Saturday, July 30, 2011

Investors, Developers, Brokers, welcome property visa extension

According to latest Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) survey on Dubai Land Department, the latest Cabinet decision to extend property visas for investors to three years, has brought back the confidence of agents, developers and investors.

The survey involved 300 respondents including property brokers, developers and investors, wherein, more than 95percent of investors and developers welcomed the decision.

The Head of Research in the Department of Real Estate Development, Hamda Al Shamsi, revealed that 94percent of investors have confirmed their satisfaction on the council's decision to extend the real estate visa to three years. Nearly 78.6percent investors have also agreed that this decision will help in narrowing down the demand-supply gap of real estate units.

Meanwhile, 83.3percent have agreed that the decision will help stabilizing the rental market in Dubai. Nearly 69.1percent investors who responded to the survey were confident that this new resolution will increase sale of properties in Dubai.

As for real estate brokers, the survey showed that 97percent of them are highly satisfied with the decision, while 89.3 agreed that the decision will narrow down the demand-supply gap of real estate units in Dubai.
The developers who replied to the questionnaire, indicated that nearly 95percent were happy and satisfied over the decision of visa extension to three years, while 85.7percent agreed that the resolution will help in narrowing down the demand-supply gap for property units.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Abu Dhabi mandates Tawtheeq rent contracts for property transactions

Tawtheeq registered tenancy contracts are now mandatory when applying for a parking spot near the residences, according to a new rule in the UAE Capital. In fact, the Tawtheeq-registered tenancy contract is necessary for completion of any transaction pertaining to property.

The tenancy contract will have to be duly registered as per the municipality-approved form to complete any of the transactions pertaining to properties registered in Tawtheeq e-system.

Further, the Abu Dhabi City Municipality has begun co-ordinations with the Abu Dhabi Distribution Company, The Department of Economic Development and Department of Transport, aiming to extend the Tawtheeq system.

The Manager of Tawtheeq at the Municipality, Ali Al Hashemi, said that this move forms a part of the efforts by the Municipality to make the Tawtheeq-registered contracts an essential part of real estate industry transactions and services in Abu Dhabi.

Following this practice, the Municipality will also enter into partnership deals with 12 other government departments, which will also require tenancy contracts as part of their transactions.

Launched in March, the Tawtheeq project aims to register all leasable properties and contracts in the capital, aiming to streamline the real estate sector in Abu Dhabi. All property management companies and landlords have been given the deadline of 30th September for signing up to the system, the Municipality announced.

At present more than 45,000 units in the Capital, which includes 22,500 commercial units, have been already registered on the Tawtheeq system. There are a total of 300,000 leasable units in Abu Dhabi, half of which are owned by real estate management firms, while half have been owned by landlords and individual owners, Al Hashimi said.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Rentals in Burj Khalifa drop 25percent during H1 2011

Rents in the world's tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, fell by 25 percent during first half of this year, in comparison to that of last year, mainly because the owners of units prefer renting out the units at discounted rates, rather than selling them at lower rates.

Harbour Real Estate reports that a studio which was leased for Dh.120,000 in 2010, is now being rented out for Dh.90,000. However, according to Elysian Real Estate, the rents for studios at Burj Khalifa falls in the range Dh.75,000 to Dh.85,000.

Harbour Real Estate revealed that single bedrooms are being rented out at Dh.120,000 at present, in comparison to Dh.160,000 last year, while double bedrooms are rented for Dh.180,000 (Dh.240,000 in 2010), three bedrooms for Dh.240,000 (Dh.300,000 in 2010) and four bedrooms for Dh.320,000 (Dh.350,000 in 2010).

According to Elysian Leasing Consultant, George Malakos, the ‘Type F’ measuring 1778 square feet located across floors 43 to 72 are the most popular apartment types, as they are good size apartments, offering great panoramic windows with no pillars.

The Managing Director at Harbour, Mohanad Alwadiya, mentioned that most sought after units are those with fountain view in lower floors, and those with sea view along the higher floors.

