Friday, October 31, 2008

Drop in property prices & cancellation of projects, unlikely: Sulayem

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, the Chairman of Dubai World, has denied the possibility of any drop in Dubai property prices, and assured that the global financial crisis, will not cause cancellation of any project announced by the group.

When speaking to bankers at the Dubai International Financial Center, Sulayem pointed out that the Gulf economies enjoy a stronger foundation, unlike the problems faced in Iceland or any other place.

"We have taken loans, most of which are borrowed locally. All projects launched are funded by the banks within the region," he pointed out.

Dubai property market continues to remain strong despite the global liquidity crunch. Although the demand-supply imbalance continues, there is no downward trend being noticed in prices, despite few desperate investors trying to sell at lower prices.

With reference to the slowdown in property sales, Sulayem said that the market sure has appetite, but lacks the will.

According to Sulayem, the biggest challenge faced now is not liquidity, but fear. The dropping confidence levels are causing people to react in an irrational manner.

Speaking about the Dubai real estate sector, Sulayem said "We are optimistic about the sector, and are committed towards delivering all projects that we have announced. However, the cost of funding has increased, and we are intelligently managing our finance."

He continued that the investor fear is hindering the recovery of stock market. With the share prices being down, nobody wants to buy. He requested banks to curb speculative practices and focus on their conventional role of lending.

Sulayem also took the opportunity to hail the Gulf central banks that restricted lending, which has protected the banking system.

Region's first LEED Platinum certified Eco Towers unveiled at Abu Dhabi

An Abu Dhabi-based property development company, Connection Real Estate, has launched a Dh.1bn mixed-use sustainable project in the capital, the 'Eco Towers', which comprise luxury apartments and commercial property. The property, which claims to meet the environmental challenges, also offers essential residential property in Abu Dhabi.

Located within the prestigious community of Dhanet Abu Dhabi, the Eco Towers are the first mixed-use towers in the Middle East with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental design) Platinum Certification.
Eco Towers in Abu Dhabi

LEED is an internationally recognized green building rating system that establishes environmentally sustainable construction criteria. It brings about a common standard of building designs that minimize risks on the environment and increases awareness among consumers about the benefits of green construction. Platinum is the highest level.

The plots cover an area of 787,000 square feet and are located along the Airport Road. The commercial tower is aimed to offer about 36,485 square meters of office space, while the residential tower will offer 36,685 square meters for healthy living.

The 23 storey twin towers will be cost-effective, safe for environment, and healthy to live and work in, with air purification systems, toxic-free materials, renewable energy, dual glaze windows, water efficiency, waste reduction and other eco-friendly features incorporated. The other noteworthy aspects about the tower are the Smart Home Technology enabled, linked underground car park and proximity to the Holiday Inn at Dhanet Abu Dhabi.

Abed Al Zeera, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Connection Real Estate, revealed that the leveling work on the two plots where the project is likely to come up, will begin within a month.
The towers will be ready by 2011.

"We are currently holding discussions with banks for financing of the project. The project will receive 70 percent finance from regional banks from the Gulf States," Al Zeera said.

The starting prices proposed for the towers are yet to be announced. The project aims to meet the residential and commercial property scarcity in Abu Dhabi, as there is a huge demand for this sector from the end-users, Al Zeera explained.

A senior executive, associated with the project, when speaking about Eco Towers, mentioned that the towers advocate the rapidly emerging consensus that green buildings are more healthy and less expensive to operate, and is more appealing to end-users and the public, and on the whole, more profitable.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mayadeen launches Dh1.6bn Aurora in Abu Dhabi

National Ranges Company (Mayadeen) has launched Aurora, the Dh.1.6bn landmark project in Abu Dhabi, which is now open for sales.

Located along the Shams on Al Reem Island, the project includes two residential towers of 53 storey each, standing high at 208 meters. The towers house 960 apartments on the whole, ranging from single bedroom to four bedrooms, penthouses and duplex rooms.

Aurora in Shams Abu Dhabi
The project will also include a 14 storey commercial tower, offering about 112,000 square feet of commercial space. A canal promenade and retail space, apart from 12-storey parking facility to accommodate 1674 cars will also be a part of the project.

The Chief Executive of Mayadeen, Ali Al Attar, said that the initial phase of shoring and piling work has been completed and the company is now planning its second phase, which includes working on foundation structure.

Mayadeen has signed five new contractors for working on the project, and the work is progressing as planned. This venture is one of the largest of its kind in the region, and is hoped to be an all-encompassing real estate project that caters to all facets of day-to-day life.

This project is a milestone to Mayadeen's journey in establishing itself as major player in the property development industry across the region, Ali Attar said.

Al Attar pointed out that following introduction of new laws and establishment of several local and foreign companies in the market, Abu Dhabi is witnessing huge demand in its residential sector, which is still surpassing the supply. The Abu Dhabi property market is continuing to witness large number of investments, and this trend is likely to continue until the next decade.

Shams Abu Dhabi is all set to be a part of what is known as "New Abu Dhabi". The concept is aimed to include several hospitals, schools, hotels, retail outlets, family entertainment venues, canals and parks, creating a self-sustained city, incorporating world-class master planning practices and further extending lush greenery into Abu Dhabi's landscape.

The six-year property boom in Dubai may slow down, fear agents

The six year property boom that Dubai witnessed has almost ended, with the sales collapsing amidst fears of global economic downturn, reveal agents.

"Last month was the worst, a real disaster," said Mehdi Zoghbi, a property agent at the Middle East Real Estate Consultants, who spoke to Zawya.com.

The sellers are desperate and are now offering their off-plan properties on the secondary market for zero premium, despite the loss on investment, just to offload quickly, it is said.

Dubai, being the first emirate to permit foreigners to purchase homes, will also be the first to see a drop in property prices, with the global credit crunch and region's prospects undermining investor confidence.

According to a property agent at Al Jabal Real Estate, the commissions have dropped by 70 percent currently. Dubai needs to apply caution to curb the practice of "flipping" property and payment of "key money" to reserve real estate, the agent said.

However, the biggest developers in the city, such as Nakheel and Emaar are confident that sales will remain robust. The Chairman of Emaar, Mohammed Alabbar, in his statement, expressed confidence about the fundamentals and future growth of the company.

Despite this, Emaar's stock has fallen 62 percent since the beginning of the year, which is more than 48 percent fall in Dubai Financial market's main index during the same period. Colliers International reported that property price growth in Dubai dropped to 16 percent during second half of the year from 42 percent during the first quarter of the year.

Even Morgan Stanley had warned a drop in prices by 10 percent in Dubai towards 2010.

A drop in property prices of Dubai, would also burden the Dubai economy further, considering the fact that it does not profit from the vast oil income otherwise enjoyed by its neighboring emirate Abu Dhabi. At present property and construction contribute to about 30 percent of the economy in the emirate.

The strong economic condition in the region which had supported the property boom in Dubai, too, has now been badly hit.

Considering all such factors, whether buyers would still continue to respond amidst the current depressing economic stance is yet to be ascertained.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Nakheel unveils Forbidden City in Dubai

Forbidden city from Nakheel
The Dubai-based master real estate developer, Nakheel, yesterday unveiled the 'Forbidden City' in the Dubai International City.

Being home to 4000 low-rise studio, single and double bedroom apartments, work on Dubai's Fobidden City will commenced in April 2008 and will be complete by April 2011.

Drawing inspiration from the legendary Royal Court Palance of Imperial China, the Forbidden City will offer an extensive range of community amenities, further enhanced by a series of leisure and retail offerings at the Dragon Mart and International City. At the heart of the development will be a landscaped vista, leading to Ornate Grand Mosque, the spiritual centerpiece of the community.

