Monday, December 28, 2009

DIP announces leasing of Single Business Tower in Dubai

DIP-Single Business Tower
The Dubai Investment Properties (DIP), one of the leading property developers in the UAE, has announced that they have begun the leasing process of their latest commercial development, Single Business Tower.

The Company is leasing 248 office units and 7 retail units at their new business tower in Sheikh Zayed Road.

The Property Manager of Single Business Tower, Ani Vladi, said that the Single Business Tower has been completed much ahead of scheduled date, and given its central location, elegant façade and state-of-the-art interior, it will be the ideal business location for companies seeking brand recognition.

The building incorporates energy efficient and self-sustaining features, with 248 modern offices and retail spaces spread across its 45 storeys. The green building guidelines have been followed to ensure energy efficiency, the big French windows help in capitalizing natural lights, while glass panels help divert heat and minimizes A/C consumption.

The Single Business Tower also has advanced security and fire protection systems that ensure security of tenants at all times.

Offices within the tower are designed to ensure maximum functionality and space efficiency. Several amenities and service outlets have been added to compliment a functional business environment.

This, together with round-the-clock management services, ample parking space, proximity to the Business Bay metro station, and stunning views of Arabian Sea and Burj Dubai, will make it an attractive option for business seeking to establish their main branch offices in the region.

Apart from premium office and retail space, the tower offers reception and concierge services to tenants, a fully furnished conference room, prayer rooms, business lounge, separate gymnasiums for men and women, a multi-level car park for tenants, business services, and other facilities management services.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dubai Properties launches final phase of Shorooq units at Mirdiff

Shorooq villas in Mirdif
Dubai Properties Group (DPG), a member of Dubai Holding, has launched the last phase of Shorooq Community in Mirdiff. The announcement follows the successful leasing of first two phases.

The family-focused development offers 1428 residential units, with studios, single and double bedroom apartments. The development is located in one of the most sought after neighbourhoods in Dubai, with annual leases of Dh.49,000 for studios, Dh.65,000 for single bedroom and Dh.79,000 for double bedroom apartments. Additional discounts are granted for limited time for early bookings.

According to Khalid Al Malek, the CEO of the group, the launch of the last phase of Shorooq Mirdif is a proof to the project's success in meeting the market demand for affordable and quality family accommodation.

Shorooq is currently a thriving dynamic community offering a range of real estate options from studio apartments to four bedroom villas. The final phase of the community will feature 42 apartment buildings and is a unique alternative to high-rise living, offering easy access to schools, shopping centers, popular Uptown Mirdiff and the new Mirdiff City Center malls.

The development is strategically located in proximity to Rashidiya Metro Station, Dubai International Airport, and is easily accessible from arterial highways including Al Awir Road and Emirates Road.

Salwan Property Management, a subsidiary of Dubai Properties Group, currently manages more than 14,000 residential and commercial units in various locations in Dubai.

At present, the group is leasing residential and commercial units at Jumeirah Beach Residence, Al Khail Gate, Cordoba Villas, Al Razi Residence and Office Park at the Dubai Internet City.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dubai Lifestyle City due for completion by 2011

Dubai Lifestyle City (DLC) is due for completion towards end of 2011 or first quarter of 2012.

Executed by the ETA Star Group, DLC is a comprehensive lifestyle project. Currently the network infrastructure works of the project is completed, which includes road networks, surface water drainage, telecommunication, irrigation networks, sewage network, street lighting, fire-fighting system and portable water network.

The project was officially unveiled in 2006 and it seeks to promote the unique concept of haute living which includes everything from luxury to digital facilities, sports training, recreational opportunities, fashion, world-class restaurants, theatre, and shopping, said Raza Seddiqi, Executive Director at DLC.

Dubai Lifestyle City will feature 68 Tuscan-themed villas, 120 villettes or apartments, designed by BeverleyHills designer Tony Ashai. About 60 percent of the property has been sold so far. Saleh Constructions has already begun construction of the units.

DLC has also entered into alliances with IMG Academics, Microsoft, JW Marriott and Cisco.
The Senior Vice President at Dubailand, Mohammad Al Habbai, said that DLC offers luxury within a gated community and that its renowned world-class brands such as JW Marriott hotel further strengthens its position as a luxury development.

JW Marriott will develop the living component of DLC, as the first JW Marriott branded residential property world-wide. Apart from JW Marriott, it will run three separate, integrated lodging amenities to fill the requirements of visitors to the city.

The 170-room JW Marriott Hotel, the 46-unit Marriott Executive Apartments, the 152-room Courtyard by Marriott, will all be available to visitors of DLC.

The ground breaking ceremony to mark the commencement of construction was held on 1st December. The IMG Academies (IMGA), the multi-sport conglomerate will also open its first-ever branch outside the US, which will include the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy and David Leadbetter Golf Academy.

Dubai has always remained an attractive destination for tourists and residents alike, offering wonderful packages to visitors and lucrative opportunities for investors, Seddiqi said.

UAE Economy unaffected by Dubai World debt, Minister confirms

The Minister of Economy, Sultan Al Mansouri, today confirmed that the Dubai World debt problems will not affect the projected three percent growth rate for UAE in 201.

Al Mansouri said that it does not really have a huge reflection on the whole economy of the UAE. Taking into account the debt of several other nations across the world, the issue of Dubai World is much smaller in terms of its impact on the UAE economy.

Dubai World debts are small when compared to debts of few other companies, as they are heavier than those of the Dubai Group. The UAE economy is one body and inseparable, Al Mansouri said.

Al Mansouri said that federal government will deal with future Dubai debt issues on a case-by-case basis. He expressed optimism about improvement in the local and world economy in 2010.

The Minister gave his comments when the Dubai World officials held discussions in Dubai with lenders, aiming to restructure $22bn debt. Last week, the Dubai-Government-owned company, helped its real estate subsidiary Nakheel in repaying Dh.15.1bn on a Sukuk or Islamic bond after receiving $10bn from a bond sale to the Government of Abu Dhabi.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

New economic and financial legislations issued in Dubai

The Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has issued new economic and financial legislation that constitute a new addition to legislative structure in Dubai.

The Law No.35/2009 replaces Law No.18/2006 and deals with management of Dubai Government's public funds. The new law stipulates the following:

Regulating the preparation of annual budgets of all government bodies, inclusive of those, whose annual budgets are listed in Government budget, those who enjoy fiscal independence or those entities who receive financial support from the Government.

Government entities need to provide the exact data on their revenues and spending, and should abide by the standards aimed at controlling public spending and governmental revenues. The annual budgets of government entities will also have to be approved by the Dubai Supreme Fiscal Committee. These entities are not entitled to use, hold or spend any part of their revenues for their own activities or investments.

Government entities that enjoy fiscal independence and those with surplus revenues will have to contribute to government's treasury as they are considered public revenues.

The Law emphasizes government entities with annual budgets listed in the government's budget, to transfer to the Dubai Department of Finance, all funds lodged by clients in the form of refundable deposits or any other form, as per the relevant instructions to be issued by the department.

The new legislation forms a part of Dubai Government's plans to further develop its legislations to cope with rapid changes and new developments, and to comply with best relevant international practices. With the new legislation, Dubai's status as global economic export and re-export hub is further strengthened.

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid also passed Decree No.58/2009 approving the statute of Dubai International Arbitration Centre. The new law replaces its current statute which was approved by Law No.10/2004.

The new decree aims to revise the effective legislations in Dubai, to keep pace with new global developments and abide with best practices adopted by advanced nations in the areas of resolving disputes through alternative approaches.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Prime localities in Dubai witness increased sales in November

Villas in The Meadows, Jumeirah Islands and Arabian Ranches have witnessed increased sales transactions during the past one month. Among apartment buildings, Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) and Burj Dubai have recorded maximum number of sales transactions.

The Chief Executive of Gowealthy, Peter Penhall, said that although the Meadows, Jumeirah Islands and Arabian Ranches recorded highest transactions among villas, from the apartments perspective, Dubai Marina, JBR and JLT recorded highest transactions.

Transactions increased by 20 percent in November from the October figures.

According to Vineet Kumar, Head of Sales, Asteco, leading property management Company, the top three residential areas that saw maximum transactions during the month of November for apartment sales are The Palm Jumeirah, Downtown Burj Dubai, and Dubai Marina. As for villa sales in November, the top locations were The Emirates Living Area, Arabian Ranches and The Green Community.

According to Director-Residential Sales and Leasing, Liz O'Connor, considering from a rental perspective, Emirates Living (Springs, Meadows, JLT, Discovery Gardens, Jumeirah Village), Marina (JBR Marina), Dubai Land (Motor City, Arabian Ranches, Sports City) have recorded maximum transactions.

According to Better Homes, the sales were about 40 while the leases were about 250 in number.

According to Mohanad Alwadiya, Managing Director, Harbour Real Estate, Emirates Hills Third and Palm Jumeirah are the locations with maximum transactions.

According to Penhall, the majority of investors in these localities are South Asians (Indians, followed by Pakistanis), while the GCC nationals form the next largest, followed by South East Asians and Chinese.

Majority of them were end-users and finance buyers. There has not been much change in prices during the past three months. Prices have stabilized in certain areas, and there are well-priced properties in all areas of Dubai, Penhall said.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Long-term Dubai investors still profits from property investments

Investors who purchased property in Dubai, less than two years ago, still stand to gain profit, despite the low prices at present, the owner of Dubai-based brokerage firm said.