Emaar Properties, the developer of the tower had increased service charges by 4 to 7 percent for residential, office and Armani units for 2011. The service charge for residential units was increased by more than 4percent for the year, and they now stand at Dh.55 per square feet, in comparison to Dh.52.77per square feet last year.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Aldar announces delivery of Al Zeina residential units

The leading real estate development, investment and management company in Abu Dhabi, Aldar Properties, has confirmed commencement of handover of its Al Zeina Residential Community at Al Raha Beach.

The delivery of the first phase of the development which includes three precincts (C, D & E), began last week, while the remaining homes are due for delivery this September.

Al Zeina Abu Dhabi
Al Zeina is the first beachfront residential development in the Capital, which is open to national and international buyers for purchase. Al Zeina comprises apartments (952), penthouses (26), townhouses (119) and villas (34 beach villas, 64 sky villas and 26 podium villas) with private courtyards, pools, swimming pools, childcare amenities, six gymnasiums, male and female prayer rooms, library, and 500mt long private beach.

In order to completely meet the requirements of residents, a major retail high street is currently planned, which will include Waitrose supermarket, Al Manara Pharmacy, and Nail Fashion. The development will also include several restaurants, cafes, all of which will be ready towards the year end.

The customer, concierge and security services will be taken care of by the management team of Aldar Estates. Owners will also gain access to leasing services either directly or through third party providers. The service charge in Al Zeina is among the lowest in Abu Dhabi, with all systems planned such that they fall in-line with new strata law legislation.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New decree in UAE permits waiver in housing loan amount

According to latest decree issued by the Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, certain percentage of the housing loan amount of a borrower can be waived, if the borrower has repaid a loan prior to its maturity date.

As per the Decree No.22/Year 2011, if a borrower of home loan, granted by MRHE (Mohammed Bin Rashid Housing Establishment), reimburses the loan amount prior to its maturity date, the borrower will be exempted from repayment of full amount. The waiver will be calculated based on the table issued as annexure to the decree Article 2.

According to Article 3 of the decree, the borrower will have to pay the remaining loan amount in a single installment, after reducing the percentage of concession, to become eligible for the waiver. The borrower will also have to prove that construction of the house has been completed, and that he is the true owner of the house.

The new decree fixes Dh.300,000 as maximum amount of exemption.

Article 4 stipulates that any late premiums paid by the borrower will not be included for calculation as part of single instalment of full repayment for the calculation of percentage of waiver.

The Article 5 stipulates that Board of Directors will revise the percentage every three years, or when the need arises to amend them. The decree will annul all provisions existing in any laws that contradict with it, and will be published in the official gazette.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers ready for handover

The luxurious Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi is on track for handover by the end of this year, revealed Sami Abdul Aziz Al Khuwaiter, Project Director, Shaikh Suroor Projects Department (SSPD).

The Dh.2.5bn, five-tower development, stands tall at 300 meters on half a million square meters of land. Although, the exact date of its launch is yet to be announced, this latest project will surely add to the city’s skyline this year.

Constructed by Arabian Construction Company, the tower was 97percent ready by June this year. The project is hoped to draw thousands of visitors when it opens to public.

Comprising total of three residential towers, a office tower, a five-star hotel, and furnished apartments, including boutique retail arcade, the hotel will be operated Jumeirah.

The residential towers offer a total of 885 single to five bedroom apartments and penthouses that are open for lease. The development also offers 382 hotel rooms and suites, 199 serviced apartments, apart from several amenities, including a spa.

The commercial tower has 54 storeys with good car parking, concierge and security services.

The development also include good private beach, four level underground car parking with capacity to handle more than 3000 cars.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Better selling prices, financing options, drive-in more end-users to Dubai market

The second quarter report by Asteco, the leading UAE property management company showed hardly any changes in the villa rental rates, although minor decline of 3percent in sales price of villas and apartments were noted.

A decline of 2percent on an average was recorded for apartment rentals during the second quarter, although a decline of 11percent and 4percent were noted in Discovery Gardens and International City, largely due to availability of surplus units in these areas. Nakheel recently released considerable number of apartment units in Discovery Gardens, which resulted in decline in rentals.

