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 fa├žade 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.