Saturday, October 28, 2006

Omniyat Properities open Gemini sales

Omniyat Properties, the real estate development arm of Almasa Holdings, has opened its fourth commercial project, Gemini, a Dh500 million freehold office tower in Dubai’s Business Bay.

Gemini will be completed in the second quarter of 2009 and will raise 20 storeys and will comprise of 260,237 square feet of office space. It is aimed to be a unique structure with the fa├žade being constructed from solid black granite blocks with meandering aluminium and white glass.

It will have twin towers which will be linked by a 15-storey central block with house freehold offices, serviced offices, a tranquility zone, retail and medical facilities. The building is designed to have four underground parking levels, and will promote the ‘everything-under one-roof’.

Gemini will aid efficiency as staff will not have to leave the office to pay bills, go to the dentist or visit the travel agent. All these tasks can be done in one place with minimal effort which will enhance workplace productivity.

Property recruiment consultancy opens in Dubai

UK-based property recruitment consultancy Macdonald and Company has opened its first Middle East office in Dubai.

Macdonald and Company specialises in finding recruits in fields such as development, investment and finance, project management, architecture and urban design, and building. Dubai was a natural choice for them to open an office because of its rapidly growing economy and property sector, the company said in statement.

Nakheel unveils Cape Town plan

Nakheel Hotels and Resorts, a Dubai World company plans a whopping $1 billion investment in Cape Town's Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, which was acquired last month for $1 billion.The new investment will be made over the next four years to prepare the Waterfront to receive more visitors during the 2010 soccer World Cup that will be hosted by South Africa. A number of facilities will be added to Waterfront in three phases.

The development will be financed through bank loans and other options. However, the amount that will be raised through banks was kept undisclosed. Nakheel plans to raise funds for the site from the World Cup marketing campaign that will bring millions of extra tourists to South Africa before and after the event.

It is estimated half million people will visit South Africa for the World Cup. Two luxury hotels and one budget hotel will be among the facilities being built as part of the new development. The masterplan for the development has been created by project management firm WS Atkins and Partners Overseas.The V&A Waterfront contains 603,000 square metres of approved bulk development rights, of which 45 per cent remains to be developed.

Earth course villas of Nakheel go on sale

Villas at the Lime Tree Valley development at Nakheel's Jumeirah Golf Estates will go on sale from November 7.

A first phase release of 121 properties, which are adjacent to the Earth golf course, have four to six bedrooms ranging in size from 4,200 sqft to 6,995 sqft. UAE-based CHI Development Group was the developer, and Better Homes is principal sales agent. Lime Tree Valley is one of seven residential developments planned for the Earth golf course.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Al Madar announces foray into booming UAE market

Al Madar Property Investments has announced its foray into the fast-growing UAE property market with a string of residential and commercial projects. The property developer plans to invest several billion dirhams in seven major projects in Business Bay in Dubai and GCC.

Al Madar Group was founded in 1992 as a company specialized in the design and construction of civil and industrial projects as well as infrastructure and marine development works. Al Madar has since grown to become one of the premier business houses in the Gulf and has today a presence in several business and industrial sectors, including real estate, contracting, engineering, manufacturing and trading.

By launching a series of high-profile projects in the UAE, Al Madar hopes to capture a sizeable share of the country's booming property market and reinforce its regional standing. Through its projects located at Business Bay, it aims to cater to the country’s demand and tap into the country's rapidly expanding property market.

UAE tops region in terms of construction value

UAE's breathtaking rate of development has seen it account for a third of the $1 trillion total construction value of projects in the GCC. The country is the region's top spender on construction projects with $294 billion worth of building work announced so far - more than Bahrain, Qatar and Oman combined.

Kuwait is in the second place with construction projects announced totaling $211 billion, narrowly beating Saudi Arabia with $201billion. According to a company organising the Big 5 trade fair, the rapid growth in construction spending (estimated in the UAE at 11 per cent per year on average over the last decade) is sustainable, but the UAE's domination of the market is not guaranteed.

The UAE is definitely a major player in the GCC, but the exciting companies are involved in huge activity in the other Gulf States, many of which are selling land to foreigners and attracting more and more tourists.

The five-day Big 5 exhibition held at Dubai Exhibition Centre from Sunday attracts global companies in the building and construction sector, as well as air conditioning and refrigeration, cleaning and maintenance, glass and metal, bathrooms and ceramics, marble and machinery and water technology and the environment.

