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Gulf Property Go















The region’s premier monthly for lifestyle, real estate and construction

UAE 13th best country for investment


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VOL. 10, NO. 5 FEBRUARY, 2018




EAR s !





Dubai realty adjusts to lower growth

Faizal Kottikollon COVER STORY Faizal E. Kottikollon Chairman of KEF Holdings


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Mohammed Qasim Al Ali, National Bonds Anne Marie Thodsen, Future Cities Show

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THE T HE HO OM ME O ME OF F REAL ES REA ESTA TA ATE TE IN TE IN NV VES ESTM TM ME MENT EN NT T City C itysc scape ape Egypt ypt is is the the larg larrg gest est a and nd m most ost influential influentia real eal estat estat ate in investment estment and and d de ev e velopm elopment ment e ev vent ent for or emergin emergin ng g ma mark arkets ets globally. globally B g Brin ringin ging together ether iin nvest nv estors, ors, dev de ev ve elop elopers, pe ers go ov vernment ernment o officials fficia s an nd d real eal estat estate te prof pr ofessionals esssional a s, s, tther here is is no no b bett ettte er plac er place to find find iin nvestment estment opportunitie o pportun nities a and nd ne new business business partne parrttne ers. rs.

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THE T HE HO OM ME O ME OF F REAL ES REA ES ST TA TA ATE TE IN TE IN NV VES V ES ES ST STM TMENT T MENT NT City C ittysca yssc scaape pe Abu Abu Dhabi Dhabi bbrin rinng gs to gs og geether g ether iinnvest stors, ors de dev veelopers, eelopers rs, government ernment officials officials aand nd rreeal ea eestat state pprrof ofeessionals. ssionals W Wiith th hun hundr uundr ndr nd dreeds ds of of de deev eve velopments elopments ffrrom om A Abu bu D Dha habi abi aand nd o ove ov verseas erseas being bein e ng g sho sho ow wcas ased, sed C City itysc scaape ape A Abu bu D Dhabi habi 2 201 018 18 iss the the hhome ome of of rreeal eal eestat stattee in innv veestment. stment

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Off-plan sale up, rents down in 2018


Easing of property prices and rents are encouraging people to shift to cheaper homes and buy own property for living...

s we move on to the second month of the new year, declining property prices is encouraging home buyers to zero in on some of the best bargains available in the market while tenants with stable household income are looking at buying homes to move in. Looks like we have entered in an interesting time!

Looking at the number of home supplies due for this year, on top of those delivered in 2017, one could be forgiven to speculate a further correction in real estate prices. Many would-be investors are waiting for that moment. Although patience bears fruit, too long wait could become costly as the buyers might miss the bus if property prices pick up.





Faizal Kottikollon changes the Indian construction sector 44



Christine Lagarde/IMF Mohanad Alwadiya/Harbor Zaki Ameer/Dream DRE Saad Audeh/Campbell Gray Dhiren Gupta/Mortgage 4C


30 31 32 33 35

As Gulf Property continues its difficult journey in its tenth year of uninterrupted publication in what could be best described as the most challenging times in the history of real estate in Dubai, we remain committed to future and will continue to support the real estate sector with objective coverage. We look forward to a better year ahead with lots of hope and your support!

– T. Akhtar



UAE real estate market adjusts to lower growth 36 UAE 13th most promising country for investment 40 Dubai 7th most attractive destination for investment 42



Rent, meanwhile might continue to slide due to an increased supply in the rental market. If the rents decline further, one might see a reverse migration from the neighbouring emirates of Ajman and Sharjah if the cost of living in Dubai work favourably than staying in Sharjah with lower rent and daily traffic nightmare.

Meanwhile, the property buyers are currently spoilt for choices with developers offering rental guarantees on 60 per cent of the property price, after buyers paying 40 per cent. These are good times for the consumers. However, if the developers, lenders and brokers extends more facilities to tenants to buy homes, the market could see a massive buying spree that could lift the market to a higher level. Let’s see how things shape up.

Eagle Hills enters Sharjah with Dh2.7bn worth of projects 54 Decoding Smart City 58 Best time to buy property, says Qasim Al Ali 62 Yardi manages 500,000 units in Middle East 66

Danube sells Dh820 bn worth of projects in 2017 70 Samana will accept payments with cryptocurrency 74 Healthcare project value hits Dh223 billion in 2018 76

REGULARFEATURES Realty Bytes Spotlight


The region’s premier monthly for lifestyle, real estate, construction and building materials


EDITOR T. Akhtar



T. Akhtar Pan Asian Media MFZ LLC


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ubai’s non-oil private sector economy has signalled a slowdown in growth, according to a report by Emirates NBD Bank. “December data signalled a slowdown in growth in Dubai’s non-oil private sector. The seasonally adjusted Emirates NBD Dubai Economy Tracker Index – a composite indicator designed to give an accurate overview of operating conditions in the non-oil private sector economy – eased to 54.7 in December, from 55.3 in November. The latest reading indicated the slowest rate of improvement for 14 months,” Emirates NBD said in a report. “Non-oil private sector companies operating in Dubai reported the slowest growth in business activity since April 2016. Nonetheless, the rate of expansion remained sharp overall in December. At the sector level, construction companies noted the steepest increase in output growth during the latest survey period. “Job creation in the non-oil private sector continued for the tenth month running during November. The rate of hiring eased, however, and was the weakest reported since June. According to anecdotal evidence, firms increased payroll numbers in order to meet rising output requirements.” By sector, wholesale and retail was the best performing category, closely followed by construction (index at 53.5). The travel & tourism sector (51.2) experienced the slowest improvement in business conditions. A reading of below 50.0 indicates that the non-oil private sector economy is


Gulf Property

Dubai business pace slowest in 2 years

generally declining; above 50.0, that it is generally expanding. A reading of 50.0 signals no change. The survey covers the Dubai non-oil private sector economy, with additional sector data published for travel & tourism, wholesale & retail and construction. Khatija Haque, Head of MENA Research at Emirates NBD, said: “The decline in the Dubai Economy Tracker index in December is a little surprising, but appears to be broad-based across all the key sectors. Nevertheless, a reading of 54.7 still indicates economic growth in December. Looking at 2017 as a whole, the survey data suggests that Dubai’s economy grew at a faster rate than both 2015 and 2016.” Continuing the sequence seen since March 2016, volumes of new orders increased during December, the report said. That said, the


Emirates NBD Economy Tracker Index in December 2017 declining from 55.3

rate of growth softened to a seven-month low amid reports of easing domestic demand. “Business activity expectations remained strongly positive overall during December’s survey. The degree of confidence improved since November and registered above the series’ longrun average. According to anecdotal evidence, an ex-

pected economic upturn alongside incoming new projects underpinned confidence among non-oil private sector firms in Dubai,” the report says. Average cost burdens continued to increase during December, thereby extending the current sequence of rising operating costs to 22 months. That said, the rate of input price inflation softened to a three-month low and registered below the historical average. Construction sector firms reported the most marked increase in input prices. Selling prices in Dubai’s non-oil private sector rose during December, thereby ending a three-month sequence of price discounting. Moreover, the rate of output charge inflation in the construction and wholesale and retail sectors reached the highest since these series began in March 2015. g



ADNOC enters Dubai, KSA

217,000 firms exports Dh277bn goods in 2017 Dubai is the largest export and re-export hub of the region feeding more than 1.75 billion people in Midle East, Africa and Central and South Asian countries


xports and re-exports of Dubai-registered companies grew 2 per cent year-over-year to reach Dh277 billion in 2017, according to Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. A total of 16,300 companies joined the Dubai Chamber as members in 2017, bringing total membership to 217,000 and cementing the non-profit public organisation’s position as one of the world’s largest membershipbased chambers of commerce. The Chamber’s membership figure for 2017 marked an 8 per cent increase compared to the previous year. Exports and re-exports of Dubai Chamber members grew 2 per cent year-overyear to reach Dh277 billion in 2017. Saudi Arabia remained the top export and re-export market for Chamber members with a value of Dh103 billion.

This figure reflects a growth rate of 17% compared to the value of goods and products exported and re-exported by Chamber members to the kingdom in 2016. The number of certificates of origin (COs) issued by the Chamber reached 880,000 in 2017. The Chamber issued and received 6,000 ATA Carnets for goods worth Dh5.6 billion during the same period, with the total value increasing 80 per cent compared to 2016. The uptick highlighted growing demand for the service which is designed to facilitate international trade and improve ease of doing business in Dubai. Hamad Buamim, President and Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Chamber, explained that the Chamber's international expansion strategy was instrumental in attracting foreign companies to Dubai, and noted that the Chamber's representative offices

around the world continue to play an active role in promoting Dubai as an attractive business hub. He explained that the 2017 figures reflected the robust growth of Dubai’s economy, as well as the emirate’s resilience to global challenges. Trade, tourism and logistics remain key contributors to Dubai’s growth last year, he said, adding that growing global confidence in the emirate is strengthening its position as a global hub for future industries. “[The year] 2017 was a transformational year for Dubai marked by remarkable economic and social progress, as well as the adoption of forward-thinking strategies and emerging technologies that will shape the future of the emirate and support its mission to become one of the most innovative cities in the world,” said Buamim. g

DNOC Distribution, a leading fuel retailer and part of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), said, it will open three fuel retailing stations in Dubai in 2018, marking its entry in Dubai as well as expanding its retail business in Saudi Arabia – one of the world’s largest crude oil producers. In a recent statement, ADNOC Distribution has announced plans to open at least 13 new service stations in 2018 including, for the first time, sites in Dubai and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. “Three new service stations are planned for strategic locations across the Emirate of Dubai, nine new stations will open in the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Ajman and Fujairah and at least one site will open in Saudi Arabia, under a franchise agreement,” the company said. ADNOC Distribution has 67 per cent of the UAE’s fuel retail market share by number of fuel service stations, and the largest market share in the wholesale segment. ADNOC Distribution’s 360 retail fuel stations are located in the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, in each of which the company is the sole fuel retailer, and in the emirates of Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain. It is also the largest retailer in the UAE by number of sites with 235 ADNOC Oasis convenience stores located across its retail fuel network. g Gulf Property




illas in Sharjah have continued to buck the wider trend of retreating rents in the emirate’s residential rental market, recording an increase of 1.7 per cent and taking the rate of growth to 0.4 per cent during the last quarter of 2017, according to international real estate consultancy, Cluttons. Cluttons’ Sharjah Property Market Snapshot for Spring 2018, shows that over the last two years, Sharjah’s villa market has grown in both profile and popularity as the real estate market repositions itself with new and affordable options. This trend is helping retain the emirate’s appeal and attractiveness amongst those households that have been priced out of Dubai, or are seeking a more family oriented lifestyle. Suzanne Eveleigh, Cluttons’ Head of Sharjah, commented: “Communities such as Al Zahia have been a runaway success and with most major new shopping mall developments in Sharjah anchoring these new lifestyle destinations, the future of community living in the emirate appears relatively buoyant, especially when compared to many other property segments in the UAE.” In contrast to the villa market, apartment rents in Sharjah registered a steep decline of 13.6 per cent in rents, in the last quarter of 2017, compared to a decline of 10.6 per cent in 2016, on average. Cluttons’ research shows that Abu Shagara topped the list of weakest performers, with rents retreating by an average of


Gulf Property

Villa rents to grow 2% in Sharjah: Cluttons 15.1 per cent during 2017. According to the report, Sharjah’s residential rental market is set to face pressures from rising stock, which is helping to cement the tenant’s market that took hold three years ago. “Many landlords are reluctant to adjust advertised rents downwards due to concerns about alienating existing tenants. However, with tenants increasingly seeking out new and energy efficient buildings, reflecting household financial pressures stemming from the 1 January introduction of VAT, rising utility bills as subsidies continue to be phased out and rising inflation levels, we feel landlords will need to be flexible with rents and the payment plans, particularly in older buildings, to sustain demand,” added Eveleigh. Faisal Durrani, Head of Research at Cluttons commented, “With sudden

turnaround in economic growth, or residential demand unlikely to increase during 2018, Cluttons expect rents will continue to moderate, with apartments likely to see corrections of 5 per cent to 7 per cent next year, while villa rents are expected to experience growth of between 1 per cent to 2 per cent. This makes Sharjah’s villa market the only property segment in the UAE to see sustained positive growth. This is likely to prompt further investment in the city’s nascent villa segment, which will no doubt help reshape Sharjah’s residential landscape. ” In Sharjah’s office market, rents have continued to stagnate, with no rise in advertised headline rates in any of the markets monitored by Cluttons. “While the stability in rents may suggest that demand levels are healthy, vacancies are rising across the board and the supply pipeline

appears to be strengthening, with new schemes such as Sharjah Publishing City, Sharjah Media City and Aljada all set to inject fresh supply into an already saturated market over the next few years,” commented Eveleigh. Durrani added, “Aside from the threat of a surge in commercial office space, which may be challenging for the market to absorb if it is not phased appropriately, there is the immediate issue of rising financial obligations for occupiers. “The 5 per cent VAT rate, for instance, is likely to take commercial occupier liabilities up to 14 per cent, including the 4 per cent Municipality Tax and 5 per cent commission fee. With this in mind, our outlook for office rents remains subdued, with a fall in rates of between Dh5-10 psf, more than likely during 2018.” g

Rents and prices to fall in Abu Dhabi


The delivery of 9,000 new homes in 2018 will put additional pressure on rents and property prices in Abu Dhabi as economic growth outlook remains moderate

bu Dhabi tenants should expect moderate declines in rental and sales rates throughout 2018, says real estate brokerage firm Asteco. In the fourth quarter of 2017, average apartment and villa rents were down by 10 per cent and 7 per cent in comparison to 2016, whilst apartment and villa sales prices declined 10 per cent and 4 per cent year-on-year. “Rental rates and sales prices are expected to follow a similar path to 2017 with further moderate declines for Abu Dhabi due to the continuous delivery of new supply,” Asteco said in a report. “Limited economic growth continued to translate into job cuts, reduction of staff allowances and limited new employment opportunities. “This, coupled with the increase in new supply, resulted in a drop in sales prices and rental rates across all asset classes. The decline was most prominent for high


new home supply will add pressure on rents in Abu Dhabi

and mid-quality properties.” Whilst rental rates for one bedroom apartments decreased by an average of Dh10,000 per annum, the larger two- and three bedroom units dropped by an average of Dh16,500. Reductions in villa rental rates and sales prices were less pronounced with quarterly changes varying between 0% and 3 per cent over the course of the year. “Approximately 9,000 resi-

dential units, including 6,200 apartments and 2,800 villas and townhouses are anticipated for completion this year, predominantly within the districts of Reem Island, Al Raha Beach and Yas Island.” said John Stevens, Managing Director, Asteco. “Based on previous years, the delivery of some of this inventory may be postponed until 2019 such as the delayed office buildings Omega Towers on Reem Island and the ADIB HQ on Airport Road, which were due for delivery in 2017 but are now expected for handover in 2018.” Stevens continued. Whilst transaction activity for completed properties slowed compared with previous years, newly launched off-plan quality projects with attractive payment plans and discounts will continue to benefit from good levels of demand and ultimately increase investment in the real estate sector for 2018. In regard to offices, vacancy rates are likely to in-

REALTYBYTES crease as companies continue to downsize and relocate to smaller units. Approximately 9,000 residential units, including 6,200 apartments and 2,800 villas and townhouses are anticipated for completion this year, predominantly within the districts of Reem Island, Al Raha Beach and Yas Island. Based on previous years, the delivery of some of this inventory may be delayed until 2019. Off-plan quality projects offering attractive sales prices and payment plans will continue to benefit from good levels of demand and ultimately increase investment in the real estate sector.