The CEO of Leo Sterling, Laura Martorano, said that people who are suffering the most are those who purchased properties last year on mortgage, as the prices of properties then were very high and mortgage rates were also high. But, people who purchased before 2007 also have not lost. Even if they sell, they still get to make a profit.

The property prices in Dubai have not been affected by the recent Dubai World restructuring talks, Martorano agreed, and added that prices in the ready market are not liable for a change, as there is competition.

In a ready market, about 60 percent of purchases are cash purchases. Therefore, people may not necessarily be so desperate as opposed to 40 percent, who have bank loans and mortgages, she added.

Real estate transactions in Dubai have fallen in November, compared to figures posed in the previous month, official data said. The number of land sales fell by 11 percent from 208 in October, to 186 in November, while the value of transaction deals fell by 47 percent from Dh.1.84bn to Dh.970mn during the same period.

The Dubai Land Department data showed the villa sales have grown 24 percent from 88 to 109, but there was a decline by 41 percent in value from Dh.290mn in October to Dh.170mn in November.

The month of October also showed positive indicators, with average monthly market index posting 11.25 percent hike, while trade as issued Dubai certificates of origin, increased by 10 percent in volume and 9 percent in value.

Despite the negative economic indicators, Martorano is confident that Dubai will continue to hold a bright future.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Investors welcome ARRA's new match-making initiative

The new policy by Ajman Real Estate Regulatory Authority (ARRA) to match investors who have lost money from suspended projects with approved developers, have so far received positive feedback from investors.

The Ajman property sector, although the smallest among the seven emirates in the UAE, was the latest victim of the global financial crunch.

Several thousands of investors' who invested in the property sector of Ajman, offered a cost-effective alternative to Dubai's then expensive properties, by attracting middle income families into its booming real estate market. Therefore, Ajman noticed sprouting of several master-planned communities including Uptown Ajman, Awali City, Emirates Lakes Towers and Emirates City.

Few of the developers who had fled the market were facing financial constraints, following the Lehman Brothers collapse, which caused concern to the investors. It was then that ARRA stepped in to defuse the situation and struck a deal with few developers who are pursuing projects to help developers and investors.

The initiative, which was executed a month ago, facilitates investors to choose properties from a list of approved and listed developers and negotiate a discounted rate that would suit them, in order to cut their losses on suspended projects.

The Director General of ARRA, Omar Al Barguthi, described the initiative as match-making initiative and said that investors who have lost money from developers who are unable to complete the projects are offered the option of transfer to a certified credited project.

The initiative aims investors who have paid installments to a developer who is not seeing the project through. ARRA takes the role of a mediator, trying to strike a deal between listed developers and investor on discount rates for investing in a new project.

The developers approved by ARRA will have to fulfill 16 requirements which will be reviewed every month. If they stop meeting these requirements after some time, their registration will be cancelled.

According to analysts, this is a good example of how government authorities could help the industry in moving ahead.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dubai Pearl on way to completion by 2013

Dubai pearl developments
Dubai Pearl, the mixed-use luxury development, by Pearl Dubai FZ LLC, is due for completion by 2013, announced Chairman of Dubai Pearl, Abdul Majeed Esmail Al Fahim.

Originally due for completion in 2007, the Dubai Pearl met with delay as the developer lacked funds. Thereafter, there has been no construction for almost a year. A new developer was chosen and the project will be handed over in three phases. The first set of handovers will commence in December 2011, with the whole development due for completion by 2013.

To reach completion, the project has adjusted to the financial environment. Major areas have been prioritized to adapt to the economic scenario. The focus is on the steady progress in construction and delivery of the project, flexible and tailor-made payment plans to investors, close and transparent relations with investors and partners, and a campaign to raise awareness on all the project components is planned, he said.

Located at the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone, the $4billion development is a business cluster operated by Tecom Investments and is home to global IT and media companies. About 56 percent of the total land mass at Dubai Pearl comprises open space, with 45 percent of the project area being landscaped. The development aims to be a luxury free zone and freehold development with easy access to transport links, World Island and private beach club on the World Island.

The signature structures of Dubai Pearl are its four individual towers, linked together at the top to form a skyscraper shooting over 300 metres. Other components include hotels, residences, entertainment amenities, and global names such as Bellagio, Baccarat, MGM Grand and Sky Lofts.

Dubai Pearl's partnerships with luxury brands Baccarat for the Baccarat Hotels and Residence, MGM Mirage for Bellagio hotel, MGM Grand Hotel and Skylofts Hotel aims to create long-term value for stakeholders of the development.

The hospitality sector of Dubai Pearl constitutes 16 percent, while there are about 1440 residential units and 618 serviced apartments making up 40 percent. The commercial section of Dubai Pearl constituting 1380 office units is 33 percent of total GFA, while 8 percent constitutes retail and 3 percent is leisure.

Dubai Pearl will accommodate 9000 residents while its commercial sector has the capability to employ about 12,000 employees. With features of a sustainable development, the Dubai Pearl is aiming for Golf LEED Certification.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Emaar and Dubai Holding back off merger plans

Emaar Properties, and Dubai Holding, announced that they have called off merger plans, which was planned few months ago.

The joint statement said that the decision is based on findings through feasibility studies prepared by renowned economists and analysts under the supervision of company officials.

The statement mentioned that studies showed that the merger initiative is not 'economically viable for now'. The move comes few months after Dubai Holding mentioned that it was restructuring its companies into four verticals, by preparing its real estate entities for a possible merger.

The merger was planned for October this year, according to Dubai Government's announcement in June. According to Analysts, Emaar has taken steps to retain shareholder value and move ahead with its own projects.

Emaar and Dubai Holding had been engaged in detailed evaluation on viability of the proposed consolidation of their activities, including assessment of various portfolios and proposed structure for transaction. The regulatory authorities were also consulted during the talks.
This initiative indicates that Emaar aims to face the current economic downturn in its own terms and is seeking to retain its shareholder value, said Sudhir Kumar, Managing Director, Realtor's International, a property consultancy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dubai will not sell any of its assets to bail out Dubai World

Dubai will not sell its any of its assets to bail out Dubai World, confirmed a top Dubai Government Official, adding that the group will be able to overcome the situation by re-structuring its debts and selling its own assets.

According to Director-General of Dubai Department of Finance, Abdul Rahman Al Saleh, part of financing Dubai World will be through asset sales, as these are the company’s assets and not government assets.

The motive behind restructuring of Dubai World is to ensure continuation of its operation as a viable commercial entity. The future of the company is most important than liquidity. It is in the company's interest to inject liquidity or restructure it, to ensure that it remains sustainable in the long-term, he said.

Al Saleh said that the Dubai World and Nakheel problem has originated from short-term lending on long-term projects, which doesn't usually work in a volatile market situation. Majority of Dubai World and Nakheel projects are long-term projects with strategic importance. These cannot be developed through short-term lending.

Al Saleh said that the Dubai Financial Support Fund, established in July this year, can offer support to Dubai World, if needed. He re-iterated the government's stand on the state guarantee for Dubai World's debts.

Al-Saleh also pointed out that the legal documents signed at the time of company establishment do not carry any clause on the government's guarantee. The clauses clearly specify that the government will not guarantee the liabilities of the company.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Dubai Government is capable of meeting its commitments

The Dubai Government is capable of honouring and meeting its internal and external commitments, confirmed a senior Dubai Government official today.

The Director General of Dubai Finance Department, Abdul Rahman Al Saleh, said that the re-structuring of Dubai World is a natural procedure that could happen in any country and to any company.

"The media has blown the issue of re-structuring part of the group's debts, including delay in repayment of Nakheel's debts out of proportion. Restructuring of companies is a common practice worldwide in several countries and companies," Al Saleh said.

Al Saleh strongly refused that Dubai Government has announced that it would not guarantee debts of the group, and added that the Articles of association of Dubai World stipulates that the emirate's government shall not guarantee its debts, and pointed out that the distinction should be made between the Dubai government and the group which comprises several companies, including Nakheel and Limitless World, operating in several sectors.

Re-structuring is aimed to allow the group to steam ahead with a new shape and keep abreast of changes, Al-Saleh said, and continued that as for cancellation of projects by the group, it is better and wise to delay projects that are yet to be executed.

He agreed that few assets of the group in Dubai or abroad may have to be sold, but said that it is a natural act to bolster the financial situation of the group under such circumstances.

Although Dubai World is active in several sectors, it is the real estate sector that has been much impacted by the international financial crisis.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Dubai among top 10 expensive places to rent office space

Despite the drop in property prices in Dubai, the emirate is the eighth most expensive place to rent office space in the world, reveals the latest report by CB Richard Ellis on office occupancy.

The office rents in Dubai have dipped by 27.3 percent during the past year, but, as the fall is universal, it remains among the top 10 of the priciest places to have an office.

With office space now costing $108.91 per square foot a year on an average, Dubai is however, still, way behind the West End of London, which attracts rents at $184.85. But, it is still ahead of London City market which is the ninth place globally and is well ahead of its neighbour Abu Dhabi, where rents have fallen by a huge 38.6 percent touching $84.4.

The best performing market was Aberdeen in Scotland, which suffered a 12-month decline of 12.3percent, touching $65.62.

The report said that the financial crisis has made an impact on the world's office markets and the US dollar, has been particularly weak in 2009. Europe, Middle East and Africa continue to have the largest number of markets and are on the top 50 list while London's West End is still the world's most expensive market. Other markets in the region ranking high on the list are Paris, Moscow, Dubai and London City.

