Jan. 21, 2020

Nasser H. Al Ansari


Nasser H. Al Ansari

Chairman & CEO, Just Real Estate

Qatar offers huge opportunities in residential real estate


Just Real Estate's chairman, Nasser H. Al Ansari, holds a degree in civil engineering from the University of Miami and pursued an executive MBA (EMBA) degree at HEC Paris. Prior to establishing Just Real Estate, Al-Ansari was CEO of Qatari Diar, a premier global real estate company in Qatar. Additionally, he served as an executive board member of BARWA Real Estate and Masraf Al Rayan Bank. Al-Ansari started his career as project coordinator with the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (formerly known as Ministry of Municipality and Agriculture). He was later appointed project manager and then assistant undersecretary for projects development at the ministry. In 2004, Al-Ansari joined the office of the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs as technical advisor.

What was the idea behind Just Real Estate?
The company was established with a focus on brokerage services. We were then asked by a number of developers to promote and sell their properties. At the same time, others gave us their residential or commercial properties to lease. In light of these developments, we started focusing more on other activities to diversify our revenue stream. Other than leasing and selling, we are developing. We offer services as an advisor to develop land for landlords. If you have a piece of land, we can help through all the stages, from planning and approvals to hiring the right consultants and advisors, providing a marketing assistant and a sales strategy, and packaging it for clients. We offer a full chain of services. We also have a service where landlords give us their existing property to lease or sell, and we create a marketing strategy. We also develop sales strategies. We advise on how many units should be released, to which markets, and at what prices.

What would be your advice to businesspeople in Qatar?
People should also consider hiring, developing, and training the right talent if they are interested in real estate. One thing we are doing at Just Real Estate is mentoring and teaching the youth to become even better at their jobs. We want to be distinguished. In Qatar, spending time and money on training the right talent and rewarding it is the recipe for success.

How are you adapting your products to fit your clients' needs?
We can advise on where a better area is for our clients. We are not just brokers. I can pick out 10 properties for every client. The services you provide have to be unique. Moreover, it is crucial to invest in employees and develop innovative products. Many people believe that engineering consultants and architects are developers. That is not the case. For real estate, you have to understand what the market needs. Do people want bigger closets or living rooms? Are they looking for a bath or a standing shower? You have to study all of these things and become familiar with them. This will help assess the return on every investment.

How do you assess the current opportunities in the real estate sector?
The best villas in Qatar have high occupancy rates. One of the compounds we have is 95% occupied. We have 500 villas, of which we recently rented 140. Clients are looking for good financial offers; therefore, we have to act accordingly and present special offers. In recent years, rates climbed high and caused inflation, which affected the overall living standards. However, at present, rates are coming down. We will be looking at the office segment over the next few years. The residential market is currently meeting 100% of the company's needs. In line with our forecast, we expect real estate prices to decline in the near future. At Just Real Estate, we are focused on investing in well-designed apartments.

How is Just Real Estate attracting international investors to Qatar?
Since the new law on foreign ownership, expatriates are reacting, and foreigners are coming. Many people think demand will skyrocket after the World Cup, similar to what happened in Moscow. What's good about Qatar is that people adapt to change while maintaining their culture and heritage. They enjoy it without being forced into it. Moreover, the Qatari leadership and the Amir have done a tremendous job dealing with the blockade.

Do you have plans to expand into any new markets?
We are currently focusing on Turkey and the UK. We manage a property in London as a brokerage provider. We have seen huge interest from local customers who want to buy properties in London and Istanbul. We did well in London so far in 2019, and we hope to do the same in the future.