Commercial Property

The overall outlook for the office market is expected to be subdued, with further rental declines projected across all quality grades. Vacancy rates are likely to increase as companies continue to downsize and relocate to smaller units. “The recently introduced value-added tax (VAT) of 5 per cent on commercial property is anticipated to adversely affect overall demand and put pressure on rental rates and sales prices in the short- to mediumterm,” the report says. “In the long-term, however, it is believed to improve the financial position of the UAE and provide the necessary funds to further the economy, which would result in business and employment growth..” The overall outlook for the office market is expected to be subdued, with further rental declines projected across all quality grades. g Gulf Property




JGE records 40% sales jump in 2017

umeirah Golf Estates, a residential golf destination offering luxury homes and leisure facilities among two championship golf courses, reported a 40 per cent jump in sales in 2017. “There was record demand among prospective investors and residents for properties at Jumeriah Golf Estates, which celebrated its best year of sales performance to date during 2017 – with 40 per cent growth in sales,” a company statement said. Of note, the launch of Alandalus Townhouses sold out in three hours while Phase 2 of Redwood Park, which has been one of the destination’s most in-demand developments since its launch, has now officially been completed and handed over to owners. “The strong demand we have seen in 2017 is due to both having high-quality properties that meet demand across all levels of the real estate market in a destination like Jumeriah Golf Estates,” says Yousuf Kazim, CEO. Manika Dhama, Senior Consultant of Cavendish Maxwell, said: “[The year] 2017 was an active year for off-plan with nearly 67 per cent of transactions being under-construction projects. While price and rent declines continued in the last 12 months, there is greater differentiation in terms of the type of communities that buyers are choosing.“ g


Gulf Property

Bin Ladin gets Dh670m Riu resport contract


aster developer Nakheel and Spain’s RIU Hotels & Resorts have signed a contract worth Dh385 million for the construction of their 800-room, joint venture beachfront resort and water park at Deira Islands in Dubai. Bin Ladin Contracting Group LLC Dubai won the contract, shortlisted from 10 bidders to deliver the project in two years, by the end of 2019. Nakheel has now awarded almost Dh8 billion worth of infrastructure and construction contracts at Deira Islands, with more on the way. Under the joint venture, Nakheel and RIU Hotels & Resorts will deliver a new hospitality concept for Dubai, offering mid-scale, family-orientated, all-inclusive beachfront accommodation. The resort, RIU’s first in the Middle East, will be one of Dubai’s biggest in terms of

hotel rooms. RIU Hotels and Resorts has almost 100 hotels, with around 45,000 rooms between them, in 19 countries. Together, these welcome over four million guests a year and provide jobs for nearly 27,000 people. RIU is one of the most popular hotel chains in the Caribbean and the second largest in Spain in terms of revenue. Nakheel Chairman, Ali Rashid Lootah, said: “The RIU resort at Deira Islands is a shining example of our commitment to delivering a diverse range of tourism-related projects that will help the government achieve its 2020 tourism targets, and I look forward to seeing this exciting resort come to fruition.” Located on a prime beachfront plot at Nakheel’s new, 15.3 square kilometres Deira Islands coastal city, the resort features seven food and beverage outlets, three swimming pools, a fitness

complex, children’s club and water park. Nearby is Deira Central, Nakheel’s sprawling mixed-use community with the upcoming Deira Mall as its centrepiece. Deira Islands Night Souk is also within easy reach. Joan Trian, RIU’s Financial Director, said: “Our loyal clients will want to explore the new offerings of the city with us. Nakheel has proven to be the best partner for our entry in to the Middle East, and we hope it is the first of other projects to come. This is a great step forward in our expansion strategy in the Middle East.” The joint venture is one of 16 projects in Nakheel’s Dh5 billion hospitality expansion programme, under which some 6,000 new rooms and hotel apartments will be delivered across Dubai. Deira Islands, which is expected to have a population of 250,000 and to create 80,000 jobs, will add 40 kilometres of coastline to Dubai. g


Sharjah to build more fire stations

Sheikh Abbdullah Al Shakrah, Chairman of Al Hanoo Real Estate (Left), signs an agreement with Colonel Sami Al Naqbi, Director-General of Sharjah Civil Defence (Right) to dedicate an industrial plot of land to Sharjah Civil Defence to build a fire station


By Shayaree Islam GP Report

harjah Civil Defence plans on developing more fire stations in Sharjah as population growth necessitates the development of new communities that requires stronger vigilance on fire safety, a top government official told Gulf Property on recently. Colonel Sami Khamis Al Naqbi, Director-General of Sharjah Civil Defence, told Gulf Property, “As new communities and settlements expand due to the economic growth, yes, we plan to set up new fire stations to boost safety across the emirate. We currently have 15 fire stations manned by a team of 300 professionals and firefighters.” The emirate of Sharjah has seen a 7 per cent drop in fire incidents in 2017, due to a


firefighters keep people safe in Sharjah

number of initiatives by Sharjah Civil Defence including increased training and public awareness last year. He said, there will be more awareness campaigns training students as well as the public in malls this year. Sharjah Civil Defence made it compulsory for all new apartments and villas to have smoke detectors, to guarantee the safety of residents. If the building doesn’t have any safety measure installed, the damage cost will be bear by the owner in case of any fire incidents. Accord-

ing to the new rule, insurance companies are not permitted to process insurance services for any business without approval from the Civil Defence. Violating this rule will result in forcing the insurance company to accept all responsibilities in case of accidents. The Civil Defence is now coordinating with the authorities concerned, including the municipality, the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority, Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD), Sharjah Survey Planning Department and Sharjah Department of Social Services to use their data on citizens, to install the fire system and smoke detectors. Meanwhile, Al Hanoo Real Estate – developer of the Sharjah Auto Park and Warehouse City at Al Sajaa Industrial Area in Sharjah – has donated a 60,000 square feet plot of industrial land to Sharjah Civil Defence to set up a fire station for early response

to contain fire incidents. “This is one of the first such initiatives by a private sector developer providing free land to the Government of Sharjah to develop a fire station that will improve safety and security to industries, warehouse and save valuable lives,” Col. Al Naqbi told Gulf Property, when asked at a press briefing. Sheikh Abdullah Al Shakrah, chairman of Al Hanoo Real Estate, expressed his gratitude to Sharjah Civil Defence, commenting: “We are grateful to Sharjah Civil Defence department for their role in maintaining industrial and public safety across the emirate. “The piece of land at Sharjah Auto Park and Warehouse City will help Sharjah Civil Defence to develop a fully-equipped fire station that will ensure prompt response in case of any fire incident in the area,” he said. Al Naqbi said, “This is a great example of how businesses can help the public sector in boosting public services – be it fire safety or any other services. We will develop a state-of-the art fire station at the plot of land that will not only provide industrial safety to all the tenants of the Sharjah Auto Park and Warehouse City – but other assets in the Sajaa Industrial Area – which is thriving with industrial and logistics activities.” Sharjah has long been the UAE’s largest manufacturing base accounting for nearly one-third of total manufacturing production. The sector currently accounts for 16 per cent of Sharjah’s GDP and the Industrial Affairs Department of the Sharjah Economic Development Department estimates that this could rise to 25 per cent by 2025. g Gulf Property




DSI camp hosts 5,000 workers

rake and Scull International (DSI), a Dubai-based crisis-hit contractor that underwent a board-room and management shake-up, announced acquisition of a new labour camp in Dubai aimed at boosting performance, productivity and projects delivery in the UAE. The camp will accommodate 5,000 workers and will cater to ongoing and future projects in Dubai while raising the overall operational capacity of the group in the UAE. It will showcase the scope, skills and diversity of DSI’s workforce. The Company’s total headcount of labourers across all markets currently stands approximately at 12,000, comprising some of the best talents in the engineering and construction sector. More initiatives geared towards further operational improvements and accelerated recovery will be unveiled in 2018. The group is on a recruitment drive to further reinforce its workforce across all its operating segments. Rabih Abou Diwan, Investor Relations Director, DSI, said: “The Company is undertaking several measures to improve its operational capabilities. In the coming months, additional initiatives focusing on the adoption of best practices and optimisation of cost efficiencies will be rolled out.” g


Gulf Property

Emaar Beachfront clinches Dh1bn sale


maar Development, the newly listed subsidiary of Emaar Properties, has recorded total sales worth approximately Dh1 billion at the launch of the first residences in Emaar Beachfront, the restricted island destination in the Arabian Gulf, following the overwhelming response from UAE-based and international investors. With its unique value proposition of offering exclusive access to residents to a private beach, Emaar Beachfront opens to uninterrupted views of the Arabian Sea, The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina and the Dubai skyline. Bringing a Miami beach style living to Dubai, Emaar Beachfront delivers a new lifestyle choice that fulfils the aspirations of the discerning customers, who seek a serene residential getaway with access to beachside

leisure and other luxurious lifestyle amenities. Emaar Development’s recent launch of Beach Vista, a thoughtfully designed collection of homes set in a twintower development of 33-storeys and 26-storeys, recorded tremendous response from customers with all 375 residences launched sold out. Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties, said: “With Emaar setting impressive property sales last year, the response to our first launch this year is a positive statement on the robust performance of Dubai’s property sector. It also underlines the credentials of Emaar Development in designing and delivering world-class homes. “Emaar Beachfront is a trend setting destination and its exceptional location in the Arabian Gulf as well as the value-added amenities of-

fered make it appealing to customers from the UAE and across the world.” Maximising its location, Beach Vista residences open to spectacular views of the ocean and the Dubai skyline. Elegantly designed, the homes have luxury finishes and fittings. In addition to residential facilities such as swimming pools, gyms and parking areas at the podium, there will also be several high-end retail outlets at the ground level. In addition to exclusive private beach access, residents of Emaar Beachfront can revel in a range of leisure and lifestyle attractions including F&B outlets, beachside play areas, retail pop-ups set along a promenade, and more. Emaar Beachfront has direct access to Sheikh Zayed Road and Palm Jumeirah. g

National Piling gets Symphony contract


emini Property Developers, a Dubaibased boutique real estate developer, has announced the appointment of National Piling as piling and shoring contractor for the upcoming 29-storeyed Symphony Business Bay, being developed at Business Bay area – the heart of Dubai’s new business district. The 120-day contract includes foundation, dewatering, piling and shoring activities during which period the main contractor will be appointed by the developer. The 29-storeyed tower has a built-up area of 708,000 square-feet with 455 residential apartments, two basements and three podium levels for parking. The ground floor of the tower will host seven retail outlets to cater to the needs of the residents. Its apartment units range from 430 square-feet to 2,900 square-feet that include studio, one, two and three-bedroom apartments. The apartments come with smart home technology, wellequipped gym, yoga lawn, swimming pool, rooftop barbeque, jogging track, kid’s area, open green spaces and concierge services. Sudhakar R. Rao, Managing Director of Gemini Property Developers, said, “The awarding of the piling and shoring contract comes within weeks after getting the necessary permissions from relevant government authorities and reflect our determination to carry out the construction works well before the commercial launch


square feet built-up area to host 455 flats of the project. “This is due to our strong ethical business policies to first build and then sell to the property buyers – as seeing is believing. The construction of the Symphony - Business Bay reinforces our faith in

Dubai market. It also begins at a time when we are getting ready to deliver our first project – Splendor at MBR City– which creates a benchmark for quality property.” The construction of Symphony also coincides with the completion of the Splendor – the company’s maiden real estate project in Dubai – which has been well-received by end-users. Located at Sobha Hartland – with easy accessibility from all parts of Dubai, Splendor offers breath-taking views of the Ras Al Khor sanctuary, Burj Khalifa and The Tower – the new landmark project. g


Dubai Industrial Park invests Dh135m


ubai Industrial Park (DI), which hosts 100 factories with a further 12 under construction, said it will spend Dh135 million infrastructure development and road expansion project spanning an area of 16 million square feet that is set to commence on its premises. The contract has been awarded to Wade Adams, a Dubai-based contractor. Set for completion by end-2018, the project comprises two phases and involves enhancements and expansion of the roads networks, followed by the implementation of the ground-work. Dubai industrial sector grew by 3.4 per cent in 2016 over the previous year, making up 9.5 percent of Dubai's total GDP. Additionally, manufacturing increased 31.2 per cent in 2016, with industrial GDP reaching Dh35.6 billion in 2016. As a positive outcome of implementing the strategy, total industrial exports grew by 8.6 percent in 2016, reaching Dh143 billion. The UAE Ministry of Economy said, total investment in the industrial sector grew 2 per cent to Dh130 billion by the end of H1 2017, compared to the same period in 2016. The contribution of the industrial sector to UAE’s GDP reached 16 per cent, and is projected to reach 25 per cent by 2025. g Gulf Property



DSI in Dh1 bn deal talks with Wahat Al Zaweya, Al Ain


rake and Scull International (DSI), a Dubai-based contractor, said, its general contracting subsidiary, Gulf Technical Construction Company (GTCC), is negotiating for Dh1 billion worth of contracts with Wahat Al Zaweya in Al Ain, and has also been awarded as part of the negotiations a Dh250 million contract to develop the Nasayem project in Wahat Al Zaweya. Under the terms of the agreement, GTCC has already started the construction works for the 336-unit villa complex Nasayem project, which will be composed of 290 three-bedroom villas and 46 four-bedroom villas. The contract award for Nasayem project in Wahat Al Zaweya has been secured and finalised, while final negotiations are now underway for additional contracts that are valued at Dh750 million. The negotiations are expected to be concluded in the first half of 2018. The new project award reflects the strategic and long-term investment of Tabarak Investment at Drake and Scull International--moving ahead with its plans to support the company to achieve full operational recovery by completing existing projects, targeting new ones and looking for new opportunities to diversify and expand income. g


