Donald Trump of Arabia debuts on 2016 World’s Billionaires list, ranking 6th richest in GCC


At present, it’s not the best of times to be selling high-end real estate in Dubai. Low oil prices and weaker currencies have been a drag. Chinese, Russians and Iranians are absent from the market. Damac Properties admitted in its 2015 earnings announcement, released in early February, that it’s working in a ”challenging economic environment.”

To combat this, the company has guaranteed buyers a 3% annual return on down payments and advance payments (twice what fixed deposits are currently paying, it noted). And it will now guarantee a property’s value for two years, promising to pay the difference if a unit’s price declines between delivery and the end of 2019. The current environment ones again creates opportunities for well-capitalized and experienced companies.

Mr. Sajwani’s path to World’s Billionaires list started the day after Lehman Bros. filed for bankruptcy in September 2008. He jumped on the opportunity and resized his operations, stopped projects, delayed many and laid off hundreds of employees. By 2011, while other builders were still cautious from the crisis, he began preparing for his next Dubai project, something far bigger than he had ever attempted – Akoya, which is build around a gold course many of Donald Trump’s projects.

What sets Damac apart from its competition is its relentless and aggressive marketing. To create buzz for its properties, Damac has saturated Dubai with billboards: 166 of them portray the glories of the luxury lifestyle.

Last year Damac put on 500 marketing events in 98 cities in China, India, Africa and Europe.

In addition to new projects in London, the real estate tycoon has spearheaded projects in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Beirut.

Catering to buyers at a time of global volatility, Damac Properties has seven pages of promotions on its website, including options to “pay 30% and own it” and promises of 7.5% returns on rentals and a U.A.E. residence visa. That might be enough to keep a steady stream of sales going.


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