Interview Real Estate Empowering more Emirati women to invest in real estate By Andy Sambidge August 29, 2022 Supplied Latifa Bin Haider, founder of Baytuki, a crowdfunding platform for women real estate investors Latifa Bin Haider tells AGBI about her mission to transform investment opportunities for women in Dubai’s booming real estate market With the launch of Baytuki, a new crowdfunding platform, Emirati social entrepreneur Latifa Bin Haider aims to enable Emirati women of all ages and income brackets to secure financial prosperity by making micro investments in real estate. Baytuki, which means “your home” in Arabic, has just listed its first property for investment, while also educating women by providing financial literacy sessions. Bin Haider, who also co-founded support platform Mental Health AE in 2019, told AGBI: “Dubai is known for many things, but it is a magnet for real estate investments. Female startups face ‘bias’ over funding in Middle EastSaudi Arabia’s next goal: women’s sportFive ways to empower MENA women in the workplace “Rather than widening the investment pool – as there have always been women investors in real estate both by inheritance and by direct purchase – Baytuki provides a value-added service for women by helping them become investors early on in their investment journeys. “It allows them to invest with smaller amounts, thus encouraging them towards financial investment. “Generally speaking, the number of female and male investors in real estate is fairly equal. The key difference is that men are more active investors, and women are more passive investors. “Men tend to buy and sell at a higher frequency. Women tend to hold long term. Their push to buy gold is also very strong. “Women are long term, and repeat investors. They are life-long investors interested in building generational wealth. They understand the compounding power of reinvesting returns,” she added. Baytuki is licensed by the Dubai International Financial Centre Baytuki handles and facilitates the property purchase, management and sale processes. It aims to empower women to invest in real estate without requiring prior knowledge or experience. According to Mo’asher, Dubai’s official Sales Price and Rental Performance Index, the emirate’s real estate market recorded a total of 8,897 sales transactions worth AED22.75 billion in June, the highest volume of sales transactions for the month in the past nine years. “Baytuki is about every woman who wants to reach financial independence but has hesitations, perhaps due to lack of experience or insufficient funds. “In its simplest form, Baytuki is women supporting women in achieving their goals as has been done in our culture for generations,” Bin Haider explained. Investors can begin their journey for as little as AED5,000 with Baytuki, which is licensed by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). Those who don’t have the funds to invest in an entire property can now invest what they can affordLatifa Bin Haider of Baytuki It is part of a growing crowdfunding presence in the UAE real estate sector. SmartCrowd, which allows individual investors to take a fractional share in rental property, says it has grown its investor base nearly six times since the pandemic. It now has more than 30,000 users on the platform. Bin Haider said: “We are the first real estate crowdfunding company that focuses exclusively on women, and one of three to have been authorised by the DFSA. “We are expecting huge growth not just in the UAE, but the entire Middle East. There is hunger for smart investment channels that distribute risk, and because of the barriers to entry. “Those who do not have sufficient funds to invest in a property in its entirety will finally be able to invest with what they can afford.” The latest figures from the Dubai Land Department showed 17,705 women registered 22,165 investments worth over AED38.4 billion in real estate in 2021, a 72 percent increase compared to 2020. Bin Haider added: “What the data is not showing you is all the potential investors who may not have enough funds to buy a property, but have enough for fractional ownership. “The percentage as a whole is going to expand exponentially, and we are already witnessing that, with the prices rising due to the market demand.” According to Saxo Bank, overall investment by women in the UAE soared by 200 percent last year. Women made up almost 12 percent of Saxo Bank’s active clients for the market in 2021. The UAE has topped the MENA region rankings on women’s equality initiatives, as a result of several legislative reforms related to economic participation, according to a World Bank report. How Baytuki works Once the property is fully crowdfunded, Baytuki provides end to end property purchase processes. As the property is held for a period of 3-5 years, it manages investments and tenants, while each investor receives rental income as per her ownership percentage. At the end of the holding period, Baytuki sells the property and distributes the capital gains to investors.