Friday, February 27, 2009

New property service charges regulations in March

Four new regulations are likely to be announced in Dubai next month, following which, property owners in Dubai, can expect a respite from increasing service charges, announced RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Authority) yesterday.

As per the proposed new rules, service charges for buildings that have been delivered already, will be frozen at rates that prevailed last year, provided, the current rates are less than that of last year's or have been approved by RERA.

The freeze will remain valid until the first general assembly of Owners Association, due to happen within three months of registration.

Service charges for buildings that are due for hand-over soon, or are in the process of being handed over, will also be subject to approval by RERA.

The owners of buildings that have been already handed over, or are due for hand-over, will have to pay service charges until the owners approve the service charges decided during the General Assembly. Service charges already paid, will have to be adjusted to meet the revised rates.

Speaking on this issue, Reinaldo, Director of Fine and Country, said that developers need to understand that property owners are stakeholders on the development, and that their role is vital. Without the Owners Association, there will be no transparency on the dealings.

The Palladium to be soft-launched in March 2009


The Palladium Dubai
The newest and most flexible venue of Dubai, The Palladium meant for international and entertainment events, worth $68mn (Dh.220mn) will undergo a soft-launch in March 2009. The venue will prove to be a model for a new generation of combined entertainment venues worldwide.

Built at a cost exceeding Dh.220mn, The Palladium is a dream-come-true for Raymond Gaspar, an entertainment and media entrepreneur. With a venue capable of staging everything from large scale musicals and theatre to classical and rock concerts, weddings and banquets, opera to exhibitions and conferences to seminars, The Palladium is currently undergoing finishing touches at the Dubai Media City.

The Palladium is the first-of-its-kind multipurpose venue in the region for entertainment and events. The facilities here are unique, with a capacity to stage theatre, musicals, concerts, circus, opera, ballet, cabaret, exhibition, conferences, seminars, launches, award shows, banquets, sporting events, festivals, sporting events, weddings and cocktail parties.

The Palladium is designed with a seating capacity of 3000 for retractable seating, 4000 for mixed seating and standing, and 5500 for standing and 1500 for banqueting. In addition, the main auditorium offers 2500 square metres of open space for exhibitions and concerts. The stage is the biggest in Middle East with a width of 25metres and depth of 16 metres.

It also includes seven private Skyboxes with 12 plush seats and dedicated butler. There are two corporate hospitality areas of 200 square metres each, facing the auditorium.

The Palladium is also in the process of developing integrated high-class food and beverage outlets and a club environment, open throughout the day, the complete details of which, will be unveiled soon.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dubai, still the leading player in regional property sector

Property projects in the GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council), particularly in Dubai, are still being actively pursued, despite the global economic crunch, reports the leading property portal REIDIN.com, which tracks real estate transactions in the GCC.

The portal said that Dubai is still the leading player in the regional property market, with Dh.5bn worth of investments flowing into the emirate in 2008.

About 5.8 percent of worldwide land sales transactions were accounted for by Dubai. Dubai was also ranked the fourth highest in global land sales rankings in 2008. Majority of the GCC investment into the emirate came from Saudi Arabia (Dh.2bn), followed by Dh.1bn from Kuwait, Dh.818mn from Oman, Dh.615mn from Bahrain, and Dh.117mn from Qatar.

The portal mentioned that there is a strong interest in Dubai property sector, despite the projected slump in UAE economy for this year.

The CEO of REIDIN.com, Ahmet Kayhan, said that the property sector is facing a challenging time confronted with issues such as liquidity, threatening investor confidence. However, the trends reveal that the Dubai property sector will still be the busiest with investments and transactions remaining comparatively higher.

According to Kahyan, despite the dim outlook on UAE economy, Dubai property sector will continue to witness constant transactions, and the government will continue its efforts to soften the impact of financial crisis by offering liquidity.

Food City worth $200mn underway in Dubai

A five million square foot self-contained development, worth Dh.734mn ($200mn), namely the "Food City", is underway in Dubai, revealed industry sources yesterday.