The City will feature about 50 retail stores including internet cafes, food outlets, restaurants and boutiques. The residents get to enjoy the proximity to Dragon Mart, offering a wide range of Chinese merchandise, and a range of affordable accommodation options in an accessible living environment.

The Residential District of the project is divided into 10 themed communities representing France, England, China, Italy, Greece, Persia, Russia, Italy, Morocco and Spain.

Located adjacent, is the Lake District, the residential community, which shares wonderful views of Al Warsan Lake, one of the few freshwater wetlands in the UAE. The lake houses about 190 species of birds, including the rarest birds known to Arabian Peninsula and its neighboring regions.

Nakheel has taken precautions to ensure the long-term protection of this habitat, and suitable amenities are being planned that will enable the public to enjoy the wildlife here.

According to Eng. Rashid Al Helli, Director, International City, the low-rise residential community will be unique in its design and has been well-planned to taking into consideration all aspects required by the residents in terms of leisure and retail amenities, to build a thriving and sustainable community.

Memon Group to launch Gardenia I & II at Jumeirah Village South

An arm of the renowned international business conglomerate the Memon Group of Companies, Memon Investments, has announced the launch of Dh.150mn project at Jumeirah Village South - Gardenia I & II.

The luxurious residential development is the first property by the developer at Jumeirah Village South, followed by the previous projects at Dubai Sports City and the Dubai Silicon Oasis. The project forms a part of the ambitious plan by the developer to unveil projects worth total of Dh.2.5bn towards second half of this year.

An Escrow Account for the project is already in place, through partnership with the Commercial Bank of Dubai, and in compliance with requirements by RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Agency) and DLD (Dubai Land Department). Two payments schemes have been devised which makes the project more investor-friendly. Investors get to choose between making a 10 percent down payment and availing 80 percent finance, or making 10 percent down payment and making 80 percent payment through quarterly installments.

The project focuses on energy saving methods such as special insulation that reduces air-conditioning power consumption, mood lighting in all common areas, temperature-controlled retail arcade, recycling unit, and garbage disposal managements.

Situated within Jumeirah Village South, near the Cultural Center and renowned Central Park, Gardenia project is designed to offer a Mediterranean experience to its residents. Including a mix of residential, retail and commercial spaces, the project features about 170 residential apartments, including 68 single bedroom units, 60 studios, 22 double bedroom units, 13 loft apartments and 7 lavish townhouses and 8 retail units on the ground floor.

Spread along a 90,000 square feet plot with total built-up area of 157,265 square feet, residents have access to world-class amenities, including the two roof-top health clubs, communal swimming pools, steam, sauna, spas, party halls, outdoor terraces, Jacuzzis, basement parking, hi-speed elevators, gymnasiums, boutiques, restaurants, cafes and travel agency. All this apart from other necessary amenities such as 24 hours concierge desk, Wi-Fi technology, mood lighting, keyless entry, mood lighting, intercom system for each apartment, hi-speed internet access, and an in-house maintenance team and valet parking.

The tower is due for completion by 2010.

The Chairman of Memon Group, Abu Baker Shaikhani, said "This is our maiden project in Jumeirah Village South. We are confident about the sales prospects of the project, particularly considering factors such as the high quality of development, excellent location, easy access to Emirates Road, Al Khail road and other such major roads."

The project designer, Dimensions and Engineering Consultants (DEC), are an award-winning architectural and engineering services company, catering to a range of private and public clients across the region.

With about 8 locations across the UAE, Egypt and rest of the Gulf, the company offers value-added professional solutions. The other renowned structures in the company's portfolio include the Palm Jebel Ali, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai Health Care City, Dubai International City, Falcon City of Wonders and others.

With over more than two decades of industry experience, DEC has successfully completed more than 500 projects within the region, and is carrying on with about 100 projects in hand.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ajman Gate hoped to be a major boost to Ajman property sector

Ajman Gate tower
The UAE-based realty developer, Falcon Eye, together with Estate 400, a full service consultancy, sales and management firm, is investing Dh.1.5bn into development of a commercial and residential development, 'Ajman Gate' in Ajman.

Located along the main entrance of Eye of Ajman, off the Emirates Road, the 'Ajman Gate' comprises two towers with connecting cable work between them, creating a gate-like structure that overlooks master development.

Each tower would spread along a total built-up area of 872,000 square feet, for a combined 1,750,000 square feet. About 2400 units and office units would spread across the area, with an equal amount of parking bays.

Adnan Saffarini, the Architect, designer and Engineering Consultant of Ajman Gate, when speaking about the property sector in Ajman, said that the Ajman freehold property sector is more than just a residential hub for the low-income group. It is fast developing to be an alternative for the upper middle class, as a convenient residential and commercial community with everything located within 20 minutes drive from Emirates Road.

There is also considerable demand from the commercial sector, owing to the success of residential projects. Hence the Ajman Gate is aptly designed to offer a blend of both residential apartments and office modules, he added.

Residential units of Ajman Gate will be sold at a starting price of Dh.600 per square feet, while commercial units would be sold at a starting price of Dh.750 per square feet.

The construction and delivery of the entire project would happen within the next four years.
According to Khan, Ajman's booming real estate sector is growing to be popular among investors due to its competitive prices and rapid appreciation in market value and minimal risks.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Prices of Dubai villas surge 50 percent in two years

Villa prices in Dubai
The prices of villas in Dubai have sky-rocketed in the recent past. The last two years have seen an increase of 50 percent in the prices of villas. About 13,800 more villas are likely to hit the market within the next two years at various locations of the emirate, say experts.

Majority of these villas will be located in the Al Furjan development by Nakheel, while the others would come up in the Jumeirah Village, Waterfront, Dubai Silicon Oasis and Jumeirah Golf Estate.

Recent report by EFG-Hermes, titled "The Brave New World" states that the year 2008 has seen delivery of about 30,000 housing units so far, and another 50,000 are expected to be delivered by the year end.

The villas in Dubai that have already attained completion are the Springs, Emirates Hills, Arabian Ranches, Meadows, Jumeirah Island, The Lakes, and the Palm Jumeirah. The villa are classified into sub-categories, such as independent villas, townhouses, and signature villas, which has seen escalation in selling price by 50 percent during the last two years.

According to Vineet Kumar, the Head of Sales, Asteco Property Management, the prices of townhouses have risen by 45 to 65 percent during the past two years, while prices of luxury villas have escalated by 50 to 55 percent.

An Asteco research reveals that the prices of single to triple bedroom townhouses in Dubai, currently, are in the range of Dh.1.6mn to Dh.3.8mn. Signature villas of four to 12 bedrooms fall in the range of Dh.18mn to Dh.130mn.

A report by Colliers International reveals that the price increases are mainly contributed by the projects that are nearing completion. Colliers has recorded a 73 percent increase in villa prices during the second quarter of 2008, compared to same period last year. The townhouses have recorded 38 percent price increase during the second quarter of this year. The report indicated a 76 percent year-on-year increase during the same periods in residential prices in Dubai.

According to Asteco, although the past two years has seen a dearth of villas in the market, the coming years will narrow down this gap, through supply of several new developments such as The Villa in Dubailand, Veneto in Dubai, Waterfront, and Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Asteco feels that the current demand in the Dubai villa market is highest for mid-range villas which generate interest from both investors and end-users, as they are sold easily and return reasonable rentals.

The international buyers prefer waterfront or golf-course facing villas, but, on the whole, the villa market in the UAE and GCC markets have seen wide absorption. The villas have recorded strong demand from expatriates and the local population.