Meanwhile, the real estate broker Knight Frank LLP said that 40 percent of Dubai's office space is currently empty after the emirate's construction pace surpassed demand, Bloomberg had reported.

Vacant office space in Dubai totals to 10mn square feet at present. However, if developers meet the current completion dates, total office space will double to touch six million square meters by end of 2011, reported research by broker Colliers International, which also placed vacancy rate at 40 percent.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Dubai World announcement to hinder property recovery in the emirate

With the state asking for a standstill on Dubai World's development and its struggling real estate unit Nakheel, the Dubai's already fragile real estate sector is likely to suffer another collapse in prices.

Marina Akopian, Partner, HEXAM Capital, said "Should they effectively default, it can become one of the biggest sovereign defaults, after the Argentinean crisis."

There is no-doubt that it will bear a negative impact on Dubai property market and global property markets on the whole, Akopian said.

The decision by Dubai to seek a six-month reprieve on Dubai World debts which has liabilities of nearly $60bn, spooked markets in Europe and Asia, amidst concern that major international banks are heavily exposed.

However, the restructuring of Dubai World and its subsidiaries could undermine confidence in the nascent property recovery in the emirate.

The real estate prices in the emirate have already fallen by 50 percent since its peak. But, the prices had shown signs of modest recovery in the recent months.

Leading property consultancy, Colliers International, had reported it's first-ever increase in residential prices ever-since the market plummeted last year.

Prices for residential properties that were kept open for foreign investments saw an increase of 7 percent during the third quarter, the report said.

Nakheel had borrowed billions to build major projects such as the Palm Islands. The $3.5bn Islamic bond due in December was a focal point in determining if Dubai can re-pay its debts.

"The Dubai World announcement could play into investor psyche. It sends strong signals to people that Dubai is yet to recover from the crisis," said Saud Masud, Senior Real Estate Analyst at UBS. The move also seems to have affected the sentiment of foreign property buyers who helped fuel the boom.

Early this month, UBS reported that property prices in Dubai could decline by 30 percent over the next 18 months and it may take another 10 years to get back to its peak levels.

Masud agreed that although the bank is unlikely to change its estimate for the drop in prices, further fall could happen sooner than anticipated. This kind of crisis brings fundamental weaknesses to the surface faster, and this could leave its impact in the sector within next six months or so.

According to UBS, one of the major concerns for Dubai real estate is the "funding gap" to complete properties that already began and on which the investors are defaulting.

Bank estimates indicate that $11bn is required to complete an expected 40,000 residential units by the end of 2010. The Head of Asset Management at Dubai-based Rasmala Investments, Eric Swats said that liquidity had begun returning to the property market, but, the market will now be under pressure as the UAE-based banks will try to limit their exposure to Dubai World.

Further, the standstill is also likely to affect other major developers such as Emaar Properties, Union Properties and Deyaar, as Nakheel may not be a standalone entity in the long run, Masud said.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Emaar unveils The Palace Residences at Downtown Burj Dubai

Leading developer, Emaar Properties has unveiled its new residential project The Palace Residences at Downtown Burj Dubai, which further adds to the appeal of the most sought-after premier lifestyle destination in Dubai.

Being part of The Old Town Island development, The Palace Residences offers 65 units on the whole. Positioned centrally in Downtown Burj Dubai, they offer wonderful views of Burj Dubai and lies in proximity to Burj Dubai - the tallest building in the world, the Dubai Fountain - the world's tallest performing fountain, and The Dubai Mall - world's largest shopping and entertainment destination.

Customers are offered the choice of opting to live in or benefit from the several leasing options offered by The Address Hotels and Resorts, the hotel brand owned by the Emaar Hospitality Group. They get to lease their units with The Palace - The Old Town. The initiatives offer good returns to customers too.

The Managing Director of Emaar Properties, UAE, Ahmed Al Matrooshi said that The Palace Residences offer unmatched property landscape in Dubai, as these luxury homes appeal to the finer tastes and sensibilities of connoisseurs.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Al Fajer delivers first tower at Jumeirah Business Centre

The first tower, Jumeirah Business Centre 2 of Jumeirah Business Centre development by Al Fajer Properties at the Jumeirah Lakes Towers has been delivered, following restructuring of the company.

The process of re-structuring focused on the liabilities of Dh.4bn by the company and Dh.200-Dh.400billion debt, liquidating its land bank worth Dh.800mn, appointing a new management team and reducing its workforce by 30 percent. The total value of mitigated risk was brought down to Dh.3billion.

According to Shaikh Maktoum Bin Hasher Al Maktoum, CEO of Al Fajer, the construction plan by the company was accelerated to a four-day cycle per floor for phase one, comprising towers one to five of its nine commercial towers.

The development comprises nine towers on the whole, and will cater to both large local and multinational companies. The freehold offices cover a leasable area of 3.6mn square feet.

The handover of units in phase one has been going on, while the phase two comprising four towers will be completed in 2011. So far about 70 percent of the inventory has been sold.

Shaikh Maktoum revealed that the prices for units in the towers have grown from Dh.800 per square foot two months ago to Dh.1200 per square foot on inauguration.

He said that the company is expecting a maximum 50 percent default rate and minimum 20 to 30 percent rate. To counteract the problem, Al Fajer is offering discount packages to investors.

According to Sheikh Maktoum, Dubai still holds a competitive edge when it comes to commercial space.

Moreover, labour accommodation and overheads are cheap, which is advantageous to Dubai, he adds.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Prices of Dubai Marina units on the rise

The prices of the Dubai Marina apartments have grown by 18 to 38 percent during this year, revealed a real estate company.

The Head of Sales of Asteco, Vineet Kumar, said that single bedroom apartments at Dubai Marina are currently selling at Dh.1300 per square feet, an increase of 18 percent from Dh.100 per square feet sold during the beginning of the year.

The double bedroom apartments are now being sold at Dh.1250 per square feet, an increase from Dh.900 per square feet in January, while the triple bedrooms are sold at Dh.1250 per square foot, an increase from Dh.950 in January.

Single bedrooms measuring 850 to 900 square feet at Elite Residence and Dorrabay are now priced at Dh.1.2million, reveals Asteco’s report. In January 2009 this type of property was quoted as Dh.900,000, while similar apartments were priced at Dh.1.35mn in July 2008.

The double bedroom apartments at Marina Promenade measuring 1280 square foot is currently priced at Dh.1.6mn, while it as Dh.1.15mn in January.

A triple bedroom apartment in proximity to Jumeirah Beach Residence costs about Dh.2.37mn at present, while the same property was priced Dh.1.8mn in January.

However, four bedroom apartments have not seen much improvement in prices at present, and stand at Dh.975 per square foot, an increase from Dh.850 per square feet in January this year.

Demand for four and five bedroom apartments at Dubai Marina is much lower than that for triple, double and single bedroom apartments, as families have the affordable option of purchasing four or five bedrooms at villa communities.

The increased demand for smaller units at the Marina implies that such units command higher prices per sq. ft. than larger ones. The larger the size of an apartment, the lower is the price per sq. ft., said Kumar.

Figures by Asteco reveal that the value of apartments at the Marina has dropped by 15 to 60 percent since July 2008. However, certain towers in the Marina are still maintaining their values due to demand from investors and end-users, although the growth values in prices of few other properties in Dubai are slow. This is reflected in the fact that the prices offered in the market for the Marina have a wide range at Dh.850 to Dh.2000 per sq. ft.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

UAE invests Dh.100bn into realty sector in 5 years

The UAE has invested Dh.100bn into the real estate sector over the past five years, which is more than double the total capital injected into property projects during the previous five years, revealed official figures by Ministry of Economy.

The investments in the real estate sector during the period 2004-08 accounts for more than 15 percent of the total public and private investments pumped by the UAE during that period, the figures indicate.

Investments in the property sector stood at Dh.41bn during the previous five-year period and experts said that this indicates sharp increase in capital over the past five years. This was the result of construction boom triggered by strong oil prices and the opening up of property sector to foreigners.

Investments in construction sector stood at Dh.41.1bn during the period 2004-08, bringing the total capital pumped into real estate and construction in the UAE to Dh.141bn during that period.

Investments touched an all-time-high of Dh.33.2bn in the real estate sector in 2008 and about Dh.13.8bn in construction sector. In fact, these investments are considered as the main factor for the sharp growth recorded in the non-oil economy sector of the UAE during the past five years.

Official data have revealed that the real estate sector saw an increase by 35 percent per annum, touching a peak at Dh.78.4bn in 2008, compared to Dh.28.5bn recorded in 2004.

Such high growth also helped boost expansions in other non-oil sectors of UAE, boosting GDP by 25 percent. The communication sector was the biggest recipient of investments during 2004-08 with total capital of Dh.114.1bn, followed by manufacturing sector with Dh.112.5bn and real estate by Dh.99.9bn.

According to industry sources, the pace of investment will gather pace during the next few years, as the UAE pushes ahead with major projects to expand its crude output capacity, gas, refining and petrochemicals.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Global investors eyeing Dubai realty market, once again

With the recession having loosened its grip across the globe, global investors have begun eyeing Dubai real estate market as the property prices have slowly begun to move towards reasonable levels, an industry expert said.

