By Binesh Panicker, Property magazine

There was a time when everybody wanted a slice of the property pie but, at the onset of the global financial downturn, investors put off their plans, wary of spending in such uncertain circumstances.

    *  Image Credit: Kishore Kumar/ANM     * Dr B.R. Shetty owns the 100th and 141st floors in Burj Khalifa.
* Image Credit: Kishore Kumar/ANM * Dr B.R. Shetty owns the 100th and 141st floors in Burj Khalifa.

But there were a brave few who kept faith in the fundamentals of the property market throughout, and they are reaping the benefits today.

Property meets two men who stand out for their exceptional property choices and asked them what they think makes Dubai such a good location for investment.

Sky-high ambition

Dr B.R. Shetty’s first taste of UAE property was in 1973, in a shared room in Abu Dhabi. He’s come a long way since then and is now one of the top property investors in the country.

Owner of NMC Hospital and UAE Exchange, Shetty says he never lost faith in the Dubai property market. Taking a long-term approach to all of his investments, when recession lapped at the UAE shores, Shetty was completely unfazed.

“When the market was booming, I would have only gained a notional profit, and similarly, I didn’t lose anything when the market crashed,” he says. “I am passionate about real estate. I bought the entire 100th floor of Burj Khalifa out of sheer passion. I wanted to be a part of this iconic development, the world’s tallest building,” says Shetty.

He recollects the day he was invited to Emaar Properties’ sales office, where apartments at Burj Khalifa were being sold. “I waited for five hours in a queue and found that all except the 100th floor was sold out. I immediately bought this entire floor because, I believe, it is a prestigious address,” he says, adding that even now he is being contacted by many prospective buyers for this property — although he is in no hurry to sell it.

“I bought Burj Khalifa units at Dh3,000 per square foot and then it went up to Dh10,000 to Dh12,000 per square foot. But then the value came down again. Even now I can sell it for the price I bought at, but I am prepared to wait until I get good returns,” he says. Shetty is now planning to use the three apartments on this floor as guest homes.

The first property Shetty invested in was on Palm Jumeirah – a five-bedroom villa where he spends his weekends. That was just the beginning. He now owns apartments in Dubai’s World Trade Centre, Sky Tower and Tala Tower in Abu Dhabi. He also owns the 141st floor of the Burj Khalifa, where he plans to setup his corporate office for international businesses.

While he hasn’t bought any property recently because he has been busy expanding his business worldwide, he says this is the best moment in a long time to buy property in Dubai. “At the current prices, your investment can’t go wrong in a market like Dubai or Abu Dhabi,” is his advice to people who have long-term plans for this country. More info