Companies' interest in the GCC would dip if development slows. There is still a huge amount of work required and for the foreseeable future there is no sign of a slowdown. Once the majority of construction is complete, refurbishment and renovation is still required - it's not just new build which attracts companies.Organisers are expecting 43,000 visitors, compared to that of 38,535 in 2005. However, this year hundreds of companies were turned away through lack of available space.

Italian minister of trade Emma Bonino will be among the visitors at the show. Total Italian exports to the UAE in 2005 reached 2.5 billion euros ($3.15 billion), up more than 20 per cent on 2004. Trade in the first half of this year reached 1.5 billion euros - a staggering 35.7% increase on the same period in 2005.

Nakheel finished 4000 apartments and villas

Nakheel is currently developing 17 projects across Dubai and has recently announced that it will hand over about 4,000 apartments and villas on the Palm Jumeirah within the next few months. Chris O’Donnell, Chief Executive Officer of Nakheel said that the Dubai property market “will continue to prosper”.

There is still huge demand for villas currently and they still have room to move price wise. With apartments, however, things might slow in the next six months. O’Donnell laid stress on the high standard of quality. He added that Nakheel is in no hurry to sell the land on the $3 billion (Dh11bn) The World project. Currently, 25 per cent of the land on the development comprising 303 islands has been sold.

Rather than counting the number of islands that they have sold, Nakheel factors in the land sold. There are two things about selling land. One is the square foot rate that you sell it at and the time when you sell it. Nakheel are at a point wherein they have sold 25 per cent of the total land mass on The World. Currently, Nakheel has got some buildings under development on some of the islands on The World. They are getting some very good interest in the sales of land and O’Donnell is very confident that it will be a huge success.

Mizin starts infrastructure work at Liwan

Mizin, Tatweer's real estate company, specialising in infrastructure development, on Wednesday announced the start of infrastructure work at the 13 million square feet Liwan project.

It is located at the intersection of Emirates Road and Al Ain Road, close to the Academic City and Silicon Oasis. The freehold development is in line with Mizin's management strategy of launching projects after the completion of site planning.

Infrastructure work is a crucial step for the success of any project. Mizin plans to rapidly complete the task reflecting the highest standards of quality, and facilitate its stakeholders to start work on their projects without any delay.

Roadwork will be completed by February 2007. Grading of plots began in mid-October and will also be completed by early next year. Liwan will comprise of 100 residential complexes, six business towers, entertainment, dining and retail areas.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Construction of Palm Deira started

Palm Deira will be a fullyfledged district of Dubai with schools and hospitals, as well as villas and accommodation for the lower end of the market, a Nakheel official has said. Construction started yesterday after months of reclamation and sand filling.

Full details will be announced before the end of the year and selling of the first batch of the reclaimed land will begin by mid-2007, he said. “Palm Jumeriah is focused on residential [areas] and resorts, but if you look at Palm Deira, it needs amenities such as schools, universities and hospitals. It needs to work as a city for it to be successful. And it will be the final chance for buyers to invest in a development with a seaview.” Announced in November 2004, the project was quickly sold with 40 per cent of the first phase being also snapped up. But there was also speculation whether investor fatigue in Dubai’s mega projects had taken its toll.

“Right now we have reclaimed over 13 per cent of the project, and we intend to deliver this project that His Highness [Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, VicePresident and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai] promised. “Very soon people will be able to start construction. We are making land available closer to the Deira side so that investors can start construction. We have seen tremendous interest in residential and hospitality sectors, but I see tremendous scope in commercial space as well.” The Palm will be 18 kilometres long by 9km wide and will feature 41 fronds.

Nakheel is in talks the Road and Transportation Authority to link it with the Metro. “Nakheel is also working on water taxis that will link all its island projects, such as The World, to this project. There will be marine transportation hubs as well.” While Al Sulayem was careful to explain that the project focuses on the high end of the market, similar to other Palm projects, he added that there will be opportunities for investors at the lower end too.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

UAE attractive equity investent destination in the middle east

The UAE is among the three most attractive equity investment destinations in the region alongside Kuwait and Egypt, meriting a rating of “overweight”, according to a report on the Middle East released yesterday.

“From the perspective of a regional investor with full market access, we suggest an overweight stance on Egypt, Kuwait and UAE; market weight on Bahrain and Oman; and underweight on Qatar and Saudi Arabia,” said the report by Switzerland-based Credit Suisse.