The latest results from the Dubai House Price Index from Colliers indicate that real estate prices in Dubai have grown almost seven percent during the third quarter of the year from the previous quarter, said Tej Kohli, real estate investor and founder of Ozone Real Estate.

The results indicate a bounce in the market and are a true indication of excellent recovery, Kohli said.

According to Kohli, the stability in property prices is set to be steady from this point on, given the fact that real estate prices are moving to more reasonable levels.

The best indication about the Colliers report is that transactions increased by 64 percent during the third quarter, due to relative stability in prices and affordable housing.

Moreover, the growing property boom will be further strengthened by a series of new launches and openings within the emirate, the report said.

Towards mid-December this year, the world’s tallest tower Rose Rayhaan, will see a gala opening, at Sheikh Zayed Road, after which, the five-star Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa will re-open following a brief renovation, Kohli pointed out.

A series of projects due for launch, apart from the entry of new airport, a series of high-end hotels, including The Conrad Hotel Dubai and second Ritz Carlton are all ready for opening early next year.

This will be followed by the opening of the crescent-shaped The Palm Jumeirah, Royal Amwaj Resort & Spa, Jumeirah Golf Estate, Dubai International Airport, Tiger Woods' Al Ruwaya Resort, all set to commence in 2010.

The slew of launches indicate that Dubai is well on track, and the global tourist numbers are up by 4 percent during first half of 2009, compared to same period last year, Kohli concluded.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dubai property market - Points to ponder before attaining normalcy

With the Dubai property market, slowly getting back to normalcy, Hesham Elfar, CEO of Coldwell Banker, UAE, reveals to the media, the strategy to be adopted to retain the market in the same way.

According to Hesham, Dubai real estate market is yet to hit the bottom, and a further dip in property prices are likely, before things improve. During the next six months, while the villa prices would continue to remain stable, apartments are likely to see a dip by 5 to 7 percent, due to excess supply coming into the market during the coming months. Even commercial properties are likely to see a fall in prices, due to upcoming supply.

With Dubai showing tentative signs of recovery, players in the industry should not get too complacent, says Hesham. There is more for Dubai to do before it can bounce back, he adds.
In the first place, residence visa issue needs to re-evaluated, as this has drawn several people into investing in real estate in Dubai. A three-year visa has been replaced with a six-month multiple-entry visa, which is expensive and a tedious process with lot of paperwork. This issue needs to be resolved to attract foreign investment, Hesham said.

Also, to further boost commercial markets, the government should offer incentives to companies to establish shops in the UAE. When companies set up offices in a country, they in-turn create job opportunities, housing requirements, and increase consumer spending, which is vital for the economy. Also incentives are needed for financial institutions and trading companies. But, more than anything, a clear, transparent regulation is required to ensure that buyers' rights are protected in a real estate market, Hesham points out.

According to Hesham, Burj Dubai, once opened, will increase the value of property in the area surrounding it.

The Executive Towers, which is recently completed is well-positioned and will gain the benefit of being in proximity to Burj Dubai.

The Infinity Tower, which will be unveiled in June 2010, will offer wonderful views of the sea and Dubai Marina to its residents, given its spiral design.

Victory Heights can get large, reasonably priced villas, close to Dubai Sports City's amenities.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Property market recovery is dependent on supply-demand factors

The UAE property market, which largely focuses on Dubai and Abu Dhabi, will take a couple of years to recover from the financial crisis, said J.P. Grobbelaar, the Director of Research and Advisory at Colliers International, the leading real estate consultancy.

High speculation levels in residential and commercial properties, prior to onset of crisis, had exaggerated the downturn, he commented on the second day of the Ministry of Economy-sponsored Abu Dhabi Outlook Summit.

The downturn in property market was expected, although it was not meant to be so severe. The correction is actually good for the market, as the market is now returning to fundamentals, Grobbelaar said.

According to Grobbelaar a healthy recovery of property market will depend on factors such as supply and demand that the developers are relying on more now, rather than speculation.

Rentals for residential properties in Dubai have fallen 38 percent since the beginning of the year, while Abu Dhabi has seen 18 percent decline.

Analysts state that the recent increase in investor activities in both markets are an evidence of initiation of recovery.

"The market is being driven by excess liquidity and easy monetary policy. With the interest rates being considerably low, coupled with depreciating currency, money is flowing out of banks into real estate and property," says Majid Azam, analyst for HC Securities - MENA (Middle East North Africa) region.

An oversupply of residential units in Dubai and an undersupply in Abu Dhabi is causing a spill-over impact and transforming both markets into one, he added.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Marina Residences brings in 2000 new residents to Palm Jumeirah

Master developer Nakheel's announcement to handover the homes at Marina Residences, is likely to bring in about 2000 new residents into Dubai's Palm Jumeirah.

The phased handover of 980 units in the project, located at the tip of the trunk of the island will continue until early next year, Nakheel said in its statement this week.
Marina Residences

Among the 980 units, 940 units are a mix of apartments and penthouses. The luxurious penthouses are designed over four storeys offering about 14,000 sq. ft. of living space. The development also includes 40 townhouses located along the marina-fronted promenade.

The Palm Jumeirah currently houses 12,000 residents and the work in the island is likely to continue over the next 5 to 6 years.

The Managing Director of Nakheel Development Projects, Marwan Al Qamzi, said that at Nakheel, the focus is on delivering quality communities and handover of Marina Residences is another major milestone on Palm Jumeirah.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wasl to add 5000 new housing units into Dubai property market

There will be an additional 5000 new housing units or moere in Dubai property market during the next couple of months by Wasl, the asset management arm of Dubai Real Estate Corporation (DREC), a top official said.

The Chief Executive Officer of DREC, Hesham Abdullah Al Qasim, revealed that Wasl already manages about 20,000 housing units. Now with the inclusion of these residential units, the total housing units under the company’s portfolio will touch 25,000.

Over the past year, there has been a natural transition of Dubai property market from freehold to leasehold. This will help in easing rents further, with mounting supplies.

The total housing supplies in Dubai this year may range from 27,000 to 30,000 according to the projections made by Department of Finance, which is hoped to be less than enough to cool the demand. But, with the impact of global economic crunch on UAE economy, the demand forecast has been revised further down.

Few analysts are still of the opinion that the current deliveries may result in an oversupplied market, which may bring down prices and rents down further. However, according to Al Qasim, the price readjustment has been good for market. The new supplies will help in stabilizing the market further, particularly when the demand in market picks up.

"We have a balanced portfolio of housing units that are 95 percent occupied, which gives us a very good coverage," he added.

Established in June 2007, the DREC combines the assets of Development Board and Dubai Real Estate Department through Law No.14, according to which, the corporation will be a public commercial institution, affiliated with Dubai Executive Council.

DREC is responsible for owning and managing its land bank, including sizable amount of properties registered under the name of Dubai Government, and others. The corporation holds a large portion of the Dubai land bank, however, it has no plans to enter the freehold property market.

Housing rents in Dubai surged between 2005-08 based on growing demand, which has compelled several thousands of Dubai residents to shift to places like Sharjah where rents were lower which pressurized the infrastructure. Growing rentals prompted the government to impose a rent cap to help the mid-income group, apart from seeking solid investment in low-cost or affordable housing that helps Dubai to tame housing inflation.

Wasl has continued to maintain its low rents in Dubai, despite the recent rent hike. Rent for a double bedroom flat has been as low as Dh.16,000 in few parts of Dubai even now.

In order to help the market and ease pressure on rents, DREC has undertaken a massive housing scheme to offer affordable homes for growing population. The new housing supplies are part of this plan.

Wasl is developing its businesses in several verticals such as Hospitality, Property, Leisure and Industries. About 5000 industrial units of Wasl are already spread across 27 industrial zones such as Jebel Ali, Al Quoz, Rashidiya, and on the hospitality side there are eight hotels under management. Wasl also gradually plans to add hospitality commercial and retail project development arms.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Dubai Government forms Committee to deal with bounced property cheques

The Dubai Government has established a new judicial committee to deal with bounced cheque cases in the property sector.

H.H. Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai issued a decree establishing a judicial committee to this effect.

The Committee will settle dispute cases pertaining to bounced cheques irrespective of whether issued by a buyer to a developer or from tenants and beneficiaries of long-term units as per the provisions of Law No.7 of 2006 pertaining to property registration in Dubai.

The judgments from the Committee will be decisive and cannot be challenged and will be implemented through execution department of Dubai Courts.

The decree also prevents the Public Prosecution and Courts from doing any investigation on bounced property cheques or issuing any sort of ruling in this regard, unless the case is looked into by the Committee. The bodies must start referring such cases to the Committee.

According to experts, such a move will help the real estate sector of the emirate in moving forward.

The CEO of Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA), Marwan Bin Galita, said that creating a judicial committee to settle bounced cheque disputes in property deals will prove useful to property market. Several real estate issues could be solved by bridging gap between buyers and sellers by offering them logical companies that satisfy both.

The Committee will include a Chairman, who will be chosen by appeal court judges in Dubai Courts, apart from two other members, the Dubai Primary Court judge and a representative from Dubai Land Department.

The Committee has the right to cancel a bounced cheque issued to a developer if it has been proven so, and obliging the issuer of the cheque to write another one in its place to replace the disputed cheque.

Dubai is following an international standard of solving disputes involving bounced cheques in property business and this helps in maintaining transparency, and to regain market confidence.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Free legal service launched to support Dubai real estate community

The new free legal service launched to support people caught in real estate associated court cases, has proved to be a fair way to protect the interests of Dubai's real estate community, reports the Gulf News.

