Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dubai records 21% increase in land transactions in H1 2012

A total of Dh.63bn worth land transactions have been recorded in Dubai during first half of this year, marking a 21 percent growth, the Dubai Land Department revealed.

The total number of property transactions in the first six months of the year increased by 24.5 percent, touching 12,521 in number, said statement from Hamptons MENA.

As per reports by Real Estate Investment Promotion & Management Centre at the Dubai Land Department, the foreign direct investment in real estate sector of Dubai was more than Dh.22bn during first half of the year, with investors from across the world purchasing more than 12,875 properties.

The number of property transactions in Dubai grew by 69 percent during the first half of 2012, in comparison to same period last year, which indicates the strong growth trends in the realty sector.

The increase in buyer numbers, than seller numbers, all through the year, reflects the strong demand, which in turn, will leave a positive impact on prices, and benefit the investors, said Niraj Masand, Head of Operations at Hamptons MENA.

Highest demand is seen in established communities such as Dubai Marina, Emirates Living, and Downtown Dubai. There is also considerable drop in distress sales, and a positive growth outlook for property sector.

Masand also said that increase in market prices for properties in well-established communities is expected over the coming months, led by continued demand. Prime developments have recorded moderate gains in price, and rental appreciation, and this trend is likely to continue through the year.

Hamptons MENA offers a range of property services including residential, commercial property sales, property management, including at the international level.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Emaar's residential offering in Downtown Dubai sold out on first day of launch

The Address The BVLD serviced residences, the latest residential offering by Emaar Properties in Downtown Dubai, has been sold out on the first day of launch.

Customers have been waiting days before the public launch to purchase the residences released for sale at the Emaar Sales Centre, a statement by the company said.

The overwhelming response to the launch of new five-star Address hotel by Emaar and luxurious serviced residences is sufficient evidence about the robust growth of the city’s hospitality and property sectors, which builds on the success of Emaar's project launches early this year.

The Address The BLVD has 200 hotel rooms, 542 serviced residences including studios, single, double, triple and four bedroom units.  Emaar launched several studios, single, double and triple bedroom serviced residence at the launch.

According to Managing Director of Emaar Properties, Ahmad Al Matrooshi, the strong response to the launch of ‘The Address The BLVD’ is an indication of the strong demand for premium developments in established lifestyle communities. Downtown Dubai, is described as ‘The Centre of Now’, and offers investors to be a part of the most sought-after locations in Dubai.

The sell-out of the serviced residences that were put up for sale, indicates strong investor confidence in the development credentials of Emaar, while also emphasizing the positive growth trends seen in Dubai real estate sector.

Due for handover in 2015, The Address The BVLD is located on the Emaar Boulevard at the gateway to Downtown Dubai. Apart from the highest service standards offered by The Address Hotel and Resorts brand, investors also have the option of staying or renting out homes, and the investors also get to benefit from Emaar's rental programme.

The serviced residences offer wonderful views of Burj Khalifa, The Arabian Gulf, The Dubai Fountain, and are in easy access to major business centres in the city. The Address The BLVD will also be directly linked to The Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping and entertainment destination, through a new air-conditioned bridge link, apart from easy access to The Burj Khalifa metro station.

The Address The BLVD serviced residences by Emaar is a 340 metre tower, the second tallest in Downtown Dubai, after the iconic Burj Khalifa. The 63-storey tower is expected to be ready by 2015, and work on the project is likely to begin soon, the statement said.

Friday, September 21, 2012

RERA amends licensing regulations to protect tenants, landlords

The 117 licensed property management and leasing companies will henceforth have to abide by the new licensing regulations, following the recent rental scams that were reported.

RERA has sought amendments to the 2003 licensing regulations, to ensure protection of landlords and tenants.

Among the measures discussed are doubling the bank guarantee from Dh.5 to Dh.10mn for property management and leasing companies, else, the licensed company should have assets worth Dh.10mn to Dh.1mn bank guarantee, or restrict them to manage properties that are equal to the value of bank guarantee.

The Head Section – License, RERA, Ali Abdullah, said that these are certain measures proposed, and that they are already in talks with concerned authorities to implement changes to the Licensing Law 2003.
He said that the licensing regulations were framed even before RERA was established, and pointed out that there is need to amend Article 2 in wake of rental scams.