“The Gulf continues to appear valued in line with the mainstream MSCI [Morgan Stanley Capital International] emerging markets universe, with the latter currently trading on trailing PER [price to earnings ration] and PBR multiples of 13.8 and 2.3 times, respectively,” the report said.

Trailing PER is still the highest in Saudi Arabia at 22.7 times, followed by Qatar at 20.1 times.
The UAE comes in third with 15.8 times trailing earnings and the lowest multiples in the region are now in Bahrain at 11.4 times and Kuwait at 9.7 times, according to the report.

“We maintain our regional sector recommendations with an overweight stance on the banks and telecom sectors and our underweight stance on materials,” said Samer El Khatib and Nima Noorizadeh, the research analysts at Credit Suisse and authors of the report. A key catalyst for the development of the Middle East equity markets is the implementation of regulatory reform.
GCC countries have been adopting measures to implement structural reforms with the aim of further opening the region’s equity markets.

[Source - Emirates Today]

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Garden Apartments in Uptown Mirdiff

The Garden Apartments, one of the four styles of apartment buildings in Uptown Mirdiff, are fully occupied for almost a year now. A busy sub-lease market has emerged for these apartments in the higher end of the market. As the project is close to the completion, there is extensive secondary market activity, whereby premiums of between 20 to 28 per cent are attained.

Superbly appointed Townhouses, stylish Rowhouses and five distinct apartment styles are planned around a Grand Piazza, the centerpiece of the community. Abundant with neighbourly appeal and filled with convenient shopping and dining outlets, UPTOWN Mirdiff is delightful, secure family living environment. Welcome to your neighbourhood.

Villas
Three Bedroom Townhouse built-up area approx 2,500 sq ft
Three Bedroom Rowhouses built-up area of approx 2,000 sq ft

Apartments
Studio Apartments of 480 sq ft
One Bedroom Apartments of 1,200 sq ft
Two Bedroom Apartments of 1,600 sq ft

Motor City from Union Properties

Motor City is the ultimate destination development. Destination developments offer a combination of entertainment, dining and retail within a pedestrian-orientated, multi-use environment. Destination developments appeal to the sophisticated consumers who, sated with goods and services, seek memorable experiences and sensations to enrich their lives. What distinguishes destination developments are careful attention to independent, but complimentary amenities that draw different kinds of visitors at different times and the unconventional use of materials, scale and composition to evoke feelings of excitement, energy and creativity.
Masterplan Even within Motor City, conceived as a cluster for the automotive and racing industry, the Green Community and Uptown residential areas have been woven into the masterplan.

This will complement the business park, hotels, showrooms and automalls that form such key elements of the masterplan. The multi-billion dirham venture is to be one of the premier tourist attractions once completed. “In terms of what they offer, Green Community and Uptown are well differentiated. The units are large varying from 2,500 square feet to 4,000,” says Azzam. “We realise there is a ready market for such four-star developments in select overseas markets. “In Dubai, the company has achieved definite success in doing expansive community-themed developments — in fact we pioneered and mastered it here.

Two residential brands move to overseas

Two of Dubai’s coveted residential brands, Green Community and Uptown, could be recreated in select overseas locations, according to the developer, Union Properties. It will also represent the next logical step for the company’s push to widen its top-line growth. “A move overseas will be the next step — but our role will not be confined to being the investors. We will come with the full package,” says Simon Azzam, Chief Executive Officer. “It means bringing the know-how, technology and making sure that our brands are well protected. The look and feel of any such venture will have to be true to what is there in Dubai.”

Portfolio of projects
A decision on the timing of the overseas move has not been decided. Union Properties has got a full portfolio of projects on hand in Dubai, including the Motor City development and those in Dubai International Financial Centre.

There has been speculation for some time now that some investor groups were interested in tying up with Union Properties for overseas projects. It was in the late 1990s that Union Properties launched Green Community (in joint venture with Dubai Investments) and followed it with the Uptown in Mirdiff. More recently, there was the launch of the Green Community West, with all units put up for sale being snapped up by investors in a matter of hours.

This is a fact not lost on Azzam. “We know both Green Community and Uptown have found a standing in the local market and will be an easy sell. This, we believe, can be translated to new markets as well. “But Dubai is still the primary market at the moment — the need is to focus on delivering the many projects we have already launched. The launch is always the easy part; delivery is where all the hard work takes place.”

And I can truly say that a Green Community has both the green and community aspects to it. It is not just there in the name. “The fact there is relatively limited selling of our units on the secondary market confirms we are on the right track.”