The main objective of such an initiative was to ensure fairness and justice to those concerned about property matters and those in need of such assistance, irrespective of the circumstances, clarified Mohammad Sultan Thani, Assistant Director General, Land Department.

The free legal advice service ensures that none is prevented from pursuing their rights just because they may be priced out of the system.

The Head of CBRE (CB Richard Ellis), the leading research and consultancy firm, Mathew Green, said that the free legal advice offer is another step in the right direction by RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Authority), as it aims to improve transparency in the Dubai property market.

Although the overall confidence in the legal dispute system has been little low due to the time taken in addressing the current backlog, one of the local law firms involved in this initiative said that justice for all is the main motto behind the initiative.

Dubai houses record 7 percent rise in prices during Q3 2009

Prices of housing units in Dubai saw an increase for the first time during the third quarter, following the major downturn faced by property market in the wake of credit crunch, reports Colliers International, the leading real estate consultancy.

Dubai, which houses the tallest buildings and man-made islands in the world, saw its property market hitting the bottom, with finance drying up, construction activities almost coming to a halt, and several projects being cancelled or delayed.

Colliers, in its third quarter report, mentioned that the house prices marked a 7 percent rise during the period, compared to that of the previous quarter, the first-ever increase after third quarter of 2008.

According to Colliers, the increase was largely due to availability of mortgage and more confidence about expatriate job security.

A statement by Colliers International said that the Q3 results indicates a bounce in the market, but the Q4 results should be waited and watched before predicting the existence of a growth profile or potential recovery.

The prices for villas, apartments and townhouses showed a modest increase during the quarter, compared to the second quarter when there was an increase in the number of deals also. Even market transactions during the third quarter showed a 64 percent increase over the second quarter, with apartments making up for majority of deals.

The Colliers index is mainly based on mortgage data from local and international lenders. It measures prices in the parts of Dubai where foreigners have been granted permission to purchase properties, ever-since Dubai opened its real estate market to foreigners in 2002. These areas were largely responsible for the Dubai real estate boom.

The improved condition in Dubai's real estate sector are inline with a nascent recovery in a more mature global property market, such as United States and Britain, the report said.

According to a Reuters poll in October, the prices will drop another 10 percent this year. Colliers however, reported a 47 percent drop year-on-year during third quarter.

The prices of housing had witnessed a 9 percent drop in the second quarter, but the pace of decline had slowed thereafter. The boost in the third quarter helped in bringing back the prices to levels last seen in second quarter of 2007, the Colliers report said.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Complete recovery of UAE property market likely in three years

With the property prices yet to hit the bottom, and the banks still being reluctant to lend, the total turnaround in the UAE real estate sector will not happen until the next two to three years, says a management consultant company.

According to Dr. Reinhold Leichtfuss, Senior Partner and Managing Director, Boston Consulting Group - Middle East, the property market in the UAE, along with other emerging markets will continue to be volatile, as it is difficult to predict exactly when or what sort of turnaround it will be for Dubai.

According to Leichtfuss, there has been a pick-up in rentals for residential flats/apartments during the last quarter, particularly in quality destinations, although there still exists the possibility of decline in prices.

The global downturn had affected the once-booming property sector of Dubai, bringing down the property prices to more than 50 percent from their peak levels in 2008.

Investors and developers are still pinning hopes on a global economic recovery to revive interest in the sector, but, the prices will continue to remain flat, if not going down further, as the supply will be further strengthened by the new projects that are likely to hit the market by end of this year and in 2010.

Leichtfuss agrees that there has been a slow increase in return of people into the market, as there is a huge supply to begin with. Rents have marginally increased in few areas, but with the new supplies coming in next year, it is to be wait and watched as to how it will be next year.

One major cause could be due to the fact that banks are still hesitant to resume lending, and for banks that have, the criteria have become more stringent. Financing continues to be expensive and unavailable for people who wish to purchase during the downturn.

According to Leichtfuss, the recovery of real estate sector could be accelerated by real estate funds that give investor access to the market, and benefit from the upside of investing in otherwise defaulting properties.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Completed properties with access to basic amenities preferred

Asteco, the largest property services company in the UAE, has reported that apartment sales for completed projects in the prime Downtown Burj Dubai area have seen maximum increase of 8 percent on quarter-to-quarter basis.

In its third quarter report on Dubai property market, Asteco said that sales prices for apartments in Downtown have grown from Dh.1200 per sq ft during the second quarter, to Dh.1300 per sq ft in third quarter.

Across the whole of Dubai, sale prices for completed apartments and villas have increased only slightly with an average of 1 percent and 3 percent, compared to the 2nd quarter report. Rental charges have seen minimal change during the same period, the report said.

Asteco CEO, Elaine Jones said that both Downtown Burj Dubai and Jumeirah Beach Residence are fully established communities that are highly desirable, which is exactly what the market is seeking. A completed tower is no longer sufficient, if it does not form a part of integrated community with sufficient convenient access to hospitals, schools, transport, leisure and entertainment amenities. As for villa communities, The Springs and Arabian Ranches are doing well.

The property market analysis by Asteco has revealed that demand is high mainly for smaller units such as studios, single bedroom apartments, double bedroom villas or townhouses. Overall, however, apartment and villa rental rates have seen minimal changes.

At present, average rental rates for studio apartments are Dh.45,000, while that for single, double and triple bedrooms are Dh.76,000, Dh.103,000 and Dh.139,000 respectively. Villas and townhouses are available for an average of Dh.117,500 for double bedroom, Dh.180,500 for triple bedroom and Dh.227,500 for four bedrooms and Dh.278,500 for five bedroom units.

According to Asteco, majority of inquiries are for Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim where tenants are seeking 3 bedroom units in the range Dh.150,000 and Dh.180,000.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Emaar records Dh 655mn profit in third quarter 2009

Emaar Properties, the largest developer in the region, has reported a net operating profit for the 3rd quarter at Dh.655m, which is 48 percent higher than that of second quarter operating profit of Dh.442m.
According to Emaar, the increase in profits have been due to scheduled handover of Alma townhomes in Arabian Ranches during the third quarter and better returns on some foreign ventures.
Emaar posted a third-quarter net profit of Dh.655mn, an increase by revised net loss of Dh.417mn during the same period last year. Emaar shares closed 0.2 percent higher at Dh.4.61 on Thursday, an increase from a low of Dh.1.77 in March.

The increase in earnings follows a net loss of Dh.1.29bn during the second quarter this year, mostly due to write-down of its business in the US, John Laing Homes, which filed for bankruptcy protection in February this year. Emaar bought the US developer in 2006 for more than one billion dollars.

The Company also switched over to new accounting process in April which books a profit only when completed property is handed over. Emaar recorded net profit of Dh.1.51bn during the third quarter of last year before changing over to new accounting procedure.
The market is also awaiting for conclusion of merger between Emaar, Sama Dubai, Tatweer and Dubai Properties.

Emaar is generating income from its hospitality unit, with the completion of The Address Dubai Mall, a hotel in Downtown Burj Dubai, during third quarter. Meanwhile, the flagship shopping center, the Dubai Mall, which opened last October, has 1000 stores and Emaar Healthcare Group opened its first medical center at Downtown Burj Dubai.

Emaar has also completed several of its overseas ventures, while the others under construction abroad are making good progress.

Emaar will open the Burj Dubai, the world's tallest tower on 2nd December, which has attributed to the rise in profit to the handover of property at Arabian Ranches.

According to the Chairman of Emaar, Mohamed Alabbar, the focus for first nine months this year has been on project completion and strengthening of customer relationships.

Monday, October 26, 2009

ARRA aims overhaul of property visa regulations

Ajman Real Estate Regulatory Agency (ARRA) authorities have put forward a proposal to overhaul current property visa regulations. ARRA is the first property agency to officially submit such a proposal.

ARRA aims to remove property values, fixed incomes and compulsory exists as the criteria for granting or renewing the six-month residency visas.

The said regulation was a part of the federal resolution issued this May. ARRA however, has asked that it should be possible to renew visas every six months until three years, without having the need to leave and re-enter the country.

Speaking about the minimum property value regulation, which is a part of the visa criteria, ARRA says "The property value in the Northern Emirates does not exceed even half the value in other emirates. This will only lead to serving certain kind of investor."

As for requirement of fixed income of not less than Dh.10,000, ARRA said that this may cause several problems and will open door for companies operating outside the country, to give salary certificates with no reliable references.

ARRA had signed an agreement with Dubai's RERA to create a unified strategy to develop the property sector. The agreement emphasizes the need to create a unified strategy to develop, organize and modernize real estate-related activities.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

JLT is not officially a free zone, says Dubai Municipality

The Dubai Municipality's latest statement regarding the free-zone status of Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) has marred the hopes of several thousands of residents who were under the hope of gaining housing fee exemptions.

According to an official at the Municipality, the status of JLT needs to be clarified by a decree, and that free zone claims by a developer does not imply exemption of housing fee for its residents.

The Head of Housing Fee Section at the Dubai Municipality, Abdullah Hashim, confirmed that JLT is not officially a free zone.

The residents of towers in the 'mini-Manhattan' around the man-made lakes by Nakheel have been questioning about housing fee exemption to the developer.

