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New wave of real estate boom sweeps region

Issac John
Filed on October 10, 2013
New wave of real estate boom sweeps region

Nakheel to restart work on one of the three palm-shaped islands after changing the manmade island groupís name to Deira Island from Palm Deira

Cityscape Global, the Middle East’s flagship property showcase, opened on Tuesday at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre amid bullish signs of a new wave of real estate boom sweeping across the region on the back of a strong revival in investor confidence.

New wave of real estate boom sweeps region (/assets/oldimages/cityscape0810.jpg)

The Falcon city pavilion at the Cityscape offered a shape of things to come in the wake of investor confidence sweeping across the region. — KT photo by Shihab

Shaikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, inaugurated the 12th edition of the show that has lined up regional and international master developers and leading real estate players seeking to ride the crest of optimism and market vibrancy with a spectacular range of product offerings.

The opening day of the three-day show, running till October 10, witnessed a flurry of deals, launches, announcements and updates from regional and international developers. Shaikh Maktoum toured the exhibition halls and stopped by several major developers’ stands.

With more than 200 exhibitors taking part, the event is the largest in four years, according to organisers. Leading developers grabbed the spotlight on the opening day by unveiling mega projects and master developments included Emaar, Dubai Holdings, Nakheel, Meydan Group, Sobha, Damac, Barwa, Anantara Residences, Deyaar Development, Diamond Developers, Flash Properties, Omniyat, Tanmiyat and Tharaa Holding.

Among the eight international pavilions, Turkey represents the largest with more than 30 companies taking part.

Supported by the Dubai Land Department, Cityscape Global is co-located with three conference programmes — the Global Real Estate Summit, Future Cities and the MENA Mortgage and Affordable Housing Congress — and will also feature the Cityscape Awards for Emerging Markets, taking place at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai on October 9.

Headline developers from Qatar — Msheireb Properties, Mall of Qatar, Barwa and United Development Company — showcasing several mega projects, also made a strong presence.

With all sectors of Dubai’s real estate market now on the upswing for the first time since 2008, the general mood among visitors also was quite upbeat, a far cry from the atmosphere of gloom that prevailed at the previous years’ editions, as major developers including Nakheel, Emaar and Dubai Holding unveiled futuristic projects reminiscent of the pre-crisis era.

Strong demand among regional investors for Dubai real estate has created a seller’s market in the Middle East region. With Dubai’s well-developed infrastructure, booming tourism industry, buoyant aviation activity and safe haven status, Dubai has emerged as the investment destination of choice amongst its regional peers, Jones Lang LaSalle, or JLL, a leading real estate investment and advisory firm, said in its real estate sentiment survey.

“Based on the latest report by the Dubai Land Department (DLD), Dubai attracted nearly $15.9 billion in investments in 2012, making it a defining year for the real estate market,” said Wouter Molman, exhibition director of Cityscape Global. “Investors from India, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and the UK accounted for 39 per cent of that figure, investing a combined $6.2 billion in Dubai property.”

“The indications in 2013 and beyond are that this increasing confidence will continue, and at Cityscape Global this year we expect a very strong turnout of visitors from all over the world, and in particular from these countries as they look to maximise their investment potential in this lucrative market.”

According to the DLD, Indian nationals invested $2.4 billion in Dubai real estate in 2012, British — $1.3 billion, Pakistanis — $1.1 billion, Iranians — $826 million and Russians — $640 million. The total amount of all foreign investment into the Dubai property sector in 2012 stood at $9.8 billion.

Nakheel said it would restart work on part of one of the three palm-shaped islands after changing the manmade island group’s name to Deira Island from Palm Deira. Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah told reporters on the sidelines of Cityscape that Deira Island would have about 1,400 retail units and restaurants including a night market, plus a 250-room hotel, a 30,000 capacity amphitheatre and other attractions.

