Penthouses in Dubai more resilient than other assets

Buyers of penthouses do not sell their property at low rates as their holding capacity is much better. (SUPPLIED)

Drop in prices of penthouses in Dubai have been relatively lower than other types of residential units as their buyers have the financial capacity to hold on to the units, realtors said.

However, owners need to offer "higher" discounts to find buyers in the secondary market since the product caters to a niche buyer segment.

Vineet Kumar, Head of Sales – Dubai, Asteco Property Management: "Buyers of penthouses do not sell their property at low rates as their holding capacity is much better since they are more financially stable."

Mohanad Alwadiya, Managing Director, Harbor Real Estate said: "Penthouses in Dubai seem to be more resilient than other residential assets. Last year, there was an increase in the rental demand for penthouses in prime areas. This demand was mainly from high profile tenants who could take advantage of high quality units at affordable rates.

"In addition penthouses are limited in number, which has helped retain its value."

Yolanta Farah, Associate Director, Head of Residential, Sales & Leasing, Group Seven Properties, said: "Penthouses are faring better than average units. More than regular units, penthouses are owned by end users as first or second home or guest house. These owners are not selling in current market, except in cases of higher necessity as part of property consolidation. Penthouses available on secondary market are usually not the truly special ones that a penthouse should have such as a top floor with a great view, good location and space.

"There is very little demand for any property at the moment, but there is hardly any availability of really special penthouses, either."

Bernard Aoun, Manager – Residential Sales & Leasing, Better Homes, said if a client owns a penthouse it can be considered they may have a higher holding capacity.

"The penthouse properties have suffered just like any other real estate property in Dubai during the crisis. However, because there is limited supply they have survived better than the rest."

According to real estate agents, penthouse prices have dropped anywhere between 25 and 50 per cent in the past one year. "The asking prices have seen a drop of 25 per cent to 30 per cent," said Kumar.

"The selling price in secondary sales started from Dh2,000 per square foot for a penthouse in Emaar's building in Dubai Marina. The recently released Executive Towers on Sheikh Zayed Road has a penthouse of 5,877 sq ft selling at Dh1,600 per sq ft amounting to Dh9.4 million.

Aoun said on an average, the prices of the penthouses in Dubai have come down by 50 per cent from 2008. Alwadiya said that prices of penthouses dropped by an average of 35 per cent since last year.

According to Group Seven Properties, some penthouses in Dubai's secondary market are in the Golden Mile, with building number 4 developed by IFA going for Dh4.2m. Bayside Residence in Dubai Marina, developed by Trident at the 22nd floor; with a total area of 6,500 sq ft and a full Marina view is around Dh10m.

In South Ridge, Burj Downtown, a three-bedroom apartment of 3,003 sq ft area plus balcony with Burj views is around Dh5.9m. Indigo Tower in Jumeirah Lake Tower, a four-bedroom penthouse apartment of 3,745 sq ft area with lake views is Dh4.1m.

Real estate agents said that average return on investment (RoI) is between five and seven per cent for penthouses.

"We are looking today at between five per cent and seven per cent RoI, which in a depressed market is considered as a great return on investment," said Aoun.

Better Homes also said average rental yields for penthouses currently are a minimum of five per cent in a case-by-case scenario.

Alwadiya said rental yields for penthouse is currently around three to five per cent compared to other residential assets.

"We believe penthouses can offer very handsome capital growth opportunities over the longer term. We estimate an average of 40 per cent in capital growth would be realistic over a six-to-seven year period and the downside risk to achieving this is considered minimal."

Farah said while over-investment in real estate during 2008 put some people in trouble, those buying penthouses are generally educated buyers who know that buying the best in the best location is safer, regardless of market conditions.

Kumar said unlike the rest of the world, Dubai's penthouses offer options to buyers to buy it as shell and core so buyers can finish the apartment to their liking with their personal choice.

Aoun said that it is not possible to compare Dubai and the rest of the world in terms of real estate because the emirate is still an emerging market where taste and requirements are often different.

However, Alwadiya said penthouses in Dubai are much bigger in space and offer better value for money in terms of price per square foot. "In addition, there are no property taxes in Dubai which makes owning a penthouse better," he said.

"By international standards, the prices of penthouses in Dubai are low. Prime penthouses in Central London are being offered between Dh9,000 per sq ft and Dh10,000 per sq ft. In South Mumbai, it ranges between Dh2,700 per sq ft and Dh3,500 per sq ft and in Upper Manhattan it ranges between Dh8,500 per sq ft and Dh11,000 per sq ft."

Farah said that in the pre-freehold times, in "old Dubai", there were landlords who built penthouses true to their name.


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Source: All the data, figures and pictures have been sourced from Asteco Property Management, Better Homes, Harbor Real Estate, Group Seven Properties

 

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