"Although several areas have been claimed to be free zones, they are not free zones. Media reports had stated that the free zone areas are exempt from housing fee, and JLT has been wrongly named as a free zone. But, we never said that, and this has created lot of confusion. None of the buildings there are considered to be part of a free zone," Hashim said.

He added that municipality is however, waiting for a list which could clearly stipulate the areas designated as free zones. The concerned authorities are likely to come up with such a list shortly.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Property location gaining prominence over rents in Dubai

Asteco, leading property services Company in the UAE, has confirmed that Dubai Metro will play a major role in office lease market.

With falling lease rates and availability of more new buildings in Dubai, office location is gaining more prominence, rather than the price, in determining where a company establishes its business, Asteco says.

The decline in property market will help in re-positioning Dubai, as an attractive business location, giving companies the ability to shop around for the best value for money. Offices offering excellent amenities for staff, will be the first to benefit, says Elaine Jones, CEO of Asteco.
Evidence from several international markets has also constantly revealed that land and property values and rentals, within the vicinity of stations, linked to metro lines are increasing considerably (almost 57 percent in the case of Tokyo-Kobe line in Japan). But, the increases do not work until the station is physically open, and not on just announcing the probable date of opening or when under construction.

As for property matters, it is always location that matters. If located close to a Metro station and a shopping mall with ample parking space, it will easily become the preferred option, says Jones. With more Metro stations being opened and people getting aware about its benefits, the ease of commuting by Metro will prove to an important factor when a company decides on re-location.

The RTA has confirmed that Ibn Battuta Metro will open by February 2010. Phase one of the Ibn Battuta Gate mixed-use development is managed by Asteco Property Management, on behalf of ‘Seven Tides’, the Dubai-based owners.

Located at the heart of the new residential and commercial corridor in Dubai, the Ibn Battuta Gate is within 400 metres of a Metro station, due to open soon. It will offer direct access to commercial business, heart of the Jebel Ali free zones and Dubai Marine, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai Financial Center, Internet and Media City, Central Dubai and Dubai World Trade Center.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hi-tech medical center launched at DIP

Dubai Investment Park (DIP), the largest mixed-use development in UAE, and a subsidiary of Dubai Investments PJSC, has announced the launch of state-of-the-art medical center to offer comprehensive healthcare services to its residents and employees at the Park.

The facility, worth Dh.55mn, will include several medical clinics, including general clinics, ophthalmology clinics and dental clinics, apart from round-the-clock emergency service. The medical center will be a four-storey building, with two basement floors and a rooftop gym, spreading across a total built-up area of 20,853 sq mts.

The General Manager of Dubai Investments Park, Omar Al Mesmar, said that the entity is committed to the welfare of its residents and tenants. DIP is continually seeking to find ways to support the growth of companies and improve the daily life of people living and working at the Park.

With this new medical center, residents and employees at the Park will have easy access to quality healthcare services, including 24-hour emergency service. Well-qualified physicians and medical professionals will be employed in the clinics, equipped with latest medical technologies, Al Mesmar said.

The Al Arif Contracting Company, based in Dubai, will be awarded the contract for construction of the medical center, which will be ready by end of next year.

The Dubai Investments Park is the largest business and residential community in the Middle East, with more than 1200 companies. The Park, by itself, is a self-sustaining city within a city, spreading across 32mn square meters, comprising three zones, commercial, residential industrial and educational.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Abu Dhabi witnesses increased supply in residential sector

Abu Dhabi has witnessed an increase in supply of residential property, with about 1000 new apartments delivered to the market during the last quarter, said Asteco, one of the largest property services company in the UAE.

The apartments are mostly coming up in off-island locations, including Mohammed Bin Zayed City and Khalifa City, the company said in its latest third quarter report on the property scenario in Abu Dhabi.

This increase in housing supply in Abu Dhabi will result in landlords becoming more flexible with their pricing, Asteco points out in its report.

The research conducted by Asteco, which carries out market analysis, has also found that about 400 apartments will come on stream this month in the Abu Dhabi island, apart from the supply of apartments in Khalifa City A.

When the market faces increased supply, there will be more discounts on the offer, points out Elaine Jones, CEO of Asteco.

Currently people are more attracted to Dubai due to its cheaper rents and out of the perception that Dubai gives better value for money.

With better quality units being delivered in Abu Dhabi over the next 6 to 12 months, including Marina Square, Sun and Sky Towers, several daily commuters will consider these developments. Therefore, the prospective tenants will begin to target these developments against comparable properties in Dubai, particularly Dubai Marina, Jones said.

However, this aspect is not only the deciding factor to choose a location, Jones agrees. There are also other aspects to be taken into consideration such as giving notice to existing landlords, job issues, and schooling. Therefore, the market demand dynamics may not change until next summer, she points out.

Latest Asteco report states Khalidiyah and Corniche as the high-demand areas, although tenants have begun looking at development off Abu Dhabi island too.

Average rental rates on the Corniche for single, double and triple bedroom apartments are Dh.130,000, Dh.175,000 and Dh.220,000 respectively, down from their peaks of Dh.180,000, Dh.260,000 and Dh.350,000.

Developments with gymnasium and swimming pools have begun to command a premium and this is hoped to be the trend with the Marina Square, Meena Plaza and Capital Plaza coming online, the Asteco report said.

The report also highlights demand from small companies in the office market, increasing choice in Al Ain's residential market and expansion in the retail sector.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dubai Pearl achieves major construction milestone

Pearl Dubai, developers of Dubai Pearl, a mixed-use luxury development, facing the Palm Jumeirah Island, has announced complete of concrete raft pouring at the Tower 2 (North Tower) of the development.

This marks a major construction milestone with installation of three of the Middle East's largest rafts on Tower 1, Tower 2 and Tower 3 of the iconic project.

The Contractors of the project, Al Habtoor Leighton, has utilized 300-plus workforce in each work shift, for two working days, to deliver the 11,000 cubic metre raft.

This latest construction milestone will permit commencement of works on the super structure for Towers 1 and 2, during the next couple of days.

Another 44,000 cubic meters of concrete will be poured into the foundation of the project, and about 10,000 tonnes of steel reinforcements would be utilized.

Situated opposite the Palm Jumeirah, the Dubai Pearl will offer wonder views of Arabian Gulf, with excellent amenities. It will shape a pedestrian-friendly 24-hour living city, boasting a range of commercial, residential, retail, hospitality and leisure elements.

It will also include a 1800-seater performing arts theatre, to meet the demands of Dubai's growing cultural calendar and will complement the project's entertainment offering.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

REITs can draw huge foreign direct investments into realty market

Several billion dirhams worth foreign direct investment may be poured into the real estate markets in the region through GCC-based Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), industry experts reveal.

According to Ahmad Saidali, Vice President, Fund Advisory and indirect investment at CB Richard Ellis Financial Services Middle East, opportunities exist for GCC or Dubai-based and managed REITs or such professionally managed investment schemes. This will help in attracting foreign direct investments into the region, particularly to Dubai real estate market.

REITs are regulated investment portfolios comprising several real estate assets and can be privately or publicly owned. They give access to property portfolios to individual investors, without actually owing assets. REITs are also considered more transparent and secure than other forms of real estate investment, usually offering six to eight percent returns.

According to Saidaili, the potential value of investments fitting REITs structures in the GCC is about $402.6bn (Dh.1.4trillion), depending on economic data for GCC from the World Bank.

Saudi Arabia is the biggest potential market for REIT structures and represents about 52 percent of investable universe through REITs. This is followed by UAE with 20 percent, Kuwait 16 percent, Qatar 6 percent, Oman 4 percent and Bahrain 2 percent, Saidali said.

Since 2006, more than 20 markets worldwide now have REIT regulations, including Dubai. This has helped in fuelling a global REIT market, worth more than $700bn in 2009, the consulting firm A.T. Kearney said.

However, if Dubai has to position itself as a fertile ground for REITs trading, it will face stiff competition from London, Singapore and more such cities.

The major benefit of setting up REITs is to permit international investors to diversify their portfolios by investing in varied real estate and funds, for instance in the Middle East. As for local investors, it offers an alternative to investing in local developer stocks or directly in properties.

SMEs can significantly boost realty demand in UAE

The Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in UAE can help in boosting demand for both office space and affordable residential property in the UAE immensely, if provided access to bank loans to finance start ups, offered working capital and investment for growth and expansion, reveal industry experts.

According to the CEO of MAG Group Property Development, Mohammad Nimer, SMEs account for nearly 80 percent of the economic activity in the UAE, which implies that they employ a large number of staff on the whole, and these employees too need housing.

The Dubai Chamber of Commerce has said that such companies are facing trouble in securing credit from UAE banks, and if they are given credits, it is only for 3 to 6 months with interest rates of about 15 percent, as they fall under high-risk category.

Ruwad Establishment said that currently there are more than 260,000 trading and industrial companies in the UAE, out of which 200,000 fall under SME category.

SMEs in the UAE usually employ less than 100 employees with investments in the range Dh.200,000 to Dh.2million.

"Imagine the stimulus to the housing market alone, even if each SME averaged just one new employee per annum, apart from the benefits to wider economy airlines, restaurants, hotels, shopping and so on," Nimer pointed out.

However, a Dun & Bradstreet report recently estimated that the loan rejection rates in the UAE were in the range 50 to 70 percent, partly due to the difficulty by banks in gaining access to accurate financial statements and in rare cases due to the complex and time consuming process of recovering money or liquidating seized assets.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

UAE villa prices stable, while residential prices uncertain

Residential prices in the UAE have been quite unpredictable this quarter, than during the rest of the year. Villa prices however, are likely to remain stable in the short term, the recent report by Landmark Advisory said.

