Monday, March 26, 2012

Dubai real estate market remains steady in first quarter 2012

According to the first quarter report 2012 by Asteco, the UAE residential property market has seen mixed results during the quarter. Dubai continued to remain steady building on last year’s trend of stability, while Abu Dhabi witnessed considerable declines with improved quality supply.

The rental rates for villas and apartments in Dubai grew by 1percent during first quarter this year, in comparison to fourth quarter of 2011. However, selling prices of villas grew by 4percent during the same period, owing to large number of owner-occupiers in areas such as Jumeirah Village, Emirates Living and Arabian Ranches.

The average annual rental for a single bedroom apartment in the Downtown Dubai was Dh.70,000 during first three months of this year, marking a 5percent growth from previous quarter. The rental for single bedroom apartment in Jumeirah Lakes Towers grew by 3percent.

The average annual rental of a four bedroom villa in the Meadows grew by 3percent, while the rental for a four bedroom villa in the Arabian Ranches grew by 2 percent in comparison to previous quarter.

However, in terms of selling prices of apartments, Discovery Gardens saw further declines, owing to huge amount of supply, but prices were stable overall.

As for the commercial market, rental rates across the office market in Dubai dropped by 1percent on average, despite healthy enquiry and transaction levels, as pending and forthcoming supply continued to weigh. Rentals in Bur Dubai fell by 6percent, but popular business districts with limited commercial space, showed better and higher occupancy rates.

There has been marginal decline of 2percent in office sales on an average, owing to low transaction levels. The biggest declines were noticed in Business Bay and DIFC, wherein the prices fell by 7percent and 6percent respectively.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sorouh announces completion of one of world's highest construction lifts

Sorouh Real Estate Company PJSC has announced completion of first stage of lifting a ‘penthouse bridge’ to top its 65-storey Gate Towers in Abu Dhabi. This is considered as one of the highest construction lifts of its kind in the world.

The first stage of installation involved the section of Penthouse Bridge linking Tower 1 and Tower 2 of the three-tower development, which forms a part of the landmark Shams Abu Dhabi development along Al Reem Island.

This section of the curved bridge, weighs 750 tonnes, and is equivalent to a Eurostar train, which is 40metres in length, and 30.6 metres wide, with a total area spanning 1.165 square meters. The bridge was lifted at its four corners using four specially designed jacks. The penthouse bridge was raised to 245 metres at a maximum rate of 18 metres an hour, requiring four days for completion.

After the bridge was positioned, it took 15 days to weld and bolt together, the second stage of the lift, linking Tower 2 and Tower 3, which will happen next month.

The Managing Director of Sorouh, Abubaker Seddiq Al Khouri, mentioned that this endeavour is one of the heaviest and highest building structure lifts of its kind in the world and is the result of days of unparalleled collaborative efforts.

The Gates Towers will, in-fact, add to the attraction of Shams Abu Dhabi, as a thriving modern community. Every room of the 16 penthouses surrounding the Gate Towers will offer wonderful panoramic views of Abu Dhabi Island and the Arabian Gulf and Saadiyat Island on the opposite end.

The penthouses will each have two stories, with well laid-out floor plans that offer prestigious entrances, living areas, bedrooms, family living rooms, dining rooms, maids’ rooms, kitchenettes and indoor swimming pools. The penthouses will feature revolutionary architectural designs that vary in size between 435 to 630 square meters. . They will feature an enclosed garden area, between the towers, and an exclusive view down from an elliptical opening.

Established in June 2005, Sorouh is one of the largest real estate developers listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.            

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dubai real estate sector treading towards a positive path in 2012

The real estate market in Dubai has been depicting growth in several areas since the year 2010. Last year, however, was a challenging year for the property sector, although, the decline in property prices slowed down considerably towards the end of the year. This is a noteworthy aspect of Dubai real estate sector.

