast Danube Properties' 1% payment per month plan, which facilitates the ease of purchasing properties and discusses at length about the focus on crowdfunding in real estate in the region. 

Listen to the entire conversation here.

Danube Properties' central focus on affordable housing was born out of an opportunity that was achieved by tapping into an untouched segment.

"Dubai's real estate landscape has always focused on luxury projects. While it attracts a lot of attention, we have ignored a huge population of UAE residents. For residents who have stayed in the region for a decade or more, UAE is home. We wanted to tap into that section of the population, particularly the mid-income segment who do not have as many options in terms of property purchase in the region," Rahman says. 

"Danube Properties' affordable housing concept ties in interestingly with its focus on mid-rise developments. Low and mid-rise developments look more livable," he adds.

"The [low and mid-rise] developments are more economical in comparison to high-rises, which are expensive in terms of structure and foundation."

Danube Properties has also launched a 1% payment per month plan, with an aim to empower its customers and to facilitate property purchases.

Elaborating on the plan, Rahman says: "The provision of the Central Bank dictates 50% payment on off-planned properties before it could be mortgaged by a bank. This conflicts with the affordable housing segment. The plan was aimed towards making property purchase conveniently possible for the mid-income segment of the region's population." 

The company has identified purchase of real estate as an "emotional and sensitive decision" for the mid-income segment in the region. In line with this, the payment plan is structured to eliminate the "hassles of bank paperwork, the risk of not being approved by the bank due to certain credit policies or because the consumer is unable to meet some criteria associated with the mortgage," Rahman adds. 

While it is still in its "early stage", Danube Properties has acknowledged and responded to the requirement for crowdfunding in terms of real estate in the region by partnering with regulated real estate investment platform SmartCrowd.

Identifying crowdfunding as a major "disruption", Rahman says that Danube Properties was "among the first Dubai International Financial Centre-registered company to announce their tie up with a crowdfunding platform, allowing people to own real estate directly for as low as AED5,000."

Looking ahead, Rahman says that Danube Properties had an exciting year in terms of project launches with the company noting completion on its Elz and Wavez projects.

While the common complaint had been of a sluggish market in 2019, "Danube Properties traded as normal," he adds. 

In addition, the company noted construction completion on its $81.7m (AED300m) residential and retail project Resortz that is touted to be the firm’s seventh project to have been completed on time. 

For Danube Properties' 2020 agenda, the pipeline is exciting with "three projects scheduled for delivery at a combined value of $299.4m (AED1.1bn), including Bayz, Glamz and Miraclz," Rahman says. 

"For 2021, we have a pipeline of four projects scheduled for delivery, including Jewelz, Lawnz, Elz, and Wavez," he concludes. 

Construction Week Viewpoint is a weekly podcast series produced by the Construction Week editorial team and published on SoundCloud and iTunes at noon (GST) every Monday.

Business leaders are regular podcast special guests. The weekly bulletin has welcomed the likes of Gurminder Sagoo, client director of WSP; David Cook, the founder and chief executive officer of Contractors Direct; Michiel Raaphorst, the founder and owner of V8 Architects, who is responsible for the design of the Netherlands' Pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai site; Ludwig Bouldoukian, Hyatt's regional vice president of development for the Middle East and Africa; and Geetha Nayak and Pratap Mendonca, managing partner and co-founder of Design Infinity.

To volunteer yourself or a colleague as a guest speaker on Construction Week Viewpoint, please contact Ashley Williams or Disha Dadlani.

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