Abdullah advised tenants to deal with only licensed brokers and avoid freelancers. Further, tenants should ask the landlord or management company to register the rental contract on Ejari.

Nearly 60,000 properties have already been registered on Ejari in the past three months, RERA said.  However, as per the latest poll, majority of the respondents have not registered their contracts on Ejari.
RERA issued Dh.50,000 in the form of fines against brokers who have been dealing with freelancers. RERA said that it plans to improve understanding and reconciliation practices, rather than referring disputes to judicial authorities.

There have been few cases of rentals scams in Dubai recently, and RERA said that it will continue to keep tenants and landlords updated about their rights and duties.  The concerned parties need to check the real estate company’s license and activities before proceeding. Such information can be checked by visiting the official website of the Land Department.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Emaar to unveil new properties in Downtown Burj

The Downtown Burj Dubai area is growing to be one of the most popular addresses in the world, said Damac Properties, the leading private luxury developer.

Damac hailed Emaar’s recent announcement to develop a new hotel in the area, contributing another 200 hotel rooms and 542 serviced apartments by mid-2015.

The Burj area is one of the most desirable locations on earth, and the announcement by Emaar to begin work on a new five-star hotel and serviced apartments in the area will add to the exquisite ambience and style of the location, said Niall McLoughlin, Senior Vice President, Damac Properties.

Emaar, further also announced that the construction will shortly begin on a 63-storey, 340 metre tall ‘The Address The BLVD’ serviced residences and hotel rooms.

The development of a new project further confirms the statement made by the company that Dubai property market is doing well and is back to its original form. The service apartments are likely to have a good market in the coming years. Further, the Damac Suites & Spa managed hotel apartments in the Burj area will be ready for handover early next year, and it is showing a huge uptake, McLoughlin said.

Majority of the developers consider the serviced apartment sector as a major driver of tourism growth in Dubai over the coming years, with the Bank of America Merrill Lynch report predicting that there will be more than 15mn visitor numbers towards the year 2020, from the current eight million.

Damac has numerous projects in the Burj area. The Burjside Boulevard will be completed in the first quarter of 2013.

Further, the clients can handover their property to Damac Suites & Spa, who can manage it on their behalf and generate rental returns. The Burjside Terrace will add to the project list that Damac already owns in the Burj Area, towards completion of 2014.

The guests at any of the properties can avail various concierge services, including booking a private jet, arranging tables at best restaurants and booking nanny services or spa.

International investors are seeking medium to long term investments that are due for construction and can deliver wonderful returns immediately, he added.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Property owners in Dubai eligible for two-year real estate investor visa

It has been reported that property owners with properties worth over Dh.1million, having no mortgage on it, can approach the Dubai Land Department and produce the title deed along with a copy of their passport and passport-size photograph.

Following payment of fees, the Land Department will issue an approval certificate, which permits the property owner to approach the Department of Economic Development, which will then issue a trade license for a fee of Dh.2000 a year.

Following receipt of trade license, the property owner can contact the immigration counters in the Land Department, and collect a two-year real estate investor visa.

Back in June 2011, the UAE Federal Government had announced that it is likely to extend the real estate investors visa duration from six months to three years. Such visa holders can avail several other services such as personal loans, applying for local driving license, school admissions and more.

At present a six-month residence visa costs Dh.2000, with an equal amount being charged for renewal.

Monday, September 17, 2012

New housing allowance rules for public sector employees in Abu Dhabi

The Abu Dhabi Executive Council has passed a law that mandates public employees to reside in the capital, and this may be a boost to local economy, while the rents are likely to surge in the capital, experts said.

There are more than 10,000 employees in local departments, government-owned companies and public authorities, who will be affected by the new rule. These employees currently draw a salary of Dh.1.5bn to Dh.2bn in the form of annual housing allowances, and they are not eligible to claim this, if they do not reside in Abu Dhabi.

In fact, the decision may also affect prices in other related sectors, apart from rentals, said Dr. Mohammed Amerah, an Abu Dhabi-based economist.

The General Manager at the Abu Dhabi office of Asteco Property Management, Paul Maisfield, mentioned that after a year, rental prices are likely to grow based on the number of people who decide to move to Abu Dhabi. 