[Source - Property Weekly]

Careful to appoint an estate agent

Dubai’s booming real estate business definitely has a certain glamour value with the way projects are marketed, but it is also a diversion from the fact that buying property is essentially a serious matter that needs careful consideration. Before you employ an agent, it is important to do a little research. Get to know who has skilled in-house staff in the area you require professional services for. Which agent is the most active in the type of property you are looking for?

A number of precautions can be taken with practically no hassle. For example, visit Dubai Property Group’s website, which lists real estate company members who adhere to the group’s code of ethics. When dealing with a bro ker, ask for the power of attorney from the owner. Ask for a list of properties being managed or leased by the agency - this will demonstrate their strength and experience.

To check the company's legitimacy, you could also ask for a copy of their trade licence and insist on receiving an official offer. Always get everything in writing. Before making your payment, always check the real estate agent’s liability. If it is only to lease the property, never hand rent cheques over unless the company is man aging the property too. These cheques should only go to the landlord's office. Those buying property should also consult the original sales and purchase agreement, and proof of ownership from the master developer.

Owning and renting property in the UAE is for the vast majority a fulfilling experience, not the beginning of the end. Planning and research could provide peace of mind and the opportunity to take advantage of a blossoming sector, and will be the best deterrent to real estate fraudsters.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Al Falah, master planned community for UAE nationals

Aldar Properties yesterday announced that it will build Al Falah, a master planned community for middle income UAE national families to be located on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.
Al Falah will comprise a series of villages based around a town centre that will have a mosque, civic and commercial buildings, a shopping mall and an entertainment area.
The community will offer its residents more than 5,000 residential villas of varying sizes with parking and large gardens. Each village will also have schools, kindergartens, clinics and shops, Aldar Properties said in a statement.

The concept is in the detailed planning stage in terms of infrastructure, town design and management systems, the company said. “Aldar is committed to investing in the future of the UAE and to giving something back to the local community. By providing high quality, well designed homes for local, middle-income families and creating new sustainable communities we are helping to build the future of the country,” said Chairman Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh.

Aldar Properties yesterday announced that it will build Al Falah, a master planned community for middle- income UAE national families to be located on the out- skirts of Abu Dhabi. Al Falah will comprise a series of villages based around a town centre that will have a mosque, civic and commercial buildings, a shopping mall and an entertainment area.

The community will offer its residents more than 5,000 residential villas of varying sizes with parking and large gardens. Each village will also have schools, kindergartens, clinics and shops, Aldar Properties said in a statement. The concept is in the detailed planning stage in terms of infrastructure, town design and management systems, the company said. “Aldar is committed to investing in the future of the UAE and to giving something back to the local community. By providing high quality, well designed homes for local, middle-income families and creating new sustainable com- munities we are helping to build the future of the coun- try,” said Chairman Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh.

RAK properties announced a net profit of Dh376 million

RAK Properties yesterday announced a net profit of Dh376.6 million for the nine-month period ending September 30. This accounted for 18.8 per cent of the company’s Dh2 billion capital, while its assets amount to Dh2.53bn.

“RAK Properties has managed yet again to prove its commitment to its shareholders,” said Managing Director Mohammad Sultan Al Qadi. “The nine month results reflect the strength that is indicative of RAK Properties’ basics.” RAK Properties was formed in March 2005 and issued an IPO the same month, offering 55 per cent of the company, with the remaining 45 per cent retained by the Ras Al Khaimah Government.

The company launched its first project, the Dh500m Julfar Towers, in February 2006. This will be a 42-storey twin office and residential project in the centre of Ras Al Khaimah, providing 349 apartments and 468 office units. The company’s second project was announced in May.This will be the Dh10bn Mina Al Arab, a 30 million square feet tourist development located around natural lagoons, islands and beachfront in the northern emirate.

A number of themed resort hotels and two eco-hotels will be built, providing 3,500 rooms, plus 3,500 residential units and 310 hectares of open spaces containing ecological preserves, abra water taxis, parks, mosque, cafes and restaurants and leisure facilities.

Rent increase in Greens pull back tenents

The Greens is one of Dubai’s main freehold communities as is evident from its resident population and the number of people who want to be part of this mid-rise apartment community. Most of the residents here appear to be a contented lot, especially if they own their apartments. The lucky ones have seen the value of their homes appreciate a whopping 115 per cent over the last three years.

