Thursday, February 25, 2010

Orientation programme underway for first residents at Burj Khalifa

World's tallest building, Burj Khalifa, developed by Emaar Properties, is all set to welcome its first residents with orientation programme currently on the go, for home-owners of Armani Residences, located on the 9th to 16th storeys of the tower.

The interiors of the world-class, first-of-its-kind Armani Residences are in their final stages, while the completion works of The Residences are also making quick progress at the Burj Khalifa, revealed a statement by Emaar.

The hand-over of homes, begin with Armani Residences comprising 144 private apartments, designed personally by Giorgio Armani. This will be followed by Armani Hotel Dubai, which occupies the concourse to Level 8 and Levels 38 & 39.

The Residences, comprising 900 apartments, and The Corporate Suites, a collection of high-end offices, will be handed over to customers, beginning March. The handover programme will take anywhere between two to six months.

The Armani Residences have been developed under a joint-collaboration between Emaar and Giorgio Armani, personally designed by the fashion legend Giorgio Armani, while The Residences are designed by Nada Andric of Skidmore, the award-winning designer, Owings & Merril, the architects of the tower, Al Matrooshi said.

The design elements are based on the region’s heritage and interpret into spatial elements with traditional motifs and right selection of materials. Among the materials used are polished dark stones, glass, stainless steel, and Silver Travertine flooring, handmade rugs, Venetian stucco walls, intricate Brazilian Santos Rosewood, he said.

Al Matrooshi revealed that corridors and lobbies are adorned with luxurious finishes, local and international art pieces, specially commissioned for the corridor area, which reflect the overall interior design approach of upholding regional design elements.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ajman Bank plans real estate fund

Ajman Bank plans to launch a real estate fund to purchase assets towards the low income group in the UAE, revealed its Deputy CEO, Ali E Alshaqoosh Al Mueen.

The Bank will get necessary approval to launch a property fund from the regulatory body. The size of the fund is yet to be finalized, but the bank will contribute seed capital to the fund. There are good opportunities in the property sector targeting the low income segment now, Al Mueen said.

The bank will also focus on financing the domestic market, as it considers the UAE as a safer and high-potential market for returns, Ali said, and added that the Bank's strategy has now been reset to focus more on domestic market. So, although there are few deals signed overseas, the opportunities in the local market are more secure and rewarding, than going overseas.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Falling demand leading to low rentals in northern emirates

The rents in the northern emirates have dropped considerably since 2009, given, the fresh supply and low demand. Even the lease rates have dropped 29 percent during the first half of 2009, says a CB Richard Ellis market report.

The trend is likely to continue into first half of 2010, due to weakening demand and huge supply from within the northern emirates and the border areas of Dubai, such as Muhaisanah, Al Nahda and Al Ghusais.

The demand is low or almost non-existent in the market, although the rental market is witnessing some movement, particularly from tenants seeking better quality property, said Mohanad Al Wadiya, Managing Director, Harbour Real Estate.

The maximum decline in rentals was noticed in the case of single bedroom apartments, which dropped 34 percent, while double and triple bedroom apartments dropped 29 percent and 25 percent respectively. This drop may be largely due to people opting for larger flats with lower rent on the offer in comparison to previous months.

Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah also witnessed drop in values by 50 percent or more for off-plan properties. The gaps between rental rates, however, remained the same among various northern emirates. Sharjah continued to demand highest rates, followed by Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Fujairah and finally Umm Al Quwain, the most affordable northern emirate.

Among these emirates, Ras Al Khaimah is witnessing maximum progress, while Sharjah and Ajman are on hold or are progressing very slowly.

Al Hamra Village is the only project with 90 percent completion rates, and 80 percent occupancy, with only one residential tower remaining to be completed in front of the resort. The rate at the Ras Al Khaimah's Al Hamra village is 30 to 35 percent higher, in comparison to other developments in the region.

Also, the Bab Al Bahr project on Al Marjan Island, a sister development of Al Hamra Village, by Rakeen Properties, is also progressing on schedule. The first and second phases of the project are complete, while the third and fourth phases are nearing completion.

Even La Hoya Bay project by Khoie Properties, now undertaken by Rakeen, is being developed for delivery by 2011.

The Mina Al Arab development, the Pacific, all located at the Al Marjan Island is also due for delivery in 2011.

