Rising above the rest: Muhammad Binghatti, Binghatti Developers
“The Dubai real estate market is today less speculative and more fundamentally-driven,” believes the young and dynamic chief executive officer (CEO) and head of architecture, Muhammad Binghatti of Binghatti Developers. The real estate development branch of Dubai-based Binghatti Holding, Binghatti Developers, was established three years ago and the portfolio grew to more than 30 projects in excess of AED3.5bn year-to-date.
A third-generation entrepreneur, Binghatti, opines that the mantra of the company is to transform the ‘Art of Property’ into reality. An architect with interest in art and poetry, Binghatti always has his focus fixed on how the design of the building could be iconic, environmentally friendly, cost effective, and very functional to provide attractive products to both end-users and investors.
“We’ve grown the company by earning repeat business from customers and institutions such as national bonds, large hotel groups, and private investors. Essentially, once they get a taste of the investment potential and the strong returns that we offer in our properties, they come back for more and this has given us a strong name in the market, especially for these institutional investors, and we are proud to say that they keep coming back to us out of all the other developers in Dubai.
“We’ve always decided to keep few projects in the market every year for end-users to keep our name and stay ahead of the game in terms of end-user trends, offering something unique and innovative while at the same time ensuring good value for money, high-quality materials and finishing, great locations, and delivery on time.”
The developer is currently working on more than 30 projects in Dubai including Millennium Binghatti Residences, Binghatti Stars, Binghatti Crystals, Binghatti Sapphires, Binghatti Vista, Binghatti East, Binghatti West, and Binghatti Platinum to name a few. Binghatti mentions: “The latest and most prominent development we are working on is Millennium Binghatti Residences, a luxurious waterfront tower, located in Business Bay and inspired from the Millennium Hotels and Resorts. The project consists of 230 units including studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, and offers a number of hotel-inspired lifestyle amenities. The building also features direct views on the Dubai Water Canal and Dubai skyline.”
The tower features several hotel-inspired lifestyle amenities such as a health club, swimming pool, jacuzzi, panoramic lifts, covered parking, landscaped garden, in addition to various services which include grocery, housekeeping, concierge, day-care, catering, laundry services, 24/7 grocery services, 24/7 maintenance hotline, as well as many other premium facilities.
Officially launched at Cityscape Global 2017, one of the company’s other projects, Binghatti Stars, is a building that features 362 residential apartments and is located in Dubai Silicon Oasis. The tower showcases a mixture of unit types, including studio, one and two-bedroom apartments, along with a plethora of lifestyle amenities including a health club by Technogym, a heat monitored swimming pool and jacuzzi, a children’s play area, and a public terrace for residents to enjoy.
Binghatti says: “The project was launched with the powerful idea that a building with iconic design, high quality materials, and an uncompromised finishing could be built and sold for a reasonable price in Dubai. As a developer, we realised that the market was saturated with luxurious, high-end real estate projects that were out of reach for the average Dubai resident. We capitalised on this phenomenon by specialising on the mid-segment niche of the market and were able to sell out the majority of the building to end users earning between AED15,000 and AED30,000 per month.
“In line with HH Sheikh Mohammed’s initiative for affordable housing, we focused our efforts on reducing costs for the typical end user looking for a home in Dubai. This includes keeping ongoing maintenance and service fees as low as possible at AED10 per sqft, something developers in this segment often overlook when delivering projects in the mid-segment of the property market.”
The developer, with a constant growth in its portfolio, is planning to launch four projects in Dubai Land Residence Complex, 10 projects in Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC), three in Business Bay, and two in Al-Jaddaf, along with different projects in Liwan as well as numerous other projects in Dubai Silicon Oasis. Binghatti mentions that the company will announce the special projects at Cityscape Global 2018 and “intend on getting a lot of attention at the event”.
According to the JLL Global Real Estate Transparency Index (GRETI), Dubai has retained its position as the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s most transparent real estate market with a range of new government initiatives and an increasingly dynamic proptech industry pushing the emirate up in the global rankings.
