Monday, May 30, 2011

New mandatory standards set for villas in Abu Dhabi

All villa owners in Abu Dhabi need to comply with new sustainability standards issued by Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council which aims to reduce energy, power and water consumption.

According to the Urban Planning Council and the Abu Dhabi Municipality, the water consumption will double in the next decade, while that of electricity will triple. Therefore, these need to be tackled as part of the 2030 sustainability vision.

Officials at the UPC have emphasized that all villa and government building owners are required to comply immediately with the sustainability (Estidama) requirements under the ‘One Pearl’ rating, which is mandatory for all property owners.

The UPC has now made the Estidama Pearl Villa Manual public, and is now available online to assist villa owners, contractors, consultants and suppliers who are required to maintain the said standards during construction of villas.

The Pearl rating is now mandatory for all properties across Abu Dhabi. There are four other ratings in pipeline, and the property owners are required to abide by the total of five pearl ratings, as per the sustainability requirements to build a property.

To further help the villa owners abide by the Estidama requirements, the UPC and Municipal System across Abu Dhabi have announced a series of nine workshops recently completed across public and certain private entities.

The Programme Manager for Estidama, Eng. Majid Rashid Al Za’abi said that apart from workshops and Pearl Villa Manual being made available to public, the real estate agencies and consultants will have to undergo an exam, namely the Pearl Qualification Professions (PQP), to gain certification under the pearl ratings.

He re-iterated that as of now, the sustainability measures are applicable to commercial buildings across the emirate, with particular focus on owned properties (villas and government entities) of all buildings in Abu Dhabi. But, it will be done in phases.

The Pearl Villa Manual can be accessed at The manual renders an overview on Estidama Pearl Villa Rating System (PVRS) and guidance on the application process for new and existing users of the programme.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dubai developer holds back sale of completed property

The Dubai-based Al Fajer Properties has revealed that although it has completed the commercial towers in Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT), it plans to hold on its sale, until the right price has been offered.

According to the President, Al Fajer Properties, Sheikh Maktoum bin Hasher Al Maktoum, there is huge demand for completed buildings in the market, but there are only four completed towers in the whole of Dubai ready for sale. Therefore, although the company has been getting bids, it plans to wait until the right price is offered.

Sheikh Maktoum has not yet disclosed the expected price of buildings. He said the average selling price has seen considerable rise in the first quarter this year. The lowest sale price offered was Dh.550 per square feet, but now it has touched Dh.700 per square feet, marking a 20 percent increase from the lowest recorded sales during the past three months.

Meanwhile, several local and international real estate consultancies have predicted an oversupply in the Dubai commercial market. The latest Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) report says an additional 1.15mn square meters of office space is yet to be delivered in 2011.

According to Landmark Advisory, the office space will double to 80mn square feet in 2015 from 41 million in 2010. Cluttons estimates that at least 10million square feet of space will enter the market.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dubai records its first sale of foreclosed property

Dubai has witnessed the sale of its first foreclosed property this week. Barclays Plc bagged the first foreclosure in Dubai last year, and has successfully sold a property at a public auction recently held by the Dubai Land Department (DLD).

The Barclays spokesperson, pointing out to Dubai's Mortgage Law No.14 of 2008 of Emirate of Dubai, mentioned that this is an important piece of legislation for development of real estate sector in Dubai.

The foreclosed property is a villa in the Springs Community. The villa was unveiled for auction last month at a reserve price of Dh.1mn by the Land Department. It is said to have been sold for Dh.1.22mn.

According to various sources, there are nearly 200 foreclosure cases that are now being handled by Dubai Courts and the numbers are likely to grow.

As per the Mortgage Law No.14 in Dubai, in case of default of a loan, the bank should give a 30-day notice to the borrower through the notary public before beginning execution proceedings. The judge, on reviewing the case, may issue a debt judgement, which may require the property to be handed over to the Dubai Land Department for auction. During this period, the creditors are permitted to administer mortgaged property and collect its revenue until it is sold at public auction.

However, a leading law firm in Dubai, in their latest newsletter, reported that although the Mortgage Law has been effective for three years now, its effectiveness and application is yet to be watched, as the Dubai real estate market is still fairly depressed.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

91-storey Elite Residence project on way to attain landmark status soon

The Dubai-based real estate developer, Tameer Holding has announced completion of the high-rise 91 storey Elite Residence project, to claim the landmark status in Dubai Marina, on completion.