About 60 percent of residential sales during the third quarter were villas, with an increase of 8 percent in prices on an average, the report said.

Demand for apartments focuses on affordable units. Financing continues to remain a major concern, with financed apartment sales dropping to 14 percent during the third quarter.

As for leasing, villa rentals in Dubai increased by six percent, stemming from relocation within UAE. However, unlike the villa segment, apartment rents in Dubai dropped 17 percent during the third quarter.

Listings were highly inconsistent with real market values in Abu Dhabi. Average prices listed for apartments and villas increased 8 to 10 percent respectively. Rents on the other hand, continue to fall in the Capital.

This year's Cityscape event, which begins today, will not be displaying the over-the-top projects unlike otherwise usually displayed, and investors and industry experts and tenants are beginning to get accustomed to the fact that the market is beginning to stabilize.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Cityscape real estate show unveiled

Cityscape, the Gulf's major annual real estate show was unveiled in Dubai today, as a scaled-down version of past years, reflecting steep deterioration in the property sector of the emirate.

The floor space used by property developers were lesser by 30 percent compared to last year, while attendance during the four-day event is hoped to drop by 20 percent this year, according to organizers. Last year's event saw the participation of 1500 companies from 150 countries.

Over the past couple of years, Cityscape has been a venue to unveil new projects. However, this year only nearly-completed developments and pre-announced projects have been featured.
According to Cityscape Managing Director, Rohan Marwaha, people are not expecting multi-billion dollar project launches or major finance deals at this year's event.

Nakheel, major master developer in Dubai had earlier announced plans to build a kilometer tall tower, competing with Emaar, who's nearly-completed Burj Dubai is already the world's tallest building stands above 800 meters in height. However, no impressive displays of the towers have been on the show this year.

Nakheel has confined to a scale model of completed Palm Jumeirah, the only one completed among three man-made palm shaped islands, apart from other smaller projects. Projects of several other developers on the show remain in the "concept" stage.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi developers are seen to have made a stronger presence by occupying larger portions of this year's show.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

2010 likely to be a vintage year for Dubai realty market

The prices of housing in Dubai is slowly returning to pre-2007 levels and indicates a vintage year for real estate investments in 2010, claims a leading industry report.

The worst part of the economic meltdown is generally believed to be over, and investors are full of cheer and looking forward to 2010.

Most of the investors in 2010 will be those who ensure that their assets are realistically priced, professionally managed, and will offer long-term stable liquidity, said a recent report by Jones LangLa Salle.

The MENA region was the last to feel the pinch of global economic meltdown, with property prices falling up to 50 percent in few areas in the past year, but, its real estate market was the fastest to cope with the economic crunch.

With the financial pressures beginning to ease, the sale activity is likely to pick-up marginally in 2010 and this will a psychological boost for investors, thereby increasing market confidence. The investors with sufficient cash too invest will benefit immensely, with the low sale prices, almost equivalent to the 2006 levels, said Matthew Green, Head of Research and Consultancy, CB Richard Ellis.

The report mentions that investors are now happier with the state-of-the-market during recent months. This sunny optimism is primarily driven by the overall economic strength derived by hydrocarbon-based economies.

Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi property markets will be among the first to recover in the region, with stronger economic fundamentals and government initiatives. These markets will see greater increase in performance and pricing during the coming year.

Dubai, in particular, is likely to grow at a steady pace of four to six percent per year until 2015. Investors are considering Dubai to be the regional leader in terms of city competitiveness and real estate infrastructure, says Brendan Coakley, Managing Director at Chesterton International.

The success of Dubai in the past comes largely from its name being built as a city with good infrastructure. However, concerns still remain about the availability of capital for real estate purposes and supply-demand dynamics. The lack of liquidity and resentment on the part of few financial institutions to resume lending is proving to be a barrier for the Dubai Market.

However, taking into account the huge volume of new stock either completed or in pipeline, and combined with minimal levels of demand, the supply-demand imbalance is the main issue for the future recovery of the market, Green said.

Therefore, in future, there is increased need transparency and honesty on the part of developers, brokers and investors themselves.

Gulf News to be title sponsor for World Wide Property Show 2009

Al Nisr Group, together with Worldwide Shows and Events, has signed deal for the Gulf News to be the title sponsor for the Worldwide Property Show in 2009, the contract of which could be renewed every two years.

The Grand Hyatt Dubai show due to be held between 29th and 31st October, will now be known as Gulf News Worldwide Property Show.

The Worldwide Property Show is one of the few realty exhibitions to have survived, despite meeting the Gulf War, 9/11, the Sars epidemic and the current global recession.

Launched in 1995 in the UAE, the show is now the longest running property show in the Middle East. The show has also successfully reached Singapore, Hong Kong, Boston, Bahrain, Zurich, Seoul, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Muscat.

Apart from developers within the UAE, the event also includes participants from overseas, thereby offering the right platform for Emirati investors and buyers to find homes for investment, holidays or for retirement both locally and abroad.

The show had successfully drawn more than 60 participants from 32 countries with about 3900 or more visitors attending the three day show last year.

According to George Betz, International Sales Director at Worldwide Shows and Events, the interest in overseas real estate is definitely back on several investors’ agenda, with US, England and Asia considered as hot spots.

The Gulf News, being one of the leading newspapers in the region, the agreement will offer additional exposure to the show both for local and international exhibitors, he added.

The organizers of the show also plan to take the show to Singapore and Beijing over the next six months, as the property market shows marked improvement, globally.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Khoie Properties denies insolvency allegations

Khoie Properties has denied insolvency allegations against the company, and emphasized that it continues to remain in control of more than Dh.1billion worth assets.

The firm also retains the Dh.700mn worth receivables as it owns the Dh.5bn La Hoya Bay project in Ras Al Khaimah.

The Ras Al Khaimah court recently appointed Rakeen as the official custodian of the project, which was a welcome relief for investors in La Hoya Bay.

The Chairman and Chief Executive of Khoie Properties, Frank Khoie is currently in jail, but, he is adamant that his company is not insolvent. Khoie Properties currently holds Dh.288mn worth investor money.

Out of this, about Dh.81mn was allocated for design, architecture and construction and engineering works, while Dh.72mn was paid to the Ras Al Khaimah government for the land.

Apart from the Dh.61mn which was given in as commissions, Dh.56mn was paid as salaries, and for promotions, advertising and administrative expenses, the company said. Another Dh.18mn was invested in the Ras Al Khaimah American School.

According to the company, the real estate market as a whole has been affected by the financial crunch, and Khoie Properties has been no exception. Therefore, the developer has claimed that accusations regarding insolvency are baseless, and Khoie Properties still has the ability to deliver the La Hoya Bay project to investors.

Khoie Properties had acquired six plots of land from Rakia, worth a total of Dh.302mn. When the first cheque for Dh.72mn towards construction was funded, controversies cropped up that the developer was unable to meet the Dh.57mn land payment in December 2008.

"Tightening credit markets, coupled with slow sales did bring about a slowdown in Khoie business. Funding for the project was much dependent on sales revenue, which had dried up completely," said Frank Khoie, who spoke to the media.

However, whether Khoie Properties will be able to take back control of La Hoya Bay, is yet to be watched.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dubai office rents slide 63 percent, likely to fall further

The rentals for office space in Dubai have dropped by 63 percent during the past nine months, but prices are likely to fall further for the reminder of the year and in 2010, as a dearth in demand has been noticed, along with abundance of new supply, which will keep the office space leasing market sluggish, particularly the free zone areas, reports CB Richard Eliis (CBRE)-Middle East, the leading property consulting company.

Average rentals at the Jumeirah Lake Tower area have dropped to Dh.70 to Dh.120 per square feet from Dh.240 to Dh.280 during the third quarter last year.

Office space from private developers in Dubai Silicon Oasis now averages between Dh.50 per square feet and Dh.85 to Dh.130 in Dubai Internet City, Jebel Ali Freezone, Media City, and Airport Free zone. No comparative figures have been provided.

The global economic crunch has badly hit the real estate market in Dubai, with the prices having halved from their peak values in September 2008, hitting both residential and office space sectors.

The large expatriate population in Dubai that fuelled the five-year property boom, dwindled this year, with thousands losing their jobs and being sent back home as the companies cut down operations.

The office space leasing market will have to witness more tough times, as the current stock will face stiff competition from new supplies coming on stream. The office space available in third quarter this year has more than doubled, touching 5.2mn square feet from the 2.5mn square feet space during third quarter last year, said Faheem, Research Analyst at CBRE Middle East.

During the rest of the year and in 2010, the leasing market in these areas will continue to remain sluggish, largely due to additional pipeline stock expected to enter from free zone developments and non-free zone areas such as Business Bay development.

Tameer's Silver Tower to be ready by 2010

Silver Tower Tameer
The exclusive 31-storey Silver Tower by Tameer, located at Business Bay is making good progress and has crossed 22 storeys, and the superstructure is almost ready, it has been announced.

The company officials have confirmed the delivery of the project next year.

The development is making good progress and the construction has crossed 60 percent mark sometime ago. According to sources in Tameer, the slab for 26th storey has been done, and the core wall has to reach 28th floor.