Gulf Property

Accor to operate Nakheel hotel at JVC


ubai’s master developer Nakheel and French hotel operator Accor Hotels have signed a management agreement for ibis Dubai Jumeirah Village Circle, further strengthening their strategic partnership for Dubai hospitality projects. The agreement is the third collaboration between the two companies. A month ago, Raffles was announced as the brand for the luxury hotel and residences at Palm360 on Palm Jumeirah, and Nakheel’s 251-room hotel at Dragon Mart, which opened in 2016, is also managed by Accor Hotels, under the ibis Styles brand. Located inside the eastern edge of the Jumeirah Village Circle community, the 252room ibis hotel will provide an economy hospitality offering, with an all-day restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, café, fitness centre, meeting room and car park. The hotel will span 126,000 square feet across 16 floors. It is expected to open in 2021. Nakheel Chairman, Ali Rashid Lootah, said: “Our hospitality business continues to go from strength to strength, as we design and deliver a diverse range of hotels, resorts and serviced residences at key locations across Dubai, and partner with world-leading hotel brands to bring new hospitality concepts to the emirate. I am delighted to further reinforce our partnership with AccorHotels for the ibis hotel at Jumeirah Village Circle.” The JVC hotel is one of 17 projects in Nakheel’s Dh5 bil-

The 252-room Ibis Jumeirah Village Circle will open in 2021

lion hospitality expansion programme, under which some 6,000 new rooms and hotel apartments will be delivered across Dubai. Two are already operational, with the rest at various stages of construction and development. Olivier Granet, Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer for AccorHotels Middle East & Africa, added: “ibis is by far the leading economy hotel brand in the region with 39 hotels and this project is a true testament to the strength of this offering in the Middle East. As one of the world’s most iconic hospitality brands, ibis is recognised by high quality, contemporary and comfort-

able design and genuine service, all of which will find expression at ibis Dubai Jumeirah Village Circle.” Around 30,000 people currently live at Jumeirah Village Circle, with a predicted population of more than 300,000 when the 560-hectare master community is fully complete. JVC amenities include 33 landscaped parks and the upcoming Circle Mall and JVC community club, both of which are under construction and due to open in 2019. In 2016, Nakheel completed an Dh18.5 million road improvement scheme, which opened three new JVC entry and exit points from Hessa Street. g


ENBDAM reports AUM growth to $4.8bn in ‘17

Jumeirah unveils new hotel brand


umeirah Group, the Dubai-based global luxury hotel operator, recently launched Zabeel House by Jumeirah, a new brand created in response to the continuing and growing travel trend for exploration and enrichment through travel experiences. Zabeel House by Jumeirah will have a strong appeal for this increasing segment of travellers, from across a broad demographic, who want to connect meaningfully with their travel destinations. With five management agreements already signed in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and United Kingdom, and a number under discussion, Jumeirah Group is creating an eclectic collection of hotels under the Zabeel House by Jumeirah brand, with a focus on locations at the heart of interesting and exciting neighbourhoods. High on design but low on complexity, hotels under the new brand

will offer brilliant basics and unexpected extras set in an upscale, casual environment. The core target market for the brand will be both business and leisure travellers who want a lively base from which to explore: therefore each property will be conveniently located to help guests experience the city they’re in. The core design ethos of the Zabeel House brand is centred on the uniqueness of each individual neighborhood. Each Zabeel House hotel will offer bespoke design, features and architectural details. As such, the design model challenges standardisation but with common features to anchor the brand and deliver efficiency of scale. Although positioned as an upscale hotel brand, there is no reference to a particular hospitality category. This versatility is an important element of the brand vision and design con-

cept, and reflects the Zabeel House guest; a strong individual with tastes. Jumeirah Group Chief Operating Officer Marc Dardenne said: “The launch of Zabeel House by Jumeirah is a significant milestone in achieving strategic expansion and provides an opportunity for Jumeirah Group to access new localities and destinations. The brand has broad appeal, and we are confident that owners will be very pleased with its commercial strengths and guests will be delighted by their Zabeel House by Jumeirah experience.” Zabeel House is a place to immerse into the local neighbourhood to discover more in cities. Each hotel under the brand will have a price point, service attitude and attention to design to match this ethos. Jumeirah Group currently operates 19 Jumeirah branded hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. g


mirates NBD Asset Management reported a 10 per cent growth in its assets under management (AUM) to US$4.8 billion (Dh17.28 billion) in 2018. “In 2017, total AUM increased to US$4.8 billion, with US$3.4 billion in segregated mandates and US$1.4 billion in funds,” a company statement said. “Emirates Global Sukuk Fund grew by 62 per cent to hit US$209 million, making it one of the largest international Sukuk funds while Emirates MENA Fixed Income Fund grew by 31 per cent to reach US$194 million, making it one of the largest funds in the asset class. Emirates Islamic India Equity Fund, managed by UTI International, crossed US$65 million within one year of inception, returning 33.03 per cent to investors and Emirates Active Managed Fund, managed by Jupiter Asset Management, returned 18.50 per cent to investors, ending 2017 in the top quartile of its Morningstar peer group. Salman Bajwa, Senior Executive Officer at Emirates NBD Asset Management, says: “This year we have expanded our footprint across the GCC by adding some of the largest regional institutions as clients and increased our penetration across international investors, particularly in Europe. g Gulf Property




Zorah opens Marina 1

l Zorah, a mixeduse development, nestled in the exotic setting of natural mangroves and a vast seafront in Ajman, officially opens its first creek-side development, Marina 1, boasting over 15 new dining outlets and recreational options on February 1. Al Zorah Marina 1, under the guiding hand of renowned marina operators, ART Marine, is now offering world-class berthing and rescue services for boats and yachts between 8 and 40 metres. Boat owners can now moor, access the promenade and enjoy the new dining and recreational facilities at Marina 1. Additionally, the 37-metre luxury yacht, Nordic Star is available for charter for a variety of purposes, from dockside business meetings to full day excursions, or weekend cruises. The expansive, architecturally designed Al Zorah Marina 1 is home to a recreational park featuring a diverse range of food and beverage outlets such as Operation Falafel, La Villa, Kaakunada, Colorato, Sweetcorn, AquaBrown Coffee, Funtastico Snack Shack, Z lounge and cruise floating restaurant, Marsa Ajman. Moreover, a leading multipurpose events facility, BIEL, spread over 1,800 square meters can host and cater to a wide array of events, from professional trade exhibitions to consumer shows, from concerts to weddings and gala dinners. g


Gulf Property

Damac unveils Reva at Business Bay


amac Properties recently launched its latest development in Business Bay, Rěva Residences, offering exquisitely-appointed one and two-bedroom apartments overlooking the spectacular Dubai Canal. Rěva Residences offers the exclusivity and breathtaking canal views expected of a premium luxury property, complete with 24-hour concierge and world-class amenities, in an affordable, lifestyle-focused concept in the heart of Dubai. With onebedroom apartments starting at Dh699,000, it offered customers a value-added proposition for living. “Business Bay has become the bustling centre of Dubai’s business, leisure and entertainment district, and Rěva Residences promises to live up to the neighbourhood’s lavish lifestyle proposition, from its elegant interiors to its breath-taking views,” said Niall McLoughlin, Senior Vice President at Damac Properties. “Even the most discerning apartment buyer will be left amazed at the overall proposition that Rěva Residences brings to the neighbourhood, as it offers everything a modern, upwardly mobile executive or young couple could want, right in the heart of Dubai.” Located on the south ridge of Business Bay with direct views of Dubai Canal, Rěva Residences offer luxury one and two-bedroom apartments in one of Dubai’s most sought after areas. Tenants will enjoy discovering a wealth of dining, entertainment and retail choices that

Reva is Damac Properties’ first project launch in 2018

are just minutes away by foot, an abundance of lush parks and waterside paths for jogging or cycling, as well as the finest designer stores in the world’s largest mall next door. Rěva Residences enable tenants to wake up every day to spectacular views from their stylish home, with elegantly appointed interiors, fitted kitchens, spacious bathrooms, and within easy access to a range of life-enhancing amenities. Rěva Residences includes an elegant lobby with 24hour reception and concierge desk, landscaped gardens,

temperature-controlled swimming pool, state-of-the-art gym, steam and sauna rooms, children’s play area and outdoor courtyard. Damac is offering competitive payment plans for Rěva Residences, with as little as one per cent monthly payment plans and up to 45 percent balance on completion of the project. Damac has delivered approximately 19,855 homes so far and has a development portfolio of over 44,000 units at various stages of development comprising 13,000 hotel rooms and serviced apartments. g


Deyaar sweetens offer for Midtown

Ducab opens Dh220m aluminum industry Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court, inaugurates Ducab Aluminium Company’s Dh220 million production line at KIZAD


ucab Aluminium Company (DAC), a new aluminium industry set up with Dh220 million (US$60 million) has recently been opened at the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD). Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court, inaugurated DAC. A joint venture between Ducab, and Senaat, DAC will receive molten aluminium from Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) to produce secondary products and strengthen UAE’s industrial output and help economic diversification. The company will manufacture 50,000 metric tonnes of high quality electrical grade aluminium rod and overhead conductor per annum once it reaches its full capacity. Jamal Salem Al Dhaheri, Chairman of Ducab and CEO of Senaat, has assumed the

role of Chairman of DAC. “The launch of DAC extends the UAE’s industrial capabilities and addresses the growing aluminium market globally. With this special partnership with EGA, we are now positioned to offer tailored products for the electrical supply chain, optimising local resources. Moreover, the new company will substitute substantial imports of aluminium rods and overhead lines into the UAE, and help build a competitive edge for ‘Made-in-UAE’ industrial products.” DAC manufactures Electrical Conductive (EC) grade aluminium and aluminium alloy rods, wires, and bare overhead conductors. The activities at DAC will complement Ducab’s existing portfolio, which has seen the 100 per cent UAE-owned company become a global leader in copper and aluminium wire and cable products. Dr. Ahmad Bin Hassan Al

Shaikh, Vice Chairman of Ducab and DAC Board Member, says, “DAC marks an important milestone in the UAE aluminium sector and adds to a growing number of downstream ventures in aluminium being developed in KIZAD as part of the UAE’s ambitions to further diversify the national economy. “DAC has already signed rod supply contracts to service customers across the GCC, India, Lebanon, North America and select markets in Africa. Further expansions are also being planned for Latin America and Europe as DAC targets export sales of over Dh300 million in 2018.” With five manufacturing facilities in the UAE including DAC, Ducab’s products are currently used in the energy, general construction, oil and gas, industrial, defence, transport, marine, mining and other specialty industry verticals. g


eyaar Development, one of Dubai’s leading property developers, is offering an incredible investment opportunity to Dubai Government employees, providing them with several incentives to become home owners. Government employees will enjoy a 1 per cent discount on the total sale value of their new property, and Deyaar will cover the cost of the 4 per cent Dubai Land Department registration fee. These incentives also come with payment plans that offer downpayments from as low as Dh34,000, with monthly instalments from Dh4,400. Available until mid-February 2018, the offer is applicable to homes purchased in Deyaar’s Midtown project. An integrated urban community in Dubai Production City, near Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, Midtown comprises 27 buildings with a built-up area of almost five million square feet, including studios, one-, two- and threebedroom apartments. The first two phases of the project are 20 per cent complete, with Afnan District comprising 659 apartments, while Dania District has 579 apartments. Unit prices in Midtown start from Dh680,000 for a onebedroom apartment, with studio apartments already sold out. g Gulf Property




EDB unveils Dh1 bn SME finance deal

mirates Development Bank (EDB) has recently launched financing products for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), owned and operated by UAE nationals. Approximately Dh1 billion has been allocated to finance national businesses for 2018-2019, the bank said in a statement. Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Finance and Chairman EDB, said, “Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are two of the most important cornerstones of the UAE’s national economy, as they play a vital role in its progress and prosperity. This highlights the role of Emirates Development Bank, as it offers banking solutions and financial services that are tailored for the growth and development of SMEs.” EDB finances up to 80 per cent of fixed assets and purchases, with attractive interest rates, flexible tenors, and convenient installments. EDB customers can now access their accounts and perform their banking operations at all times through the EDB SMART application, offering easy setups for a wide range of services. These initiatives are in line with the National Agenda, and contribute to the UAE Vision 2021 aimed at raising the contribution of the SME sector to the nation's nonoil GDP to more than 70 per cent by 2021. g


Gulf Property

LIV unveils tower in Dubai Marina


IV Real Estate Development, a family of luxurious properties across the world, launched LIV Residence Dubai Marina, its latest flagship development. Located on the last prime plot of Dubai Marina, the new G+27 residential tower will embody the appeal of the Marina lifestyle offering a choice of studios, 1, 2 and 3bedroom apartments and penthouses, with studios starting from Dh749,000 and 1BR from Dh1,19 million and will be completed in Q2 2019. LIV Residence Dubai Marina offers residents the chance to live the ultimate waterfront lifestyle with 70 per cent of the apartments having views of the Marina waterfront. It is located within walking distance of the water and has access to a private serviced beach, 3 pools and tennis courts. Exiting from the promenade level, residents are within easy reach of restaurants, cafes and convenient retail The tower is distinguished by its spacious terraces and full height glazing designed to maximise marina and sea views. The interiors have been furnished to perfection showcasing natural timber, quartz island counters and textured porcelain tiles. All bedrooms include an ensuite bathroom and built-in wardrobes, and state of the art kitchen appliances. Bathrooms have walk-in showers, deep bath tubs, integrated storage, back-lit lighting and natural stone create a sense of warmth and tranquillity. In

The new development will attract more tourists to Abu Dhabi

addition to the excellent connectivity, the development also features a stylish infinity pool and terrace, luxury gym, tranquil residents’ lounge and garden, and a children’s play area. LIV Residence has been designed to maximise the space, functionality and water views, as well as meeting new standards of energy efficiency according to the latest regulations. Latif Habib, CEO of LIV Developers said: “LIV is defined by the prestige of upscale locations combined with interiors finished to perfection and remarkable detailing. We have been operating in the UAE for al-

most three decades working with experienced partners, and focusing on adding quality developments to the market. LIV Residence Dubai Marina has everything in one address.” Construction of LIV Residence Dubai Marina started in the third quarter of 2016 and is over 20 per cent complete. It is set to be delivered in Q2 2019 ahead of the Dubai Expo 2020. LIV Residence Dubai Marina’s leading partners and consultants include Naga Architects, DG Jones and Partners, Al Qabdah Global Building Contracting and MWM Studio. g



JLL advises on Int’l Tower sale to Aldar

Liberalisation key for start-up growth


iberalisation of investment and licensing procedure as well as easing of entry-level processes for new businesses is helping the region’s start-up movement gain momentum as the second round of the AIM Startup roadshows kick off this week in Kuwait, later in Oman and Egypt – that will see a number of new start-up companies enter the final round of the region-wide pitch competition to select the best startups. Any start-up with a good cause and a business plan could vie for the final showdown at the AIM Startup 2018 Annual Event – the largest start-up event in the Middle East – where startups will meet with international venture capitalists, angel investors and government officials and have various opportunities namely Pitch Competitions, Mentoring Sessions, Workshops, Meeting Room and Full Day