Despite economic recession, the speed with which the real estate prices are recovering shows that the market is moving on the positive path. Although recovery and stabilization are limited to prime localities in Dubai, a uniform and steady recovery is expected this year, say analysts.

According to Cluttons, the residential sector of Dubai is seen outperforming the commercial sector, with prices of residential properties in several areas having gained advantage from the current capital shifts in the region.
Since the start of 2011, prices of communities like Arab Spring, Arabian Ranches, Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Lake Towers have been going up. Although the commercial real estate is currently not doing so well, buyers are gradually showing interest in this sector as well.

The offices available for rent in Dubai help in saving costs to the businessmen, as the prices have begun to decline slowly, in comparison to earlier times. In comparison to New York or London, prices of properties are affordable in Dubai.

Moreover, buyers are now giving importance to the price, location, quality, sense of community, architecture, internal decor, and other amenities. Sellers, in order to create demand of their properties are now offering properties that suit the requirements of buyers.

All these factors are rendering positive attributes to Dubai real estate, making the market more mature in comparison to earlier times.

Some experts are predicting a kick-start recovery of the market in 2012, while others are still of the opinion that the new supply will continue to keep the market pressurized.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Works resumed on stalled projects in JLT

The three projects at Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) which was stalled last year, has been put back on track, due to persistent efforts by the master developer, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC).

The master developer revealed that DMCC links new investors with few developers, who were compelled to halt their construction activities, and actively assists in developing innovative financial solutions to support all parties. In 2011, the developer re-started work on three such stalled projects.

DMCC also works closely with RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Agency) to develop solutions for developers in difficulties. At present, DMCC is already working with RERA/Tanmia to assist a developer in overcoming their long-standing challenges and for completion of their project. Tayseer and Tanmia initiatives are aimed to begin viable projects which have been halted.

Tayseer, launched in July 2010, aims to facilitate financing for purchasers in certain pre-qualified projects. According to RERA, so far only two projects have been financed under this scheme.

Beginning September 2011, Tania initiated the scheme for completion of projects by semi government/private investors.

The DLD is monitoring more than 100 projects currently, although only one project has received the requisite funding through this plan.

In 2012, the master developer plans to deliver three commercial towers, two hotel and hotel apartments, and one residential tower at JLT. The residential tower was due for completion last year, and will now be completed by end of 2012. The hotel and serviced apartment towers were also to be completed in 2011, but now have completion targets of third quarter 2012.

JLT is a waterfront community, involving 87 residential, office and mixed-use towers. The master development involves 26 clusters of three towers (trios), with each trio housing two towers of equal size, with one tower being taller by five floors. The man-made lakes comprise four separate water bodies, spanning 179,000 square meters, with three metres depth.

Monday, March 19, 2012

First public auction of foreclosed properties to be held in Dubai today

The first public auction of four foreclosed properties, involving two apartments, and two villas, have been announced in Dubai.

The villas are in the Springs Community, while the apartments are in Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) respectively.

The triple bedroom Springs Villa has been listed at a reserve price of Dh.2mn, while the double bed villa has been announced a selling base price of Dh.1.25mn, by the Dubai Land Department (DLD).      

The reserve price of single bedroom apartment in Al Sahab 1 building in Dubai Marina is Dh.1mn, while the triple bedroom apartment in Rimal 4, JBR, is worth Dh.1.6mn.

Further, real estate agents and online property websites have listed similar villas in Springs 3 for Dh.2mn to Dh.2.15mn, while Springs 7 units are available at Dh.1.05 to Dh.1.2mn. Single bedroom units at Al Sahab 1 are priced Dh.1.05 to Dh.1.1mn, while three bedroom Rimal 4 apartments are available at Dh.1.85 to Dh.1.9mn.

While all these have been reserved for the auction on 19th March, the next round of auction will follow on 21st March 2012, with two single bedroom apartments in South Ridge 1, and Downtown Burj. The reserve prices for the two properties are Dh.900,000 and Dh.800,000 respectively.