The development, with a capability of accommodating 400 to 500 companies, is aimed at wholesale food merchants, said Farouk Qasim, Head of Food and Beverage group, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI).

According to Qasim, things would be easier if everything is under one roof, such as inspections for customs, or warehousing. Therefore it would be a one-stop shop.

Although the estimated value of the project is currently worth $200mn, this figure may vary depending on the construction costs.

The City is likely to be located close to a seaport, as majority of exports go by sea. Dubai Food City will increase food security in the UAE, which already imports 90 percent of its food. The project, which is currently in planning stages, will be carried out in four phases, with one complete phase hoped to be completed by 2012.

Dubai already houses the Dubai International Finance Centre, Media City, Internet City, Healthcare City, Knowledge Village, Humanitarian City, among others.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dubai property market re-gaining buyer-interest

According to property agents in Dubai, there has been considerable buyer interest for completed properties during recent weeks. Increased transactions are being witnessed with banks regaining confidence, and beginning to approve mortgages.

Past two months, although there hasn't been any viewing, during the past ten days, viewings have picked up considerably, and there is more consumer interest returning to the market, says Ronald Hinchey, Resident Partner, Cluttons.

Another Independent Property Consultants, Sherwoods, says that those planning to buy property now live in the property. With prices to the decline, people are considering affordable homes, says Iseeb Rehman, the Managing Director.

In the meanwhile, Owners are looking out to sell their properties, amidst growing concern over fall in prices, the agents report. Rehman mentioned that Sherwoods made five sales during the past week, in major sought-after areas such as Discovery Gardens, Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Village.

Rehman also mentioned that a growing interest is seen in office space, with more property coming on to the rental market, as owners seek stable revenue stream.

Property Advisor at Choueri Real Estate, Rima Moukarim, mentioned that owners' who have been holding on to property, anticipating a price recovery, can now look for a quick sale. He confirmed that the market is witnessing more sales and transactions.

The Assistant Director General of the Department, Mohammed Thani, mentioned that about Dh.2bn worth of mortgages have been registered with the Dubai Land Department this year. Moukarim said that banks seem more confident about lending. Also, with the banks resuming property lending, it is hoped that they would adopt a less stringent approval process.

In the meanwhile, the property experts have expressed their opinion that the market should offer incentives to lure back buyers and instill confidence by offering permanent residence visas to freehold home-owners.

When people purchase freehold property, it is the duty of the Government to offer permanent residence for the rest of their lives, as long as they own that property, says Hinchey.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Deyaar confirms delivery of seven major Dubai projects in 2009

Deyaar, the leading property developer, has announced plans to deliver more than seven of its projects in 2009, constituting more than 1300 units of its diverse project portfolio.

The projects due for delivery this year are The Citadel -the commercial tower, and Hamilton Residency -residential tower, both located at Business Bay. Other projects due for delivery this year are Madison Residency - the residential project at TECOM, and Coral Residence, Jade Residence, Ruby Residence, and Saphire Residence, all located at Dubai Silicon Oasis.

The Chief Executive of Deyaar, Markus Giebel, remarked that this confirms the company's commitment to its investors and customers, despite the challenging conditions faced by the property sector.

Deyaar is well-placed to build on its current growth momentum and helps clients to overcome short-term constraints within the market. With the timely delivery of the projects, Deyaar is one again remaining firm on its commitment to meet the requirements of clients through comprehensive customer support strategy, such as enhanced payment support programme and individual bank financing assistance, he added.

Giebel mentioned that the projects are located along major growth corridors of Dubai, and Deyaar is pleased to deliver these quality projects during the year.

Being one of the fastest growing property companies in the region, Deyaar Development PJSC, currently is the foremost in the region's property sector, focusing on property development, facilities management, marketing and sales.

UAE construction sector outlook for 2009 appears bleak

The UAE real estate sector is expected to offer minimal construction opportunities in 2009, according to the 'Gulf Construction Outlook Survey' conducted by Meed, the leading business intelligence provider in Middle East.