Conference by the industry experts. Five top start-ups will be selected from each of the pitch competitions in Kuwait, Oman and Egypt – who will then enter into the final round of the competition to attract funding and vie for the coveted prizes of up to US$50,000. Egypt’s young entrepreneurs will compete at the Egypt Roadshow and Pitch Competition at the Creative Hub – Host Partners of the event – on February 19, and 20, 2018. The selected MENA startups will now have the opportunity to come to Dubai and participate at AIM Startup’s Grand Annual Event in April 2018 – all expenses paid! Dawood Al Shezawi, CEO of AIM Startup, says, “The economic landscape of the Arab World is changing fast. From smart homes to paperless digital payment processes to drones replacing home delivery vehicles to

the launch of flying taxis – we are going through an exciting phase in the digital transformation of services. These transformations will be led by the start-ups that will shape our lives. “AIM Startup has generated a huge amount of interest amongst hundreds of start-up companies in the region who are lining up in big numbers at the AIM Start-up roadshows and pitch competitions to showcase their project to the funding communities and other stakeholders. “The start-up movement is also gaining momentum in line with the digital revolution in the region that is gradually embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) and changing the way we live and work. Earlier, 25 start-ups were selected out of 100 participating start-ups in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain through a series of rigorous pitch competitions. g

ones Lang LaSalle (JLL), a global real estate advisory, said, it advised the owner on the sale of International Tower, a 26storey Grade A office tower located within Abu Dhabi’s Capital Centre district, to Aldar Properties. “The sale marked the largest commercial real estate transaction in 2017 and was one of JLL’s five largest asset transactions in the region in 2017, totalling to over Dh2 billion in value,” JLL said in a statement. Completed in 2012 by SinoGulf Real Estate Investments, the property is a LEED Gold rated commercial office tower with a gross leasable area of circa 40,000 square meters and a built up area of 91,000 square metres. Located in close proximity to Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, the property is let to a diversified mix of high profile global tenants including AECOM, Wood Group, and McKinsey and Co. Gaurav Shivpuri, Head of Capital Markets in MENA, JLL said: “This is by far the largest sale of a real estate asset in Abu Dhabi in recent times, which confirms that there remains strong interest amongst investors for well-built, let and managed properties in Abu Dhabi and the UAE. We will soon begin the marketing of a high quality residential asset on the island.” g Gulf Property




Eaton Place topped out

llington Properties celebrated the ‘topping out’ of Eaton Place in Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC) in the presence of architects, investors, home owners, agents and other stakeholders as the last slab of concrete was laid ahead of schedule. Eaton Place, the third project to top out for the Dubai-based property, has set benchmarks in construction, while offering residents and investors a value proposition in Jumeriah Village District. With JVC bordered by Al Khail Road and Mohammed bin Zayed Road, and 10 minutes away from Dubai Marina and 15 minutes from Downtown Dubai, the Eaton Place comprises of studios, 1 and 2-bedroom residences overlooking a pool courtyard adding to a leisure and lifestyle theme. Robert Booth, Managing Director, Ellington, said: “As a home-grown Dubaibased company with a specialist focus on design, today’s topping out ceremony is symbolic of the growing success of Ellington Properties and demonstrates a long-term growth strategy that compels us to build communities within communities for couples and families.” The topping out of Eaton Place continues the success of Belgravia, which is home to over 40 different nationalities, and Belgravia II which topped out its construction late last year, making the community one of the most diverse in JVC. g


Gulf Property

US Dollar’s gain helps London real estate Strength of US dollar makes properties in London cheaper for GCC investors


he strength of the US dollar, to which a range of Gulf currencies have historically retained a fixed peg, has positively positioned property assets in London, creating a strong appetite for a London-based investment. “London remains the most preferred location for investment amongst Middle East Family offices owing to factors like close trading links that date back to the 1800’s, around 39 direct daily flights from the Gulf, and a 175 per cent rise in capital value in the last 20 years,” Faisal Durrani, Partner and Head of Research at Cluttons, says. “For Middle East investors, the 15 to 18 per cent decline in the value of sterling since just before the Brexit referendum has aided London’s appeal. This trend is likely to continue into 2018.” With London retaining its position as the most attractive International investment

destination for Middle East investors, Cluttons’ latest report identifies East Dulwich, Greenwich, Canada Water, Maida Vale and Hammersmith as upcoming residential hotspots, likely to offer the highest rental returns for prospective investors. Conducted in partnership with the Consumer Data Research Centre and University College London, Cluttons’ research, Residential Mobility in London: Unlocking Migration Patterns, has been carried out using spatial interaction modelling. It examines flows of people over time and gives an insight into the push and pull factors of London’s various residential areas, highlighting the factors that most influence the attractiveness of an area to residents and investors. Faisal Durrani said, “The top five hotspots identified are most likely to attract investments and residential migrants, not least due to

their relative affordability, compared to prime Central London locations. The desirability of Maida Vale, in particular, as a location for habitation appears to have spiked in recent years due to its perceived value for money, when compared to nearby Marylebone, or Hyde Park, where average prices have risen by 180 per cent in the last 20 years to hover at roughly $3.1 million today.” The report also discusses the decisions taken by many Londoners, who forego home ownership, albeit temporarily, in order to access a certain lifestyle, or to achieve what is perceived to be an optimal commute. “This trend contributes to increasing the population density in many prime Central London locations where accessibility levels are high due to the high concentration of Tube stops, adding to the opportunities for strong rental returns,” added Durrani. g

Ajman Holding to build Mirkaaz Mall


irkaaz, the recently launched Ajman’s newest shopping destination will feature a touch of Arabic tradition next to a plethora of multinational chain stores. Appealing to residents and tourists alike, Mirkaaz is expected to have more than 10 million visitors in year one. The mall will feature a special section that is designed in old market style (similar to the souks in ancient times). ‘Mirkaaz’ is a traditional Arabic word describing a meeting place for opinion leaders, friends and family, where they can engage in meaningful conversations amid a pleasant ambience. In line with the same spirit, the old souk is all-encompassing experience where visitors will be enthralled by authentic Emirati culture in the form of shops that promote local talent and entrepreneurs. “At the core of the Mirkaaz

experience is our value of staying true to what we are and where we come from. The old souk will be dedicated to promoting local talents and entrepreneurs, and is bound to become a tourist destination where traditions are constantly renewed,” said Yahya Al Jasmi, Managing Director of Ajman Holding. Spread across a thousand square meters, the old souk will display traditional products and souvenirs on sale across the stores and also have a majlis-like seating section where Mirkaaz visitors can relax and enjoy traditional experience. Additionally, to support start-ups and encourage small and medium sized (SMEs) companies to establish their footprint in the country, Mirkaaz will also offer budding entrepreneurs distinct working spaces to operate their businesses. Situated on the first floor of the

mall, next to the entertainment area, the stores spread across 1,108 square meters will allow upcoming entrepreneurs discover and test their products and services without breaking the bank. “Unlike traditional mall spaces which require long and expensive leases that are difficult for some startups, Mirkaaz will offer special spaces which are set up as separate stores in the form of booths. While the distinct spaces will help start-ups and SMEs benefit from the foot traffic, it will also help them establish a mall presence,” concluded Yahya Al Jasmi. Mirkaaz is the latest development of Ajman Holding, a strategic organisation with a diverse range of subsidiaries in the UAE. Strategically located at the juncture of Sharjah and Ajman the shopping mall will be easily accessible via Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road. g



Core Savills gets Banyan Tree sales job

weid and Sweid has appointed Core Savills as the lead sales agent for the Banyan Tree Residences – Hillside Dubai. The project will fall under the Banyan Tree Residences collection and will be the collection’s first project in the Middle East. The 32 storey, single tower development includes one, two, three and four-bedroom apartments, duplex apartments with private outdoor gardens, and three full-floor penthouses crowning the building with large terraces featuring cantilevered swimming pools with views over the Emirates Golf Course and the Arabian Gulf. Residents will be able to enjoy the peace and tranquillity associated with the Banyan Tree brand thanks to extensive green spaces and lush landscaping within the 110,000-square foot gated community. A resident-only Clubhouse and Spa will feature an authentic Banyan Tree experience, staffed by Banyan Tree therapists. Maher Sweid, Managing Partner of Sweid and Sweid, said: “This is a Middle East first for Banyan Tree Residences and an iconic addition to Dubai’s skyline. Core Savills has an excellent reputation in the region, with a proven track record of success in Dubai, the UAE and globally.” g Gulf Property




Azizi to deliver Mina in Q3 2018

zizi Developments, a leading private real estate developer operating in the UAE for over a decade, is on course to complete its iconic project Mina by Azizi on the Palm Jumeirah in the third quarter of 2018, ahead of scheduled delivery. With its well-crafted design and prime waterfront location on the sands of the ‘crescent’ of the Palm Jumeirah, one of UAE’s most sought-after destinations, Mina by Azizi features panoramic views of the sea and provides private beach access to 178 fully-furnished serviced apartments and penthouses. The Dh780 million project will be the new lifestyle destination on the Palm covering a total area of 11,244 square metres which includes 120 onebedroom, 54 two-bedroom, 4-three bedroom, and 4 penthouse residences. In addition, it will include a total retail area spanning 1,532 square metres. The project’s presence in the heart of Dubai will provide lucrative returns for those looking for a luxurious lifestyle. Mina by Azizi is set to be completed almost a year to the date after its first luxury residential project on the Palm Jumeirah, the AED350million Royal Bay completed in August last year, which is also supplementing the growing demand for luxury serviced residences in Dubai. g


Gulf Property

Azizi to deliver 7 projects in 2018


zizi Developments, one of the fastest growing developers in the UAE, said it will deliver seven projects at Al Furjan in the first half of 2018, ahead of planned schedule. The seven serviced apartment projects boast a combined value of Dh1.8 billion. As part of Azizi Group Chairman’s vision to deliver projects ahead of schedule, the construction of the seven projects is being carried out 24 hours a day. Roy Mediterranean and Montrell are set to be delivered in February, while the other projects to be delivered in the second quarter of 2018 include Plaza, Azizi Star, Samia, Farishta and Shaista. The projects will add more than 2,000 homes to the Al Furjan community comprising of spacious Studio, One and Two Bedroom apartments and commercial area,

Dh12bn value of Azizi Riviera, being developed at Meydan One

while maintaining the use of superior quality materials sourced from Europe and renowned local UAE companies such as RAK Ceramics which are used across all Azizi Developments’ projects. Farhad Azizi, CEO, Azizi Developments said, “Construction is a crucial part of our business and we remain committed to building and delivering homes to our customers on time. Azizi Developments was one of the first developers to start building in

the Al Furjan community back in 2013.” Since then, Al Furjan has emerged as a premier residential real estate destination in Dubai, offering a unique and comfortable community lifestyle to residents who would like to be located close to what is fast becoming a new hub in Dubai. Al Furjan is one of Dubai’s fastest growing residential neighbourhoods, with easy access to Ibn Battuta Mall, Jebel Ali Free Zone, the Expo 2020 site, schools, shopping malls and a community centre. Azizi Developments is the real estate investment arm of Azizi Group. Established in 2007, the company’s diverse experience in the property market has led the value of its current portfolio in the emirate to over Dh20 billion and more than 100 projects at various stages of development. g

Azizi to start P III & P IV of Riviera


At A Glance

Dh9.1 billion

to be invested by Azizi in Dubai’s real estate in 2018

Dh20 billion project portfolio value of Azizi Developments


izi Developments, one of the leading private developers in the UAE, said, construction of Phases 3 and 4 of its flagship project, Azizi Riviera, will commence in February 2018. Construction of Phases 1 and 2 of the Dh12 billion canal development in Meydan One is well underway. While Phases 1 and 2 will be completed in Q1 2019, Phases 3 and 4 will be completed in Q3 2019. Once completed, the four phases will have a total of 16,000 apartments. Farhad Azizi, CEO of Azizi Developments, said: “The consistency in Azizi Riviera construction progress makes the start of 2018 a very exciting time for all of us. This destination project will enhance Dubai community lifestyle options through the

Dh12 billion

development value of Azizi Riviera project at Meydan

Dh25 billion

development value of Azizi Victoria at the Meydan City


units will be developed at Azizi Victoria at Meydan City introduction of mixed-use assets, such as hotels, residential, and retail developments.” From February, the waterfront project will witness round-the-clock construction to achieve Azizi Group Chairman Mirwais Azizi’s vision to

deliver projects ahead of schedule. “2017 was extremely positive for us with a steady pace of project construction and handovers, allowing us to further enhance our credibility in the market. 2018 is poised to be an even better year because of our continued growth and expansion, as well as the new projects we will introduce to the market,” Farhad Azizi added. Inspired by the French Riviera, Azizi Riviera is collectively made up of 69 mid-rise residential buildings comprising studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, a mega integrated retail district and a four and a five-star hotel. The architecture, while drawing inspiration from the French Riviera waterfront lifestyle, will also contain versatile, contemporary ele-

ments. Outdoor recreation and proximity to the business hub of Dubai and other leading attractions, including the Meydan One Mall and the Meydan Racecourse, home of the Dubai World Cup - the world’s richest horse race, further contribute to making it a sound return on investment. A key feature of the new development is a mega integrated retail district which will consist of high street bridge brands, leisure and entertainment options. The overall development will also offer access to long paved pedestrian paths and water transport, yachting facilities and a proposed marina, among others. The first two phases of the project witnessed high demand during Cityscape Global exhibition in September 2017 in Dubai. g Gulf Property




HLG gets Uptown Dubai tower raft job

ubai Multi-Commodities Centre (DMCC), master developer of Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) and Uptown Dubai, has awarded Dubai based contractor, Habtoor Leighton Group (HLG), a contract to build the concrete raft foundation for one of Uptown Dubai’s two super tall towers. The value of the contract has not been revealed. Shortlisted amongst eight bidders, HLG will deliver the project by June 2018 which will require 12,000 cubic metres of concrete and 1,500 tonnes of reinforcement steel to complete the foundation raft. With shoring and piling works well underway for the 10 million square feet development of commercial and residential space, Uptown Dubai’s first tower, will comprise hotel rooms, restaurants, health spas, conference facilities and 240 branded residences set for sale in 2018. Uptown Dubai will be anchored by two super-tall towers designed by internationally renowned architects Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill from Chicago. DMCC began the construction of its Uptown Dubai in September 2017, a premium mixed-use destination with 7 towers. The district’s main podium, 28 meters above ground, features a central plaza that will be larger than New York Times Square, circled by outlets, connected to a mall. g


