Warren Buffett’s real estate brokerage sees value in Dubai’s flagging property market and wants to entice wealthy investors.
Real estate prices, which have been falling in Dubai since a recent peak in 2014, offer good value for investors looking to pick up distressed assets, Phil Sheridan, the chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Gulf Properties, said in a Bloomberg TV interview. “Many high-net worth investors are viewing the market as good value in terms of the declines over recent years.”
Berkshire Hathaway’s real estate brokerage, which had a hand in more closed real estate deals in the U.S. than any other residential brokerage last year, this week announced the opening of its Dubai office. Buffett is expanding in the city as the emirate’s property market defies all predictions of a rebound. S&P Global Ratings said last month it expects prices to fall as much as 10 percent this year.
“This is not a speculative move,” Sheridan said. “This is a strategic long-term vote of confidence in opening up a destination of value, a feeder city into our other regional, international affiliates. We’re here for the long term.”
The opening of an office in the Middle East is part of an expansion plan that will see Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices looking to link buyers and sellers in different locations around the world. The company is extending its reach into countries including Italy, Japan and the U.K., and is in talks with prospective partners in Paris and Madrid. It’s also looking at Mexico City, Hong Kong and Tokyo.
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The Dubai office will have a team of 30 advisers and support staff, and the company could look to open another office in Abu Dhabi within a year.