The closed-door survey was carried out on the first day of Arabian World Construction Summit 2009 (AWCS 2009) held between the 9th and 11the February 2009 in Abu Dhabi. The survey focused on four major categories, which included market outlook, client-contractor relation, construction costs and construction management.

The survey respondents included senior representatives or CEOs of major construction companies in the GCC.

The Meed Editor, Richard Thompson, said that the survey measured the current market sentiments, and hoped that the survey results would form an effective resource of information for charting a roadmap for the industry.

The Construction Outlook Survey indicates that 96 percent of respondents hoped to see an increase in distress between clients and contractors in construction sector within GCC during the year. Also, two-thirds of the companies said that they intend to shift their focus towards Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Saudi Arabia this year.

AWCS 2009 was one of Meed's most prominent events, which brought together all industry pioneers from 169 companies of 25 countries.

The Director of Arabian World Construction Summit, Anca Westley, said despite the challenging economic climate, the 2009 summit reflects the region's ambition to maintain its status as world leader in construction sector. Saudi Arabia has emerged as the single strongest market in the region, with the government-supported infrastructure in place to offer the best opportunities this year.

"Meed will continue to work closely with the industry to offer regular updates about what could be the most challenging year in the construction sector," he added.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Leading property developers offer flexi-payment options to investors

Leading property developers in Dubai and Northern Emirates have come up with the option of easy payment schedule for investors and end-users to off-set the impact of credit crunch.

With the International Property Show 2009 (IPS 2009) entering its second day, and the visitors showing up to feel the pulse of property market, the organizer of the show, Dawood Al Shirawi, said that holding the show during such a difficult phase is a huge success, and the organizers hope to sign few serious deals during and after the show.

He expressed confidence that towards the end of 2009, the property market would recover from the crisis and new regulations will help in consolidating the industry even further.

One of the leading freehold property developers in Dubai and Northern Emirates, Chapal, has announced an extension of one year for payment schedules to property buyers in Dubai and Ajman. By extending such an offer, Chapal aims to relieve its clients during tough times of economic crisis.

Chapal mentioned that this payment extension plan would benefit several thousands of investors and property end-users who booked villas and apartments in freehold projects of Chapal in Dubai Sports City, Emirates City Ajman, Emirates Lakes Towers (Ajman), Jumeirah Village Dubai, Chapal Flora Residences (Ajman).

The payment relaxation terms are currently being reviewed to support buyers of plot in master development in Ajman. IPS has been earmarked as the biggest transactional property event in the region.

Mounting redundancies determine drop in housing prices

The increasing number of job layoffs will determine the amount of drop in residential prices in the next couple of months, revealed a top real estate agent in Dubai.

Vince Easton, the Sales Director at Sherwoods, when speaking during the event of Dubai International Property Show, said that the uncertain job market in the city, which is likely to see a new wave of layoffs in March, will leave a major impact on the prices within the next three months.

"We are a nation of expatriates, and if the jobs are under threat, it makes the life of expatriates more difficult," he pointed out.

The mass job cuts in Dubai, particularly in the property and construction sectors, were triggered by the market downturn, and the global economic crisis.

According to Easton, although it is known that prices have fallen by 50 percent in majority of the area, the market would hit the bottom by summer, with the prices of properties in areas such as Dubailand, predicted to fall further, during the period.

Rents had come down to as much as 40% in Dubai during the last three months, and overall sales too went down during the same period.

The key to recovery of the housing market lies with the banks offering more liquidity for financing, and this is unlikely to happen until the market has bottomed out, Easton said.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Residency Visa for freehold property owners to be introduced soon

A senior government official has revealed that a federal regulation capable of granting residency visas to freehold property owners will be introduced within a year.

The proposal permits the owners to obtain a six-month renewable residency visa, irrespective of their nationality, size or value of the property. The proposal has been much appreciated by property developers.

The Acting Director General of the Federal Department of Naturalization and Residency (DNR), Brig. Gen. Nasser al Minhali, said that the project aims to create a unified visa system pertaining to home purchases.