According to a statement by the company, the Dh.1.7bn residential tower is on track for completion later this year, with construction on the tower having touched the final floor. On completion, the tower will be 381 meters in height, and will be positioned as one of the tallest residential buildings in Dubai and the world. On completion, the tower is likely to be one of the most sought-after residential properties in the area.

The tower, which is now 355mts in height, will touch the final height of 381mts on completion, consuming 85,000 cubic meters of concrete, 21,000 tonnes of steel. The pace of construction progressed to six storeys per month during its peak, the company revealed.

The 91-storey Elite Residence tower comprises a mix of single and double bedroom apartments, three and four bedroom penthouses, and total of 697 apartments capable of housing 1500 residents.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lagoons project to go ahead: Sama Dubai

The Dh.64bn Lagoons project by Sama Dubai has not been cancelled, and therefore, no refund will be given to plot owners, confirmed Khalid Al Malik, the CEO of Dubai Properties Group.

“If you want to build, submit your design, contractor and consultant’s name, and your commitment in writing, and then I will put an infrastructure for you. Instead, if I put the infrastructure in place, and then no one builds, it will be unfair for us,” said Al Malik to developers.

He said this, when private developers questioned about refund, following suspension of work on the project.

A private developer, on conditions of anonymity, told the media that an investment of Dh.65mn has been made by him on a plot of land. As he received no response from the master developer about refund of money following suspension of work on the project, he considers taking the matter to the court.

Meanwhile, Al Malik emphasized that the marked should pay the money they owe to the group, so as to enable the company to deliver and not ask for infrastructure without paying their dues.

Dismissing rumours that Sama Dubai has sold its international projects, Al Malik said that it has been reviewing the launched projects.

Bahrain, Qatar and Rabat projects are under review, and the Casablanca projects will be reviewed, he added.

Dubai Holding consolidated its real estate firms in August 2009, bringing Dubai Properties, Tatweer and Sama Dubai under the single umbrella of Dubai Properties Group.

In April 2006, Sama Dubai launched waterfront projects along 70mn square feet of Dubai Creek. The Lagoons will include seven islands, including residential units, office buildings, shopping centres, building and marinas. The detached islands will be linked by bridges.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Abu Dhabi landlords given deadline to adhere by the rules

The real estate landlords in Abu Dhabi have been warned against packing their housing units with too many tenants. According to the new rules by Abu Dhabi Municipality, the landlords should register their housing units at its offices under the new ‘Tawtheeq’ housing programme in-line with a decision by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.

According to the Municipality, the landlords are given time until end of June this year, to complete registration of their units. Thereafter, the municipality will impose fines against all those who do not abide by the new rules.

The Tawtheeq programme bans renting of apartments and villas in Abu Dhabi to bachelors, as part of the emirate’s drive to ensure safety of residents.

As per the rules, the number of bachelor tenants should not exceed two in one room in any house or apartment or villa. All have been called to abide by the new rules to preserve the rights of landlords and tenants, the Municipality said.

The Municipality is in the process of setting up housing data network for the emirate. It has set up fee at Dh.100 for registering a tenancy contract, and Dh.1000 for registering housing data by landlords. All other fee are in the range Dh.5 and Dh.100.

Monday, May 09, 2011

World's six tallest residential towers in Dubai

Dubai will soon be home to top four tallest residential towers in the world, with the emirate soon likely to house six towers in the top ten Category. All towers will be located in Dubai Marina.

The list is compiled by the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habit, and The Torch tower at 348 meters is currently placed at the topmost position.

Next is the 323 meters tall Q1 Tower, located off Gold Coast, Australia, while the 318 meters HHHR Tower in Dubai is at the third position.

However, by January 2012, the list is likely to be altered, when Tameer Holding, the property development company, will begin handover of 414 meters Princess Tower, 395 meters tall 23 Marina, and 381 meters Elite Residence in Dubai Marina.

Thereafter, The Torch tower will take the fourth place. Moving ahead, towards the end of 2013, The Pentominium from Trident International Holdings is likely to again compete for the top slot, standing tall at 516 meters.