Premium on properties nearing completion have commanded higher premium than off-plan properties. The rental rates on villas in Dubai, too, have seen an increase of an average 30 percent.

Even the apartment prices in Dubai have risen by 83 percent during second quarter of this year, in comparison to same period last year.

Asteco, however, believes that UAE is witnessing an undersupply of affordable accommodation.

The current average prices of affordable apartments in Dubai are in the range of Dh.900 and Dh.1200 per square foot. The mid-range villas are priced in the range of Dh.1500 and Dh.2500 per square foot. Luxury apartments are priced in the range of Dh.3500 and Dh.14000 per square foot.


According to Kumar, based on the trend of regional and international demands, increased interest is seen among buyers for the mid-range products.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Nakheel awards Jumeirah Heights residential contract to ASGC

Jumeirah heights apartmetns and townhouses
Al Shafar General Contracting (ASGC) has been awarded the prestigious Dh.1.1bn contract for construction of a mixed-use residential development in Jumeirah Heights, by Nakheel.
ASGC, together with Arenco will work on the project, which is due for completion in August 2010.

Jumeirah Heights is a spacious, urban community with several mid to low-rise apartments and townhouses that render bird's eye view of nearby parklands and water in New Dubai. ASGC will work on one of the two identical clusters, which include mid-rise apartment buildings, three low-rise buildings with double and triple bedroom apartments and private gardens, and 17 townhouses (Frond B).

Established in 1989, ASGC is the fifth largest contractor in the UAE, according to MEED (Middle East Economic Digest), and is handling an order book worth Dh.9bn at present. The company was named as the "Company of the Year" by Construction Week, when the company made a rapid growth by 377% between 2005 and 2007.

ASGC is today one of the top contracting companies in Dubai. The leading projects by ASGC include Dubai Internet City-Phase III, new Dubai Police Head Quarters, Emirates Airlines Staff Accommodation, Greens -Phase II, Jumeirah Beach Residence - Sector 6, Al Tayer Tower, Golden Sands Tower, Lamcy Plaza, Windsor Manor, Vision Tower, Bay Square, Dubai Studio City, The Villa and the Golden Mile.

Dubailand breaks ground for the region's first spa lifestyle community 'Palmarosa'

Dubailand, the tourism destination and member of Tatweer, announced that it has broken ground for the first spa lifestyle community in the Middle East, the Dh.1.5bn 'Palmarosa Project.'

The Senior Vice-President of Dubailand, Mohammed Al Habbai, and Chief Executive Officer of Palmarosa, Gaurav Goel, together held the groundbreaking for the 2.5mn square feet project.
The project would include 217 villas and townhouses, club houses, offices, serviced apartments, five-star hotel and a spa mall. The well-designed villas and townhouses at Palmarosa inspire a feeling of tranquility, security and contentment. The residents at Palmarosa will get to enjoy the legendary hospitality at one of the most idealistic five-star retreats in the world, the 'Palmarosa Luxury Hotel'.

The development also features one of the largest spa treatment amenities in the region, along with a blend of traditional and advanced therapy treatments.

Located off Emirates Road, behind the Arabian Ranches, featuring the majestic palms, bubbling fountains and unique variety of plants and flowers, the Palmarosa will be the primary botanical wonder of Dubai, the company revealed.

"The groundbreaking for Palmarosa project indicates our commitment towards delivering projects on schedule, and our keenness in offering integrated complementary services that cater to the entire family," said Al Habbai.

"At Dubailand, we aim to offer a range of diverse offerings from leisure and entertainment to arts, sports and culture, complemented by a luxurious lifestyle. We are confident that Palmarosa will contribute considerably to the well-being of residents and seek holistic retreat, even when remaining in contact with the vibrancy of city life," he said.

Schon Properties announces final schedule of Dubai Lagoon project

In a bid to calm frustrated investors, Schon Properties, finally announced their final, brief schedule of their Dh.4bn Dubai Lagoon project.

This announcement came after a series of complaints from investors about the distinct lack of refunds, despite the promises made. One of the investors had purchased four properties since 2005, with none of them being ready as yet, and so the investor continues to pay rent.

Another investor, who purchased an entire floor in phase seven, Quartet, in Dubai Lagoons is also said to be suffering.

About 51 investors, out of the total 2400 applicants in the Lagoon project have sought refunds, said Nasir Husain, the Co-chairman, Schon Properties.

The total refunded amount so far totals to about Dh.11million. So far about two applicants have been fully refunded and five have retracted applications.

Husain revealed that the investors have contributed to about 15 percent of the project value into the escrow account so far.

Husain said that the Lagoon project would be complete towards first quarter of 2011.

As per the schedule, Zone one will include 442 apartments, due for completion by September 2009, Zone two will comprise 491 apartments, which will be complete by April 2009. Zone three with 688 apartments will be complete by September 2010, while zone four and five with total of 837 apartments will be complete by January 2011.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Over 40% say it is still a good time to buy property in Dubai

Since the recent dramatic events in the financial world around the globe, the organisers of this weeks' Worldwide Property Show being held in Dubai have just announced the results of a recent survey on investor confidence conducted in association with YouGovSiraj.

The survey shows an optimistic view, with one fourth of respondents feeling that the global crisis will only have a minor impact on the local UAE Property Market. 56% surveyed felt that there may be a slowdown but will not have the same impact as in Europe and US.

The survey further revealed that Dubai residents are more confident than those living in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah however 40% of all respondents felt that now is still a good time to invest as they can pick up a bargain. 16% of respondents were not sure and were sitting on the fence.

When deciding on the developer -value for money, ability to adhere to promises and transparency of information are the attributes that people look at. The least important attribute is public information available either on a website or in the media. This indicates that consumers are anxious about cost of ownership and the inherent investment value of the property.

Respondents were also asked what were their top destinations for real estate investment around the world - 55% favoured Asia, 40% for Middle East, 32% for Europe & UK and 27% for North America.

George Betz ,International Sales Director at Dubai Shows Limited organisers of the Worldwide Property Show said: "Considering our survey has literally been completed in the last few days since the global meltdown, it is very encouraging to see that people still understand the merit in investing in real estate and that now is still a good time to buy as prices are low."

Betz continued: "The Worldwide Property Show which started in 1995 has received a record number of developers and estate agents wishing to participate in this season's show and will feature 85 exhibitors from 32 countries including USA, Egypt, Morocco and UK, as well as emerging Asian markets such as Philippines and Thailand and a very wide variety of UAE developers and agents."

Mike Bridge, Business Development Director at Dubai Shows Limited said: "With developers feeling the pinch, it is definitely a buyers market with great opportunities to select prime property in some of the best locations in the world. You cannot take away the benefits, even in a crisis, of a fabulous city or beautiful coastline."

Bridge added: "It is also good news that the banks have recently received Governments' support and are more likely to be in a position to fund property investment again".

The Worldwide Property Show and UAE Developer, the UAE's longest running consumer property exhibition opens 23rd to 25th October 2008 at the Grand Hyatt Dubai.

Abu Dhabi to emulate Dubai in introduction of real estate laws

With an aim to introduce major transformations in Abu Dhabi property market, Abu Dhabi plans to introduce real estate regulations as that prevailing in its neighbouring emirate Dubai.

Al Tamini, the Dubai-based Law firm, is on discussions with the Department for Municipal Affairs in Abu Dhabi, which handles real estate legislation for the emirate. The firm has suggested introduction of strata, escrow and broker laws, to improve regulation, and provide investors the much-required confidence when investing in the region.

During the year 2002, Dubai introduced freehold ownership of property in chosen areas, sparking its six-year real estate boom. The proposed introduction of laws would essentially focus on the change in freehold ownership of land.