A different story

But those who have been renting their homes for the same period tell a different story. Their rents have gone up rather steeply. These people now find themselves on the other side of the road. Dutch citizen Mary, who is married to Hamad, a UAE national, speaks about her experience: "When we found ourselves facing our third rent increase in three years, we knew it was time to move out of our lovely apartment. We had come to know and love the area well, and besides, it was very convenient for both of us to reach our workplace without any traffic nightmares.

"We decided that the best thing to do was explore the same neighbourhood, so that we would not have to alter our lifestyle too much. What we found out was totally astonishing.
“Of the eight buildings that we visited just across the road from The Greens, five had no electricity. There was no water connection either. But the landlords or their representatives were ready to rent us apartments in these buildings. “They were offering us discounted prices, saying the DEWA connection was not quite ready yet, but would be soon.”

Mary and Hamad have since moved to a villa in neighbouring Al Barsha. A quick drive through the main road leading through The Greens shows that the brand new and rather imposing buildings in this community have much to offer.

More facilities

Apparently the rents are much lower than those the apartments in The Greens and, in most cases, offer more space and facilities. At present, there seems to be enough parking space for everyone. The well-established Greens Centre, with its array of retailers and food outlets, is just around the corner. Two of the largest malls in the city are within reach and Shaikh Zayed Road is close by. Above all, the landlords of these new buildings are truly eager to please. It looks like a straight road to success.

Tameer Holding to develop property in Sanaa

Leading property developer Tameer Holding has established a joint venture with a Yemeni partner to develop a multi-million dollar residential, commercial and recreational projects in the capital Sanaa, a senior company official said on Monday. "In Jordan, we have a vast project being constructed called Al Majd City. Recently we unveiled projects worth over $20 billion in Libya, which will span over 40 square kilometers. This is just the beginning as we intend to push further into other markets and expand our name," Tameer Holding CEO Ali Al Khudairi said.
The real estate major said in a statement that it recently partook in the MIPIM Asia Exhibition that was held in Hong Kong from Sept.27 to 29.

The event, designed to publicise property development across the Asian region, showcased the most sophisticated and elegant projects currently under development in the Asian Pacific and wider areas. Held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Tameer Holding's stall was visited by a record number of visitors and other exhibitors, curious to view first hand examples of the phenomenal rate of development occurring in the UAE and some of the most stylish properties in the region.

"Over a short period we have successfully managed to become one of the most highly regarded and trusted property developers in the World. As always with these international exhibitions, we are grateful to have the opportunity to represent Dubai and the UAE and show how progressive and advanced the Middle East is becoming. Our participation at MIPIM was a resounding success," Khudairi said.

Tameer's partaking comes after its involvement in a sequence of prestigious real estate exhibitions internationally. Since the start of the year, the firm's busy itinerary has included the Dubai Property Show in Dublin, the MIPIM in Cannes and the Russian exhibition Realtex.
Some of the major projects the firm has embarked on include Umm Al Quwain-based Al Salam City, the Elite Residence in the Dubai Marina, Dhs13 billion Abu Dhabi Towers and Shams Abu Dhabi.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lagoons Phase II Sold Out

The Lagoons, a freehold, mixeduse 70 million square foot Dubai Creek destination being developed by Sama Dubai, the real estate investment and development arm of Dubai Holding, said it has completed sales of the project’s second phase ahead of schedule. The sale of second stage, which opened in mid-May, saw the 15 million sq ft (gross floor area) land plots being sold.
“The appeal of this project continues to draw a varied clientele who all seek to be a part of what is a noticeably exceptional development, and Sama Dubai is confident of the continued high level of demand for The Lagoons,” said Abdulsalam Almarri, the general manager.

“We are delighted with the significant interest the master planned development is drawing from international and regional investors, developers, and customers who are keen to be a part of this distinctive development.” Comprising seven landscaped islands neighbouring the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary,The Lagoons is one of the first projects in Dubai to undertake a comprehensive Integrated Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The Lagoons will offer freehold property with 100 per cent ownership to all nationalities. Half of the project will be sold to third party investors for development.The remaining area will be developed, marketed and operated by Sama Dubai.

Nakheel will hand over the first batch of Palm Jumeriah on December

“The first phase of The Palm Jumeirah will commence handover by the end of 2006. It is staggering to think that just five years after the first grain of sand was placed in the Arabian Gulf, we will soon welcome our very first residents,” Manal Shaheen, director of sales, marketing and customer service.

“The hand over procedure would include a combination of villas and apartments,” Shaheen added. The procedures for the handover, however, will commence on November 30, according to Shaheen. “The entire process of handover involves various steps such as notifications, visits and so on. We will hand out the keys after all the procedures are through. But the owners who have already made all their payments and just need to finish the registration process, will be able to claim their keys within a week’s time,” she said.