With more residents opting to move to border areas of Dubai, where there is better quality stock and competitive lease rates, the leasing rates across the northern emirates continue to decline in 2010, Al Wadiya said.

To add to this, high percent of residential accommodation is offered by the northern emirates, and this has stemmed from their fast-growing southern neighbour (Dubai), and this helped excessive expectations for new units, said Mat Green, Associate Director, CBRE - Middle East.

To prevent this exodus, landlords in the northern emirates are now offering rent-free periods of up to one or two months, free chiller, free parking spaces, and more such incentives, it is said.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Prices of Dubai flats to fall by 20 percent: Landmark Advisory

Landmark Advisory, the leading property consultancy firm, has revealed that sale prices of flats, apartments and offices in Dubai will continue to fall through first quarter of 2010, due excess supply, with the apartment prices likely to take the biggest hit with a decline as much as 20 percent during the next 18 months.

Following the increase seen during the third quarter of 2009, villa prices in Dubai also stagnated with a marginal increase of 0.2% during the fourth quarter.

The prices of apartments dropped 4.3percent in Q4, similar to the 3 percent decline in Q3. The sale and leasing transactions in the commercial sector also remained low during the fourth quarter, with an average decline of 5.1 percent in sale prices, while the average office rents declined 8.4 percent.

The report said that average rents in Dubai are likely to fall, as there is excess residential supply at a time when there is weak demand fundamentals.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Safa Foundation to own and manage properties, funds in Dubai

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai, has established Safa Foundation, to own and manage properties and funds assigned to it by the government.

Being a part of its business model, the foundation will take up ownership and manage all funds and properties, including fixed and liquid assets, which could be further invested at the discretion of the foundation.

Dubai is the second largest sheikhdom in the seven member federation of the UAE.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cityscape Dubai re-named as Cityscape Global

The Cityscape Management has announced on Monday that the Cityscape Dubai event has been re-named as Cityscape Global, and the year 2010 will be the ninth consecutive year when the Cityscape event will be held in Dubai.

The change in name is aimed to acknowledge the place of the event as a significant international platform in the real estate sector. Another reason for change in name is because the event attracts majority of international participants than any other cityscape event in the world.

Cityscape Dubai has not only grown immensely over the past few years, but has evolved into one of the most major real estate platforms in the world, said Rohan Marwaha, Managing Director, Cityscape.

The Cityscape Global due to be held at the Dubai World Trade Center in October, is hoped to attract several international developers, professionals and architects.

Last year the event recorded 25 percent of registered participants from outside the UAE, which translates into almost 10,000 participants flying in from 115 different countries. An equal 50-50 distribution of participants is required over the next two years, said Marwaha.

Marwaha also confirmed participants of Dubai major developers such as Nakheel and Emaar. The Cityscape Global will witness six conferences run simultaneously, while the delegates will be able to access any of the sessions across any of the conferences for a single price. The Cityscape Global will also gain a facelift with newly introduced business initiatives such as Cityscape Connect, City Leaders Forum and CEO Breakfasts.

However, Marwaha confirmed that Cityscape Abu Dhabi will remain unaffected and retain the same name, as that event focuses on development projects for Abu Dhabi alone.

Cityscape Global is a platform which showcases real estate opportunities globally and offers access to investors from across the world.

Cityscape is the largest business-to-business real estate investment and development brand in the world, comprising series of major exhibitions and conferences that take place in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Asia, Latin America, USA, India and Russia.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Developers prefer renting out completed units on furnished basis

Dubai developers are considering renting out their new units on furnished basis to generate immediate revenue, real estate analysts said.

Few developers will want to convert their new developments into furnished apartments on short to medium or long-term basis, given the current market conditions, said Mohammed Nimer, CEO, MAG Property Development.

This will help in immediate revenue generation for them, rather than leaving their buildings without tenants. The furnished apartments have high rental value due to higher investment value.

The Executive Director of ETA, Abid Junaid, said that his company would be converting a project due for delivery during the third quarter of 2010, into a furnished model, and has hired Star Hospitality, to manage and offer services to the project.

The project, namely Grandeur Residences, located along the Palm Jumeirah, will comprise single, double and triple bedroom apartments and beach front villas. The highest floors of each block will house four exclusive penthouse suites, with private access to each via the spiral staircase to the terrace.