Brig. Minhali termed the proposal as a "Security organizational procedure". The proposal will prevent each emirate from developing procedures of its own, thereby, unifying it under the Ministry of Interior, he added. The Residency Visas that have been granted so far will continue to remain valid, but, it would not be possible to renew them until the federal regulation is implemented.

Brig. Minhali did not reveal further details, as the proposal is being studied. Several emirates, including Dubai, follow the norm, wherein prospective homeowners seek residency through property developers, with the latter acting as sponsors for visas.

The three-year visa, which permits the holder to live in the emirate, but does not permit to work, serves as a major incentive for several buyers, particularly from Pakistan, Iran and India.

However, confusion prevailed, as people were unsure if developers could actually guarantee these visas, as promised, and if so, whether DNR would issue them. Sources within the industry, however, mentioned that a unified nationwide system was vital in this aspect, to ease confusion over which emirate had which entitlement. This would also help in restoring confidence in the market, it is believed.

A prominent Indian Industrialist, Surjit Singh, said that the unified property regulation could help in reducing property price discrepancies across the emirates. Such an initiative indicates the concern by the Ruler towards the interests of expatriate community.

Manhattan Luxury Apartments at Jumeirah Village on track

The Manhatten ApartmentsAl Fara'a Properties yesterday confirmed that the company is making steady progress towards timely completion of its Manhattan Luxury Apartments project, despite the current market dynamics.

The company revealed that it has successfully poured 7500 cubic metres of concrete for 50 hours, covering 46,500 square feet for the basement level of Manhattan Development in Jumeirah Village.

The 12-metre cavity, with high density supports and piling, will house the basements and foundation of a signature collection of the New York-inspired apartments, comprising studios, single, double and triple bedroom units.

Manhattan Luxury Apartments offers high-quality apartments with signature amenities designed to offer a healthy lifestyle to its residents. The amenities include world-class gymnasium, swimming pools, sauna and steam facilities, and well-equipped children play area.

Majority of projects that are currently in progress in Jumeirah Village are that of Al Fara'a Properties. The Le Grand Chateau which won the CNBC Arabia's best development award is also one among the projects nearing completion by Al Fara'a.

The Director of Al Fara'a Properties, Natasha Gangaramani, when speaking about the scheduled delivery of the apartments, mentioned that the company has deployed 1200 strong workforce, which constitute a team of experts who would lead the project into successful completion.

With a planned property portfolio worth Dh.10bn, Al Fara'a Properties has launched successfully several residential, mixed-use and commercial developments spreading across Jumeirah Village, Downtown Jebel Ali and Dubai Maritime City.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hydra Village Abu Dhabi units to be delivered by Q2 2009

The leading UAE-based property developer, Hydra Properties, has achieved another milestone by announcing plans about hand-over of units of Hydra Village Abu Dhabi, one of its major community developments. The units will be delivered during mid-2009, as it completes Phase I of the mega project.

hydra village abu dhabi
The leading property developer has also announced that excavation work for Phase II is nearly 20% complete, and the construction is progressing as scheduled. This achievement underlines the commitment by Hydra to complete the prestigious project on schedule by December 2010.

Speaking about the progress of the project, the CEO of Hydra Properties, Dr. Sulaiman Al Fahim, said that the timely delivery of Hydra Village Abu Dhabi units is one of the ways of expressing the company's dedication towards providing their clientele with complete satisfaction of services and offerings.

The construction of the project is currently monitored by few well-established contractors in the construction industry, such as Blue Sea, PAL Technology, Ersa, Abu Dhabi Land, Samer Group, Bayunah, and NEB Consultants.

Hydra Village Abu Dhabi is more of an eco-living retreat, designed by laying emphasis on conservation. It offers all amenities, and smart technologies, associated with modern living, while also offering eco-living at its best.

Strategically located, near Al Reef Palace in Abu Dhabi, Hydra Village Abu Dhabi is a residential community surrounding a total area of 950,000 square metres, with 2500 well-furnished villas, and 17 residential apartment blocks.