A single bedroom apartment for Dh.600,000 in the Greens, will also be under auction. The asking price for South Ridge 1 apartments are Dh.1.05mn to Dh.1.20mn, while a similar Greens apartment will be priced at Dh.700,000.

Barclays Plc was the first bank to have successfully closed a property sale at a public auction in May 2011.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Increased demand for houses, than offices, in Dubai

As per the latest research, the demand for housing in Dubai will surpass the demand for offices and commercial spaces, a recent research showed. The rising population growth is one of the main factors for such a scenario, the research revealed.

The real estate market in Dubai will be supplied with several new projects that are likely to be completed in the next one year. Special laws and processes will be implemented to minimize unnecessary delays in project deliveries. Therefore, the commercial and office properties will continue to remain under pressure, the report said.

Majority of the new supplies will be in localities such as the Business Bay, Jumeirah Lakes Towers and Dubai Investment Park. In these localities, the businesses are not as fast as in other major locations such as the Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai and Discovery Gardens.

With the new supply entering the market, people will see that some “life” returns to the market, and these localities will pose a stiff competition in securing good tenancies. The residential sector will see projects being developed with modern infrastructure, community amenities and other amenities required for an emirate living.
According to the Dubai Land Department data, the housing market in Dubai, recorded increased activities during the last quarters of 2011. Particularly in the fourth quarter, the residential sale touched 2,605 in number, marking a 64 percent growth, in comparison to the 1,589 sales recorded during the third quarter of 2011.

Further, last year, the residential market in Dubai showed signs of stability, although the apartment rates fell by 2 percent in the fourth quarter. However, villas continued to remain unaffected. Majority of the areas and prime locations recorded modest growth.

Monday, March 12, 2012

New Crystal Towers likely to adorn the Dubai Marina horizon

Leading Dubai-based developer, Al Fattan Properties is all set to launch Crystal Towers, a glitzy twin-tower project in Dubai Marina, it has been announced.

The Crystal Towers will be a mixed-use project, and the date of commencement of construction is yet to be revealed. However, the developer has mentioned that all details of the project will be revealed shortly.

Established in 1974, Al Fattan is guided by Maj. Gen. Musabbeh Rashid Al Fattan, and the company is known for its major properties such as Al Wasl Villas, Lake Villas, Al Safa Villas, Al Fattan Apartment Building, and other commercial properties such as Al Fattan Plaza, Oasis Beach Hotel, Al Fattan Marine Towers, and warehouses in Ramool.

Dubai Marina, last year had witnessed more than 880 transactions with values exceeding Dh.903mn, thus topping the list of freehold communities on the basis of transaction numbers. Further, according to, Dubai Marina is among the topmost in the chart of most searched locations.  Dubai Marina is also home to three tallest residential towers in the world including 414 meter Princess Tower, 395 metre 23 Marina, and 381 metre Elite Residence.

Meanwhile, the Head of Research at Jones Lang LaSalle, Craig Plumb, said that the residential market in Dubai is close to bottoming out, while prices are increasing in certain areas. Major recovery is expected towards the end of the year.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Aldar Properties and Sorouh mulls potential merger

Leading Abu Dhabi-based real estate developer Aldar Properties, and Sorouh, another public traded developer in the emirate, are considering a merger, it has been revealed.

The two major developers of the emirate have the ability to form one of the largest real estate companies in the region, with assets worth more than Dh.54bn, Reuters said.

Aldar had been promised nearly $10bn in government funds earlier. This new decision, which also has the consent of the government, comes, following a wide-ranging review of its government-linked companies and departments, aimed at improving efficiency of state spending.

The real estate market in Abu Dhabi had suffered setback during the financial crisis, with housing prices having halved, and the government had to step in expressing its interest, by purchasing assets such as the Ferrari World Theme Park. Thereafter, analysts have long-recommended consolidation of the sector.

