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Dubai: Investors from across the globe looking to invest in real estate see the UAE as one of the most lucrative of destinations. The property market has grown its attractiveness both among the new and seasoned investors.
The place offers higher profits on your investment, otherwise known as return on investment or ROI, compared to several established global property markets, experts evaluate.
Most business entrepreneurs in the UAE invest in Dubai since they can reach gross rental yields between 5 and 9 per cent, which makes the city an affordable location to own a property, evaluates Marwan Al Sheikh, chief executive officer (CEO) at Dubai-based Medait Star Real Estate.
“On average, the rate of return in real estate mostly ranges between 8 and 10 per cent globally. Dubai is more open to inviting investors compared to Abu Dhabi, so the rate differs. The average rate of return for Abu Dhabi stands at 4 to 6 per cent annually.”
ROI stands for return on investment that measures profit margins on investments. Sheikh stated that ROI is vital to indicating how productive and sufficient capital is used to multiply profit.
“It gives you the knowledge or idea, once calculated, whether an investment is a potential asset or a liability, or if it will be a gain or loss. This also gives an investor a rough estimate of which type of asset is more profitable and whether it is worth investing in the first place.”
“ROI is a useful performance metric to compare the efficiencies of several different investments,” said Zhann Jochinke, chief operating officer (COO) at Dubai-based market analytics firm Property Monitor.
“It can be utilised to quickly compare investment opportunities both within and in comparison to the housing market. ROI allows you to focus on the return you get on your cash regardless of the investment size.”
Jochinke further explains that one investor’s ROI expectations might differ with another’s due to two main factors:
• Operating expenses they choose to incur. For example, using or not using a professional property manager, the level of repairs (does the investor pay for a short term repair or do they invest in a longer-term replacement, like in the case of air conditioner units in villas)
• The mortgage or possible borrowing options they have at their disposal and take advantage of. For example, do they pay all cash, or do they take the highest amount of financing available, or are they able to take out an interest-only loan.
There are many different methods used to calculate ROI.
Among others, ‘cap rate’, ‘cash-on-cash returns’ and ‘internal rate of return’ (IRR) are the most used practices to assess an investment, and the investor should know the pros and cons of each, notes Ayman Youssef, vice president at Dubai-based real estate agent Coldwell Banker UAE.
He pointed out that the net rental yield, also called the cap rate, is the easiest way to calculate ROI when buying real estate in cash.
“It is calculated by dividing the annual income of the property by the total cost of buying it. A common mistake here is not to include the running cost of the property and the total acquisition cost in this calculation, which can end up giving you misleading numbers.
“Running cost includes any operational costs like service charges, maintenance or repair costs, property management fee if you decide to give your property to a property management company to manage.
“Total acquisition cost is the purchase price as well as all the transaction costs that involve 4 per cent Dubai Land Department (DLD) fees, 2 per cent agency commission and any other administrative fees,” he added.
FORMULA: Net Rental Yield is calculated using this:
Net Rental Yield = [(Annual rent – Annual running expenses) ÷ Total Acquisition Costs] x 100
Youssef further explained that the net yield does not apply to the buyer purchasing via financing (known as a ‘finance buyer’) or loans as it doesn’t consider the mortgage or home loans. Therefore, the cash-on-cash model is best suited to get a snapshot of your investment for the current market in the case of such a buyer.
“For calculating cash-on-cash return, divide the property’s annual cash flow by the amount of money you paid to acquire it. That includes closing costs, property improvements you paid for, and other expenses incurred when purchasing the property.”
FORMULA: Cash-on-Cash return is calculated using this:
Cash-on-Cash return = (Cash income earned ÷ Cash invested in a property) x 100
Youssef added that although the net yield gives a snapshot based on the current market, there are some limitations as it does not include the future projected cash flows (cash being transferred into and out of a property) and the selling price of the property at the end of the investment horizon (time period or term).
For instance, there is an office lease contract with an annual rate of increase of 5 per cent, and the first year rent is Dh100,000. Next year, the rent will be Dh105,000, the year after will be Dh110,250.
Therefore, for cases where you need to evaluate the variable future cash flow, the internal rate of return (IRR) method is used.
“IRR is the expected compound annual rate of return that is earned on a project or investment. It’s a similar concept to the previous model, but it’s compounded over time. So you are evaluating the investment option over some time, considering how the asset price will perform over time and how much it can be sold for.”
In generally, IRR is used by most investors as a way to compare different investments, Youssef said. “The higher the IRR, the more desirable the investment. IRR is one of, if not the most important measure of the profitability of a rental property.
“It is calculated using the IRR function in Microsoft Excel, where you enter your stream of costs and benefits. The IRR includes the future value of money and opportunity cost.”
Youssef stated that net yield is usually suitable for ready properties when there is no variation in your future cash flow. IRR model is more reliable to get a bigger picture of all the investment opportunities available, he explained.
FORMULA: Internal rate of return (IRR) return is calculated using a fairly complex Microsoft Excel Function/Formula for ‘IRR’
Case 1: Let’s assume the following instance of a person who buys a property with loans (a finance buyer) and calculate what the IRR rate will be:
So in this case, IRR rate for a finance buyer = 11.1 per cent (which is derived from the Microsoft Excel function)
Case 2: Let’s assume the following instance of a person who buys a property with cash (a cash buyer) and calculate what the IRR rate will be:
So in this case, IRR rate for a cash buyer = 6.4 per cent (which is derived from the Microsoft Excel function)
From these examples you can see that cash buying has a lower IRR than a finance buying, so we can safely say in this particular case, considering finance is a better option for the investor. You can also use the same methodology to calculate and compare the IRR for different properties. The higher the IRR, the more desirable the investment.
This article was originally published in Gulf News.
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