The units are featured with excellent amenities, including schools, mosques, clinic, and retail units that make the community a self-sufficient family destination.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ajman property market considered more lucrative than Dubai

The emirate of Ajman is turning out to be a lucrative destination for buying opportunities, as rates have fallen as low as Dh.299 per square foot, from the Dh.600 per square foot rate that prevailed six months ago.

Although majority of the bargains are in Dubai, Ajman is not far behind, with equally or even better opportunities, as it is oriented towards the mid-income sector.

It is possible to purchase apartments in Ajman for as little a price as Dh.299 per square foot, and one need not wait for years for completion of the project, as the waiting period for such apartments would be only three to six months.

Property prices in Ajman began at a much lower level than in Dubai, when the first project in Ajman was launched in 2004 for Dh.176 per square foot. The units at Al Khor Towers in Ajman are now selling at a rate of Dh.299 per square foot, which means that a double bedroom apartment in Ajman is currently Dh.542,000. Similarly, the units at Horizon Towers are priced at a starting price of Dh.345 per square foot, with a double bedroom apartment being sold at Dh.631,760.

This, when compared to Dubai, indicates that even few of the cheapest studios are worth Dh.447,430, implying a rate of Dh.883 per square foot for a 506 square foot studio at present.

Although property prices and rents have been dipping this year, Dubai still remains expensive. Potential buyers are still awaiting mortgages and home financing options to enter the market for them to make purchases, while investors in off-plan units are trying to cancel contracts, fearing their financial security. On the other hand, properties in Ajman are almost complete, offering more comfort to buyers.

According to Christina Cabading, the President of BSEL Infrastructure Realty, the developer of five towers in Emirates City of Ajman, people are now seeking affordable places to live. Hence, even for people living in Dubai, the focus is being shifted towards Ajman.

Ajman Real Estate Regulatory Agency (ARERA) offers additional comfort and security, having informed all developers in Ajman that they must own an office in Ajman, and it is not sufficient if they just own an office in Dubai. The Agency however, has cautioned buyers to be diligent when considering low-priced properties.

The COO of Cirrus Developments, Rehan Khan, has urged investors focusing on extremely low-priced properties to check out if the developer has assured a trust account (Escrow) to protect their funds, and bring in quality in the project, as that would determine the rent or re-sale value in future.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Nakheel's Marina Residences to be delivered in two months

Nakheel, the master developer in Dubai, said that the exclusive Marina Residences development on the Palm Jumeirah is more than 90 percent complete, and that the 900 homes of the development would be delivered in April 2009.
Palm Jumeirah
The Marina Residences are stunning residential complexes, located at the tip of the trunk on the Palm Jumeirah, the largest man-made island in the world.

The high-rise development includes six residential towers, resting on landscaped podiums, overlooking the marinas. The towers include 940 apartments and penthouses, and another 40 units are located on a marina fronted promenade, which form the townhouses.

One of the largest marinas in Dubai, Anchor Marina, is located just beside the Marina Residence tower, which berths more than 500 vessles.

The work on the development has made swift progress ever-since the groundwork began on the six towers.

The Managing Director of Palm Jumeirah, Johann Schumacher, said that Nakheel would handover the villas within next 24 months, while the 900 homes would be handed over this year, with the new residents hoped to enter Palm Jumeirah in April.

The strategic location of the iconic development, would enable the residents to enjoy the abundant tourism and leisure amenities that are on the offer, while also benefiting from being in proximity to one of the largest marinas in Dubai, Schumacher pointed out.

Nakheel has already begun delivering homes at its Jumeirah Villas, with more than 2000 villa sand townhouses to be delivered by the end of the year.

About 24 ultra-luxury villas at the Jumeirah Island Mansions are due for delivery this spring, which would be a welcome addition to this already vibrant community, which is one of the most sought residential locations in Dubai.

The Jumeirah Park is also ready for hand-over, later this year. About 90 percent infrastructure works are completed across the development, and villa constructions are 30 percent finalized.