The Senior Executive Officer at Exotix, Ahmad Alanani, speaking about the merger, agreed that it could be a sensible move. This is undoubtedly a part of the wider restructuring of the emirate's government-related companies.

A group has already been established to study the proposal for three months, following which, a recommendation will be made whether to integrate the two developers, the companies said.

It is also said that a potential merger of these real estate giants may also include other privately held Abu Dhabi-based developers such as Al Qudra real estate.

It is yet to be clear as to what a merger of Sorough and Aldar, would mean for shareholders of the companies.

On the whole, the announcement signals that the emirate is acting upon its spending review which concluded in January, wherein it recommitted itself to several flagship projects, including Louvre and Guggenheim.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Emaar's Golf Homes villas on sale in Dubai

Emaar Properties PJSC, the global property developer of iconic projects, has launched the sale of premium Golf Homes, located in the heart of rolling green fairways of the Arabian Ranches Golf Course.

Nearly 18 palatial villas of nearly 17,000 to 27,ooo square feet are open for sale. The villas have been developed so as to enable potential clients to customize the interiors to match their taste and to even extend the developed area, if required.

The villas are available in three floor plans – the Spanish architectural works of art which reflect high-end residential luxury, together with uninterrupted views of the golf course.

The Emaar Properties Managing Director, Ahmad Al Matrooshi, mentioned that the Golf Homes at the Arabian Ranches Golf Course help in adding new dimension to the luxury residential development in Dubai. The homes, with their excellent choice of location to elegant architecture and lawns, seem to be the best choice for connoisseurs seeking finest luxuries.

The Golf Homes comprise 18 luxury villas, established as part of Arabian Ranches community, a residential development much in demand in Dubai. They offer leisurely lifestyle, and homes feature Hispanic elements including courtyards, arches and mosaics.

Customers get to choose from three home styles – Suncadia, Castilla and Hacienda. The Hacienda homes are exceptional family and reception estates spanning 7000 sq. Ft. in area, while Castilla homes and Suncadia homes are 8,270 sq ft and 9000 sq ft in area respectively. Further, customers can construct an additional 1000 sq ft to 5000 sq ft, if required.

The Golf Homes also features the Ranches restaurant, with a terrace offering panoramic scenic views over the 9th and 18th holes.

The Arabian Ranches Golf Course, spans 247 acres, and includes 120 acres of grass land and desert vegetation, and is part of Arabian Ranches Golf Club. The 18-hole, par 72 signature course has been designed by Ian Baker-Finch, in association with Nicklaus Design.

Potential customers can visit the Emaar Sales Office at Emaar Square, Downtown Dubai for more details on the sale of the development, or call on toll-free 800-EMAAR (36227).

Friday, March 02, 2012

Dubai real estate market strikes a positive note

The Dubai real estate market has moved towards the positive path towards the end of 2011. Despite the economic recession, the market has been seen gathering pace. The market is stabilized now, and although the stability is seen only in limited commercial and residential segments, the market is on a sure positive path, expected to continue in the year 2012 too, according to Cluttons International, a leading real estate company in the UAE.

Despite the negative happenings in the US and European markets the Dubai property market remains untouched. Further, Dubai has had the advantage of Arab Spring, with its residential properties having gained more advantage from the current capital shifts in the region.

The buyers are also gradually showing interest in commercial properties, trying to gain benefits from the cost savings now available in the market. The prices are declining, but, slowly. However, it should be noted that the real estate prices in Dubai are still affordable in comparison to other giant property markets like London and New York, wherein even single bedroom apartments are hard to afford for a single person, and is shared by more than one.

Among the positive attributes highlighted by Cluttons on Dubai real estate market are that buyers and their demands are more mature with variety. Buyers are taking into considerations several aspects like location, amenities, sense of community, decor, quality and more, when purchasing a property. Even the landlords and sellers have modified the properties to suit the need of buyers. They recognize the trend of lesser opportunities for selling, rather than waiting for a good rent.