Another breathtaking project that stole the limelight on the opening day was The Lagoon, a six-million square metre master-planned city located within Mohammed Bin Rashid (MBR) City, near Dubai Creek, which is to be jointly developed by Dubai Holding and Emaar Properties. The iconic project was originally launched in 2006 by Sama Dubai, which has since been merged with Dubai Properties Group, a division of Dubai Holding. However, after breaking ground on the site in 2008, the project was mothballed due to the credit crunch and subsequent collapse in local real estate prices.

The new agreement between Dubai Holding and the emirate’s biggest listed developer will include the Dubai Twin Towers, “a mixed-use iconic development”, as well as a central business district, luxury hotels, schools, healthcare facilities.

Emaar, the global developer of several landmark projects, unveiled The Opera District, billed to be the UAE’s new cultural hub, in addition to other sought-after lifestyle developments in Dubai and key international markets. Recently, Emaar added several new lifestyle projects to the 500-acre community, which has recorded strong interest from regional and international investors. Also on display are innovative lifestyle developments in Emaar’s global markets including Turkey and Egypt.

“Further building on the robust growth of Dubai’s economy, the government has announced a raft of new initiatives aimed at energising the city’s property sector. These policies will boost demand for homes and offices, especially in prime locations that offer modern lifestyle amenities. At Cityscape Global, Emaar is highlighting its newest project portfolio, all centrally located and aesthetically designed, which will strengthen the city’s reputation as a safe haven for property investments,” said Ahmad Al Matrooshi, managing director of Emaar Properties.

Arady Developments, a joint venture between Deyaar Development and Dubai Properties Group, said it started selling phase-2 of residential units in ‘Central Park’ project at the Dubai International Financial Centre.

Meydan Group, along with the iconic Indian developer Sobha Group, shared updates on its Dh21 billion Mohammed Bin Rashid City District One. Meydan also unveiled a 100-storey plus tower on Shaikh Zayed Road.

PNC Menon, co-chairman of Meydan-Sobha Group, said: “Cityscape Global 2013 is one of the most vibrant events in the show’s history. The excitement and bullish mood at the show underscores the positive dynamism of Dubai’s property market and the return of investor confidence.”

MAG Group has on display the world’s biggest M-shape residential building in Dubai Marina, termed the “tallest block in the world” by EC Harris, a UK-based global asset consultancy. MAG222 will be a 51-storey tower in Dubai Marina, which the developer claims will be the biggest ‘M-shaped’ residential building in the world and will house 550 one- to four-bedroom apartments and eight duplex penthouses.

Al Habtoor Group has on display its Dh11 billion development, the Habtoor City, featuring three luxury residential towers and three world-class hotels.

Pacific Ventures Limited has on display a new residential project, comprising villas, town houses and apartments, in Dubailand. Called Pacific Village, the project will include 65 residential villas, 102 four-bedroom townhouses and a number of two bedroom apartments. The village is set for completion in 2019.

Dubai Properties Group, a member of Dubai Holding, has on display its new developments in its Jumeirah Beach Residence and Business Bay developments. “Dubai is experiencing positive growth across many sectors including real estate, and we have chosen Cityscape as a platform to launch a number of significant projects at our destinations and districts that will further support Dubai’s development whilst providing strong investment opportunities,” said company group CEO Khalid Al Malik.

RAK Properties, Ras Al Khaimah’s biggest property developer, unveiled two new projects worth nearly Dh400 million. Damac Properties is showcasing the third phase of Damac Villas overlooking the Trump International Golf Club, Dubai at its 28 million sq ft master development, AKOYA by Damac. The developer is also showcasing Golf Veduta — serviced hotel apartments and villas offering uninterrupted views of the golf course.

Msheireb Properties, Qatar’s leading sustainable real estate developer, has on display its pioneering regeneration of Doha’s historical commercial centre through its QR20 billion Msheireb Downtown Doha project. Billed as the world’s first sustainable regeneration of a major downtown area, Msheireb Downtown Doha aims to recapture Qatar’s heritage and traditional architectural techniques that have been largely overlooked amidst rapid economic development across the Gulf.

issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com





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