(Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Hussain Sajwani has long expected to see pain in the global commercial real estate market. He just didn’t expect it to get this bad.
The founder and chairman of Dubai’s Damac Group said he’s been surprised by the spate of investors, some with more than $1 trillion in assets under management, who have defaulted on their loans in recent months. As a result, he said he’s seen property in prime locations selling for as little as 20 cents on the dollar.
“They handed over their keys of office towers to the banks,” Sajwani said at the Milken Institute’s Middle East and Africa Summit in Abu Dhabi, without naming any asset managers. “Didn’t care about their reputation, their name, and they said, ‘Thank you very much - take those towers.’”
Privately-held Damac historically focused on real estate in Dubai, though it has been diversifying into sectors such as technology and fashion. The company last year purchased De Grisogono SA, a Swiss luxury jeweler known for extravagant diamond jewelry, after buying Italian fashion group Roberto Cavalli SpA in 2019.
Commercial real estate values have been in a persistent slump amid soaring borrowing costs around the world. As a result, landlords including Blackstone Inc., Pacific Investment Management Co. and Brookfield Asset Management Ltd. have stopped making payments on some office debts.
Read more: Blackstone’s $308 Million Defaulted NYC Loan Up for Sale
Dubai, for its part, continues to defy the slump in property values plaguing the rest of the world. Average occupancy rates rose to 92.7% from 84.8% in the second quarter, according to a report by CBRE Group Inc.
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