Al Mazaya maintains timely delivery of Icon Towers at Lake Jumeirah

Icon tower 2 in Jumeirah
One of the leading property companies in the region, Al Mazaya Holding, has maintained its schedule of delivering 800 residential units at the Icon 1 and Icon 2 projects at Lake Jumeirah.

Al Mazaya has put in lot of effort, to ensure timely delivery of these properties to the owners in early 2009. It has assured that the other projects by the company will also be delivered within two years, thereby contributing its bit to the target of Dubai market to receive 70,000 residential units during 2009-10.

The Icon 1 and Icon 2 are the first projects to be completely sold out at Lake Jumeirah, although 120 other residential towers are also underway. Both Icon 1 and Icon2 residential towers comprise a total of 400 units that overlook the Jumeirah Lake on one side, and Jumeirah Islands on the other.

Fathi Dhamiri, SVP Projects at Mazaya Dubai, mentioned that despite the challenges faced during the development of the tower, all obstacles have been overcome, and the project has been scheduled in time.

Dhamiri mentioned that the timely delivery of these residential units implies the company's commitment towards its clients, and added that, Al Mazaya is currently developing three commercial towers, called Business Avenue for the business class in the area. Currently Business Avenue is 50 percent complete, and the units will be handed over towards end of 2010.
Dhamiri also did mention that the project is strongly supported by the Dubai Government, and that it is the first to be developed on Lake Jumeirah.

UAE likely to bail out real estate firms: EFG-Hermes

Leading investment bank in the Middle East, EFG-Hermes, yesterday said that UAE plans to bail out real estate companies in the country, and may restrict the flow of new supplies, amidst the slowdown in property sector.

The government is yet to reveal plans for the real estate sector, although it is known that a federal plan is in the agenda, said the Bank.

The real estate index of the Bank, reveal that advertised prices in Dubai have fallen 8percent during the past few months. The transactional prices have fallen by as much as 35 to 50 percent in Downtown Burj Dubai, Dubai Marina and Palm Jumeirah.

The government aims to restrict the number of housing units coming on stream. According to the Bank, the number of housing units to be released this year will be less than half of the original forecast of 70,000 units.

Last week, Morgan Stanley, the global financial services firm, said that property prices have fallen by an average of 25 percent, since its peak in September last year, and that about $263bn worth of projects have been either delayed or cancelled in UAE.

More than 50 percent of construction projects in the UAE, constituting a total of $582bn worth projects, are currently suspended, revealed ProLeads, the Dubai-based research firm, last week.
The once-booming property sector in Dubai, have been hit hard during recent months, by the fall in property prices, job redundancies, or projects being scaled back by the developers.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Indian nationals top list of villa-owners in Dubai

Majority of the villas in Dubai are occupied by Indian nationals, while Britons form majority of apartment owners in Dubai. This is as per the statistics revealed by the Dubai Land Department (DLD).

Out of the total 13,774 apartments registered with the Land Department between the period 1963 to 2008, Britons own 2755 units, which constitute 20% of the units. This is followed by Indians and Pakistanis sharing the second position with 14% ownership. The third in line are the Iranians with 11% ownership.

Indians are the top-most in the list of villa buyers, with 21% ownership, which constitute 932 villas out of 4436 villas registered by DLD. This is followed by Britons with 17% ownership, and 12% ownership by Pakistanis.

UAE nationals hold ownership of only 4% of apartments and 6% villas in the emirate, reveal statistics.

However, when considering the total number of landowners in Dubai, 73% are UAE nationals, while Indians and Britons own only 3% and 2% of the land in the emirate.

Dubai economy forecasts 2.9% growth this year

Dubai's economy is bound to grow 2.5% this year, despite the global slow down, declared a senior official at the Dubai Government, yesterday.

The Chief Economist of Dubai Government, Raed Safadi, said that a 2.5% growth is likely in Dubai in 2009, although it is quite less when compared to the 8% growth in 2008.

Dubai has had to revise the forecast downward, since October, as it is known that none of the emirates are immune to global financial turmoil. Dubai continues to focus on retention of human capital, with the emirate issuing nearly 1000 visas per day in January.