Standing at a height of 148 meters, the tower, with its silver aluminum façade and ultra-smart glass architecture, is all set to be one of the leading landmarks in Dubai.

On completion, the Silver Tower will comprise 260 offices of various sizes, which includes all of Dubai's leading landmarks. On completion, the building will offer office spaces, health clubs, 748 private parking spaces, retail and commercial outlets, cafeteria, and more, spread across a total area of 700,000 square feet.
Ideally located at Business Bay, Silver Tower offers residents easy access to Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai Airport, Burj Dubai Downtown, Dubai Internet City, Jebel Ali Free Zone and Dubai Media City.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Rakeen completes overhaul of Bab Al Bahr model units

One of the leading property developers and master planners in the region, Rakeen, has completed comprehensive overhaul of model apartments for Bab Al Bahr.

The model single bedroom and double bedroom units, located along the main road, at the entrance to Al Marjan Island, have amenities similar to that of actual apartments and have been built overlooking the coastline of Arabian Gulf, giving a realistic foretaste of the views of Bab Al Bahr residences.

The units are value-added offering that gives clients a glance of actual features, amenities and layout and ambience of their dream homes, a senior official revealed.

Rakeen has invited investors and buyers to visit the newly revamped model units to have a clear view of the properties on offer at Bab Al Bahr. The Bab Al Bahr units are a mix of Arabic culture and tradition.

Bab Al Bahr is the first end-user development of Rakeen and its flagship project on the peninsula of Al Marjan Island, the first man-made island in RAK.

The Commercial Director of Rakeen, Jeremy Savory, said that the Bab Al Bahr model units have been designed to redefine living in Ras Al Khaimah, and add value to emirate's community.

"While also awaiting the much-anticipated handover during second half of 2010, we are inviting interested buyers to visit the model units to generate unique ideas for physical arrangements and additional furnishings they wish to include in their residences," he said.

Bab Al Bahr is a residential development offering a relaxed atmosphere with its exclusive beachfront location and stunning views, and serves as a new landmark in the emirate.

Nakheel and Emaar confirm participation in Cityscape Show

The two leading Dubai developers, Nakheel and Emaar Properties, have mentioned that they will participate in the much-anticipated property expo, the Cityscape Show, thereby reversing their earlier decision to pull put.

The leading property developers known for their major projects such as man-made islands and world’s tallest skyscraper had earlier cancelled their participation in the show, which illustrated a shift in focus amidst the real estate bust towards completing existing projects, rather than rolling out new ones.

In their statements to the media, the companies mentioned that they will participate in the two-day property fair, due to begin in Dubai on 5th October.

The decision follows discussions with several agencies involved in organizing the event. The company will make use of the event to explain its growth strategy of expansion and further explore new possibilities in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, says the statement by Emaar.

Meanwhile, Nakheel has stated that the company decided to participate following discussions with several industry stakeholders, including partners and leading event organizers.

The company's focus will remain on delivering units and services to existing investors and focus on exhibiting communal properties on several of its developments nearing completion, Nakheel mentioned in its statement.

Organized by IIR Middle East, the Cityscape Dubai 2009 will be held between the 5th and 8th October 2009 at the Dubai International Exhibition Center.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ajman's Crown Residencia project comes to halt

Investors in Crown Residencia project in Emirates City in Ajman will have to wait for a minimum of one year, before moving in, reports The Gulf News.

According to Abu Bakr Abuzeid, the Finance Manager of Al Batha Real Estate, the project developer, the project has been stalled as investors are yet to pay their installments.

Abuzeid agreed that people are delaying their payments, and mentioned that the company will have to swap its clients to Dubai, and has already offered projects in Dubai.

According to ARRA (Ajman Real Estate Regulatory Agency), Crown Residencia does not have an escrow account and one of the partners of Al Batha Real Estate has been jailed for bounced cheques.

The investors met Abuzeid last week and they were told that their investments could be swapped to projects in Dubai, through a new partnership with Al Masah International Development Company.

As per this potential solution, investors' money will be put into an escrow account and registered with Dubai's RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Authority).

Abuzeid has emphasized that Crown Residencia has not been cancelled. In case investors don’t accept this offer, they will be offered another solution. The company just needs to pay the balance of land and some other fee, worth Dh.1.5mn, and requires Dh.1million to pay construction advance.

But, the investors who spoke to Al Masah International realized that as per the current plan, they would lose 70 percent of their investment, with only 30 percent being transferred.

A source at Al Masah International confirmed that clients from Al Batha will be able to shift investments to their projects in Dubai. The cheapest of Al Masah projects is worth about Dh.750 per square foot, so investors can pay more, as units in Ajman are usually cheaper.

Al Batha Real Estate is different from Al Batha Group in Sharjah.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dubai preferred over Abu Dhabi due to lowering rentals?

Although the demand for residential properties in Abu Dhabi is still strong, due to insufficient supply, the impact of lower rent rates in Dubai, could lead to a supply-driven market condition, with more residents opting for Dubai over Abu Dhabi, points out the latest report by EFG-Hermes about UAE property sector.

The difference in rent rates between Dubai and other emirates, particularly Abu Dhabi, has led to considerable cross-emirate migration. At present, several residents and businesses are taking advantage of the low-cost environment in Dubai and moving into the emirate from the Capital, mainly for convenience or lifestyle reasons. If this trend continues, it is likely to exert a downward pressure on prices and rents in Abu Dhabi, narrowing the differential and changing the overall outlook, the report points out.

However EFG-Hermes report emphasizes that the end-user demand is likely to pick-up in Abu Dhabi. This is owing to greater availability of mortgage financing, and a short-to-medium term supply-demand mismatch, coupled with structured pace of development and a shift towards better economic liberalization.

The Managing Director at Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), Blair Hagkull, who spoke about the EFG Hermes report, said that the fundamentals in Abu Dhabi property market will remain positive in the long run. However, at present there is a marked difference in the cost of residential and office accommodation in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. While the prices in Dubai appear moderate, the value proposition for residential users in Abu Dhabi continues to remain challenging.

However, the rental rates to be charged in future, could be lower than what was anticipated, the report concludes.

Dubai developers to get realistic and focus on affordable segments

Signs of internal migration are likely to appear in Dubai, with several affordable properties on the offer and a more realistic approach adopted by developers.

The property prices in Dubai have already undergone correction by about 50 percent, ever-since the peak transactions witnessed in 2008.

The Executive Director of Dubai Property Society (DPS), Adel Lootah, when speaking to the media, mentioned that there would be an internal migration of people within Dubai, to better-located and more affordable localities in future.

Transactional activities at the moment are more focused on completion of prime properties, either due to the location or a good developer.

The latest report by EFG-Hermes showed that property consolidation, which offers investors the option to transfer deposits from an early-stage project to an almost complete one, is also in the happening.

With the Cityscape Dubai, due to be held next month, the message to developers in future is to be more realistic and build mid-income properties.

The DPS Chairman, Ahmad Thani Al Matroushi, mentioned that with the drop in prices, people would begin moving from Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, to places like new Dubai, as it is only half-an-hour away from Abu Dhabi, and this will generate more demand and take care of the excess supply in the market.

The average price of Dubai Villa in January was about Dh.1600 per square foot, and that of apartments were about Dh.2100 per square foot, but by August, they had dropped to Dh.1250 and Dh.1650 respectively.

Developers will take a cue from this, and will focus more on affordable properties. When the city gets expensive, it creates lot of issues. Now Dubai will seem more attractive, as people can live in a nice place with an affordable rent, he adds.

Affordable housing should also be made applicable to tenants, as there have been positive signs in Dubai's rental market, including lowering of rents, and moving away from the unrealistic single-cheque payment.

With the Cityscape just two weeks away, it is often considered as a litmus test to gauge the state of property market. This year, particularly, may be true, as it is unlikely to be the hub of sales activity that it was. No region has been immune to the worldwide recession, and therefore, a strong element of realism has entered the real estate investment landscape, says Chris Speller, Cityscape Group Director.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dubai most attractive for Foreign Direct Investments

The UAE has been an important center of attraction for world investment in various sectors, pointed out Hani Alhamli, Secretary-General of Dubai Economic Council.

He emphasized that latest figures in the country, recorded in various fields are great achievements during these times of global economic crisis.

This statement came to light during the newly launched World Investment Report 2009 by the UNCTAD. The report states that UAE has maintained its attractiveness in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), compared to several other advanced and emerging markets.

UAE's experience over the last years in economic development reveals the strategic vision of the wise leadership of UAE in enhancing the growth path through global and regional integration.

Attracting FDI is one of the main policies adopted by the government, due to its advantages for local economy such as increasing investments and hence the growth rate, increase in employment rate, and transferring the technology and know-how to the country, Alhamli said.

He also mentioned that Dubai has made a significant contribution in attracting FDIs to the UAE, due to its distinguished place in the regional and global business map.

The World Investment Report 2009 showed that the volume of FDI inflow into the UAE were $13.7bn in 2008, compared to $14.19bn in 2007. On the other hand, the report indicated that the cumulative value of these investments at the end of 2008 stood at $69.42bn, around 25 percent of UAE's GDP.

Alhamli said that the report shows distinct development pertaining to FDI inflow. The number of projects executed by foreign investors in the UAE last year was 480 in number, marking an impressive growth rate of 70 percent, compared to that in 2007. During the first half of this year, there are a total of 136 projects. This reflects the strong foundation of the national economy and its highly competitive advantage, in comparison to several other countries.