x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Real-estate sales requires expertise

Tertiary education and a licensing system for agents would help bring certainty to the property market.

Areport on the UAE real estate market has shown that the industry suffers from a shortage of expertise. Many developers and estate agents active in the market do not have enough training in the field, yet only a few courses are offered covering the technical and legal aspects of real-estate transactions in the nation.

This, according to experts, has affected the market's efficiency and has had negative consequences for the dynamics of the industry.

However, local universities are starting to pay attention. As The National reported yesterday, two Dubai branch campuses of international universities will offer new master's degrees in property this year. The Scottish Heriot-Watt University will ofer a course in property investment and finance, and the Indian Amity University will offer an urban and real estate management degree.

People with expertise are crucial to the UAE property market, which is currently experiencing a high level of activity and buoyancy, with prices again rising rapidly. Specialists say that thousands of jobs are expected to be created in the industry, and those positions must be filled by qualified staff who have an appropriate understanding of the market.

However, the sustainability of the local property market requires more than that. There are no strict criteria in the UAE for those applying for real-estate licences. Rather than having the necessary skills and qualifications, as is the requirement in several other countries, many property agents here simply learn on the job.

In the United States, for example, those applying for real-estate licences must take a pre-licensing course that differs among states in duration and content. For example, California requires candidates to take at least three college-level subjects. Other states require a set number of hours of education, and applicants need to pass both state and national exams to get their licences.

This is an instance where the UAE can learn from the experience of other countries. Having better-qualified professionals - both in management and staff positions - will give confidence to investors and the markets as a whole, and play a big role in the sustainable growth of the real-estate industry.