Gulf Property

US-based Jacobs gets Aljada infra contract Arada released Phase III villas of the Nasma Residences


rada, the Sharjahbased master developer of communities, has awarded the infrastructure design contract for Aljada, Sharjah’s largest ever mixed-use project, to professional services firm Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. The contract forms part of the overall Dh1.2 billion infrastructure package for Aljada, which will see Jacobs managing all aspects of infrastructure delivery for the project, including roads, water, power and drainage, ensuring full integration with the overall masterplan. Aljada, a master-planned destination with a sales value of Dh24 billion, spread across 24 million square feet project has become Sharjah’s fastest-selling residential community. Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Arada, said: “This is a significant milestone for Aljada, as we continue to work towards breaking ground on this

megaproject by the end of the first quarter. We are pleased to be partnering with Jacobs, a company with an excellent track record in delivering world-class projects around the world.” Neil Stevens, Project Director with Jacobs, said: “We are extremely happy to be working closely with Arada on the development of Aljada, a landmark project both for Sharjah and the UAE. We are looking forward to bringing our expertise and skills to this inspiring project and help deliver innovative, yet sustainable infrastructure, for this exciting development.” The contract award follows a busy start to the year for Aljada and the developer behind the project, Arada. In early January, Arada announced that it had secured a Dh1 billion Islamic financing facility with two major UAE banks, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Dubai Islamic Bank, to help fund the development of Aljada. Aljada is ideally situated on

the last major plot of undeveloped land in the heart of Sharjah, with exceptional connectivity to surrounding areas, and is an all-encompassing district that comprises considerable retail, leisure and entertainment options, in addition to a wide range of residential and commercial offerings. Delivered in phases starting in 2019, construction on Aljada will begin in the first quarter of 2018 and the entire project is expected to be completed by 2025. The Aljada masterplan is carefully designed with walkability and wide green spaces in mind, allowing residents, workers and visitors the ability to live, work, play and be entertained within a precinct. Jacobs leads the global professional services sector delivering solutions for a more connected, sustainable world. With $15 billion in combined revenue and a talent force more than 74,000 strong, Jacobs provides full service for businesses. g

RSG gets approval for 5-star hotel


SG Group, developer of Sabah Rotana said, its new project has received approval to begin its construction of a 5-star hotel by the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). Sabah Rotana, a premium property, is a collaboration between accomplished property developers, RSG Properties and Rotana, one of the leading hotel management companies in the region with hotels across the Middle East, Africa and Turkey. The establishment will bring together the two leading names of their fields and promises to be a prime addition to the city’s iconic skyline. The upscale guest establishment is a 54-storey property with 533 rooms and serviced apartments. Situated on Sheikh Zayed Road, it stands in the prime neighbourhood of Sufouh Gardens and offers spectacular views of the Burj Khalifa and Palm Jumeirah. The validation from DTCM follows a stringent multi-layered framework to rate each property and reinforce the high standards of the industry. The approval of 5-star categorisation to begin the construction of Sabah Rotana checks an important landmark on it scheduled timeline culminating in its opening in 2020. RSG Properties is renowned for its time and quality bound projects and this venture is holding up that precedence. Raj Sahni, Chairman of RSG Properties said, “The pre-approval by DTCM for

Sabah Rotana

the construction of Sabah Rotana, a five-star hotel/hotel apartments project, is another milestone for RSG Properties. We have been tireless in our pursuit to provide an unmatched experience to our guests. This pre-approval is the first step towards the realisation of that promise. Sabah Rotana aims to redefine hospitality as we know it and we are confident we will deliver on our claim.” The towering structure has comfortable accommodation

at the exquisitely designed hotel which features spacious rooms, executive suites and presidential suites. In addition to this, there are studios, one and two-bedroom hotel/hotel apartments for its guests. Located in close vicinity to the major business and leisure centres of the city, it has impressive in-house entertainment facilities. The hotel is apt for corporate visitors as well, with meeting rooms that are equipped with modern facilities. g


Dubai Investments buys off Emicool


ubai Investments PJSC, the leading, diversified inv e s t m e n t company listed on the Dubai Financial Market, has acquired additional 50 per cent stake in Emirates District Cooling LLC [Emicool] from its joint venture partner Union Properties for Dh500 million. Following this acquisition, Dubai Investments owns 100 per cent stake in Emicool. Khalid Bin Kalban, Managing Director and CEO of Dubai Investments, said: “The transaction strengthens Dubai Investments’ portfolio in the utility service domain, growing its asset base, and is expected to boost future profitability and deliver value to shareholders. The transaction will have a positive impact on Dubai Investments’ consolidated financials with EBITDA expected to increase by Dh110 million. Total assets would go up by Dh1.8 billion while liabilities would increase by Dh1.2 billion.” Established in 2003, Emicool currently provides district cooling services to over 19,000 customers in the UAE. Emicool is planning to increase its plant capacity to 500,000 Tonnes of Refrigeration by 2020, with the ramp up in construction leading to increased demand for district cooling services across UAE and the region. g Gulf Property





Managing Director International Monetary Fund

ountries in the Middle East region have placed job creation and inclusive growth at the heart of their reform agendas. There has been progress – though not enough. Many are clearly struggling with ‘how’ to scale up reform implementation, and turn these priorities into outcomes. How can we fulfill the aspirations of the region’s youth, restore hope in the future, and increase trust among its people? More than 27 million young people in the region will join the workforce over the next five years, a region where youth unemployment is the highest in the world, averaging 25 percent. More than 60 percent of citizens perceive that connections – or wasta – determine whether or not you find a job. The public dissatisfaction that is bubbling up in several countries is a reminder that even more urgent action is needed. The good news is that the stronger global economy offers a window of opportunity for reforms. IMF economic projections released recently show that global growth is at a decade high, reaching 3.7 percent in


Gulf Property

Inclusive growth key for Arab World 2017, and is expected to accelerate further to 3.9 percent this year and 3.9 next year as well. Some 120 countries representing threequarters of global GDP are participating in this cyclical upswing. In this region, growth is also expected to pick up. But at 3.5 percent in 2018 and 2019, it is well below the average 5.6 percent achieved during 2000-2008. Clearly, conflicts and lower commodity prices are taking a toll. Yet these factors should not stop us from acting. On the contrary, more action is needed. There are many promising examples of action across the region – of countries making progress on reforms. Several are taking steps to improve economic and financial access for youth and women, or promoting private sector development. If replicated, they offer the prospect of a more prosperous and inclusive future. Let me elaborate with some examples. First, many countries are leveraging technology to advance economic and financial inclusion. Fintech startups in the region have increased sevenfold since 2009, mostly in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and the UAE. Jordan, for example, introduced eFawateerCom, an electronic platform that allows people to pay bills online and from ATMs. It processes more than one million transactions a year and connects people with more than 70 online billers.

Small entrepreneurs in the region are also using technology to match job seekers with business needs. Saeed Alfagieh, a winner of our youth innovation contest, showed how technology can help, even in a trying conflict situation such as Yemen. A second area of progress: several countries have taken steps to improve the business environment, cutting red tape and promoting small and medium enterprises. In the case of Morocco, the improvement in the business climate and the creation of the Free Trade Zones in Casablanca and Tangiers have generated some 85,000 jobs in the automotive industry. And now close to 45 percent of car parts for the auto sector are sourced from local suppliers. Overall, while there is encouraging progress, implementation needs to be accelerated, broadened, and scaled-up across the whole region. So how can our work in this conference help? As of now, I see the contours of this agenda revolving around the following three priorities. Priority 1: How to create a vibrant private sector for higher growth and more jobs. The old model where the state is employer of first resort is no longer viable. The private sector needs to step in and step up, and in some aspects government actions can help. This means leveling the playing field for private firms by combating corruption, increasing com-

petition, and taking advantage of global trade and new technologies. Priority 2: How to support excluded groups. Integrating youth, women, rural populations, and refugees requires targeted policies. Financial inclusion can also be an important empowering agent, especially for women. And as I have said so often, including women financially and economically is a potential global game-changer. Priority 3: How to use fiscal policy to invest in people and infrastructure. Fiscal policy can and must be redesigned to support inclusive growth in the region. Today, social spending – on social safety nets, health and education services – is less than 11 percent of GDP. This compares to 19 percent in emerging Europe. Infrastructure needs are also large in many countries. The question is then how to increase spending on social services and infrastructure when budgets are so tight? A key priority is building broader and more equitable tax bases. All must pay their fair share, while the poor must be protected. And if countries can make progress in moving away from the state being the employer of first resort, as mentioned above, this too can help make room for high-return social and infrastructure outlays. Today’s youth are the Arab region’s greatest potential. We must heed their aspirations and rise to their expectations. g

Affordable homes lure buyers in Dubai


he well chronicled shift of developers in Dubai’s property market towards providing affordable properties has piqued the interest of first home buyers across the emirate. The year 2017 saw an estimated 55 per cent of property purchases completed by first home buyers, the majority taking advantage of attractive payment plans provided by developers on off-plan sales, declining asking prices in the secondary market and a willingness to take advantage of continuing comparatively low mortgage rates. The year 2017 also saw rents decline by as much as 10 per cent in some areas, yet the rent savings that were available to many tenants could not offset the desire to own their own piece of real estate. And the reasoning behind their purchase decisions are compelling. We all know that buying a first home is a positive step towards establishing financial security by building equity or ‘net worth’. Owning property allows the individual to change the application of hard-earned dirhams from covering an expense which offers no financial return to investing in an asset which does. In a way, it’s a forced form of saving which will reap benefits in the future. Conversely, paying rent detracts from the ability to build net worth, notwithstanding the immediate year-on-year rental savings. This is because, not only are you pay-

ing out money for no financial gain, but you will eventually be at the mercy of inevitable rental inflation as well. This is a problem because you will be consistently pressured to pay more while your salary increases are lagging, effectively eroding your ability to build wealth. By owning a home, inflation is working in the individuals favour because, in all likelihood, property is increasing in value and, if kept for multiple years, will enjoy an inflation driven compounding effect on its value. This allows building individual net worth through capital appreciation of property, something which is very important for the individuals financial future. If you are planning on renting in Dubai for the duration of 2018, you will miss out on the opportunity to take advantage of a variety of positive developments. For a start, the market is offering the best value for some time and is considered by most to be at the bottom of its current cycle and a reason to continue to rent is disappearing fast. Whether it’s an affordable studio or a luxury villa, there are great value opportunities in every segment of the market supported by the most affordable payment plans seen in years. Also, if you are renting in Dubai, earning UAE dirhams, the value of your property will be increasing as the US dollar will continue to strengthen in 2018. The US Federal reserve is committed to nor-

malising interest rates in 2018 which is good news for investors who are holding assets denominated in or pegged to the value of the US dollar. And then there are mortgages themselves … although interest rates will be increasing going forward, they will remain at very affordable levels for quite some time. Now is the time to do some financial planning to determine how you can obtain that most desirable of assets, the family home. And the economic environment will improve from this time forward. Put simply, Dubai needs people to support an economy that is expected to grow at an estimated 5%+ annually for the remainder of the decade and to deliver initiatives such as the 2020 World Expo. The Expo alone is expected to generate an additional 270,000 jobs and drive demand for housing and commercial facilities that, by and large, don’t currently exist. Much of the city’s planning comprehends the number of people living in the emirate to grow to 3.4 million people by mid-2020, a 7 per cent annual increase from today’s population of 2.9 million. Meanwhile, infrastructural spending continues with a total budget of Dh56.6 billion being announced for 2018. Heavily focused on infrastructure projects led by Expo 2020 the budget comes in line with Dubai Strategic Plan 2021's targets and future commitments. The budget features a rise in



Chief Executive Officer of Harbor Real Estate, Senior Advisor and Instrucor at the Dubai Real Estate Institute

infrastructure spending, which makes up 21 per cent of the total government expenditure. This reflects the directives of Sheikh Mohammed to raise infrastructure efficiency in Dubai for the emirate to become the preferred destination for living, tourism, and businesses across all sectors. The budget's overall spending represents a 19.5 per cent increase over 2017. Every emerging economy needs to develop a strong middle class as its expansion is critical to growing a sustainable economy and developing resilience in the face of external financial and economic shocks. The structural shift towards more affordable housing will not only serve to accommodate the expected rapid population growth associated with the 2020 expo, but also serve as an important factor in the development of the Dubai economy overall as more people take advantage of the opportunity to own the most important asset they will ever invest in … their home. g Gulf Property





Founder Dream Design Real Estate

uying off-plan has been bit of an unpopular word since the dark days of the property crash in 2008, when scores of buy-toflip investors were left out of pocket. However, as speculated off-plan buying is making a comeback in 2018. Most major developers now offer generous payment plans for their off-plan projects, yet in a bid to avoid a repeat of the crash, there are restrictions in place to prevent an influx of buy-to-flip investors hiking the prices up for the enduser (the people that actually want to live in the property). For instance, the UAE Central Bank’s rule allows only 50 per cent loan-tovalue ratio, meaning you need to stump up 50 per cent of the property value in a deposit. This avoids investors putting down low 10 per cent deposits, only to resell the property at a sky-high price at the expense of the person who actually wants to live in the building.


Gulf Property

2018: A Year of Off-Plan Sale Below are some tips to help your decision making process. You don’t need as much cash as you think. While you will need a hefty lump sum in savings as a deposit, the good news is that this doesn’t always equate to 50 per cent of the property value. In some instances, the cash deposit required can be as low as a 20 percent initial payment. How? Well, the property developers recognise that not many people have as much as a 50 percent deposit saved and are coming up with their own payment plans to get would-be buyers a foot on the ladder. These plans include 30:70 plans where you pay 30 percent first and the remainder on completion, and many payment plans now allow you to pay in 10 per cent instalments as each phase of construction is completed. Off-plan is cheaper than ready property. Buying offplan allows you to arrange your finances better and means you don’t have to be lumbered with a loan for the whole amount of your property. But there are, of course, advantages to buying a ready property: with house prices down, coupled with tricky off-plan mortgage rules, there has been a boom in ready property sales. However, it’s generally cheaper to buy off-plan (up to 30 percent below market value), and that gap is expected to get bigger as developers work to drive interest in off-plan investment.

