Dubai property brokers are hiring hundreds of sales agents to cope with surging transaction volumes amid job recruiter claims of monthly pay topping Dh70,000.
Dubai's largest realtor, Better Homes, said yesterday that it had increased its number of agents by 100 to more than 250 during the past year and planned to recruit150 more this year as the market rebounds.
"The demand from the market is there, and has been for some time," said Ryan Mahoney, the chief executive. "We are matching what our customers want, and that is more agents on the ground."
Mario Volpi, the head of sales and leasing at Cluttons' estate agency branch in Dubai added that he was hoping to increase the number of agents in the brokerage by about half."The market is so buoyant at the moment that all the main agencies are trying to increase staff numbers by between 25 and 50 per cent," he said. "The problem is finding the right people."
Demand for estate agents in Dubai is so great that Smith & Ken, another broker, is again advertising positions in the UK.
The British recruitment agent Reed is advertising for five sales negotiators, 10 lettings negotiators and seven property managers at Smith & Ken through notices exclaiming "The Dubai property market is back. Property agents are earning £150,000 [Dh850,000]a year again."
According to Asteco, average apartment prices in Dubai rose 27 per cent in the year to March and average villa prices rose 24 per cent over the same period. It said that during the first quarter, sale prices for flats and villas rose 12 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively.
The Dubai estate agent Hamptons said yesterday that it closed 41 per cent more deals in the first three months of the year compared with a year earlier.
It said the total value of those transactions was 38 per cent higher than the total for the same period last year.
These numbers can mean big money for Dubai's estate agents who, since the global financial crisis, typically work for little or no salary but take home as much as half of the 4 per cent sales commission made by their brokerages on each deal they complete. That means that for a Dh2 million villa sale, a broker could personally pocket Dh40,000.
The Better Homes head of human resources, Partho Bhattacharya, said that his company had received more than 10,000 CVs for a range of roles over the past 12 months.
"Agents and entrepreneurial minds are seeing the turnaround in the market, and we have received more CVs in the past year than in 2011 and 2012 combined," he said.
But with speculators returning to the market and more commentators suggesting that Dubai's housing market is again entering bubble conditions and heading for a crash, Mr Volpi points out that the career is not one for the fainthearted.
"People back in the UK think that being an estate agent is easy and it's just like being on holiday every weekend but the fact of the matter is that it's a tough life and of all the people who are recruited there is a big drop-off rate," he says. "If the market turns and you're only selling one property a month or two then how long can you go on for? Lots of people came over before the downturn and their experience has been so bad and they have been so jaded that they will never come back."