Safadi said that Dubai's economy used leverage to improve its production and infrastructure capacity, and added that while enjoying six years of current surplus, Dubai was also ready for the worst, when it was growing.

"We are being challenged on exports, and also in the real estate sector, construction and of-course, tourism. All these sectors are under pressure here," Safadi continued.

During 2007, the Dubai Government aimed to grow 11 percent each year, until 2015. This target was reduced to 4-6 percent, this year. Standard Chartered further reduced the growth forecast of UAE to 0.5% last month.

The Director of IMF-Middle East and Central Asia, Masood Ahmed, however, mentioned that GCC can expect an economic growth of 3.6 percent this year, from the 6.3% growth last year. Although, he did not mention individual figures for UAE or Dubai, he said that for the oil exporters, the drop in oil prices and Opec production cuts will reduces oil exports by nearly 50% in 2009, thereby leading to loss of government revenue worth Dh.1.1trillion.

However, increased government spending may help to strengthen the Gulf economies, Ahmed pointed out.

The IMF has revised its forecasts several times during the past six months. This is because, no crisis in history has been so severe, and the economic models for forecasts have not worked well, Ahmed said.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Rental Index will be updated to reflect current market conditions

The new rental index is likely to be updated in three months time, in accordance with the current market conditions, revealed a top official in Dubai's RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Authority).

The index, which is more of a guide to landlords and tenants in Dubai, was scheduled to be re-published every six months.

The Chief Executive of RERA, Marwan bin Ghalita, who spoke to the media on Thursday, mentioned that the new index is likely to be published in two to three months time. This initiative comes, when rents in the city have begun to fall dramatically from its peak during mid-2008. The Dubai rental index which has been released now is based on the figures during that period.

Ghalita said that despite the drop in rents, Dubai still offers good rental yields of up to 10% of the value of property, in comparison to 2-3 percent in other countries.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Omniyat assures completion of Dubai projects

Omniyat Properties, the leading Dubai-based property developer, announced that it is focus this year would be on completing the projects launched, rather than considering an expansion outside the emirate.

The Chief Executive of the Company, Peter Walichnowski, said that although it is the long-term strategy of the company to go international, with the current happenings in the world, this is probably the wrong time to do it.

"At present we intend to focus on the nine projects that we have in Dubai, and in launching our asset management division," he said.

The parent company of the private developer, Omniyat Holdings, has launched the Omniyat Asset Management team this week, to diversify its income and distinguish itself from its competitors during the times of economic turmoil.

Omniyat has nine projects in Dubai, worth Dh.13.5bn, and is progressing as scheduled, towards completion of these projects, during the second quarter of this year. Additional six projects are in the design phase, "for some time to come", said Mehdi Amjad, the Executive Chairman of the firm.

According to the new plan by Omniyat, residents will be given the option to choose between the Omniyat Asset Management or another company for maintenance of the building. Walichnowski assured that Omniyat would be transparent about expenses and make decisions together with Home Owners' Associations.

Dubai has seen the advent of several strata and property management companies, including joint venture with National Bonds Corporation called BCS - Strata Management Services and Horizon Property Management.

Omniyat has a portfolio worth Dh.28bn. The company shed 69 jobs in its sales and marketing division during November last year.

Nakheel delays sale of Al Furjan units

The sale of homes at Al Furjan, the community development in Dubai, will be delayed, until a rebound in demand for properties is seen, announced Nakheel, the master-developer of the community.

Al Furjan luxury villas
However, the 2000 homes that have already been sold during the sale of the first phase, are all progressing with construction works as scheduled, and will be complete towards end of next year.

The General Manager of the project, Mohammed Rashed, said that, the company is on track about the schedule for the first 2000 villas. However, for the other villas, the market condition needs to be evaluated first, and when the opportunity arises, more projects would be launched.
Rashed added that this move by Nakheel, was initiated as a part of its short-term plans to deliver efficiently what has already been committed to the customers.