All these towers will be located in Dubai Marina, at a distance of few hundred meters from each other.

Tameer, in its press statement, revealed that Princess Tower is already 100 floors above ground, with 763 apartments now under construction. On completion, it will touch 414 meters. When the handover begins in January 2012, Princess Tower will be the tallest completed residential tower.

The handover of the 380 meters Elite Residence too, will be done in the same month. Meanwhile, the handover of the 395 meter 23 Marina tower will begin in August.

As of now, the CEO of Select Group, Rahail Aslam, revealed that handover of the properties to investors would be done by May 2011. Meanwhile, the Executive Director & CEO of Trident International, Wazir Ali Daredia, confirmed that The Pentominium will be delivered by 2013.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Landmark deal signed between RERA, DREI and Hawkamah

Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance, together with RERA (Real estate regulatory agency) and DREI (Dubai Real Estate Institute), have signed the first of its kind landmark deal, aimed at improving corporate governance within the real estate industry in the UAE.

The MoU reflects Hawkamah, DREI and RERA’s commitment towards improving the corporate governance regulatory framework and implementation of the same in real estate sector.

Hawkamah, together with RERA is working towards developing a Code of Corporate Governance for the real estate sector in Dubai, and will soon undertake a series of training with DREI about Corporate Governance for Directors, Senior Management and officers.

The Executive Director of Hawkamah, Dr. Nasser Saidi, mentioned that improving and boosting corporate governance practices is one of the pre-requisites to maintain investors and protect investors, home owners, markets, tenants and their associations and keep the other stakeholders’ confidence in the real estate sector.

According to Dr. Saidi, the real estate companies need to get more transparent with better reporting practices, as real estate is now a global business and therefore, corporate governance plays a vital role for international and regional investors planning to invest in real estate.

The Chief Executive Officer of RERA, Eng. Marwan Bin Ghalita, mentioned that the real estate market should be brought on par to the best international standards. With the implementation of governance practices, the Dubai real estate market will be the first market in the region to adopt such a vital initiative. This is aimed at making the market more transparent and investment friendly.

RERA will continue to develop the regulatory framework for Dubai property market, so as to keep it at par with future development. The governance practices will be applied at the corporate levels as well, to improve the confidence in the market.

The Managing Director of DREI, Eng. Mahmoud Al Burai, mentioned that professional development, together with corporate governance are required in a mature real estate market, and DREI aims to put together infrastructure that is indispensable in the post downturn era, to implement a corporate governance that is congruent with Dubai real estate environment, and also adheres to globally established practices.

The deal actually provides a framework for DREI and Hawkamah to work on improving the corporate governance practices within the real estate industry.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

23 Marina Tower to surpass The Torch as world's tallest residential tower

Dubai is back in limelight, with announcements of launching record-breaking towers.

Hircon International, one of the leading Dubai-based developers, have begun handover of the 395-metre tall 23 Marina tower located in Dubai Marina, which will surpass The Torch by nearly 47 meters, the tallest residential tower in the world, also in Dubai.

The Director of Hircon International, Darshan Hiranandani, revealed that the tower has got all the utility connections in place, and the residents are expected to occupy the apartments by August this year.

The 90 storey tower comprises 288 apartments and three penthouses, including double and triple bedroom apartments and four bedroom duplexes, ranging from 1709 sq. ft. to 5,775 sq. ft.

Meanwhile, Select Group, one of the private property developers, earlier this week, had announced handover of ‘The Torch’ tower, an 86-storey 348mts tall residential tower in Dubai Marina, which currently holds the title of being the world's tallest residential tower.

In November 2010, the President of Tameer Holding, Federico Tauber, said that the 107-storey ‘Princess Tower’ and the 91-storey Elite Residence in Dubai Marina will also be delivered in the fourth quarter. The 414 meter tall Princess Tower has a total of 763 units, while the 381 meter tall Princess Tower has total of 696 units.

According to Hiranandani, an occupancy rate of 50 to 60 percent is expected for the 23 Marina tower. This is mainly because majority of the investors are end-users. Moreover, Hircon is also helping investors to re-sell their apartments if they wish to.