Savills Regional Expansion Bolstered by Key Senior Hires

Savills, an international real estate advisor, has continued its rapid strategic expansion with the hiring of a number of seasoned professionals to take on senior roles to lead several functions within the residential agency division, such as off-plan and secondary market sales, international sales, and exclusive projects.
Andrew Cummings, Head of Residential Sales Middle East at Savills, said, “These signature hires are a further demonstration of Savills strategic commitment to the Middle East region. Our leadership position in global real estate derives from the quality of our people. As such, I am thrilled to be joined by such experienced and respected professionals to support the ambitious growth of our business. These latest appointments of top talent in the industry showcase that we are making rapid progress in our ambitious expansion plans for the UAE and the region.”
Alec James Smith has recently become part of Savills as the Director of Sales and Leasing, assuming a pivotal role in advancing the brokerage’s presence in Dubai. Boasting more than 12 years of extensive real estate expertise, Alec has progressed swiftly from his initial position as a leasing broker to handling sales and senior management roles. Currently, he is set to lead a team comprising over 100 agents, overseeing operations throughout Dubai. Notably, Alec holds qualifications as a building surveyor.
Marc Tennant, an experienced negotiator and off-plan specialist, joins Savills with a real estate track record spanning two-decades, half of which were spent in senior roles in Dubai. Tennant assumes the role of Director of Exclusive Projects and Off-Plan in the Middle East. Tennant will lead the launch of a number of new exclusive project mandates. Under-construction properties dominated demand during last year, with 55% of the units sold being off-plan, which amounts to a total of 65,000 off-plan units.
To capitalise on Savills 700 global offices, Filippo Simonato joins as a Director of International Residential Sales. Simonato’s role will liaise with the global Savills network to raise the profile of the Middle East region and drive inbound investment. Recognising the particular importance of investment from China, Lin Zhou has been appointed Head of the China Desk to cater to Chinese demand for property, working with Savills 9,000 employees across 18 offices within China.
The critical role of talent acquisition in a competitive market is entrusted to Amelia Sykes, who is one of the most well-known and respected professionals in her field. Skyes assumes the role of Head of Talent Acquisition for Savills Middle East.
The residential sector in Dubai continues to be active, as per the latest Savills research, showing that it had its best year on record in 2023. Transaction activity grew in the city by 29% y-o-y to an all-time high of 118,200 units. The sustained rise of the Dubai luxury market has also further established the emirate’s position as a global benchmark for prime and branded residences. While the high-end sector of the property market continues to boom, it is expected that we will see a rise in the number of mid-market developers respond to the growing demand for the more affordable sector.
The recent change to the Golden Visa scheme, which removes the requirement for a minimum downpayment for an AED 2 mn property, is more than likely to further fuel the growth of the real estate market. The allure of long-term visas, coupled with the emirate’s stability, world-class lifestyle, and business environment, positions Dubai as an attractive destination for investors seeking stability and long-term residency.
The Abu Dhabi market is also in good shape, as highlighted by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development in its “Business Activity Report” for 2023, which reported significant annual growth of key indicators, further bolstering the business ecosystem’s attractiveness. The capital’s strong economic growth is underpinned by the stellar performance of the non-oil sector, which accounts for 52.8% of the emirate’s GDP.
Cummings concludes, “In just the first month of our expansion we sold one of the most expensive properties on Palm Jumeirah at AED 88 million amongst other deals, demonstrating the ongoing demand for prime property. Savills will soon be launching some new exclusive development projects, whilst at the same time furthering our prime and core offerings across the UAE. This leadership team is well placed to support the growth to 100 agents within 2024, whilst at the same time providing the world class service standards that Savills is known for.”


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