The Associate Lawyer at Al Tamini's Abu Dhabi office, Walter Robinson, said that the investors comfort was the most important and that it is vital for the investors to know that they are investing in a property that has a real estate title deed, the system of ownership of which, is recognized on par with the best international practices.

According to Robinson introduction of freehold ownership rights is a vital and fundamental change to property laws in Abu Dhabi.

"An Escrow Law protects investors and ensures that developers actually deliver projects. This legislation is being considered by Abu Dhabi to cover residential and commercial properties," he revealed.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

State-of-the-art Soccer Tower to be launched in Dubai Sports City

Soccer Tower in Dubai Sports City
Infinity Emirates Investments plans to launch the state-of-the-art 'Soccer Tower' development at the Dubai Sports City.

The Infinity Emirates Investments handles a wide range of business sectors such as the textile, real estate and construction. The group carries a solid experience of more than 20 years in international markets, and has worked with several largest companies around the world.
Briefing about the new Soccer Tower launch, the Managing Director of Infinity Emirates Investments, Sadia Butt, said "We are pround to introduce the world-class project, the Soccer Tower, offers several state-of-the-art amenities which add to luxury and comfort of contemporary lifestyle."

Strategically located within the Dubai Sports City, the Soccer Tower is a 25-storey master-piece. The development offers single, double and triple bedroom apartments, penthouses, and also enjoys a series of innovative amenities, such as LG Home Net, open air gardens, health club, swimming pool, and other luxury-driven amenities.

"We are proud about being involved in such unique investment. Its strategic location would be an important factor for generating strong sales and First Choice Real Estate has always ensured that its clients interest comes first, and have endeavored to bring to them viable projects, which are trustworthy and offer good returns on investments." said Najeeb Haroon, Managing Director, First Choice Estate.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Al Barari properties earn good demand from world's super-rich

Al Barari Luxury Villas
According to a property developer in Dubai, its new $6.4bn luxury residential development has drawn more billionaires than in any other part of the world.

Located off the Emirates Road in Dubailand, the villas and apartments of the Al Barari mixed-use development, in the Nad Al Sheba area, are being snapped up by the super-rich.

The Chairman of Al Barari, Zaal Mohammad Zaal, agreed that Al Barari has more billionaires per square meter, than anywhere else.

"Most of our buyers are what you call 'old money'. They are the end-users and we hardly have speculators," he said.

Mohammad Zaal refused to give details, but said that the people here love their privacy. About 300 secluded villas, amidst lakes and trees, are spread across 14.2million square feet of space. Al Barari is one of the lowest density developments in the region, and more than 80 percent of it is in the un-built area.

The villas have a starting price of $10.3mn, and the apartment prices range from $1.4mn to $4mn. Phase one of the project, which includes 300 villas, is about 75 percent complete. The earthworks and infrastructure will begin towards the end of the year during phase two, which includes 32 villas, a six-star boutique hotel, apartments, spa and resort, gardens, shopping areas, apartments, culture village and a grand mosque.

About 200 villas of phase have already been sold, and a huge demand is being witnessed for phase two of the project. The entire scheme would be complete towards end of 2011.

Commercial property prices in Dubai may slow down

With more supply hitting the market, the rise in commercial property prices are bound to slow down, indicate recent reports.

Dubai has begun discouraging short-term investors, with few commercial buildings being listed at a negative premium. A commercial review by Better Homes, suggests that with the liquidity being squeezed in global markets, more such instances are likely to occur.

The global recession has created panic in terms of sentiment. Several projects being launched this year are exceptionally highly-priced in the range of Dh.4000 to Dh.5000 per square foot, when compared to last year.

Such prices are agreeable when things are going good and fine, but when the projects are three to five years away from completion, a slowdown is inevitable, says Niraj Masand, Managing Director-Commercial Advisory, Better Homes.

In the third quarter of this year, an increase in activity, and better interest towards commercial properties in Jumeirah Lake Towers, Meydan, Dubai Waterfront and Dubai Maritime have been noticed.

Rents are however, very high for both primary and secondary offices. The rates for office space range from Dh.250 to Dh.275 per square foot in old commercial areas such as Bur Dubai and Deira, while the rent is Dh.500 to Dh.550 in new places such as the DIFC and Jumeirah Lake Towers.

Just as is the case with residential sector, the demand continues to surpass supply in the commercial sector too, which has led to inflated rents. This indicates that on purchase of such properties, investors gain good returns for their investments, and this is a huge opportunity for speculators, Masand pointed out.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sheffield plans portfolio expansion with Dh3.5bn new Waterfront projects

Sheffield Waterfront Projects
Sheffield Real Estate FZC, the Dubai-based property developer launched a major expansion of their project portfolio by embarking on three new projects at the Dubai Waterfront, worth a total of Dh.3.5bn.

The Chairman of Sheffield Real Estate, Abu Ali Malik Shroff, said "The company has carved a niche for itself over the years, as a real estate developer, focusing on master communities which have helped boost the stature of Dubai, as the world’s best destination for freehold realty investments. The Dubai Waterfront is another opportunity from Nakheel offering huge potential for maximizing returns from investments."

The Dubai Waterfront properties will now join with Sheffields developments such as residential properties in Dubai Marina International City, Shopping Mall in Mizin, and the commercial real estate development in Jumerah Lake Towers. The Dh.1.7bn Marina 101, one among the tallest towers in Dubai, is also a major real estate development by Sheffield.

The Nakheel Waterfront will transform the 1.4bn square feet of empty desert and sea, into an international community, housing about 1.5mn people, which would be twice the size of Hong Kong Island. It is developed along Dubai’s natural coastline, stretching 15kms, and will offer 70km of coastline in total.

Shroff revealed that Sheffield has received the concept approval to finalize the three residential developments within the Waterfront, spanning across a total of 3million square feet.

The flagship project of the company, the Dh.1.7bn Marina 101, worked with the money-back concept, wherein the company offered investors with 75 percent returns from the management, after possession of the property.

Jumeirah plans global expansion; aims 60 new hotels by 2012

The Dubai-based luxury hotel company, the Jumeirah Group, is heading on its global expansion plan, and hopes to rollout 60 new hotels by 2012, despite the on-going global financial crisis.

The Dubai Government-owned hotel operator, last week announced signing deals with five new hotels, which makes the total number of new properties currently under development to 19. Apart from this, Jumeirah is managing 11 hotels and resorts.

"We are a solid company, and the current financial crisis will not affect us. The hotels that we have signed deals with, are being developed by strong partners. The projects are all well-funded. We have a long-term growth plan and most new hotels will open in two to three years time," commented Gerald Lawless, Executive Chairman, Jumeirah Group.

The company is focusing on emerging and growth markets of Asia, the Middle East and the Gulf for expansion. Jumeirah has also accepted management of several hotels across the Gulf.

"With these developments, we are sure about maintaining a balanced portfolio. One-third of our hotels will be in Asia, and we already have a strong base in the Middle East and GCC," Gerald said.

These announcements are in addition to other announcements of hotels in St. Thomas, Glasgow, Guangzhou, and US Virgin Islands.

According to Lawless, the strength of his company comes from the ambitious plans of Dubai Holding, the parent company of Jumeirah, and the Sama Dubai and Dubai Properties, the development arms, who are also the master-planners behind several new communities wherein several new hotels are likely to be built.

"Through the support of Dubai Holding, our parent company, we are on target to achieve our aim of globalizing our luxury brand. We hope to see 60 properties either operational or under development by 2012," Lawless said, when speaking during a conference in Hong Kong.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mizin unveils new boutique villa community at Dubailand

Mizin boutique villa
The real estate subsidiary of Tatweer, Mizin, has unveiled a contemporary boutique villa community in Dubailand. The launch was carried out during the recently held Cityscape Dubai 2008.