The first phase of The Palm Jumeirah is on schedule now after suffering a year’s delay earlier on. Nakheel had announced in July 2005 that the residents of the Palm Jumeirah would not be handed over proper ties until November 2006, one year later than expected. The company had justified the delay by telling customers the delay was to ensure that the completion of the project is to the highest quality. When quizzed on the completion date for the island’s first phase, Shaheen did not reveal an exact time period but said that the handover of more than 4,000 villas and apartments is a “considerable logistical task”.

“We are aware that our many customers around the world are excited about moving into their homes on The Palm Jumeirah and demand will be high. “It is impossible to move everybody in at once so there must be a controlled and phased programme,” she said. Residential is just one seg ment of the massive development, with retail and hospitality still to be fully realised.
The future phases of The Palm Jumeirah include completion of The Golden Mile (a retail boulevard to be located along the trunk of The Palm Jumeirah), 32 five-star hotels located on both the crescent and the trunk of the project, and the opening of the Dh1.4billion Palm Monorail in December 2008.

[Source - Emirates Today]

Friday, October 13, 2006

Residential tower project in Sharjah cancelled

Unhappy investors are suing property developer Tameer Holdings over the failure to deliver the Al Ameera residential tower apartments in Sharjah, despite an offer of their money back plus 25 per cent.

The 284 buyers signed their contracts expecting to take over their new homes in August 2008 back in spring 2004. The Al Ameera residential tower was to be the largest of its kind in Sharjah mirroring its counterpart in Dubai, the Princess Tower.

Tameer recently awarded the Arabian Construction Company with the honour to help materialise the Princess Tower by 2009. The tower, based in Dubai Marina, also announced in 2004, is expected to stand over 380 metres high, which would make it the world’s tallest residential tower.

In August 2005 the buyers received a letter stating that the Al Ameera tower project had been delayed due to the lack of a licence because of a delay in the implementation of a new law in real estate ownership. “As far as I know the law in Sharjah hasn’t changed since the seventies. How can you start selling or building something when you can’t be sure when and if a new law comes into place?” questions the same investor. Sharjah’s property ownership law stipulates that non-GCC nationals can own a 99-year leasehold but not freehold and therefore foreigners were legally not entitled to buy into Al Ameera, while the local investors could. Tameer reassured investors that the completion date would not be affected by the delay and stopped cashing in any more cheques.

This summer, Tameer made it clear that the law did not allow expatriate ownership and advised that it would cancel all contracts with non-GCC nationals. What happened with local prospective owners is not clear.

Tameer told investors that it regretted having to cancel final construction as it, despite its best efforts, had been unsuccessful in obtaining a licence due to reasons beyond their control. But the company was ready to return the deposit and around six monthly instalments plus a negotiated 25 per cent on top.

7 star hotel in La Hoya Ras Al Khaima

Ras Al Khaimah's twin-track strategy of residential and tourism related initiatives is paying off with Khoie Properties confirming the development of a seven-star, 500-room hotel as part of La Hoya Bay development.

Seven-star properties are still a rarity in the region, and such an announcement immediately raises the profile of the whole development. "The hotel will be closely integrated with the location on Marjan Island as it provides for a first-rate marina and all the requirements to create a signature setting," says Frank Khoie, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

"We have divided the La Hoya Bay project into five key phases and the one for the hotel will be bigger than the four others put together." For the moment, Khoie Properties is emphasising the residential element within the project, which is expected to take up seven years. The first phase, rolled out just recently, will involve 725 Mediterranean architecture-themed freehold units and cost $180 million.

Currie and Brown has been signed on to do the project management for this phase. "We are in the process of confirming the main contractor - three leading names are in the fray," adds Khoie. "While the market remains so unpredictable, we believe $180 million will be enough to see us through this phase. The funds will primarily come from internal resources. "The group has an investment company based in London, which could negotiate with private investors to come on board if necessary. Right now, we do not see the need for it. A second phase could be launched in December, but details on its were not forthcoming.

La Hoya Bay represents one of the biggest private sector led initiatives launched to date in Ras Al Khaimah, which has steadily seen its regional and international profile go up as a property investment destination. It bought the land six months ago.

"Ras Al Khaimah is the next Dubai for the property market - Sharjah and Ajman are not there yet and Umm Al Quwain still has a long way to go. It helps that the emirate has 30 kilometres of beachfront," Khoie says.

