Hussain Sajwani is the founder and chief executive officer of Damac Properties and played a major role in one of the largest real estate booms the world has ever seen. And for good measure, immediately on the heels of a market crash in 2008, Sajwani did it again.
The DAMAC owner began his foray into the world of real estate development in 1996 when he had the first of five three-star hotels built in Deira. Sajwani says his philosophy was to build, lease, sell, then rinse and repeat until a change in rules transformed the market in Dubai for good.
Beginning in 2001, expats residing in the country were granted the permission to lease property for 99 year periods. A year later, this privilege was extended to allow for the outright purchase of properties. Sajwani founded DAMAC properties to meet the demand that these rule changes created.
The first building project developed by DAMAC was Marina Terrace in 2002. The Waves of Dubai was next before DAMAC made it most ambitious offering in 2004 when they began a property construction that would contain a million square feet of sellable property.
In 2005, DAMAC properties extended it operations area to include Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan.
This all took place at a time when Hussain Sajwani was also having success with regional stocks, an insurance company located in Bahrain, and was the owner of an Oman ceramics factory.
The DAMAC owner says that his success in other business ventures caused him not to have to borrow money to fund DAMAC properties until the company went public in 2013.
When the crash arrived, DAMAC was hit exceptionally hard due to the fact that it had grown to be so large in such a short amount of time.
Residential prices in the emirate fell by approximately 50% in less than a year and Sajwani says that it was by first the worst experience of his 35 years in the business world.
Good decisions before the crash put DAMAC in a position to continue building and customers that had their projects canceled were offered other locations.
Five years later DAMAC became the first Middle Eastern real estate company to go public on the London Stock Exchange.