The boutique villa community offers a 'limited edition' signature lifestyle, and is located adjacent to elite neighbourhoods such as the Bawadi Boulevard, Tiger Woods Dubai and the Ghaya community, featuring spacious villas, designed with minimalist, modern-style positioned on ample sized plots, conferring privacy and luxury.

With the inclusion of this community, Mizin's unique developments would span over 82million square feet, said Ahmad Sharaf, CEO, Tatweer Investments. Few other developments of Mizin include Liwan, Remraam, Arjan and Majan.

Although the UAE property sector is facing a general shortage of luxury villas, Mizin plans to offer customer-centric approach, by actively responding to specific lifestyle requirements of the luxury market, Sharaf said.

The Ghaya villas are designed by a team of internationally-renowned architects, permitting maximum flow of light, ample space, and greater privacy, which are a must among luxury buyers.

Displaying subtle Arabic undertones, the Gaya architecture will be unique from the existing developments in the market. The villas offer ample amenities for recreation, including exclusive community centers, community pools, health care centers, mosques, club houses, schools and nurseries, apart from boardwalks, tree-lined pathways, and lush landscaping.

The launch of this new development follows successful launch of Mizin's Remraam community, which targets the need for affordable, up-scale housing. The Remraam community still continues to be one of the best selling developments in UAE, with more than 8000 units sold within seven months.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Global Real Estate Fund Managers to be major boost to Dubai property market

The Gulf News has reported that a major capital injection by the managers of global real estate fund, could actually serve as a major boost to Dubai's property market, which is heading towards correction.

"With the UK and the US housing markets continuing their downward trend, the global real estate fund managers will continue to deposit cash into the UAE property market, and we hope that it will be a major boost to the market which may otherwise have slowed down, during the coming months," said Iseeb Rehman, the Managing Director, Sherwoods.

With more than Dh.600mn new project announcements at the recent Cityscape Dubai 2008, the Dubai property market is flooded with more sellers rather than buyers. This is hoped to bring down prices even further.

"The pace of sales has slowed down in recent weeks, and there are an increasing number of investors who wish to exit the market. This change is for the good, as the real buyers will not enter the market to purchase properties they wish to live in," said Rehman.

According to the global real estate consultancy, Colliers International, the overall growth rate quarterly, has slowed down from 42 percent during the first quarter of 2008 to 16 percent during the second quarter.

However, when compared to the performance of other cities over the same period, the returns offered by Dubai seem attractive.

These factors help in making the UAE realty market more attractive than the European and the US markets. The one-day operators and the like will vanish. The Chief Executive of NKR Properties, Kaleem Khan warned that there are several developers who do not have the right credentials, and are trying to attract buyers. He advised investors to apply caution before investing their money.

"The days of making a quick buck have gone. The real picture will be evident during the coming days. Villas from renowned developers such as Nakheel, Emaar, Aldar and Emaar Properties, will continue to appreciate in value. Even if the market corrects itself, it is no cause for worry," said Khan.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Aristocrat Star unveils Dh.5bn worth Royal Estates Community

Royal Estates Community at Dubai Investment Park
A UK-based real estate, retail and manufacturing conglomerate, Aristocrat Star Investments, launched Dh.5bn worth mixed-use developments in Dubai.

Targeted at the high-end market, the Royal Estates Community, spreads across 3.5mn square feet, and is located in the Dubai Investment Park.

The residential district has about 34 villas with five bedrooms each, 200 townhouses with four bedrooms each, and about 810 apartments.

The Gateway Apartments and Park View Apartments are a collection of six-storey low-rise residential buildings, located at the entrance of the Royal Estates residential community.

The Chief Executive of Aristocrat Star Investment, Osman Valli, revealed that about 90 percent of the apartments are either studios or single-bedroom apartments, priced at Dh.1400 per square foot.

The commercial buildings will offer about 852 offices, while the retail will include about 850,000 square foot boutique retail mall.

The hospitality aspect of the development will include Dh.180mn hotel and hotel apartments worth Dh.400mn. The company is under talks with Kempinski to have its Shaza Hotels brand manage the 380-room five-star restaurant.

Construction will commence next January, and will be complete within two years.

The group will launch another two properties during the coming months. A Dh.3bn project is planned at Al Marjan to be launched in four to six weeks, while a Dh.6bn project, spreading about 4million square feet is also in pipeline for UK-based investors.

Abyaar Real Estate launches Dh.4bn worth projects in Dubai

Kuwait-based Abyaar Real Estate yesterday launched Dh.4billion worth projects in various parts of Dubai.

The first being Ice Tower, designed in the shape of a floating iceberg, likely to come up in Dubai Marina. It will have 30 levels of angular glass, and will include 103 unique apartments.

The project will go on sale in two weeks time. Construction will commence in two weeks, and will be complete by last quarter of 2010.

According to the Karl Finder, the Australian Architect, the building has many fissure and facets between the two sides of the structure, which will provide various degree of sunlight to the balconies on the inside of the building. The difference in lighting makes each apartment unique.

The next to be launched was the resort-lifestyle community planned around a manmade waterfront, called Pier 8, located at Dubai Marina, and is due for completion in 14 months.

The development, designed by Atkins, comprises 40 storeys of high-end luxury apartments. The tower offers 232 units of studios, single and double bedroom apartments and two penthouses on the top floors.

The sales of Pier 8, due for completion in 14 months, was also announced yesterday.

The Company also launched the Dubai Arts District (DAD), a Dh.1.4bn community, comprising residential, office and recreational buildings.

About eleven residential buildings will span across an area of 2.1mn square feet. The buildings draw inspiration from nature and depict the theme of sand and wind in terms of shape and colours. The buildings are said to have low maintenance costs and reduce the glare from the sun due to their design and will be sustainable.

The construction will commence within two months, and will be complete in the last quarter of 2011.

The Company has already started sales of the commercial space in the project.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cityscape 2008 witnessed more visitors, lesser sales

The five-day extravaganza, Cityscape 2008, ended on Thursday, at the World Trade Center, Dubai. According to the organizers about 70,000 to 80,000 visitors had turned up during the event, although only 60,000 visitors were anticipated, thereby confirming its position as the world's biggest business-to-business real estate investment and development event.

This year's Cityscape has seen everything, starting from the one-kilometer tall tower, to hanging gardens, mergers, royal visits and an island museum.

The event saw the participation of about 150 countries. According to the Managing Director of Cityscape, Rohan Marwaha, the opening hours of the event was extended by an hour each day due to exceptional public demand.

He said that this indicates the uniqueness of Cityscape Dubai, as it is not a retail event where people gather to buy individual properties. Rather, it is an investor-level, international business-to-business show.

A major strength of Cityscape is that it offers access to few of the wealthiest and most liquid property investors in the world, he added.

However, although the Cityscape organizers claim that there has been more interest this year from investors, compared to last year, the property sellers reveal that potential buyers are scared of investing.

A sales executive of RAK Properties, who spoke to Gulf News, said that sales in Cityscape 2008 were a little low compared to last year.

Mansoureh Ghezipour, a property consultant, Best Homes Emirates Real Estate said that although people trusted the market last year, this year they are hesitant to invest, although the number of visitors are more.

According to Sikander Aziz, Sales Executive, Bonyan International Investments Group, interest of visitors is high, but buying is low. This could be due to global liquidity conditions, he added.
Ian Albert, Regional Director, Colliers International, said "Investors this year are more cautious, and there has been greater degree of diligence. An air of cautiousness is seen seeping in from the general feelings of the international market."

