WATCH: Damac boss talks making his US debut in Surfside

Emirati billionaire unafraid of possible recession, a believer in American economic resilience

South Florida’s luxury condominium market has cooled from two years of feverish demand and sales. High mortgage rates, inflation and the looming possibility of a recession are giving some developers pause.

Hussain Sajwani is unfazed.

The Emirati who plans to develop the Surfside condo collapse site is not only undeterred by an economic slowdown, but he is betting the market will rebound in better shape.

“Whenever it [the U.S.] gets in a recession it is the first one to come out,” Sajwani told The Real Deal. “And they always come out stronger.”

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From left: Cavalli Tower with Hussain Sajwani of Damac and the Surfside condo collapse site (Damac, Wikimedia, Getty)
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Damac Properties' Hussain Sajwani and the Surfside condo collapse site (Damac Properties, Getty Images, iStock)
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Although his Surfside project will be his U.S. debut as a developer, Sajwani is no novice to America.

The self-made billionaire – Forbes pegs his net worth at $2.7 billion – studied at the University of Washington in Seattle. Sajwani has invested in private equity funds here focused on biotechnology and technology.

And, Miami isn’t unfamiliar land for Sajwani, who said he comes here often and knows the city “very well.”

Damac, which Sajwani founded in 2002, has completed more than 39,000 homes and has another 28,000 in the pipeline in the UAE, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and London. The company also has investments in Canada.

So what can Sajwani expect from his first project here? And what should the U.S. expect from Sajwani?

As to the former, he sees the upside of doing business in the states.

“It’s the largest world economy,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it’s easy; but it’s more clear to do business in the U.S.”

As to the latter question, watch the video to find out and for more interview highlights.

The whole conversation can be found here.