According to Asteco CEO, Elaine Jones, extension of property visa period from six months to three years is no-doubt a positive development which is likely to bring uniformity to the market. It will increase transparency and bring confidence into the market, thereby promoting investment.

The report said that the apartment rentals eased due to handovers, which caused deterioration in rentals. The rates at Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Lakes Towers fell by 3percent and 1percent respectively.

Another noteworthy trend mentioned in the report was that the tenants were seen migrating from double or triple bedroom apartments to townhouses and small villas. Once this trend continues, landlords will have to re-adjust their terms for larger apartments to continue attracting tenants.

The rental rates are expected to decrease slightly in the short-to-medium term based on delivery of new villa developments like Jumeirah Park, which will be partially handed over by the end of this year.

The report said that end-users are now driving into the Dubai market, as the selling prices have reduced and there are better financing options available to residents who are looking out for long-term living in Dubai.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New property visa extension rule see rise in Dh 1mn worth properties

The extension of property investor visas from six months to three years in UAE has resulted in sudden surge in number of properties worth Dh.1million or more say latest reports.

As per the latest regulation, only investors with properties worth Dh.1million or more are eligible for such a visa. But despite the lack of clarity in the regulatory structure of the visa, the owners and brokers with properties in the range Dh.800,000 to Dh.900,000 are pushing up their properties into the Dh.1mn bracket, reports Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz).

The report states that investors with properties that are marginally lower than Dh.1million, and are actually aiming to sell them, will now be able to take advantage of the regulation by loading up the price to Dh.1mn so that properties qualify for the extension.

Markaz reports that 81 percent of all real estate listings in Dubai were more than Dh.1mn, while in Abu Dhabi it was 86 percent. There has been five percent rise in properties worth more than Dh.1mn in Dubai in a single day.

According to Markaz, the extended visa will also benefit project developers, with projects that are still under construction, as they can persuade investors to continue paying instalments, as they can increase the sale perception of the properties on completion.

The report further pointed out that this regulation will bear a positive impact on business, economy and for the society in general.

Monday, July 04, 2011

UAE developers seek relaxation in property value criteria

The developers in Northern Emirates of UAE are hoping that the Federal Government will ease the property value criteria for issuance of three-year real estate investor visa, set at minimum of Dh.1million during May 2009.

The Executive Director at Rakeen, Wahid Attalla, said that the decision to extend real estate visa to three years from the current six months is good news and will help the market in moving ahead. But, he added that some relaxation in regulations pertaining to the property valuation criteria is expected.

The Federal Government, last week extended visa for real estate investors from six months to three years.

The Ajman Real Estate Regulatory Agency (ARRA) Director General, Omar Al Barguthi, hopes that a committee would soon be established to implement the decision of changeover in the six month visa regulation, and the committee may look into the matter of lowering the property value criteria.

Al Barguthi welcomed the good news and pointed out that this indicates the seriousness of the decision makers about the real estate sector and their interest in safeguarding investors.

ARRA had submitted a proposal to the Federal Authority in 2009, seeking an overhaul of current real estate visa regulations, calling for removal of property values, fixed incomes or compulsory exits as criteria for granting/renewing six month residency visas.

The agency, in its submission, mentioned that it should be possible to renew visas every six months until three years, without the need for having to leave the country.

As for minimum property value as the visa criteria, it stated that the value of property in the Northern Emirates does not exceed half the value of property in other emirates, and this will cater only to certain investors.

The HPL Yamalova & Plewka Managing Partner, Ludmila Yamalova, mentioned that the government's initiative to extend property visa to three years is a ‘great development’, but the valuation criteria should be removed so that it can encourage young professionals to invest in properties within the UAE.

She emphasized that there is plenty of inventory in the market, and several of these will be sold if the threshold of Dh.1mn is scrapped. Also, the visa restriction should be on the basis of size of property than on the investment made.

However, the three-year visa announced by the Federal Government will make life easier for those who opt for it, as it is going to open up several services such as personal loans, applying for driving license and school admissions to the visa holders.