According to Junaid, the expected rate of return for such project is around 8 percent per annum, as a developer, but, as of now, it is about 6 percent, depending on occupancy and room rates.

According to real estate agents, the rentals for furnished apartments are 10 to 20 percent higher on an average than unfurnished apartments. Given, the current situation in Dubai real estate market, several investors have been prompted to look at acquiring furnished apartments for short-term leasing.

According to Gibran Bukhari, Sales Manager at Coldwell Banker, this year several individual units will be converted into furnished apartments.

The Sales Director of Elysian Real Estate, Robert Macnair, agreed that furnished property generated 15 to 20 percent premium over a typical unfurnished property.

For instance, a single bedroom Shoreline apartment on the Palm Jumeirah will fetch Dh.150,000 per annum by way of rent, while a similar unfurnished apartment will generate about Dh.120,000 per annum.

Better Homes, a prominent real estate agency, said that rents for furnished apartments fall in the range Dh.5,500 and Dh.8,500 per month.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Damac's Business Bay projects make good progress

Damac Properties, the luxury lifestyle developer, said that the enabling works at two of its developments - Water's Edge and Commercial Square at the Business Bay are making good progress, with the main contracts to be awarded in spring this year.

The Commercial Square is a 21 storey office tower, while Water's Edge is a 20 storey commercial waterfront development located at the heart of Business Bay.

Both the developments are now under construction with contractors already making good progress on shoring, fencing, ground clearance activities, said Damac.

The General Manager of Damac Properties, Ziad El Chaar, said that the progress of work at Business Bay locations is a further indication about the continued commitment by the company to construct and develop plans for 2010.

Last year, Damac completed two of the four commercial projects at Business Bay, namely, the XL Tower and the Business Tower. These are likely to be completed by first half of 2010.

With several projects already underway at Business Bay, the good progress make by the two projects of Damac in the their early stages, no-doubt leaves a positive note, said El Chaar.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

No major upturn seen in Dubai realty market

There has not been any major upturn in the Dubai real estate market, as it continued to remain sluggish during the final quarter of 2009 with lease rates continuing to fall, said the CB Richard Ellis Report.

The Dubai Land Department statistics indicate that the total number of transactions fell 17.7 percent, touching 520 during the fourth quarter of 2009, compared to the same period the previous year.

The lease rates for Dubai residential units recorded a marginal decline in 2010, as considerable volume of new homes reached their final stages of construction, reported CB Richard Ellis.

As for the commercial office space market, the lease rates had already bottomed out, with rents reflecting levels during 2005, the brokerage firm said, while adding that rates in the central business district area will remain the same, as there may not be any major supply in the short-term.

However, new commercial office areas are already seeing high vacancy rates and are likely to see a dip further, as landlords continue to give greater incentive packages when they compete to woo tenants, CB Richard Ellis said.

Even the apartment rates will drop this year, they said.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Dubai residential prices rise 0.7pc in Q4 2009

The residential prices in Dubai increased 0.7percent during the final quarter of last year, in comparison to the third quarter of the same year, reported a recent research.

The increase which reflected in the new Sales Price Index for Dubai (SPID) has been launched by in partnership with Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) and Dubai Land Department (DLD).

The new service is hoped to offer the market with a series of indices and data to improve transparency across the market and help real estate professionals to analyze residential price trends, the Company said, in its statement.

Currently, the prices of villas increased by 2.6 percent during the fourth quarter, but dropped by 19.7percent in 2009, in comparison to the prices during Q4 2008.

Among the 10 main districts covered by the index, is the Palm Jumeirah, where the prices indicated a rise by 2 percent quarter on quarter. The quarterly figures for both Emirates Hills and Jumeirah Lake Towers dropped by 19 percent during the same period, the company said.
The CEO of, Ahmet Kayhan, said that ensuring accuracy of market data and relevance to local market conditions is of topmost priority. This is the motive behind appointing an Advisory Committee, comprising academicians and industry professionals from various emerging economies to monitor the quality of indices.

Apart from this, a Property Indices Oversight Committee has been established, which is responsible for reviewing and recommending changes in index policies and procedures required by data elements, in qualifying properties, in reviewing monthly index production and in initiating actions considered necessary to assure index statistical integrity, Kayhan said.