UAE property boom: Abu Dhabi’s top developers unveil mega projects
Unfazed by global property consultants reporting a slowdown in residential property market, the biggest of the developers in Abu Dhabi unveiled new projects at Cityscape Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
A day after Abu Dhabi’s biggest developer, Aldar Properties, announced plans for a Dh6-billion villa development on Yas Island, companies such as The Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), Masdar and Eagle Hills joined the launch bandwagon on Tuesday.
TDIC’s lagoon destination
The Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), the master developer of major tourism, cultural and residential destinations in the emirate, launched “Saadiyat Lagoons District.”
The Lagoons District is expected to be home to 29,000 residents with over 4,000 residential units. The 6 million-square-metre mixed-use development will have a combination of townhouses, villas and apartments, neighbourhood shops, F&B outlets, mosques and leisure facilities including an equestrian centre.
“We are confident that this development will raise interest in Saadiyat even further while strengthening its position as a leading destination across all sectors,” TDIC’s Chairman Ali Majed Al Mansoori said in a statement.
The company said the district will be developed in phases with the first phase including 820 townhouses in a gated community with only 246 units to be put up for sale post the three-day property exhibition.
Masdar’s 4 Pearl Rating effort
Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy and sustainable development company, launched phase 2 and phase 5 of Masdar City, housing nearly 3000 residential units, after getting approval from the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC).
“Obtaining the UPC’s approval of the detailed master plans for Phase 2 and 5 opens the way for the future ambitious expansion of Masdar City, and is further evidence of our commitment to realise the world’s most sustainable urban development,” said Masdar City Executive Director Anthony Mallows.
The company expects to complete 35 per cent of the planned built-up area for the City in the coming five years. Currently, only 5 per cent of the work has been completed. It has already received nearly 30 per cent commitment, which include private homes, schools, hotels and more office space.
Phase 2 involves a research and development cluster built around many of its existing pilot research projects served by a residential community including 2,000 apartments, a GEMS Education school, restaurants, cafés and parkland. Rent of the apartments were not disclosed with officials stating they would be set as per the prevailing market conditions. Phase 5 will house less around 1,000 villas/townhouses.
The phases will have a 4 Pearl Estidama Community Rating – the first development in the UAE.
Estidama, which means ‘sustainability’ in Arabic, is a UPC initiative aimed at transforming Abu Dhabi into a model for sustainable environmental, economic, social and cultural urbanisation.
Eagle Hills’ tourism push
Eagle Hills, a real estate development company, unveiled plans to build a five-star hotel in Fujairah and Oman.
The Address Fujairah Resort + Spa will have 196 hotel rooms, 177 branded and serviced residences, four residential buildings, five beach and garden villas, according to company brochure.
Saraya Bandar Jissah, jointly owned by government of Oman’s tourism development investment arm and Saraya Oman, will be five-residential zones, each offering a lifestyle them, two Jumeirah – 5 star hotels, each located on the shores of Bandar Jissah Bay.
According to the company the gross construction area will be 2.2 million square metres, 398 residential properties, 318 hotel rooms and 40,737 square metre man-made lagoon.
Prices under pressure
Residential transaction sales are likely to remain low in 2016 that may put pressure on sales prices, according to property consultancy JLL.
“Abu Dhabi’s residential sales market has historically been dominated by investors speculating on price growth with a much smaller proportion of the buyer market representing yield investors and owner occupiers,” said company, International Director and Head of Abu Dhabi office David Dudley.
“Over recent years, prime residential prices went up at 25% per annum which was unsustainable. As the market softened during 2015, prices have remained stable but transaction volumes have dropped significantly. During 2016, we expect transaction volumes to remain low which may start to put pressure on sales prices,” he added.
Al Forsan lease-to-own offer
As companies launched new projects, Al Forsan Real Estate Management offered investors a “lease-to-own” option for villas at its Al Forsan Village.
“Our lease-to-own offer has been well received by the investors and they are looking at these villas for both personal use and investment purposes,” said company spokesperson Rashed Al Qubaisi.
The minimum lease-to-own offer will be Dh300,000 per annum (rent) with the investor offered a credit of Dh1.05 million after 5 years, which will be adjusted to the villa prices put at Dh4.44 million. The balance can be paid over a period of five years. Only 50 villas will be available under the offer.
The project, situated in Khalifa City A, will have a 15,000s square metre retail ‘The Town Square’, a 400-room 5-star hotel (to be opened by end-2016), 440 apartments, and a 1.7 kilometre jogging track.