Reputed developers are back in business. One potential stumbling block would-be buyers may face when buying off-plan in Dubai is that UAE banks will not lend to all off-plan projects. The decision largely comes down to the developer and their credentials. But the big players – Emaar, Akoya by Damac and Azizi – have all secured mortgage lending for their off-plan projects. Going with a reputed developer that the banks recognise will also ensure your money is safeguarded from rogue developers. Only legitimate developers can advertise property for sale. Since October 2016 regulations came into effect which require developers and brokers to get approval from Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) before they advertise property in the media. The new regulation is aimed at cracking down on fake property ads, protecting both buyers and genuine developers. I have felt this negative sentiment towards off the plan from the beginning of my career. Amongst other potential pitfalls, I believe the main risk involved in this type of property purchase is the uncertainty around whether the buyer is receiving a good deal in the first place. To ensure you are wary when investigating the off plan options, here are my tips on how to obtain the best deal: Beware of dodgy developers. Before entering into a contract with a developer, performing a background

check is essential. You will want to research past projects and assess the chances of the developer going into liquidation before the project is complete. Choose your property agent wisely. Agents have been known to dine clients, fly them to the development site and accommodate them in 5-star hotels in order to have them purchase the property. Don’t be fooled by rental guarantees. Developers will often entice buyers by offering a rental guarantee for the first one or two years after completion. As tempting as this sounds, once this period is complete many owners will find that the tenant has been paying an incredibly low rent, with the developer subsidising the difference and factoring this into the purchase price of the property. Make sure the numbers add up correctly before you accept. Beware of potential financial risks. No property investment is immune to the fluctuating property market, including off the plan properties. Gain legal advice. Seeking legal advice is crucial, particularly for first home buyers. Before you sign anything or money changes hands, have a solicitor look over all the contracts and documents. Ensure the contract contains a “funds set” or a “drop dead” clause outlining the date the property must be completed by. If this is not met, you should be able to withdraw should you wish to, and have the deposit refunded. g

Jordan property market looks up


he real estate market in Jordan is growing and we predict an upturn in 2018. The overall market seems to be stabilising and both developers and buyers are adapting to the new realities. Since the Arab spring began in 2010, Jordan has often been seen as an oasis of stability in the Middle East. Despite being a monarchy, the state is relatively liberal. Amman has ballooned from a city of 5,000 inhabitants in the 1920s to 4 million now, with waves of refugees following each fresh episode of political turmoil in the region. Many Palestinians arrived in the 1960s. Later, after the first Gulf war, wealthy families relocated from Kuwait and Iraq. Up to 1.2 million Syrian refugees are thought to have come to Jordan since 2011, creating pressure on the affordable homes market. But overall demand remains weak. Property sales were 6 per cent down in the first quarter of 2017, year-onyear, according to the Department of Lands and Survey. But the economic outlook could improve. King Abdullah II recently unveiled an ambitious economic stimulus plan, Jordan 2025. In last quarter of 2017, we saw a gradual shift from renting to buying homes due to the large supply of housing and abundant options in the market. With the changing trends, real estate companies and agents have a real challenge of customising based on buyer tastes and expecta-

In last quarter of 2017, we saw a gradual shift from renting to buying homes due to the large supply of housing and abundant options in the market. With the changing trends, real estate companies and agents have a real challenge of customising based on buyer tastes and expectations as buyers are becoming pickier and place a heavy focus on services and added-value.

tions as buyers are becoming pickier and place a heavy focus on services and added-value. In order to cater to this, property developers are now providing consumers with more attractive options and services. Buyers are also looking for lifestyle benefits like retail outlets and dining options within their communities and other amenities such as temperature controlled swimming pools and fitness clubs.

Real estate transaction value in Jordan in 2017 reached JD6.062 billion, dropping by 14 per cent when compared to 2016's total of JD7.057 billion, the Department of Land and Survey (DLS) announced recently. Northern Amman registration office ranked first with trade volume of JD1.262 billion, followed by central Amman registration office with JD792 million, while eastern Amman and southern Amman offices saw a trade volume of JD701 million and JD644 million, respectively, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported, citing a DLS statement. Trade volume at Amman offices and the DLS headquarters amounted for 71 per cent of the Kingdom's trade, totalling JD4.289 billion. DLS revenues in 2017 stood at JD310.5 million, going down from JD333 million it collected in 2016, marking a 7 per cent decrease. A total of 2,775 real estate transactions were filed by non-Jordanian investors, 2,060 of which involved apartments and 715 lands. Iraqis topped foreign investors in the real estate market with a total value of JD157.2 million, amounting for 49 per cent, followed by Saudis whose trade volume totalled JD63.4 million or 20 per cent, while Syrians ranked third with JD18.1 million that equalled Studies have also shown that investors tend to incline towards tangible assets and prefer branded residences.



Managing Director of Audeh Group, Chairman of CGH

Branded residences have proved to incur higher returns when compared to unbranded ones. This preference is attributed to added competitiveness that comes with brand recognition and trust. It is also noticeable that there are shifts amongst millennials to purchase homes instead of rent. Hence, smaller living spaces have become a rising trend in the big cities as well as affordable living options in sub-urban areas giving way to a range of choices for customers with different budgets. A lot of buyers are also exploring other stable markets in the Middle East outside the GCC such as Jordan. Investing or doing business in Jordon has become simpler and more straight-forward and foreign investors enjoy incentives offered by the Investment Law, excluding them from custom duties, general sales tax and in some cases even reduction on income tax. GCC nationals have always visited Jordan for tourism and business-related reasons and many of them are well informed on the market in Amman, Jordan. g Gulf Property


9 - 11 April p 2018 DWTC, UAE

Achieving Sustain nability through In nnovation: Showcasing th he Cities of the Futur u e


Com mpany & City Presen e tations

Sessions S & nel Discussions Pan

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W Witness the latest an nd most innovative technolo e gies that will cchange the future

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Mortgage Refinance


efinance your mortgage could be the upright way out for you to save. As the mortgage products offering in UAE are still in borrower’s interest, which appropriately revealed in mortgage transaction during last year’s transaction report, where it increased in number gradually. Refinancing a mortgage can actually be rewarding, but doing it at the wrong time can lead to overstress. Moreover, to save extra on your mortgages have a vigilant watch on the market movement before stepping into refinance. No doubt with the US Federal rate hike, the pressure is gradually coming on the mortgage interest rate but lenders in UAE are reviewing the product so well that it has a peripheral impact on the end users pocket. Refinance may not be a worthy choice for all those homeowners who plan to sell their homes in few years. However, it might be just the right decision if you plan to be in your property for five years or further. Do the rightful due diligence when choosing the product with the specific mortgage terms before taking the leap and opting to refinance, as the home is the valuable asset. Always ask some questions before refinancing your mortgage.

Why should I consider Mortgage Refinance? This is the most decisive question the existing mortgage buyer needs to answer when heading towards the re-mortgage steps. Why you want mortgage refinance? Well, there can be some explanations but majorly, you

might look to reduce the mortgage running cost, to unlock the property hidden equity, to consolidate the debts or to have an extra cash to invest further in portfolio expansion or it can be anything. So, once the reason identified, the homeowner can plan the process in a right way to achieve the desired result.

Is there equity available in my home? If the property is cash bought certainly you can utilize the equity release, but if the property currently mortgaged then probably some calculation is required to take this further. The best way to check the eligibility criteria, speak to a mortgage consultant and figure out which product can help in saving.

What are the current mortgage terms? This question is equally important to understand mortgage refinance equation. Refinance basically defined in two ways, one is rate and term refinancing and another is cash-out refinancing. In the rate term refinancing (buyout), the owner replaces the current mortgage loan with the new mortgage interest rates and terms while using the same property as collateral. While cash-out (equity) refinance, the homeowner extracts some equity on their asset which commonly addressed as asset-based funding. So you need to understand what exactly you looking for – you currently have an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) and looking to switch to a fixed rate, which might help to save little extra and gives you a fair understanding of your monthly


budgeting. Be sure to thoroughly read and understand your current loan and your new loan terms.

Financial Objective A mortgage refinance can help homeowners to meet multiple financial goals, including boosting savings and outlining a monthly budget. So, ideally sit with your financial plan and categorize what is your financial objective and how refinance option can give you freedom. It might be a potent way to pay off the debt sooner, lower monthly repayments, and save on interest costs. Furthermore, a deep thought and thorough study can help to achieve the goal.

Can afford to refinance? Mortgage refinance associated with an additional cost to borrowers pocket but if the suitable groundwork is done focusing a long-term advantage, then it brings considerable savings and drops that extra cost problem. As per the UAE Central Bank guideline, for buyout settlement, the existing financial institutions can charge only 1 percent of the total outstanding loan amount or a maximum of Dh10,000 whichever is less. Moreover, this cost would be included in the liability letter, which would be issued by your current bank. The attractive fact in mortgage refinance is when you give time and dedicate your research for the best option, and then certainly it helps to keep the transaction cost low and the long-term saving offsets the refinancing cost. Discussing the upfront transaction costs helps the homeowners to get aided by the reduced rate faster.


Managing Director 4C Mortgage Consultancy

Refinance the mortgage is not the small decision it will not only impact your mortgage payment but also influence your entire financial book. Here are some additional pointers to keep in mind when thinking of refinancing in the near future: Don’t forget to take into consideration the departing costs. Study the offer to understand and calculate wisely your ultimate savings with refinance. Consult the expert to hold the reasonable deals in the market. Your current property value is the key factor to calculate the offering, so evaluate the prospects before stepping up. Rates and fees can vary significantly between lenders. And not essential every buyer endure the same terms or rate, as it hinges on every individual income profile. Hence, shop around and search potential deals in the market to have a viability study. g Gulf Property


UAE real estate market adjusts to lower growth FOCUS


Gulf Property Exclusive

n 2017 the UAE’s real estate sector continued to adjust to lower growth being the “new normal” according to JLL’s 2017 Year in Review report, with all sectors of the market remaining in the downturn stage of their cycle. One of the major drivers of the more subdued market has been the slowdown in economic growth, which declined from its historic average of 4.1 to just 1.7 percent


Gulf Property

in 2017. This represents the low point of the current cycle, with growth forecast to increase again in 2018 (by 3.3%) and averaging 3.4 percent per annum between 2018 and 2020. This should result in a gradual improvement in the performance of the real estate market, but overall conditions are expected to remain subdued in 2018. The start of 2018 could see a reduction in activity and performance in the real estate market due to uncertainties around the impact of Value Added Tax (VAT). “The UAE real estate in-

dustry is entering into a transitional phase, with VAT now in effect and key stakeholders seeking to decipher its immediate and longer term impact. Although VAT does not apply to residential rents and sales of new residential property, other real estate sectors could be negatively impacted by increased costs and cash flow challenges,” said Craig Plumb, Head of Research at JLL MENA. Despite the subdued conditions, there has been continued sales activity in both the commercial and residential sectors in 2017. Four major commercial (office and

retail assets) properties transacted in 2017 (with a combined value of $340 million). The purchasers were all major institutional investors, who recognise the potential uplift in the value of selected properties obtained in periods of depressed market conditions. The majority of sales in the residential sector have been concentrated in the off plan sector, where developers have been offering particularly attractive prices and payment plans. A total of 25,600 off-plan properties were purchased in Dubai in 2017, with 2017 set to record

No. of active companies in Dubai reach 148,842 in 2017


he number of active businesses in Dubai rose to 148,842 in 2017, including 19,877 new trade licenses issued in 2017, according to the Department of Economic Development, the trade licensing body of Dubai Government. “As Dubai retained its attractiveness as a competitive and sustainable business hub in 2017, the Business Registration and Licensing (BRL) section in Dubai Economy witnessed 288,878 transactions, including 19,877 new licenses, during the entire year,” a statement said. Renewal of licenses accounted for 128,965 transactions in 2017 while there were also 26,029 Initial Approval transactions and 38,223 Trade Name Reservations. Auto Renewals constituted 47,125 transactions, Instant Licenses 684, and eTrader licenses 616. The year also saw 24,123

the highest level of off-plan sales in Dubai since 2008 While future supply levels remain constrained in Abu Dhabi, there is an increased level of potential supply due to enter the Dubai market in 2018 and 2019. The completion of all these proposed projects would result in a potential oversupply in some sectors of the market, but it is unlikely that all of these projects will in fact complete (with analysis by JLL revealing that only 40 percent of the total proposed supply of residential units in Dubai has actually materialised over the past 5 years).

transactions related to Commercial Permits and out of them 35.1 percent were banner advertisements, indicating strong competition among companies in marketing their products and services. Promotional campaigns had a 23.3 percent share, followed by discounts, special offers and clearance (22%), summer promotions (14.0%) and exhibitions (2.5%). The new licenses issued in 2017 were distributed across sectors as follows: Commercial (64.3%), Professional (33.8%), Industrial (1.1%) and Tourism (0.9%). The outsourced service centres of Dubai Economy played a major role in service delivery accounting for almost 80 percent (231,902) of the transactions in 2017. Area-wise Bur Dubai and Deira topped the list of new licenses issued with a share of 9,032 each, followed by New Dubai (1,753) and Hatta (70). The top ten subregions that had 51.5 percent of the new licenses are as follows: Burj Khalifa (12.8%), New Dubai (8.8%), Al Marar (6.9%), Naif (5%), Port Saeed (4.5%), Trade Centre 1 (3.7%), Hor Al Anz The report notes that the Dubai economy is expected, to increase more quickly than the UAE average in 2018. This is partially a reflection of the 20 per cent increase in government spending announced in the 2018 budget, with a major portion of the increased spending on infrastructure, and projects related to the hosting of Expo 2020. Given increased client interest in the Sharjah market, JLL has increased its coverage to include Sharjah in addition to Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the 2017 year in review report for the UAE.

East (3%), Al Garhoud (2.4%), Al Barsha (2.3%), Al Karama (2.1%). The distribution and diversity of business activity monitored in 2017 further confirms Dubai’s pre-eminence as a business destination in terms of competitiveness and sustainability. Trade and repair services accounted for 33.8 percent of the economic activities in the emirate, followed by real estate, leasing and business services (22.4%), building and construction (15.2%), community and personal services (10.8%), hospitality and hotels (6.3%), transport and storage (3.2%), manufacturing (2.9%), financial brokerage (2.2%), health and labour as well as agriculture (0.7% each), and education had a 0.6 percent share. Among the new licenses issued in 2017, women owns 12 percent of them. The top nationalities among the new license holders were Indians, Pakistanis, and Egyptians, followed by Saudis, Britons and GCC nationals. Saudis ranked second in terms of market share, followed by Omanis, Kuwaitis and Bahrainis. g

Dubai Real Estate Market

Residential stock in Dubai is estimated at approximately 491,000 units at the end of 2017, with apartments accounting for more than 80 per cent of total supply and reached 403,000 units, while villas reached 86,000 units. Key projects which were completed include Duja Tower in Trade Centre (679 units), and The Polo Residence in Meydan (598 units). Looking ahead, the near completion of a number of residential developments, in-

FOCUS A total of 25,600 offplan properties were purchased in Dubai in 2017, a record on offplan sales in Dubai since 2008. While future supply levels remain constrained in Abu Dhabi, there is an increased level of potential supply due to enter the Dubai market in 2018 and 2019. The completion of all these proposed projects would result in a potential oversupply in some sectors of the market...

– Jones Lang LaSalle

cluding New Dubai Gate in JLT, The Pad in Business Bay, Eagle Heights in Sports City, Serenia Residences on Palm Jumeirah, will likely see up to 17,000 quality apartments enter the market in early 2018. Actual completions are likely to be far less (assuming a materialisation rate of around 40%). Emaar launched a number of new off plan projects in 2017, a trend that extends to the wider residential segment, where supply is increasing ahead of demand. By 2020, a total of 570,000 units of new supply could enter the market, representGulf Property


FOCUS ing an average annual increase of 8 percent. According to Oxford Economics, Dubai’s population is expected to grow an average of 3 percent per annum, this undoubtedly suggests that market absorption rates will be less than the levels of new supply and thus a large number of residential units may be left vacant. The Dubai residential market has weathered many cycles from growth (2001-2008), to decline (2009-2011), to recovery (2012-2014), to its current status of soft landing. The recent activity in the market suggests that confidence has returned to both investors and developers, however it is worth noting that the number of new launches are significantly below their peak levels in 2006/2007 and the volume and the value of sales are also below levels recorded during 2013/2014. Both sales prices and rents declined over the year, but the rate of decline has slowed down over the fourth quarter (an average of 1.6% across all segments). As the market absorbs additional units, it is expected that prices will continue adjusting (downwards) with occupancy levels following a similar trend as supply growth outpaces potential demand.

