x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Ahead of new regulations

Fine & Country, a UK property brand under which independent estate agents trade, is expanding its network to Dubai.

As UK property sales grind to a virtual standstill, Fine & Country, a property brand under which independent estate agents trade, is expanding its network to Dubai. The move also comes ahead of a new regulation by the Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Rera) stopping freelance property sales activities in the emirate, which takes effect on Nov 1. The regulation will also limit the number of agents that can be listed for each property.

Up to 50 licenses will be awarded to Rera-registered agents, who will then trade under the Fine & Country brand for the sale of property in Dubai. "They pay a set monthly license fee to trade under the brand, while we oblige ourselves of certain services such as back office services and support; local, regional and national advertising and national PR," said Malcolm Lindley, managing director of Fine & Country.

"The agents can also group themselves into committees so they have democracy about how they run the business." Mr Lindley added that while the slowdown in the US and European economies was a concern, Dubai's vibrancy along with its improved regulatory environment, made it an attractive place to do business. He also said that the company's target market of high-end property buyers had sheltered it from liquidity struggles at home.

"From a global perspective, we do have to be concerned. There is a recession looming for the older economies," he said. "So far the Fine & Country brand has proved recession resistant, because it's operating in the upper tier of the market where people are less dependent on mortgages. "New investors will come into the marketplace, which regenerates itself all the time. And if prices are coming down in London by 30 per cent, for example, it will have a ripple effect around the world. Dubai's a fantastic property market, and a fantastic country with a young and vibrant economy, but it's not immune from the world's economies." agiuffrida@thenational.ae