291 projects on hold likely to qualify for restart

A total of 291 projects are on hold in Dubai as of March 31, 2012 – but are likely to see the light of day.

Each of these 291 registered projects are likely to qualify for either the Tayseer or the Tanmia initiative, the Dubai Land Department (DLD) has stated in the planned sovereign bond prospectus.

Real Estate Regulatory Agency has been quoted in the prospectus as saying that 165 projects have been completed since the beginning of 2009; 291 projects are on hold; 291 projects are likely to be completed in due course, while 29 projects have not yet commenced.

Click to read Dubai opens property lifeline to owners and investors

A bond prospectus posted on the London Stock Exchange last year said 217 property projects had been cancelled as of May 31, 2011.

“The current market situation has led to the re-evaluation of a number of real estate projects and delays in many projects. Since the middle of 2008, a number of real estate projects have been cancelled or delayed, principally reflecting liquidity shortages for developers, decreasing headline real estate prices and rental rates,” discloses the new bond prospectus.

A total of 154 projects had been reviewed under the Tayseer programme, launched in July 2010, of which 40 projects qualified under the required criteria.

These criteria require that projects have adequate infrastructure planned or in place; the escrow trust account is properly managed and financial reporting is full and timely; the technical report must show that a minimum of 60 per cent of construction is completed and that a minimum of 60 per cent of the project is sold.

This year, as per the prospectus, the Tanmia initiative is expected to include 33 projects, two of which have been launched. The initiative is designed to increase investor confidence in those projects, which the Dubai Land Department has identified as qualifying for the Tanmia program.

On Wednesday, the ICD-Brookfield, a $1-billion Dubai-based real estate fund, joined the Tanmia initiative, taking the total number of participants in the programme to 12.

Dubai, as of March 31, 2012, has 596 registered developers and 852 registered brokers.

Click to read ICD-Brookfield help finish projects

In 2011, DLD reported Dh94 billion of villa-related property transactions and Dh43 billion of apartment-related property transactions. Nine per cent of all real estate transactions last year were conducted by first time real estate investors, with the highest number of such foreign property investors by value being from India, followed by Pakistan, the United Kingdom, Iran and Russia.

Expectations of attractive rental yields largely account for such investment decision.

Earlier this month, Jones Lang LaSalle said that the Dubai residential real estate market appears to have bottomed outwit prices now at rates similar to early 2008 levels.

In March, Knight Frank said real estate in Dubai had not only stabilised, but prices had increased by 2.3 per cent on average in the last quarter of 2011.

Dubai residential market prices back to early-2008 levels

The Dubai residential real estate market appears to have bottomed out as prices are now at rates similar to early 2008 levels and the general rental trend being positive, Jones Lang LaSalle said on Monday.

Dubai is expected to see completion of 28,000 new units in 2012 with Dubailand and Jumeirah Park likely to see completion of 4,380 and 4,242 units, respectively.

Other freehold locations that will see additional supply are Dubai Marina (3081 units), Jumeirah Village (3891 units), Dubai Silicon Oasis (1956 units) and International City (1,813).

Approximately 3,000 additional residential units were added to the market in the first quarter 2012, bringing the total current residential stock to around 341,000 units.Almost 90 per cent of the completions in 2011 were apartments, JLL said in its first quarter report on Dubai real estate.

The 44 per cent of residential stock added in the first quarter is located within the submarkets of International City, Dubai Marina, Discovery Gardens, Jumeirah Lakes Towers and Dubailand.

Real Estate Regulatory Agency CEO Marwan bin Ghalitha has said that Dubai will see release of 16,000 units this year. JLL’s estimate is 75 per cent higher than Rera’s assessment.

“While liquidity is returning to the residential market and some previously stalled projects are recommencing, we expect that a substantial proportion of the supply due to enter the market in 2012, much of which was initially due to complete in 2011, will experience further delays,” the report said.

Quoting the Reidin Residential Sale Indices, JLL said the residential market “looks to have bottomed out,” with prices currently at rates similar to early 2008 levels.

