ACI Real Estate, the German-owned developer building towers endorsed by Michael Schumacher and Boris Becker in Dubai, plans to expand across the Gulf where property returns are four times those of Germany.
“Dubai has made this region popular, Abu Dhabi has great plans and Qatar will be the same,” Robin Lohmann, ACI’s managing director, told Bloomberg. Tax-free Gulf markets give investors returns of 12 per cent a year compared to about three per cent before tax in Germany, he said.
ACI started in Dubai in 2004 and has raised €600 million (Dh3.3bn) from mainly German, Swiss and Austrian investors, according to Lohmann. The closely-held company is spending $599m (Dh2.1bn) to build office towers in Dubai promoted and endorsed by sports stars Schumacher, Becker and Niki Lauda.
As oil earnings flood into Gulf economies, governments have allowed foreigners to buy property, helping create a $1trn real estate market, Moody’s Investors Service said in a report last month. UAE property prices may rise 10 per cent this year as interest rates fall and the population expands, according to Egyptian investment bank EFG-Hermes Holding.
While Gulf property prices will continue to rise, the biggest challenges for developers are construction costs that in Dubai are rising by 1.5 per cent a month, according to Lohmann.ACI Real Estate, a unit of Gutersloh-based Alternative Capital Invest, has opened an office in Abu Dhabi before starting work on its first towers there and will open a Qatar office in the second half of this year, he said.
Lohmann told Emirates Business last month the company had purchased the Ecuador island on The World and plans to launch a leisure resort. The company is not pursuing any more plans in terms of legend branding. ACI has also tied up with Al Odaid, the real estate subsidiary of Al Ghaith Holding, to market and develop five residential towers on the Al Reem island, and has entered into a marketing arrangement with Galadari Investment Office for the latter’s G Tower by Philippe Starck in the City of Arabia.
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