Property Finder looks to Saudi Arabia and Egypt after $120m fundraising

Dubai and Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world, in downtown Dubai. (AFP)
Updated 29 November 2018
0

Property Finder looks to Saudi Arabia and Egypt after $120m fundraising

  • Real estate listing site eyes new markets
  • Property Finder originally established in 2007

LONDON: Property Finder, the online real estate business based in the UAE, has raised a further $120 million of funding as it targets growth in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
The fund raising — described by chief executive and founder Michael Lahyani as “a major milestone” — was led by General Atlantic, the New York based investor with $28 billion of assets, which will become a new equity holder in Property Finder, alongside existing backer Vostok New ventures.
The proceeds will be used to fund technology innovation at the firm, in an effort to provide more transparency in the regional property market, and also to expand its operations into big markets like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, where Lahyani sees potential.
Property Finder has been in the Kingdom for four years, with a workforce of around 40 people, and is now seeking to expand beyond its Riyadh headquarters to Jeddah and Eastern Province.
“The market is very exciting in Saudi. The real estate agents there are starting to come online, to advertise digitally. It has a large population, the biggest in the GCC by far, and it’s a market where we want to have a presence,” Lahyani said.
“Egypt is a fast growing market for us. A lot of real estate development is happening, they are building an entire new city outside Cairo and the country has more political and economic stability,” he added.
Property Finder has become a leading online real estate market place in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey since it was set up in 2007.
In its most recent report on the UAE market, the firm said that supply would continue to grow in real estate, with a total of around 68,000 new residential units expected to be completed this year and in 2019. Some experts have blamed oversupply for the market slump.
Lahyani said: “Even if the word is that prices are down and there is oversupply, it does not make it a bad market. Those that are buying now are doing good deals. We don’t see it as distinctly negative.
“The fact that prices are coming down is not a negative thing for Dubai. This is a city that’s looking at growing and attracting more people. The city had become more expensive for quite a few people and the biggest part of that expense is usually your rent or your mortgage. If you can lower that segment of your expense you can attract more people, so we are heading in the right direction in that sense,” he added.
He said that from his perspective there had not yet been any noticeable effect from the prospect of the Expo 2020 business fair, which some have forecast will result in an economic boost for the UAE and a pickup in property demand.


Saudi Arabia, China sign $28 billion worth of economic accords

Updated 22 February 2019
0

Saudi Arabia, China sign $28 billion worth of economic accords

  • A total 35 agreements had been signed at a joint investment forum held by Saudi Arabia’s investment agency SAGIA

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia and China signed economic cooperation agreements worth a total of $28 billion at a joint investment forum during a visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Beijing, Saudi state news agency SPA said on Friday.
It said 35 agreements had been signed at the forum, held by Saudi Arabia’s investment agency SAGIA. It also said four licenses for Chinese companies had been awarded at the forum.

The forum, which coincided with the official visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman China as part of his Asian tour, aimed at enhancing opportunities for joint cooperation between the two countries in various fields.

Other cooperation agreements signed during the forum included areas of the Kingdom's target sectors such as renewable energy aimed at activating cooperation and consultation frameworks in the field of investment development in wind turbines by manufacturing Electric control devices, wind turbine structures, turbine blades and wind generators with an investment of $ 18 million.

The agreement aims to open up to 800 new job opportunities in one of the most targeted sectors of sustainable development.