Walid Moussa, World President of the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI), shared with LDaily his vision for the global real estate market development, mentioned local market features depending on a country or region of the world, as well as the significant prospects of Ukraine in this direction, and the tasks necessary to be addressed to attract foreign investment in real estate.
LDaily: You became the World President of FIABCI in May 2019. Of course, it took you many years of experience to be elected for such a high position. How long did it take you to become the World President of FIABCI? What kind of real estate have you run over these years?
W. Moussa: I believe that in order to become the World Real Estate President, you should be recognized in your own country first. I am the President of the Real Estate Syndicate of Lebanon (REAL), which includes property, brokerage, consultancy, and property management. So, before becoming the World President of FIABCI, I had many other positions here. In FIABCI you should work on yourself a lot, and prove that you are a confident person able to take responsibility.
It took me at least 8 years to be elected as the World President of FIABCI. To receive such a high position, it is necessary to make your way from a committee member of FIABCI and then occupy some important positions as well.
As for the type of real estate I’ve worked with, I can name consultancy, brokerage, property management, and investment.
LDaily: You visited a lot of countries last year, and more to come this year. Could you please tell us about your own main business insights you’ve got after such an intensive business traveling, and the latest world market tendencies you have noticed?
W. Moussa: Frankly speaking, the World Real Estate President has no time to do business this year. I give this privilege to the chapters of my federation. This year I’m not focusing on business but taking care of my federation, making sure that it’s functioning and developing properly.
As for the world market trends, I can say that there is a crisis everywhere. Things are getting better in some European countries. In fact, some countries, for example, Germany benefited after Brexit. Countries like Portugal and Spain are getting better slowly because of many reasons, especially the Golden Visa they have. The market of Arabic countries is developing slowly because of the oil prices the economy depends on. There are opportunities in Africa and Asia. Each country’s situation is unique.
There aren’t good markets and bad markets. There are slow markets and fast ones. Vietnam and Cambodia are currently developing very fast. There is a good prospective for the Philippines in the future as the market and investment infrastructure are under reconstruction.
Large American cities have been affected by the Chinese investments in real estate. However, we still see a lot of potential in smaller cities like Atlanta.
LDaily: In your opinion, which real estate market you have visited can be compared with the Ukrainian real estate market and considered as an example for adopting the best practice of doing business?
W. Moussa: The Ukrainian market is similar to my country, Lebanon. There are high risks, big diaspora, political and financial instability, lack of regulations, but returns are good sometimes. However, there are a lot of positive factors that can attract investors to enter.
The main task for the Ukrainian market at the moment is to work on a stable political climate and economic situation. It’s also highly important to work on regulations to protect the investor. At the end, when the investor wants to come to the market, especially to the instable one, they ask for regulations to protect their investments. This is what Ukraine should work on.
LDaily: What projects do you think should be realized in Ukraine to make investors interested in the country?
W. Moussa: Ukraine is a promising country but it doesn’t get enough marketing outside. Very few know about Ukraine. People know about Ukrainians but not about the country itself. It is a beautiful country to visit. All investments start with tourism – you come somewhere as a tourist for the first time, you like it and you buy it.
Then it’s necessary to create favorable conditions for visitors. All the bureaucracy to get a visa should be simplified. Because of such difficulties people sometimes decide to go to another country, for example, Georgia where a visa isn’t even necessary for a number of foreign countries.
Ukraine should focus on the tourism sector, which will help create a favorable climate for investors. In other words, open up the country.
LDaily: Do you think the transformation of the investment map of the world can be realized by the FIABCI initiatives?
W. Moussa: FIABCI plays the major role in connecting investors and finding opportunities for people who are interested in them. Sometimes investors hesitate because they don’t know if the market is safe, so our FIABCI community helps make the investment happen.
FIABCI’s main role is to work on sharing the best practices worldwide. We try as much as possible to learn the best ways to do business from one another. FIABCI believes that the emerging countries can cooperate together, and we want our chapters to work properly. This helps us connect all the countries.
LDaily: How the emerging economies such as Ukraine can use FIABCI tools to implement sustainable development goals?
W. Moussa: FIABCI members are committed to their work. Ukrainian people are very advanced in this way. They are able to protect the market and make it more sustainable. In my opinion, as Ukraine is a big country, there is a lot to do and to learn from other successful FIABCI chapters by adopting their experience.
I strongly advise all the chapter leaders to learn how to use the tools of FIABCI and to work with real estate professionals. We don’t have to compete, – on the contrary, every player should work together to introduce their country to the world real estate market and bring investors.
Every FIABCI chapter is a powerful tool, you should just know how to use it. I suggest organizing more events, following the experience of successful chapters and working actively in general.
LDaily: You have already mentioned that you are from Lebanon. What ways of collaboration between your country and Ukraine do you see?
W. Moussa: It could be very interesting. First of all, we need to create direct flights. Then we need to be more flexible concerning the visa procedure. Regulations are very important as well. Investment and tourism opportunities should be created for each country.
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