The event ended on a high note, with a visit by H.H. Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Ajman forbids issuance of freehold visas

The Ajman Naturalization and Residency Department has stopped issuance and renewal of investors' visas for freehold property owners in Ajman.

Investors and property buyers will not be able to even obtain a visit visa for their spouses or children, but, most developers are still continuing to sell properties promising a residence visa.
According to sources, no visit visa or residence visa will be issued to people who purchase properties.

For obtaining a residence visa, one should own a business or a job in Ajman. Any unemployed will not be issued visa, even if they own a freehold property, revealed officials.

Ajman is the second emirate to have taken this stand, after Dubai. About 20,000 or more foreigners have already moved into their freehold homes in Dubai, and a few more have been handed over to buyers in Ajman. Ajman has been witnessing major construction activities in the recent months.

This initiative is aimed at regulating the visa rules. Till date, many used to either purchase an apartment to obtain a residence visa and then sell the apartment to somebody else, who already had a visa.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Projects worth Dh.500bn announced at Cityscape Dubai 2008

Property developers in the Gulf continued to remain confident amidst fears that the global economic turmoil could hit the real estate sector in all places, including the UAE. The visitors thronging the halls of Cityscape 2008 were greeted with tower upon tower.

Projects worth about Dh.500bn were announced at the Cityscape exhibition held inDubai this week, although it is believed that more prominence has been laid on
high-end properties, neglecting the needs of the majority mid-income group.

With the announcement of new projects in Dubai, the total value of the projects developed in the city would touch Dh.1.3trillion, to be developed within next 10 years.
Cityscape Dubai 2008
In the opinion of few experts, the global crisis may prompt more Arab money which has been invested in the US and Europe, to flow back into the region.

Dar Al Arkan's project was displayed on the 3rd day of Cityscape 2008. One of the most ambitious integrated luxury-mega resorts, the 'Boris Becker Beach Resort & Tennis Academy', was unveiled by the Tennis legend himself.

Vertical structures made a major presence at the Cityscape skyline along with record breaking project by Nakheel, and the Michael Schumacher World Champion Tower, the world's first wharf tower, in Abu Dhabi.

Leading developer ETA showcased few of its new projects on the third day of Cityscape exhibition. The Meydan project, with its world-class horse racing and leisure amenities at the Nad Al Sheba area was eye-catching for the visitors.

Aquintania, the property by Select Group on 'The World', was launched by Dutchess of York - Sarah Ferguson, in place of the earlier planned Oscar-winner Hilary Swank.

Dubai Municipality was honoured during the Cityscape Dubai 2008 awards, for carrying out outstanding renovation work on mosques of historic Shingadha, and for its renovation on Dubai’s Old Souq and the historic Bastakia and Deira.

Tamweel PJSC, the largest real estate finance provider in the UAE has met with considerably enthusiastic response for its finance offers at Cityscape Dubai 2008, with more than 470 property registrations completed right on the first day of the event, indicating the eagerness of the market for well-priced properties.

Tamweel had offered upto 90 percent finance for visitors who register for pre-approval facility at the company's exhibition stand, with no arrangement fee upon registration on few select Tamweel properties. The visitors responded strongly to this offer of Tamweel, despite the challenging conditions in the global market.

Several visitors have been flocking the halls of Dubai Convention Center, as the world's largest real estate development exhibition continues in full swing, planned to end today.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Burooj Properties unveils Burooj Crystal development in Abu Dhabi

Burooj Properties, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has unveiled a new project 'Burooj Crystal' at Al Reem Island. The announcement came during the ongoing Cityscape Dubai 2008 exhibition.

Burooj CrystalThe project forms a part of a group of towers known as City of Light on Al Reem Island. Standing high at 184.85meters, it is one of the tallest among all other Burooj's projects on the island.

The 48 storey tower comprises about 322 apartments, ranging from studios to single, double and triple bedroom apartments. The waterfront development has the latest amenities management system, including automatic temperature control, lighting, air quality control, CCTV monitoring, waste disposal system, multi-purpose hall, 24-hour security, health club, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, steam room, sauna and gymnasiums.

Offering the comfort of living beyond the bustle of the city, Burooj Crystal also offers an elegant urban lifestyle. The project is aimed for those seeking high quality living, and those who appreciate the finer things in life, said Adel Ahmed Al Zarouni, Managing Director, Burooj Properties.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Cityscape Dubai 2008 successfully enters Day 3

Cityscape Dubai 2008
The Cityscape Dubai 2008 was opened by the Crown Prince of Dubai, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, on Monday at the Dubai International Exhibition Center.

About 60,000 participants from over 150 countries had gathered in Dubai, to be a part of the world’s largest development exhibition and its associated conferences, which is expected to break all previous records. About 40,000 visitors flocked the Cityscape Dubai during the first two days of the show, which exceeds a total of three days of crowd gathering during last year's event.

After touring the exhibition on its opening day, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum spent a little time on the Sama Dubai stand. The Dh.350bn Jumeirah Gardens Project by Meraas Development was one of the big talking points on the first day of Cityscape.

An Aldar project from the Iskandar Financial District was also one of the many detailed models kept on display at the show. Even the Falcon City of Wonders project was much talked about, and was one of the many developments on display at the show.

On the whole, about $100bn worth of new projects were launched on Monday, the first day of Cityscape. However, this news failed to ignite investor confidence, as there were growing fears about the global credit crunch and the possible overheating of the local property market.

Starting from Dh.350bn beachfront project to a kilometer-high tower, the developers at the annual Cityscape exhibition in Dubai launched the usual series of mega-developments, which has been responsible for boosting the Gulf Arab Commercial hub to international fame.

While the Dubai mortgage lender Tamweel, announced plans to launch about Dh.2bn worth of Islamic bonds in 2009, the Sorouh Real Estate of Abu Dhabi announced that all its projects have been proceeding on track.

The CEO of Sorouh, Mounir Haidar, said "The UAE is not an isolated link from the global financial system. However, UAE enjoys a different dynamics. It is an emerging economy with strong demand. Its economic policy is encouraging for people to invest in the region." The Managing Director of Cityscape, Rohan Marwaha, said that due to considerable demand from the public, the Cityscape Dubai 2008 will be open for another hour every day until 8pm.

Well into its seventh year, the Cityscape Dubai 2008 is seeing visitors flocking in, despite market uncertainties in many regions.

"Cityscape Dubai is unique, in the sense that it is not a retail event, wherein people come in and buy individual properties. It is a true investor-level, international business-to-business show," said Marwaha.

Organized by IIR Middle East, the Cityscape Dubai is a flagship event of a brand developed in Dubai, which has gained international recognition. The major strength of Cityscape is the access that it has to few of the wealthiest and most liquid property investors in the world.

Cityscape 2008 is a four-day event, likely to end on Thursday, October 9 2008.

World's first Michael Schumacher World Champion Tower in Abu Dhabi

Michael Schumacher World Champion Tower in Abu Dhabi
The Central Business District of Abu Dhabi's Reem Island will be home to the World's first Micahel Schumacher World Champion Tower (MSWCT), which was launched yesterday.
The wharf tower, which will emerge from the sea, will be wonderfully integrated with the water on the seafront and will comprise a luxurious marina.

Developed by the Marasi and PNYG:COMPANY, the tower will be an iconic landmark, symbolizing a blend of human tenacity with high technology, which motivated Michael Schumacher to his sporting achievements.

The CEO of Marasi, Michael Kutschenreuter, said that Marasi will specialize in offering solutions for people who intend to combine together their residential location and immediate access to their yachts.