Before La Hoya Bay, it had built mid-rise buildings in Ajman and was also active in Emaar and Nakheel projects. On whether La Hoya Bay will take up all the group's interest for the immediate future, Khoie says: There are still a lot of opportunities for developers in Dubai, though we will not come in with another generic tower. It has to be quite selective.

[Article from Property Weekly on 11th October 2006]

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Colliers to open four Middle East offices

Colliers, one of the United Kingdom’s largest commercial real-estate brokerages, said its international unit will open four Middle East offices to tap demand for property services in the region.
Colliers International will open offices in Qatar, Lebanon, Jordan and Oman in the second quarter of 2007, the company said in a statement yesterday.

It already has two offices in Saudi Arabia and a regional headquarters in Dubai, UAE.

“We view the Middle East and North Africa as a growth area for the property sector,” said John Davis, Colliers CEO for the Middle East.

[Emirates Today - September 25, 2006]

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Madain to unveil Dh860m real estate project

Madain, the Dubai-based Sharia-compliant real estate investment company, is set to unveil its first major project a Dh860 million residential development in Dubai.

With the official launch just a month away, Madain CEO Adel Lootah told Gulf News the project will bring close to 800 units onto the market in a mixture of apartments and villas.

Madain Real Estate Company was incorporated in 2006 as a private joint stock company in Dubai with a paid-up share capital of Dh500 million.

Its shareholders include the Ahmad Ramadan Juma (ARJ) Group, a UAE-based trading and engineering services group, Kuwait-based Gulf Investment House (GIH), one of the leading financial services companies in the region, and other GCC investors.

"We are confident that with the help of our partners, associates and an experienced management team, Madain will quickly emerge as a key player in the regional real estate scene," said Lootah.

Lootah said he could not reveal the exact location or unit pricings until the official launch, but said the project will be priced between the luxury and mid-income ranges and will include retail units.

"At the moment we are talking to our strategic partners and finalising the master plan before the official launch in a month's time. We will then be able to reveal further details," he said.

The directors were unanimous in their view that Dubai and Abu Dhabi presented the best opportunities for investment in the real estate sector.

[Gulf News - September 27, 2006]

Friday, October 06, 2006

Damac to investment in Egyptian venture

Damac Holding, the Dubai-based real estate developer, is planning a major investment in the Egyptian real estate market, a top company official said.

"We have been negotiating the issue with the Egyptian side for almost six months now, and the site will be finalised soon," Hussain Sajwani, the group's chairman, told Gulf News yesterday.

The value of Damac's international expansion and projects has been on the rise recently, reaching almost Dh25 billion so far, including a Dh10 billion in China, and a $400 million in Qatar, in addition to Lebanon and Jordan.

"We also find the Abu Dhabi market very promising, given the huge projects that have been announced or are in the pipeline," Sajwani explained.

"However, Abu Dhabi needs to open up to foreign investors in the real estate sector, as the government cannot carry out all the required development," he added.

Rents in Abu Dhabi are expected to increase by 100 per cent in the next five years, as the city's demography is expected to change dramatically, due to the need to upgrade existing properties.

Accordingly, a different tenant mix is expected to enter the market, with much higher income than that of the average middle class in the capital today, according to Sajwani.

He said rents in Dubai and Abu Dhabi would keep going up, but at a slower pace than hitherto as the market is maturing. "However, Dubai is still relatively cheap compared to similar places elsewhere in the world and prices will keep going up about 40 per cent in the next five years," Sajwani said.

Abu Dhabi rents would also rise because the real estate sector had been neglected for a very long time and would be pushed higher by the wealth of the emirate and new developments in the sector.

[Gulf News September 18, 2006]

Dubai office space give best return for investors

Commercial property, including office and retail space, is set to dominate the returns table for investors in 2007 and 2008, analysts have said.
Supply of office and retail spaces, particularly in Dubai and generally in the UAE, will fall short of demand by at least 30 per cent this year, continuing the trend from 2005, and maintaining upward pressure on commercial rents.

This comes as good news for investors in commercial property in the emirate, who can expect returns of more than 16 per cent per annum in 2006 and 2007, which is about twice the return from residential property. Rising commercial rents in 2005 have investors in these spaces making between 12 and 14 per cent returns, compared with residential investment returns ranging between six and eight per cent.