Abu Dhabi Realty Market

There were 3,000 residential units delivered in Abu Dhabi during 2017, with 88 percent of completions being apartment units bringing the total stock to approximately 251,000 units. Key projects delivered included Sigma Towers 1 and 2, which are located on Reem Island. The first phase


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Dubai’s land parcel touches 149,262 in 2017

he total number of land parcels in Dubai reached 149,262, including 69,982 in the freehold areas and 79,280 plots of land on the non-freehold areas, according to a latest survey conducted by the Dubai Land Department. This reflects a strong growth in the freehold areas and investors’ interest in these land parcels. Dubai Land Department (DLD) said, it has recently completed the first phase of its building classification project, which was launched earlier in 2015 as an initiative from DLD to survey real estate projects across Dubai. Phase one focused specifically on (non-freehold) old areas in Dubai. After a comprehensive survey of the empty land plots, villas, commercial and residential buildings, factories and shopping centres, all types of buildings in Dubai were incorporated into the project's database. This will facilitate the rental of Hidd Al Saadiyat, in addition to Wave and Al Jazeera Towers on Corniche were also completed. The future supply is expected to shift to the New Islands (Saadiyat Island, Reem Island, Yas Island and Al Raha Beach), comprising more than 60 percent of projects currently under construction. By 2020, 12 percent of the total residential supply in Abu Dhabi will be on New Islands, compared to 8 percent in 2017. This trend is predominantly driven by the high number of apartment completions on both Reem Island and Al

procedures for tenants, as well as provide a precise classification of each property in the surveyed areas. The survey examined 100 per cent of land plots outside freehold areas, with the data collected focusing on the current state of the plot, whether there was a building or just vacant land, as well as determining the number of buildings, floors and units (apartments), and the nature of the property’s use (residential or commercial purposes). Moreover, the specifications of the property were also listed according to 64 criteria, which includes the availability of parking spaces, the age of the building, the existence of facilities and services such as lifts, as well as the profile of its location such as sea view. The survey also captured relevant images to support the data collected. Sultan Butti bin Mejren Director General of DLD said: “This important project aims to enhance the transparency in real estate transactions by ensuring accurate data is available to government and private real estate customers. Our target was to Raha Beach. Limited future supply is expected to enter within the main Abu Dhabi Island representing approximately 57 percent of the total residential supply in Abu Dhabi in 2020 compared to 62 percent in 2017. Both apartment and villa sales prices saw slight declines over the last quarter of 2017, while rental indices remained flat for both residential segments. Investor sentiment has been negatively impacted since 2014 when oil prices started declining. The introduction of VAT in January 2018 is expected to

complete the project by the end of 2017 which we have successfully done, and today we are pleased to announce that all parties in the real estate sector are now able to benefit from the survey data.” This project helps DLD to enhance its priority on trust, happiness and innovation, as all parties active in the real estate sector will benefit from it — in particular landlords and tenants. The project will also ensure that developers are able to classify their projects according to DLD classifications. With the survey data, real estate brokers can now list properties based on DLD classification, while allowing companies to classify any property before leasing it. The project will be a useful tool for government decision makers as it provides them with important data for planning governmental services and ensuring the optimal delivery to the public. There is a possibility of modifying the rental increase calculator also to reflect the classification of buildings, which will ultimately enhance confidence and fairness. g add further incentives to potential buyers in the form of more generous post-handover payment plans. This is because the upcoming VAT regulations on residential sales offers developers a zero-rate on all residential sales within three years of the completion of a project. Any home sale done after three years will be subject to the 5 percent VAT.

Sharjah Real Estate Market

Congestion in the older residential locations in the west-



DLD records Dh3bn booking at DPS in 2017

ubai Land Department said, its overseas Dubai Property Show in Shanghai, Mumbai, Moscow and London generated Dh3 billion worth of sales and bookings for properties in Dubai by more than 10,000 visitors last year. Dubai Land Department (DLD) has recently launched its 2018 real estate promotion plan with exhibitions titled Dubai Property Show in Shanghai, Mumbai, London and a few other international markets. Sultan Butti bin Mejren, Director-General of DLD, said: “Dubai has earned a bright reputation among the world’s real estate investors and buyers, and we believe it is our duty to provide them with a clear picture of our city and where our real estate sector is headed. “The competition between developers is healthy and friendly, and the Dubai real estate market continues its journey towards sustainable growth and maturity.”

ern parts of the emirate along the coast and the development of new residential communities within Al Juraina, Al Gharayen and Al Nouf has led a significant shift in population to more eastern locations. The establishment of the University City and industrial area within Al Saja’a suburb has further stimulated the expansion of Sharjah City towards the east. The other major change in the Sharjah residential market results from changes to the property ownership laws introduced in 2014 to allow non-Arab expatriates to pur-

Sultan Butti Bin Mejren, Director-General of Dubai Land Department

Foreign investment in Dubai’s real estate reached nearly Dh82 billion, out of the total Dh107 billion worth of investment, including Dh25.30 billion by the UAE nationals in 2017, according to Dubai Land Department. Majida Ali Rashid, Assistant Director-General of DLD, said: “Dubai is a safe environment for living, working and investing. Thanks to its diversified economic climate, which is capable of attracting business across all sectors, as well as promising growth activities and new industries, Dubai has been able to achieve a leading pochase property in selected projects. This has resulted in the development of a number of master-planned residential communities for sale, including Al Zahia, Tilal City, Nasma Residences, Al Mamsha, Aljada, and Sharjah Waterfront City. The vast majority of the residential units in Sharjah are apartments (89%), with only 11 percent of the current stock comprising villas. There have been announcements to construct around 30,000 additional residential units across Sharjah in coming years. How-

Majida Ali Rashid, Assistant Director-General of Dubai Land Department

sition in the region. All of these features ensure not only that the investor works in an ideal environment, but also that the emirate continues its sustainable growth and success.” The Dubai Property Show will be held in Shanghai in May of 2018 before moving to Moscow in September and Mumbai in December. Roadshows will be organised throughout 2018, in cities in Africa, America, Asia, East Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, and DLD is also expected to be a strong participant in many foreign real estate exhibitions. g ever, as most of these projects have not yet announced details of their phasing, it is not possible to identify how many of these units will be delivered over the next two years. Following a marked decline in 2016, the average price of apartments sold in Sharjah has remained largely unchanged during 2017 (shifting by less than 1 percent for any sector in the year to the third quarter of 2017). Prices have been supported by an increase in sales activity due to the release of units for sale in several new projects during the

“Dubai has earned a reputation among the world’s real estate investors and buyers, and we believe it is our duty to provide them with a clear picture of our city and where our real estate sector is headed. Dubai real estate market continues its journey towards sustainable growth and maturity...”

– Sultan Butti Bin Mejren, Director-General, Dubai Land Department

year. Unlike sale prices, rentals in Sharjah have continued to decline (by between 6% and 10%) over the year to the third quarter of 2017. This decline has been largely driven by softening of rents in Dubai, which has reduced the movement of tenants from Dubai to Sharjah coupled with low market sentiment. Sharjah continues to be an affordable residential destination, with average apartment rents 30-40 percent lower than comparable midmarket products within the city of Dubai. g Gulf Property


UAE 13th most promising economy for investment FOCUS


Gulf Property Exclusive

he UAE has been named the 13th Most Promising Home Economy for Investment in 2017-19 according to a survey conducted by the United Nations Council for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Investment Promotion Agency (IPA) Observer. The ranking, published in the UNCTAD’s recently released annual World Investment Report (WIR) 2017,


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reflects the UAE’s liberal and investment-friendly business policies as the country also moves up in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking for 2018 to 21. "Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) recovery [from the 2008 financial crisis] continues to be on a bumpy road," UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said. "While FDI in developing countries remained at a level similar to the previous year, more investment in sectors that can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals is still badly needed. Promoting FDI for sustain-

able development remains a challenge." FDI to developing economies remained stable, at an estimated $653 billion, 2 percent more than the previous year. However, elevated geopolitical risks and policy uncertainty could have an impact on the scale and contours of any FDI recovery in 2018. The announcement comes as the UAE prepares to liberalise its foreign investment laws allowing greater foreign ownership in local companies in key sectors – that will help a greater inflow of investment in to the UAE – a

major foreign investment destination. It also comes as the country prepares for to organise the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM), the largest annual gathering of government ministers, trade bodies, chambers of commerce and industries, investment authorities as well as private investor groups, that is expected to boost the US$1.85 trillion global FDI flow expected in 2018. It will see a flurry of activities including investment policy reforms, ease in doing business to allow greater flow of capital and goods


At A Glance

$1.75 trillion

Global foreign direct investment (FDI) flow in 2016 reported by UNCTAD

$1.8 trillion

Global FDI flow estimated to have been in 2017

$1.85 trillion

Global FDI flow expected by UNCTAD in 2018

$646 billion FDI flows to developing economies in 2016

$383 billion

FDI flows from developing economies in 2016

movement across the region. Dawood Shezawi, President of AIM, says, “Over the last few years, AIM has created a global platform for international and local investors to promote opportunities for investors to identify the right investment projects and help create employment in different parts of the world.” According to the World Investment Report 2017, global investment flow declined 2 per cent to $1.75 trillion in 2016. FDI flows to developing economies reached $646 billion in 2016, UNCTAD report shows.

“The flow of outward investment from developing economies registered a 1 per cent decline to $383 billion, despite a surge of outflows from China, now the second largest investing country in the world,” said the World Investment Report 2017. “A modest recovery in global FDI flows is forecast for 2017, although flows are expected to remain well below their peak of 2007. A combined upturn of economic growth in major regions and improved corporate profits will boost business confidence, and consequently MNEs’ appetite

to invest,” said the World Investment Report 2017. “A cyclical uptick in manufacturing and trade is expected to result in faster growth in developed countries, while a likely strengthening of commodity prices should underpin a recovery in developing economies in 2017. As a result, global FDI flows are expected to increase by about 5 per cent in 2017 to almost $1.8 trillion.” “The current global economic situation offers a greater opportunity for international investors when asset prices become very attractive making acquisition

less costly and help investors attain a higher and faster return on investment,” Jamal Al Jarwan, Secretary-General of the UAE International Investors’ Council (UAEIIC) said. “In this regard, we find AIM a perfect fit to attract investment and promote economic opportunities prevalent in the GCC region for global investors, while at the same time, helping UAE investors to find the right investment projects in different countries and help the emirati investors to benefit from the opportunities. The eighth edition of the AIM will be held from April 9 to 11, 2018, at the Dubai World Trade Centre, under the theme, ‘Linking Developed and Emerging Markets through FDI: Partnerships for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development’. g Gulf Property



Dubai attracts Dh25 bn in foreign investment in 2017


ubai has attracted Dh25.5 billion foreign direct investment in 2016, making it the seventh highest recipient city of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the world, according to a latest report by Dubai Government. This is expected to inspire other cities seeking greater FDI at the forthcoming Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) to be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre from April 9-11, 2018. Total FDI into Dubai stood at Dh270.8 billion between 2011 and 2015 and in 2016,


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the emirate ranked 7th among the leading cities of the world attracting Dh25.5 billion in FDI. As an open economy, Dubai is affected by global trends but FDI receipts are expected to recover in 2017-2018, a report by Dubai Economy, said recently. The number of active businesses in Dubai increased to 148,842 in 2017, including 19,877 new trade licenses issued in 2017, according to the Dubai Economy, the trade licensing body of Dubai Government. Renewal of licenses accounted for 128,965 transactions in 2017

Dawood Al Shezawy, Chief Executive Officer of Annual Investment Meeting Organising Committee

while there were also 26,029 Initial Approval transactions and 38,223 Trade Name Reservations. Auto Renewals constituted 47,125 transactions, Instant Licenses 684, and e-Trader licenses 616. Dawood Al Shezawy, Chief Executive Officer of Annual Investment Meeting Organising Committee, said, “Dubai remains a shining example of what a city could achieve through economic vision and by attracting foreign investment. Guided by a strong leadership, the public and private sectors worked hand in hand


to deliver the best return on investment in key sectors – trade, tourism, real estate and retail sectors – that continues to draw a large pool of foreign capital that is helping creating employment and business opportunities for all stakeholders. “As we inch closer to the forthcoming AIM hosted by Dubai, more and more public policymakers and international investors will take notice of Dubai’s business model and its success stories to help build other economies. “In this way, Dubai inspires the rest of the world’s cities

and metropolises to attract greater foreign investment.” Dubai Government expects its Dh376.8 billion (US$102.67 billion) economy to grow at 3.5 per cent in 2018. In terms of openness, Dubai ranks third in the world after Luxembourg and Hong Kong, with a high degree of dependence on foreign trade for income. Dubai's openness ratio was 321 per cent in 2016, meaning that trade flows were more than three times higher than the net value added in the economy. Diversification and a relatively high degree of open-

ness in Dubai along with the positive impact of global trends will boost economic growth in the emirate in 2018 and beyond, according to the Dubai Economic Outlook report. Dubai will achieve 3.5 per cent growth in 2018, also drawing on the continued recovery in global trade and the highest growth rates in most developed economies. Among the new licenses issued in 2017, women owns or part own 12 per cent of the new businesses. The top nationalities among the new license holders were Indians, Pakistanis, and Egyptians, followed by Saudis, Britons

and GCC nationals. Saudis ranked second in terms of market share, followed by Omanis, Kuwaitis and finally Bahrainis in that order. “This reflects the wider mix of global investor base investing in Dubai, which is a great example how the emirate appeals to wider nationality,” Al Shezawi says. “Dubai’s attractiveness in drawing foreign investment will remain a key subject of discussions at various levels amongst more than 100,000 delegates and visitors.” Among the new licenses issued in 2017, more than 64.3 per cent were Commercial, 33.8 per cent Professional, 1.1 per cent Industrial and 0.9 per cent belong to the Tourism sector. The outsourced service centres of Dubai Economy played a major role in service delivery accounting for almost 80 per cent of all the business registration or 231,902 of the total transactions in 2017. The total value of Dubai's trade in non-oil goods was Dh1.28 trillion (US$348.77 billion) in 2016. Dubai’s imports are much more than its total exports as most imports are transported to other emirates and to neighbouring countries without them being registered as re-exports. g Gulf Property




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KEF Holdings invests $300m in India COVERSTORY


Gulf Property Exclusive

EF Holdings, a UAEbased diversified conglomerate, will invest US$300 million (Dh1.1 billion) in setting up three prefabrication factories in India that will help accelerate the pace of growth of India’s real estate and construction sectors, currently undergoing tremendous transformation. The company’s first such project, KEF Infra One Industrial Park, one of the world’s largest, integrated offsite manufacturing facilities, is expected to generate revenues of US$1 billion (Dh3.67 billion)

Faizal E. Kottikollon, Chairman of KEF Holdings: A game changer in the building and construction industry

by 2020, from US$150 million generated in 2017 – its first full year of operation following the official inauguration in 2016. This will make KEF Infra one of the fastest-growing technology and engineering companies in the world, and reflects the growth potential for the industry in India, as it witnesses rapid urbanisation. The offsite manufacturing technology specialist has an order booking worth US$207 million (Dh 760.3 million) for FY 2017-18. The game-changing company is the brainchild of UAEbased Indian entrepreneur, Faizal E. Kottikollon, and is an anagram of his initials. In 2013, Kottikollon invested US$100 million to establish KEF Infra One to transform the construction industry. Its growing success is the catalyst behind the company’s new expansion p l a n

which will see an investment outlay of US$300 million in building three new large format factories. “We are currently looking at setting up at least three such factories in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Hyderabad,” Faizal E. Kottikollon, Chairman of KEF Holdings, told a media gathering at the KEF Infra One office in Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu, India. “We are at an exciting crossroads today, as we see a global wave of technologyled innovation that is changing the way we do business. Our operations underpin this ambition, to disrupt sectors through world-class technology that can deliver value more than ever before. “In a short span of three years, KEF Infra has demonstrated our ability to bring world-class proficiency in design, engineering, manufacturing, assembly, and project management-all under roof, thereby, transforming the traditional construction industry by significantly reducing costs and increasing efficiencies. “KEF Infra is entering a critical phase where we have created an interest amongst Indian developers, plann e r s , architects and government policymakers to

“Making money does not excite me anymore. What excites me and my family is the difference we can make to the societies in which we operate and to the lives of people...”