Real estate officials have estimated that nearly 11000 new units will be completed towards second half of this year, with majority of these being high-end apartment buildings, which would serve high-income residents and increase vacancies in low-grade assets.

The move received mixed response from public in the capital. While some said that it is a violation of principle of equality among nationals in the UAE Constitution, others said this may help to reduce traffic snarls and improve workplace productivity and ensure a balanced property market.

The decision was issued last week, with approval of Dr. Ahmad Mubarak Al Mazroui, Secretary General of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, to change human resources policies pertaining to accommodation of Emirati and foreign employees, and take necessary measure to ensure that they reside in Abu Dhabi.

The decision states that employees living outside Abu Dhabi for any reason will be deprived of their housing allowances, and they cannot avail the allowances directly or indirectly for any reason. The decision grants a grace period of one year for employees to adjust their legal status.

The decision, however, states that workers of offices of Abu Dhabi local departments with offices located outside Abu Dhabi will be exempted from the rule.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Prices of properties accelerating in prime locations in Dubai

According to leading developer, Tameer, which has begun handing over units in the Elite Residences and Princess Tower, the property market in Dubai is on the recovery path and prices are accelerating.

The market is entering into a new positive phase, wherein there has been increased growth since the start of the year, with prices having accelerated with improved demand for properties in prime locations, said Federico Tauber, the Tameer President.

Tameer has handed over 150 apartments out of the total 763 in the 414-meter Princess Tower, and plans to complete the process by December this year. Tauber said that the company has no plans to launch villa developments and is focusing only on residential hi-rises at the moment.

Tauber said that prices in the Princess Tower have shot up by 20 percent, with average prices in the range Dh.1200 to Dh.1400 per square feet, as the building nears completion. The Dubai Marina is the most popular area with highest number of transactions being reported, followed by Palm Jumeirah and Downtown Burj.

The real estate consultancy, Asteco, said that apartments in Downtown Dubai, Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Marina, remained the most popular among buyers, with price increases of 9 percent (Dh.12,900 per square metre), 8 percent (Dh.10,750 per square metre), and 9 percent (Dh.14,000 per square metre), respectively, during second quarter, in comparison to first quarter 2012.

Tauber revealed that the company appointed new contractor for its Imperial Residence in Jumeirah Village South, and will soon have a new contractor on board for Tameer Towers on Reem Island, Abu Dhabi, as well. The Imperial Residence is expected to have 510 unit, while the Tameer Towers will offer 1050 units.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

New villas, townhouses to be delivered in Dubailand in 18 months

A member of Dubai Holding, the Dubai Properties Group (DPG), has initiated work on the Mudon project in Dubailand, aiming to deliver 348 villas and townhouses over the next 18 months.

According to the developer, the decision is based on increased demand for quality villas in prime locations across the emirate.

The Chief Executive Officer of DPG Group, Khalid Al Malik, in a statement, confirmed his decision to restart work on flagship Mudon development in Dubai.

The immediate priority of the group will be to deliver the first phase to retail investors, and Mudon is hoped to be as successful as Layan, Al Waha and The Villa and other residential communities in Dubai. Nearly one-third of units and infrastructure in the first phase of Mudon are partially complete.

DPG had announced sale of nearly 348 Mudon Cairo Townhouses back in the year 2008. These units included 1.4mn square foot cluster of two-storey, four bedroom villas, all within the Cairo section of the project, with a garage for two cars, patio and garden and a first-floor terrace in each cluster.

The word Mudon, translates to cities in Arabic, and incorporates five historic cities – Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, Marrakech, and Cairo, within a single large city, housing nearly 50,000 people. The project, as planned earlier will house 3200 villas and townhouses and 8500 apartments.

As of now, there is a huge demand in the villa market, with prices constantly on the rise, said the latest Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) report about Dubai residential real estate market.

The Head of Research at JLL, Craig Plumb, said that the demand for Mudon houses would be driven by quality and service rather than mere prices, competing with other established communities on Emirates Road.
Emaar Properties had launched 62 units in the Alma 2 cluster of Arabian Ranches, in the price range Dh.1.4mn and Dh.2.2mn in the month of June.

Diversified economy, constant population growth and best infrastructure investment, will bring about positive impact on Dubai’s hospitality, retail and residential market, said Bank of America Merril Lynch, in its medium-term outlook report.