The MSWCT cutting edge technology, coupled with the inspiring design, will form a unique living community with a spectacular backdrop, he said.

The MSWCT Reem Island is the first among several such projects planned by Marasi. It is hoped to be one of the most prestigious residential addresses in the world, representing a true blend of wharf concept with unprecedented luxury living.

PNYG holds exclusive rights to Michael Schumacher Branded Luxury Real Estate. MSWCT includes values and qualities that make Michael Schumacher successful as racing driver. Every feature of the building technique used, to the smallest details contained within, has been so designed, that it reflects the standards which make his racing career so successful.

The MSWCT will be the first of seven such towers planned to be built across the world. The towers would symbolize each of the seven Formula One (F1) World Championship titles won by Michael Schumacher during his career.

The ecological impact of the tower will be limited. Even to achieve a small carbon footprint, Marasi will be employing the most conscientious and advanced methods available.

Deyaar has been appointed as the exclusive sales agent for MSWCT. The CEO of Deyaar, Markus Giebel, said that being the regions fastest growing developer, Deyaar is delighted to be associated with this coveted project. This unique tower offers Deyaar the perfect opportunity to enter the iconic building market.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Nakheel unveils plan for a new world's tallest tower

Nakheel Tallest Tower
Just a day prior to the launch of Cityscape Dubai 2008, the leading Dubai-based property developer Nakheel, announced plans to create a new record by building a tower that is about a kilometre in height, thereby competing with the friendly-rival Emaar Properties.

The tower will form a part of Dh.140bn project, which will include the world's first inner city harbour, an official of the company said.

Emaar's Burj Dubai, which is currently the tallest tower in the world, standing high over 630 metres, is likely to touch 900 metres on completion will be ready by early 2009. The company is yet to reveal the final height of the building.

A huge model of the structure was unveiled during a launch event on Sunday night, amidst the presence of Hollywood movie stars Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones.

The Chief Executive Chris O'Donnell of the Nakheel Harbour and Tower said that it will be an ambitious and innovative tower, which will be funded through a combination of private land sales and other project financing.

Located along the intersection of Sheikh Zayed Road and the $11bn Arabian Canal, currently under construction, it will cover an area of more than 270 hectares, and will be home to a population of 55000. It will include four towers in a single structure, connected by the sky bridges.

According to Nakheel the project will take about 10 years for completion, but few of these may come up a little earlier than expected. It will have about 19000 residential apartments, ranging from affordable family homes to exclusive penthouses.

The high-speed shuttle lifts will make way for visitors to enjoy the sunset from the bottom and again from the top of the tower.

Nakheel plans to build a 1200 meter high-tower is likely to come up along the Arabian Canal.

Housing shortage in Abu Dhabi likely to shoot up rents, inflation

A shortage of about 28000 housing units in Abu Dhabi is likely this year, with the rents forging up, adding to inflation in the UAE capital.

The current projects that are nearing completion will form only 20 percent of the required housing.

As per the report from Chamber of Commerce, the shortage in housing units will lead to increase in rents, which constitute the largest portion of consumer spending and is estimated to be not more than 40 percent, leading inflation to reach its maximum heights, the report said.
The report said that the housing crisis is gaining momentum, with the total demand for units bound to rise by 70,000 towards 2010.

According to a senior official, Abu Dhabi is considering a possible lowering of annual cap on rent increases (from 5 percent to 3 percent) for properties.

Inflation in Abu Dhabi touched 12.9 percent during the second quarter, from 11.5 percent during the first quarter. This is as per the preliminary data by the Abu Dhabi Planning Department last month.

The body then retracted the data, saying that it was working on new consumer price index. Dubai has introduced an annual rent cap of 5 percent this year.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Cityscape Dubai 2008 unveiled at Dubai International Exhibition Centre

The world's largest business-to-business real estate development and investment event, the Cityscape Dubai, has finally opened today, with the confidence of success, despite the global economic gloom and negative forecasts being predicted for the Dubai property market.

The Managing Director of Cityscape, Rohan Marwaha, said "With the world facing market uncertainty, we enter a new era in which the Middle East developers are expected to maintain or even increase their presence across the world."

The intensity and scale of the iconic projects, is one of the most impressive property booms in modern history that has kept the UAE and Dubai in particular, on focus worldwide for most of the decade.

However, a report by the property consultants Colliers International stated that Dubai prices would drop by 16 percent during second quarter of 2008, and will remain flat until 2010, which came as bad news just prior to opening of the seventh Cityscape Dubai.

The report suggests that the Dubai market is due for a 10 to 20 percent correction, with the supply outstripping demand.

In the meanwhile, on the stock market front, the shares in Dubai's biggest publicly quoted developer, Emaar, dropped by another 12 percent.

However, irrespective of all this, Cityscape Dubai is confident about the turnout, and hopes to see about 1000 or more exhibitors over 75,000 square meters. According to the organizers of the show, this four-day event taking place at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre currently, will attract record numbers.

As a pre-exhibition booster, the leading Dubai-based developer Nakheel, on Sunday, announced plans to build a tower that is more than a kilometre in height, as a part of $38bn project, thereby keeping up the reputation of the emirate as the one with sky-high ambitions.

Star US property broker Shvo marks entry into Gulf property sector

The founder and Chief Executive of the US-based property firm, Michael Shvo, which he named after himself, have opened an office in Dubai. Speaking to the media on Sunday, Shvo, the former star US property broker, said that any real estate downturn in New York is "out of question"

Former star US property broker Michael Shvo said on Sunday there was "no question" of a real estate downturn in New York, as his company beefs up its presence in the Gulf.

This represents the growing attraction of the Middle East property market among developers and real estate consultants, who are eager to spread risk away from the stumbling US property market.

"There is no question about any slowdown, but, that is one of the reasons that we are in Dubai and are opening an office in London," Shvo said.

He continued that there are major shifts between the Europe, Middle East, Asia and the US from a corporate perspective, and being able to invest in the Middle East will decrease the risk. Shvo founded this company five years ago, after carving a name for himself as the leading real estate broker in New York. After being nicknamed as 'real estate assassin' in 2003, Shvo completed 350 deals on properties that are totally worth over $1billion, the highest number of residential sales in New York during that year.

During the year 2003, Shvo, a marketing firm specializing in real estate, was founded by Shvo, who teamed up with developers to deliver projects. Shvo is renowned in the UAE for its 130,000 square meters of private island development, Nurai, situated off the coast of Abu Dhabi, which comprises a true blend of luxury waterside bungalows and luxury villas.

The company has several projects in pipeline for Dubai, which is likely to be launched next year.
Shvo revealed that his firm is involved with $50bn worth of projects throughout the world.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Dar Al Dhabi to launch The Wings project in Reem Island

The Wings - Dar Al Dhabi
The Kuwait-based developer, Dar Al Dhabi Real Estate, has disclosed plans to develop 'The Wings' project in Abu Dhabi.

Located along the southern part of Reem Island, the mixed-use development will feature towers of 300m in height. Situated along the Najmat Marina on Al Reem Island, the Wingles include one residential and one commercial tower, apart from a striking five-storey glass atrium, all of which spreads across the 6000 square meters of space.

The Chairman and Managing Director of Dar Al-Dhabi Real Estate, Abdulwahab Al Ameer, said "We have been eagerly looking forward to this day for a long time. The Wings soar up to 300 meters in height, and have uniquely designed concept that would certainly redefine the skyline of Abu Dhabi. The luxurious residential tower is all set to become one of the most exclusive addresses in Abu Dhabi, and the commercial tower is one of the most prestigious business towers in The Gulf."