Binghatti says: “The UAE is the most stable of all the real estate markets in the region and Dubai is our area of expertise. We’ve noticed a lot of institutional investors involved in the market, particularly in Dubai. RERA’s regulations and easing of business has allowed these banks to start operating more aggressively. There is more transparency and a lot more on what’s happening in the market and this gives the insight necessary for these funds to take actions and make decisions on investments.”
Affordability has become a trend in the current real estate market and more investment has been going towards it. He says: “We’ve witnessed a shift into affordable housing over the past few years. Moreover, buyers are eyeing real estate investments as alternative homes, further increasing end-user demand. At the same time, the decline in the number of irrational investors, who make purely speculative investment decisions, has meant that the market is now more stable, sustainable, and attractive due to its decreased uncertainty.”
The market is becoming more transparent which gives more comfort to these investment banks and funds to invest more money in Dubai.
Also, according to Binghatti, another important achievement is the evolution of RERA’s regulations. “In fact, RERA has done a tremendous job of enacting regulations that stabilise the market. For some time now, these regulations have been acting as a balancing force between the interests of both investors and developers. This has contributed to a more equitable investment ecosystem. Ultimately, the development and advancement of the real estate regulatory framework in Dubai promotes further trust and certainty therefore stimulating further demand for real estate developments.”
Finally, being a young entrepreneur himself, Binghatti believes that Dubai’s younger inhabitants now perceive the emirate as a long-term home. “This was not always the case previously when young adults used to consider Dubai as a transitionary place where they work for a few years and leave thereafter. Consequently, more young adults are prepared to invest in and own property today than ever before. This certainly has a positive impact on the market as it avails more liquidity. As people settle down for longer terms and own more property, their sense of stability increases which increases their confidence as consumers. This translates into a higher propensity to consume which has positive spill over effects on the whole economy.”
Being a highly ambitious company, Binghatti hopes to reach a portfolio worth AED7bn by 2022, and “we will achieve this goal if we keep growing with the same pace”. He opines: “We are currently operating in several areas of Dubai through a portfolio of more than AED3.5bn and 39 projects. We have already acquired a land bank of approximately 37ha across Dubai, and we are also looking forward to expanding in different areas of Dubai.”
The developer will continue its expansion during the coming two to three years and have always planned a minimum of exponential growth every year. The chief mentions: “For example, if we build two buildings in a year, we make sure to develop four buildings in the following year, and another four in the subsequent one. I believe that our strategy has been the same for the past three years in terms of growth. When it comes to design, we are willing to continue our branding through our architecture, except that we will raise the bar higher in terms of the types of design and style that we develop.”
The company will also continue to focus on providing solutions for both institutional investors as well as end-users. Binghatti continues: “We continue to see Dubai as a very high potential market and feel that there is still a lot of growth available in the market especially leading up to the Expo 2020. In addition to this, we are seeing more institutional investors and real estate funds and investment banks getting involved in the property market, which is always a good sign.
“It shows that there is a lot of maturity taking place and that there are a lot of enhancements in terms of regulation. The market is becoming more transparent which gives more comfort to these investment banks and funds to invest more money in Dubai. Concerning the end-user market, we will have projects in some of the upcoming areas in Dubai such as Millennium Binghatti Residences in Business Bay, Al Jaddaf, JVC, and of course our hub – Dubai Silicon Oasis.”
According to Binghatti, the firm is mostly focusing on residential development, and more specifically, the mid-segment market. He concludes: “It’s no secret today that Binghatti Developers’ strength is in the mid-segment property market and that it is leading this segment as it has been synonymous with a meticulous balance of quality and affordability. The company has successfully delivered numerous projects offering holistic solutions for end users. Moreover, the company has proven itself as a viable alternative to some of the largest market players in Dubai, strengthening its reputation with an extensive portfolio of completed projects.”