Dubai’s office space rates increased by a minimum of 20 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2005 over the previous quarter, according to the numbers tracked by the research department of Asteco, the property management company. “There is continued expansion of existing companies in Dubai and influx of new businesses seeking to set up an office in Dubai,” said John Allen, Director of Consultation, Research and Valuations at Asteco. “And there are limited new supplies coming on stream, which are insufficient to match demand.” According to a recent research report by global commercial property marketing and research firm Colliers, office rents have more than doubled in Dubai since 2002.

“Office space remains at a premium in the city, with near full occupancy across most primary and secondary properties.The paucity of available space of any classification ensures that rental rates continue to rise,” the report said.

Large numbers of office occupiers have been unable to either upgrade or source space for expansion, the report goes on to say. “Tenant surveys now suggest that over 40 per cent of occupiers are at least passively interested in finding new premises.

“Dubai is a market which has traditionally resisted preletting but over the last 12 months the practice has become more common, with tenants securing space well in advance of development completion dates,” Colliers said.

Given the pent-up demand, developers are now seeking to sell office spaces to end-users rather than investors. “This gives us a certain modicum of control over the profile of those who occupy our buildings,” a developer said, “which also helps us to maintain a certain value.” This would be possible, however, only in the freehold areas and would, therefore, have no effect on the current rent spiral.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Freehold property registration announded by Emaar

The process of registering freehold property in Dubai has begun with Emaar being the first to ask buyers of its properties to submit paperwork to ensure their ownership is recognised as per the new law.

“Emaar is putting arrangements in place for the start of registration of transfer of ownership to its purchasers for the properties that are completed, handed over and fully paid and without any outstanding balances for charges such as services, interest and maintenance fees,” according to a letter issued to property owners by Ahmad Al Falasi, the director of the firm’s property management.

The move is expected to be mirrored across the emirate as other freehold developers set up their internal mechanisms to process the paperwork for flats and villas sold to expatriates.

The law gives permanency and legitimacy to Dubai’s massive freehold property ventures, which until now did not have the official stamp of approval.

It legalises the freehold ownership of “surface property” to expatriates in certain designated areas, and allows registration of their ownership with the Dubai Lands and Properties Department.

The new legislation also clears up uncertainty over the viability of freehold property investments, as it was feared by investors that the upcoming law would only give owners lease right, and not ownership. The launch of the registration process of freehold property is expected to give a boost to Dubai’s real estate market.

The law is also considered to be an overall positive move for the emirate in respect to recognition of rights and protection of investors and buyers’ interests.

Owners of Emaar freehold properties are invited to submit applications for registration from September 19. On completion of registra tion, Emaar’s Property Transfer Department will notify each owner via SMSs for collection of their respective title deeds.

Liwan township in Dubai from Mizin

Mizin, the real estate development arm of Dubai Holding company Tatweer, yesterday announced that it will build a mixed-use freehold township in Dubailand named Liwan. The township will cover 13 million sq ft and comprise 100 residential complexes and six commercial towers, a Tatweer statement said. “As our pilot project, Liwan will position Mizin as a leading real estate developer. The concept, generated from unique ideas after planning, comes as a direct response to market demands,” said Tatweer’s Chief Executive Saeed Al Muntafiq.

Strategically located, Liwan will be the eastern gateway to Dubailand.” Mizin’s CEO Sami Al Hashimi said: “Liwan has been announced only after finalising the masterplan and the near completion of Phase one of the infrastructure to avoid a long waiting time for prospective investors.” Phase one, he said, is built according to the terms laid down by Dubai Municipality, with which Tatweer signed a memorandum of understanding. Developed over hilly terrain, Liwan will contain six different types of buildings ranging between seven and 15 storeys on individual plots

[Emirates Today -September 16, 2006]

Leela group eyes UAE luxury hotels

Mumbai-based hospitality giant The Leela Group yesterday said it is looking at managing super luxury hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The group has been invited by at least two property developers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, a company official said.
Mumbai-based hospitality giant The Leela Group yesterday said it is looking at managing super luxury hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The group has been invited by at least two property developers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, a company official said.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Malaysian Resources Corporation (MRC) to build palm hotel

Malaysian Resources Corporation (MRC) yesterday said that Dubaibased Al Fattan Properties has awarded its joint venture company Al Fattan MRCB Construction contracts worth Dh390 million to build the six-star Palm Island Hotel and luxury residences on The Palm, Jumeirah, as well as an office tower at Dubai Marina.
MRCB, a 51:49 joint venture between Musabah Rashid Al Fattan and MRC, is involved in the property development, construction and power sectors.