Recap: Celebrating the best at the Propertyfinder Real Estate Awards 2017

What do the architects of the Burj Khalifa, Matthew McConaughey, and Driven Properties have in common?

They have all won top awards in their respective industries.

On Wednesday 13 December 2017, 350 of real estate’s best attended the Propertyfinder Real Estate Awards to celebrate a year of epic success.

It was a breezy night to walk the red carpet, and there was no shortage of crisp tuxes, jewel-toned gowns, and one or two kilts that got swooped up in the December chill on their way through the revolving door into the Armani Hotel.

But a cocktail reception awaited, and things were smoothed over soon enough. With a backdrop of the Burj Khalifa twinkling on one side, and the Dubai Fountains shooting skyward on the other, it was toasts all around — for the night’s nominees, and another fabulous year for the country we call home.

Guests were ushered into the Armani ballroom, and the event’s organisers pressed play on an epic video to say ‘welcome’.

The inimitable Katie Fielder (where does she find her poise and her dresses?), kicked us off, and brought Propertyfinder Group CEO, Michael Lahyani, to the stage.

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He reminded everyone in the room why they were there: to benchmark top performers based on a track record of transparency, outstanding customer service, and significant transactions or developments in the markets they serve.

“Everyone at the Propertyfinder Real Estate Awards is part of a great story: the story of a growing industry in a growing country,” he said. “Propertyfinder is in a unique position to be able to award the best in real estate. We have the largest and most top-performing real estate agents and developers as our clients, and count 1.5 million UAE house seekers, starting their home search on our platform. This provides us with the data necessary to identify who is at the peak of the real estate game.”

With those words, and his 1,000 watt smile, we were off to the races: time to name the winners.

First up, the award for Best New Project, which went to the ultra-chic Serenia Residences, The Palm by Palma Homes Real Estate Development.

Appetizers landed on tables, and next up, Aldar Properties took home the gold for Best Developer. Julian Redman, in a dapper gray tux, beamed, and said he was “delighted” while holding his award.

As the appetizers were cleared, one-man powerhouse Darren Murphy took the award for Best Agent. Simon Comina, Propertyfinder Group’s CFO, had a little fun, tossing Darren the award backstage to get something good for Instagram.

And the band played on.

The Highest Performing Brokerage Award was handed to the gents from Better Homes LLC, who noted later that “Christmas came early.”

The Hunt & Harris Real Estate team from Ras Al Khaimah took the stage to gather up the gold for Most Outstanding Northern Emirates Brokerage.

As the mains were finished off, and replaced with decadent chocolate mousse, the Most Outstanding Abu Dhabi Brokerage was named. United Gulf Properties took their award all the way back to the Capital.

The second-to-last award was called to the stage on the melody of “Run the World” by Queen Beyonce. The seven fabulous women (and two men) of House Hunters Real Estate captured Best Boutique Brokerage, and sure were in a celebratory mood.

The energy was high for the naming of the Best Brokerage in the UAE.

Driven Properties claimed the prize from Michael Lahyani. A team of 10 stormed the stage, and founder and Managing Director, Abdullah Alajaji, later called it an honour to be recognised for their hard work.

For everyone, the night was a capstone to 2017. It was a rare chance to reflect on the dedication and work ethic it takes to make it in a fast-paced industry in one of the fastest growing cities in the world.

But before anyone could get too reflective, or too serious, it was off to the after-party. To Armani Prive the winners went, to celebrate into the wee hours.

For the full list of winners and photo gallery go to

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