There has been huge investor demand for these towers. The company is planning to build on the success of Cityscape Abu Dhabi, wherein there has been a wave of pre-registrations from international investors, who have identified this unique investment potential in the two premier iconic towers of Al Reem Island.

The project would be exhibited during the Cityscape Dubai 2008 between the 6th and 9th October 2008.

Dar Al Dhabi Real Estate is a Kuwaiti shareholding closed company and a subsidiary of Dar Al Abu Dhabi Holding.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Decline in property prices unlikely; Dubai may see correction in profit

Property prices in Dubai are unlikely to decline by 2010, as against predicted in the recent reports, but, there will be a correction in profits, revealed the top officials at Dubai Land Department (DLD).

Although several reports and analysts are predicting a dim future for Dubai's property sector, optimists are still of the opinion that it is just the beginning of success for Dubai.

According to CEO of RERA(Real Estate Regulatory Authority), Marwan Bin Ghalita, there will be correction in few places, but only in profit. Instead of making a profit of 20 percent, may be, several investors will make a profit of 5 percent, but they are not losing anything.

A 10 percent decline in Dubai property prices is likely towards 2010, said a recent Morgan Stanley report.

Even the investment Bank, EFG Hermes, in their report mentioned that a 20 percent decline in property prices is likely towards 2011.

However, the Director General of DLD, Sultan Bin Butti Bin Mejrin, said that despite such reports Dubai's property sector continues to remain robust.

He pointed out that similar reports had cropped up in 2007, but Dubai continued to remain a strong market, much against predictions. The DLD is still registering Dh.200bn worth transactions, and the market continues to remain healthy.

Agreeing with DLD, even Abid Junaid, Executive Director of ETA Star Properties, said that a drop in property prices is unlikely in the near future. The popularity of Dubai with investors is mainly due to the lifestyle offered, its ideal positioning in the Middle East and its tax-free structure. None of these has changed.

The DLD has so far registered 5,099 plots in Dubai, with investors of various nationalities, including UAE nationals. Indians continue to be the largest number of home owners. Economists at Standard Chartered, suggests introduction of a 50 percent capital gains tax to eradicate speculators.

The DLD last week had last week announced that a rental index, meant for new entrants to Dubai, would be announced post Eid Al Fitr. The index will work together with the new rent cap. However, it is yet to be known if the new cap will be more or less than the current five percent, but, it is believed to include a different 'mechanism'.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Timelinks to offer Zigguarat - a unique pyramid shaped self sustained community

Ziggurat - environment friendly city from Timelinks
The Dubai-based property developer Timelinks, also a pioneering environmental design company, is all set to tackle issues such as population growth in Gulf Cities, and issues such as infrastructure pressure and environment carbon neutral solutions, through its proposed eco-city, the Zigguarat project, hoped to cater to a population of one million by harnessing power of nature.

The unique pyramid-shaped city could support an entire community by employing a car-less environment with a transport system powered by solar energy, wind and steam. The carbon emissions within the city is hoped to be reduced by 90 percent.

Timelinks will employ natural renewable energy resources of solar, wind and steam making it completely self-sustainable. The building will have water channels, parks and lakes with climate zones that make it cooler at higher elevations.

The project unveils a whole load of benefits. The whole cities in the project can be accommodated in complexes which would occupy only less than 10 percent of original land surface. The private and public landscaping will be utilized for leisure pursuits or as agricultural land for irrigation.
The concept also promises better quality of life for its inhabitants. Biometrics would provide security with facial recognition technology.

Zigguarat will take a new path towards harmonizing architecture and technology without affecting the environment, while also catering to needs of every individual.

The Zigguarat project will be unveiled during the forthcoming Cityscape Dubai 2008 due to be held at the Dubai International Exhibition Center between the 6th and 9th October 2008.

Timelinks has already patented the technology and design incorporated in the project, and has sought for granting of technical projects from the European Union. Several eminent professors from Europe will explain the technicalities of how the Zigguarat project works and how these communities could be integrated in master projects.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

World's first exclusive tower for women entrepreneurs at Business Bay

Eves tower at Business Bay
A leading UAE-based international property developer, Hydra Properties, has announced the completion of excavation work for Eve's Tower at Business Bay, the first exclusive tower for women entrepreneurs in the world.

Eve's Tower forms a part of the iconic Hydra Towers that consists of five unique shaped high-rise towers that forms the 'core' of largest commercial hub in the Middle East. Growing 20 storeys and facing Burj Dubai, Eve's Tower will resonate with the aspirations of businesswomen.

The design and hi-tech amenities in the region will go a long way to complement the ambitions and strategic outlook of today's women of substance, a top company official said.

The project is due for completion by 2010, and is implemented by Middle East Foundations Company. National Engineering Bureau is the Engineering Consultancy.

Dr. Sulaiman Al Fahim, CEO, Hydra Properties said that Eve's Towers at Business Bay is of topmost priority for the company. The building has been conceptualized as a tribute to the nurturing spirit of womanhood, world over.

He expressed confidence that the tower will form a new awakening and unleash the entrepreneurial talent of UAE women and contribute to overall growth of region and nation. The Construction Manager of Hydra Properties, Mahmoud Saad, revealed that Hydra Properties has successfully completed the excavation work, and is now focusing on piling work. The main contractor for the project would be announced soon.
Hydra Properties has carved a niche for itself by working on series of landmark projects across continents, starting with Hydra Waves in Mexico to Al Aqeeq Marina in Kuwait.

Mada'in Properties to unveil series of prime projects at Cityscape Dubai

UAE's Shariah-compliant property developer, Mada’in Properties has announced that will hold an exclusive preview of prime properties located in three major districts in Dubai at the forthcoming Cityscape Dubai. The event will be held at Dubai International Exhibition Center between the 6th and 9th October 2008.

The three prime properties -Bay Terrace in Business Bay area, The H Tower in Al Meydan City and The Rubix in Dubai World Central will be the main focus of the presentation by Mada'in Properties at the double-deck exhibition area at Zabeel Hall.

The Bay Terrace is the third project to be launched by Mada’in Properties following Marina Arcade and The Domain, which depicts elegance and excellence reflected in its lavishly done apartment units, duplexes and penthouses, all incorporated within the 21 storey, completely equipped tower facility.

Spreading across a total built-up area of 168,445 square feet, Bay Terrace offers a range of single, double and triple bedroom apartments, and duplex-type accommodations, and penthouses at the top storeys., apart from amenities such as a roof garden, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, fitness centers for men and women, and ample parking spaces.

The H Tower and Rubix signify a new series of lifestyle projects that emphasize the distinct signature touch in design concept and include fine detail.

The Rubix project is a residential development comprising three buildings and unique Grand Plaza at the ground floor. Spreading across an area of 370,000 square feet, the project offers studios, single and double bedroom apartments, along with amenities such as swimming pools, fitness centers, parking spaces at the basement and several other necessary amenities.

The H Tower covers a total built-up area of 452,064 square feet and is a mixed-use development of 10 storey office tower and 23 storey residential tower comprising single, double and triple bedroom apartments, duplexes and penthouses on the top floors. The tower also includes a retail area on the ground level, apart from a range of leisure and fitness amenities for men and women, and ample parking space distributed at various levels.

"Amidst the ongoing rush of properties sweeping through the UAE market, Mada'in Properties has remained committed to its strategy to develop distinct and unique properties that offer true investment value to its investors and deliver key lifestyle benefits to end-users," said Abdul Aziz Al Awar, CEO, Mada'in Properties.

"We are thus pleased to display the major features of all our major projects -Bay Terrace, H tower and the Rubix that form vital additions to our high-profile portfolio, and form the leading properties in the most exclusive districts in Dubai," he added.