Spreading across a 5.4million square meter space, behind the Discovery Gardens, in proximity to Jebel Ali Village, the Al Furjan community was planned to include 4000 villas and townhouses, schools, medical and retail amenities.

Nakheel is working with Gulf Lender Network, a mortgage company, to secure finance for customers who have already signed up for the Al Furjan units, Rashed revealed.

Nakheel has already back-tracked construction and reclamation work on its man-made island projects, and has delayed the construction of Nakheel Harbour and Tower, the one-kilometer tall structure, destined to be one of the tallest towers in the world.

However, the company is now focusing on its housing projects including the Jumeirah Islands, Jumeirah Park, and Jumeirah Village. Nearly 2200 units at Jumeirah Village and 900 units at Jumeirah Park will be delivered to residents by the end of the year.

In the meanwhile, Nakheel which has downsized its staff strength is also restructuring its senior management teams.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Nakheel's Al Manara project makes swift progress

About 1042 houses, constituting 40 percent of the Al Manara waterfront project by Nakheel, one of the largest developers in UAE has been completed. Nakheel plans to handover the units towards end of the year.

The Waterfront, which is one of the largest waterfront projects in the world, is twice the area of Hong Kong Island, and aims to accommodate a population of 1.5million.

According to the Managing Director of Waterfront, Marwan Al Qamzi, the construction work is progressing swiftly, with more than 1000 units being completed.

The Manarah District in Badrah, constitutes one-third of Badrah, which is the first active gateway to the Waterfront. Major infrastructural works of Stage One of Manarah is now complete, and 75% of networks and facilities are in place, with 80% of sewerage and irrigation infrastructure too being completed.

Badrah has four districts that are interlinked to each other by a central boulevard. Manarah includes educational, residential and civic amenities. All buildings will meet the LEED (Leadership in Environmental Design Green Building Rating System) ratings performance standard.

Monday, February 02, 2009

$75bn worth real estate projects cancelled in Dubai: HSBC

Almost 60 percent of real estate projects in Dubai, worth a total of $75bn are being either delayed or cancelled, with the booming construction sector of the emirate being hit by the global economic crisis, states a new report by HSBC.

Several projects that were in advanced stages of completion, were also being scrapped off completely, the Bank said, in its note on Arabic Holding, one of the largest construction firms in Dubai.

According to the bank, majority of the delayed or cancelled projects are high-end residential and commercial developments. The once-booming property market in Dubai has been hit hard due to drop in sales and stringent financing, and the developers are being compelled to re-look their project requirements.

The HSBC report lists out 59 projects that are under review currently, including the eight projects that have been completely scrapped off. Among the cancelled projects, two projects belong to Damac Properties, the largest private developers in the region.

Nakheel, the Government-owned developer too, has put on hold six of its major projects, including the Palm Deira project, the one kilometer tall Nakheel Harbour and Tower, and the $790mn Trump Tower.

Limitless, another government-supported developer had announced that it was reviewing the pace of $61bn Canal development. This was followed by Meraas, another government-backed developer reviewing its $95bn re-development programme in the heart of Dubai.

According to the HSBC report, several projects at the $110bn Dubailand development, destined to be the height of tourism in the emirate, have been cancelled, which also includes the Falcon City of Wonders, which was to include a replica of Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal and the Tower of Pisa and other wonders of the world.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Construction of Remraam Community makes good progress

Remraam CommunityMore than 60 percent of the infrastructure works for the 23.5million square foot Remraam Community has been completed. The excavation works for foundations of 71 percent of buildings are also complete.

The contractors are working on various stages of construction across the four phases of Remraam development. The work is under progress on building sub and super-structures of the buildings, the company said in its statement.

The infrastructure of the community, which includes water supply, sewerage and irrigation works is currently underway, and also mobilization is on for electrical sub-stations, in collaboration with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority.

The CEO of Tatweer Investments, Mizin's parent company, said that accelerating progress at Remraam development, emphasizes the core values of Mizin, its customer focus and transparency, apart from its commitment in delivering high quality product within scheduled time frame.