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Camping chairs, power banks: What Dubai real estate agents carry to spend up to 24 hours at property launches

Story Highlights
  • The demand for property in the country has steadily risen since the Covid pandemic, as the UAE has become a hotspot for High-Net-Worth Individuals

Dubai resident Jeff has a list of things ready in his car at all times – a camping chair, power bank, water bottles and snacks. The property agent needs these items since he spends 12 to 18 hours standing in queues outside property offices at least two or three times a month. “I have two of each item because most of the times I have my colleagues in line with me,” he said.



The demand for property in the country has steadily risen since the Covid pandemic, as the UAE has become a hotspot for High-Net-Worth Individuals (HNWIs). Jeff says that over the last two years, the time he has spent in queues outside property offices has also increased. “We used to wait in line in 2013-2014,” he recalled. “Now, since the Covid pandemic we have the same queuing system for many projects which are in high demand. In fact, I have waited up to 24 hours for multiple project launches including Nakheel, Nshama and Dubai South recently.”

Once he reaches a place, the first step is to scout out toilets. “Every time it’s a different venue so we have to coordinate with security guards there, who are always kind to accommodate us for bathrooms,” he said.

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Last month, property agents and investors waited for up to 13 hours outside the offices of Nakheel ahead of the launch of the much-anticipated Palm Jebel Ali project, with many failing to secure the desired property because of people rushing in.

Jeff says that he always makes it a point to go with a colleague. “It’s easier to spend time in queues when chatting with friends.”

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Laura Ahmad, Associate Director at B1 Properties agreed with him. “I usually go with my colleagues,” she said. “But we don’t really socialise a lot because the stress of securing a unit is always on my mind.”

Laura Ahmad

Laura Ahmad

However, she added that she had reached a point in her career where such queuing has become few and far in between. “Now, I’d say there’s at least one launch every quarter that is worth the hassle of lines,” she said. However, she added that for many the wait doesn’t end when the doors open. “Agents usually start queuing up a few hours before the launch begins,” she said. “Once it begins, it usually takes about 2-3 hours to get your turn. However, many wait till the evening to check for cancellations.”

Rerun of 2014?

Many property agents say the queues of now are quite different to the queues that were quite common in 2014. “Back then Dubai was coming out of a global housing recession with revised mortgage regulations, and a slew of new real estate laws to support investors, helping a surge in demand and prices,” said Madhav Dhar, founding member and COO of ZāZEN Properties. “However, the primary driver behind the long queues now is the existing shortfall in the high-end and luxury property segment in Dubai. This scarcity has been compounded by a substantial influx of affluent individuals who have chosen Dubai as their preferred place of residence over the past 2 years.”

Madhav Dhar

Madhav Dhar

According to him, there is a growing demand for exclusive villas with sea views or expansive flats located in close proximity to the beaches of Dubai or in a central tourist or business district. He says that due to the same reason, the Dubai Islands properties are keenly awaited “It represents one of the last remaining waterfront land banks in Dubai,” he said.

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Laura added that there are a few other launches that are being keenly awaited. “Some of the highly anticipated projects in the near future include further villa launches on the remaining fronds of Palm Jebel Ali,” she said. “Meeras’ upcoming launch of City Walk’s Central Plaza is also generating significant buzz. Additionally, we are keeping an eye on Ellington and their forthcoming project in RAK, following the successful launch of Porto Playa, which sold out on the same day.”

Change in system

According to Tina Angelo from A1 Properties, there needs to be a change in the queuing system. “The longest queuing was witnessed at Emaar launches previously,” she said. “Now Emaar has a booking system that prevents queuing, but with other developers we still experience queuing.”

Tina Angelo

Tina Angelo

She said the system of queuing can be easily avoided. “If an electronic token system is implemented, it can be beneficial for everyone. Good examples are the latest Dubai Property and Meraas launches.”

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Madhav also agreed, saying his company had adopted a similar approach. “We’ve implemented a wait-list system for our properties, offering interested buyers an efficient and organised way to secure their desired properties,” he said. “This approach not only ensures a smoother experience for our customers but also underscores the continued desirability of Dubai’s real estate market.”


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