Despite seeing a sharp fall from its peak levels in the third quarter 2008, the villa market began to see some uptick towards end-2011.

“This trend has continued into 2012 with sale indices now three per cent higher than in January 2008,” the report said.

Villa sale indices are still 25 per cent lower than at their peak in third quarter 2008. Apartment sale indices have also begun to stabilise, but remain at lower levels, 34 per cent down on the peak in Q3 2008.

Reidin rent indices from January 2009 show a similar trend with villas back at 2009 levels by the beginning of 2012.

“The general rental trend across the market is positive. Whilst villa rents have increased five per cent, apartments are 30 per cent lower relative to 2009 levels and continue to lag,” the report said.

The general residential indices 12 per cent higher than in first quarter 2011. The villa market is expected to continue to outperform the apartment sector. The prime residential assets in well established locations continue to see improved performance, while secondary buildings and locations are still suffering from rental and pricing declines, JLL stated.

Prime office rents steady

Office rents in prime locations remain stable for the first quarter. Vacancy rates within the Central Business District (CBD) have increased slightly over the quarter to around 35 per cent, while city-wide vacancies continue to increase in the face of additional supply. The average vacancy rate in Business Bay, however, is around 90 per cent and the area continues to suffer from very limited demand.

“Although prime buildings are witnessing stable rental levels, secondary locations are expected to see further rental decline in 2012 due to the large proportion of new supply and weak tenant demand that is further exacerbating the supply-demand imbalance and the two-tier nature of the Dubai office market,” JLL said.

The total city-wide office stock stood at approximately 5.8 million sqm at the end of Q4 2011.

Around 45,000 sqm was added to the market during the first quarter of 2012

While many announced projects are currently “on hold“, there remains almost one million square metres of additional supply that could be completed in 2012. A total of 1.4 million square metres is due to enter the market by the end of 2013 - the majority will be delivered in Dubai International Financial Centre, Business Bay and Jumeirah Lakes Towers.

Arabian Ranches prices up 15%

Prices of villas in the popular Arabian Ranches community by Emaar have seen an appreciation of 15 per cent in the past one year, according to a leading real estate brokerage company in the UAE.

“Prices have appreciated by 15 per cent in the Ranches. A five-bedroom villa that was selling at Dh4 million is now going for Dh4.5-4.7 million.

"There has also been a 15 per cent increase in the townhouse segment of the Ranches,” Rene D’Souza, Senior Residential Consultant, Green Community Office, Better Homes told Emirates 24|7.

Sale price for villas in Dubai fared positively, rising by 4 per cent on average in the first quarter of this year compared to the last quarter of 2011, as per the data from Asteco.

Arabian Ranches fared much better than the average rate, with an appreciation of 7 per cent. “The rise is predominantly driven by increased acquisitions from owner-occupiers in areas such as Arabian Ranches,” read the Q1 2012 report.

The price of the villa can go up with the location.

The villas with a pool and park or lake view can fetch a premium.

“Real Estate is all about location. Within a community, properties with a pool/park or lake facing commands at least 5-10 per cent more than the same unit without the key view or location. Properties that lie near the Emirates Road have trouble selling due to the location,” added the Better Homes expert.

According to classifieds, a two-bedroom villa of approximate size of 1889 sq/ft, is priced at Dh1.65million, making it Dh873 sq/ft.

A similar villa was going for approximately Dh1.4million in Q2 2011 and the year before a similar unit was available only for a little over Dh1million.

“We’ve been thinking of buying a small villa in the Ranches for our own use. I guess we’ve taken a long time to decide and will have to pay more if we go for a place here. The agents tell me that prices will appreciate more this year and will add up if I delay my decision,” said Anjali Dube, an Indian expat in Dubai.

Arabian Ranches prices vary owing to the villa type and size.

Townhouses offer the cheapest option here where as the highest range is occupied by bespoke mansion like villas that sit on large plots.


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