– Faizal E. Kottikollon Chairman of KEF Holdings

Gulf Property



Robotic shuttering facility at KEF Infra One factory

avail our new technology to build projects faster and with less cost that are also more environment-friendly. “The new technology-enabled model has the capacity to deliver large number of projects within a short span of time and provides the ideal solution for a country like India where the government plans to develop mass housing for the low and midincome groups across the country as part of its ‘Housing for All’ scheme. The factory, which literally ‘manufactures’ buildings from the concept and design stage to completion and han-


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dover, is set to revolutionise India’s construction industry – traditionally a labour-intensive and time-consuming sector that generates a large quantity of waste – by reducing cost by 40- 50 percent, build-time by 50 per cent and construction waste from 12 percent to 2 percent. KEF Infra uses offsite manufacturing technology on a Building Information Model (BIM) platform that designs the entire building, feeds the information on materials – both quality and quantity – and then de-constructs the building part by part and sends the information to var-

ious production units for processing and ‘producing’ or ‘manufacturing’ the building components – the floor slabs, wall panels, door panels, window panels - and stores them in the right order for installation and re-assembling onsite. In this process, the building is manufactured from basement, ground floor upwards in an assembly line format at the factory. The parts are then transported onsite where it is then assembled using cranes and machineries with minimal human intervention. The entire process is automated in a factory, in

a controlled environment thus delivering high quality results. “We have signed with LuLu Group to develop India’s first prefabricated shopping mall in Lucknow. The 2 million square feet project will be delivered in a record 21 months compared to the conventional delivery time of five to six years,” Kottikollon said. KEF Infra has witnessed robust growth in its order book, since the launch of the 42-acre KEF Infra One Industrial Park. In 2017, KEF Infra delivered the 400,000 square feet

COVERSTORY At A Glance $1 billion

Expected annual revenue of KEF Infra One by 2020

$300 million

Investment planned on three large industries by KEF Holdings in India In future, robots will fix everything

$100 million

Investment made by KEF Holdings at KEF Infra One

$207 million

Total value of the current work order of KEF Infra One

$150 million

Annual revenue of KEF Infra One in 2017

$400 million Value of Emirates TechnoCasting, a KEF Holding subsidiary, sold to Tyco International in 2012

MEITRA Hospital (500 beds in two phases; 209 completed) in Kerala, within a record time of 18 months, and manufactured 175 public canteens and 20 kitchens as part of the Indira Canteens Project initiated by Karnataka state government. In addition, the firm handed over the Embassy 7B project, a 1.7 million square feet commercial building for the Embassy Group, which was completed in 13.5 months in Bengaluru, and the Infosys Building Phase 2 in Bengaluru which is a 500,000 square feet building completed in 15 months.

Currently, the firm is executing a one million square feet college hospital for Kovai Medical Center and Hospital (KMCH) in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, Phase 2 of the Indira Canteens and kitchen project, which includes an additional 262 facilities across Karnataka, besides the LuLu Mall in Lucknow. The firm has also signed on the G Kuppuswamy Naidu Memorial Hospital (GKNM) in Coimbatore as a client. In India, real estate is the second largest employer after agriculture and is slated to grow at 30 percent over

the next decade, according to a report by India Brand Equity Forum (IBEF). “The Indian real estate market is expected to touch US$ 180 billion by 2020. The housing sector alone contributes 5-6 percent to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” it says. In the period FY20082020, the market size of this sector is expected to increase at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.2 per cent. Retail, hospitality and commercial real estate are also growing significantly, providing the much-needed infrastructure

for India's growing needs. “A total of 217,900 new houses in six Indian states were sanctioned by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) to push affordable housing in the urban areas of the country,” the IBEF report says. “The private equity investments in real estate increased 26 percent to a nine-year high of nearly Rs 40,000 crore (US$6.01 billion) in 2016.” The real estate sector in India is estimated to have attracted investments worth Gulf Property



Meitra Hospital project that was ‘manufactured’ at KEF Infra One factory

US$7 billion in 2017, which will rise further to US$10 billion by 2020. According to data released by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), the construction development sector in India has received Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) equity inflows to the tune of US$24.54 billion in the period April 2000-June 2017. KEF Infra is also delivering several specialised projects through each of its independent verticals such as Precast, Prefabricated Bathroom Pods, Modular MEP, Joinery, Aluminium and Glazing for clients like Sands Infra, Mal-


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abar Gold, Brigade, Mahindra, Bhartiya City, Leela and At One amongst others. KEF Infra is expanding its offering to hotels, retail stores and other commercial units. Faizal added, “The year 2017 was monumental for us at KEF Infra, during which we have gained the trust of numerous top companies. This has helped us to cement our position as industry leaders in the off-site construction space and fuel our drive to create sustainable and inclusive development.” KEF Infra One employs 2,000 professionals including 650 engineers.

In an exclusive interview with Gulf Property, Faizal E. Kottikollon, Chairman of KEF Holdings, elaborated his thoughts. Excerpts:

Gulf Property: You have invested a large pool of capital and resources in this industry. How big is the market for offsite construction technology? Faizal Kottikollon: Very big. In fact, we have barely touched 1 per cent of its potential and there is a lot of need for basic infrastructure and an big opportunity to deliver it faster and better using technology.

If you look at the construction and building sectors in India, these are still very traditional in nature. A normal residential project takes two to three years to build, whereas we could deliver the same in half the time, at nearly 60 per cent of the cost and the least amount of waste. Looking at the overall Indian market, we see a huge demand for our business. The Indian government is planning to provide homes for all by 2022, when the country turns 75. Under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), the government

Infosys Phase II project that was ‘manufactured’ at KEF Infra One factory

plans to deliver 20 million homes in 305 cities and towns across the length and breadth of the country. This alone will drive the demand for mass affordable housing. The question is – do we have enough resources to carry out this huge task? How many workers will be required, how much time will be required to do this? You simply cannot do this enormous job with the traditional method. The construction industry needs technological intervention or disruption if you like. So, offsite precast technol-

ogy is the right solution for the construction industry in India, going forward. With the kind of technology that we have put in at the KEF Infra One factory in Krishnagiri, we see a huge opportunity to change the building industry in India.

Are you talking to the government for the mass housing projects under the PMAY scheme that could perhaps lower the construction cost that could be offered to the people at a subsidised rate? Yes, we are talking to the government as our technol-

ogy could fast-track these homes at a much cheaper cost than what the market offers. However, developing millions of homes would require a large pool of resources and we need to build more offsite manufacturing facilities in India to meet the objectives. One factory in Krishnagiri will not be enough. We need hundreds of these factories. Besides, this is the way forward. Look at the benefits – if we build 20 million homes with this technology, the cost will go down by 40 per cent – which means that the government will have a net sav-


ing of 40 percent which could be used for other development activities or to construct 40 percent more homes – say 28 million homes. Secondly, the homes could be delivered well in time, as our factory delivers projects at half the time, compared to traditional build. Thirdly, we reduce industrial waste – from 12 percent down to less than two percent.

How does the overall technology work to deliver the benefits? We are a technology company engaged in design and build activities to deliver the Gulf Property



Faizal E. Kottikollon and Shabana Faizal: A couple with a cause. Both have been at the forefront of a change initiative that is revolutionising India’s the construction industry

best projects within the shortest possible time and with the least cost. We have integrated several technologies under one roof that helps to conceptualise, design, construct and develop a variety of concrete civil structures, buildings and facilities at about 40 percent less cost and within less than half the construction time. This will change the way people build homes, buildings, offices, shopping malls, educational institutions and theatres. Now the question is how does the process work? We are using smart building information modelling


Gulf Property

(BIM) systems that cover every aspect of civil engineering and construction activities, namely concrete, woodworks, aluminium, mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP), joinery, interiors, HVAC, etc. We have the in-house capability covering all aspects of the development of a construction project – starting from concept design to delivering the building – all under one roof through a one-stop service. So, we design and manufacture all the components of a building and its interiors offsite and transport everything to assemble the building on-

site. We do everything under one roof. It is like manufacturing a building at the factory and installing it on-site. All these are done by the efficient use of computeraided design (CAD), and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) technology managed by specialised human capital. Almost all the works are done by robotic technology that requires the least human intervention. This way, the client does not have to deal with numerous contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers. We do everything in-house and deliver as per desire and de-

sign, and at 25 per cent less the cost and at least 50 per cent less the time. Prefabrication technology has been in existence for a few decades. We have taken it to the next level, by incorporating the CAD, CAM and robotic technology and integrating everything under a new BIM system to reduce costs, time, wastage and money. This is one of a kind solution to address the challenges posed by a highly labour intensive and unorganised industry. Our technology will make the industry more organised and reduce


Housing demand in India

ndia needs $2 trillion or about $250 to 260 billion annual investment in housing sector until 2022, according to a research by global accounting firm KPMG. Housing for all by 2022, the groundbreaking, affordable housing initiative under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), plans to provide homes to 18 million households in urban India and nearly 30 million households in rural India . But as of this April, the Government has approved only 1.88 million urban houses — and roughly 103,000 have been built. The Technical Group on Urban Housing Shortage estimated that the national housing shortage reached 18.78 million in 2013. At the current pace of PMAY, with a little over 100,000 houses built, it will take hundreds of years to build our way out of the housing shortage. However, the Technical Group’s report pointed out that 80 per cent

waste, and make it greener and environmentally sustainable. We are also bringing in transparency to the entire sector.

Is this why you are planning to expand the production capacity? Regardless of the PMAY scheme, we see a natural growth in demand for offsite manufacturing. Builders and developer communities are seeing the benefit offered by us, they will soon shift projects from the traditional time-consuming, labour-intensive and waste-generating process to

of the shortage was attributed to congested houses — something that may be better addressed by enabling individual households to upgrade their own homes. “The focus should be on affordable urban houses, which is 70 per cent of the total urban housing requirement. About 1.7 to 2.0 lakh hectare of land is expected to be required to fulfil urban housing need by 2022,” KPMG said in its report. “About 85 to 90 per cent of the total investments would be required for developing urban housing, where development costs are high due to factors such as land prices, construction cost, fees, and taxes.” Within urban housing, it is the 50 million affordable housing which require attention on priority basis, as it alone would require about half of the total investments and 70 per cent of urban housing needs envisaged. “These investments need to be complemented with additional investments of about $1.5 trillion in urban infrastructure and commercial real estate. Thus, a total investment of over $3.5 trillion may be required for a cleaner, greener, environmentally-friendly, time and cost-saving process that we are offering. And this is already happening. We were requested by the Karnataka Government to undertake the Indira Canteen project – 200 of them to be delivered within a short span of time. We are now delivering a canteen every three to four days.

Did you set up the industry eyeing these large government contracts? No. In fact, when we entered the Indian economy in 2013, the PMAY plan did not exist

urban housing and supporting infrastructure,” the KPMG report says.


Smart City

India is planning to convert 100 cities to become Smart Cities launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 25, 2015. Approximately a third of India’s 1.3 billion population live in cities – most of them having dilapidated infrastructure A total of ₹980 billion ($15 billion) was approved by the Indian cabinet for the development of 100 smart cities and rejuvenation of 500 others. ₹48,000 crore ($7.5 billion) for the Smart Cities mission and a total funding of ₹50,000 crore ($7.9 billion) was approved by the cabinet. In the 2014 Union budget of India, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley allocated ₹70.16 billion ($1.1 billion) for the 150 smart cities. However, only ₹9.24 billion ($150 million) could be spent until February 2015. Hence, the 2015 Union budget of India allocated only ₹1.43 billion ($22 million) for the project. g then. It was announced in 201415. So, our plan had nothing to do with public projects. Besides, as an ethical business, we try to avoid getting into tendering and backroom negotiation, I have always tried and avoided these practices. We entered India with an eye for philanthropic activities. I graduated in industrial engineering from the United States and started my career in the scrap metal and recycling trade in the United Arab Emirates, first collecting scraps, sorting them and selling them or exporting

them to other countries. I then started thinking of developing a business concept that could use scrap metal as feedstock for developing value-added products. So, later in the 1990s, I created a company that recycled scrap metals collected from industrial wastes and developed world-class industrial valves for the oil and gas industry. It was a green concept and we were very good at what we produced – so much so – that a global conglomerate bought it for US$400 million in 2012. While a significant portion of that money has been channelled into portfolio investment, I then decided to invest the rest of the amount in ventures that could make a difference in societies and economies. For me, moneymaking is the secondary or tertiary objective, not the prime consideration – because I had already gone through that phase in the UAE. Making money does not excite me anymore. What Gulf Property


COVERSTORY KEF Infra One, the gamechanging industry set up by KEF Holdings in India

excites me and my family is the difference we can make to the societies in which we operate and to the lives of people. So, at the end of 2012, I started planning my future ventures with a focus on social issues. Education and healthcare are two areas where I found problems – quality of facilities and services. While in Kerala on a visit, I came across a public school with dilapidated infrastructure and that disturbed me. I then started talking to the relevant people to re-develop the school without disturbing


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the academic calendar. We demolished the entire school premises and re-built it in 95 days – while the students were enjoying summer vacation. When they returned, they saw a completely different setup, state-of-the-art facilities, amenities, lab and gymnasium. The students’ performance started improving and it has become one of the top schools in Kerala. This experience encouraged me to use my knowledge, resources to set up an industry that will change the building sector. The result is the KEF Infra One factory at

Krishnagiri – that has become a most sought-after choice for real estate developers who now want us to build their projects.

Going forward, how are you planning to develop the industry further? Similar to the Catalogue Hospital concept that we launched for healthcare a few years back, this year KEF will create catalogue, and website and app-enabled homes. which will be managed by my eldest daughter Sophiya. As a customer, you could choose to order a home – a

villa or a townhouse – be it a three-bedroom villa or a fivebedroom bungalow – you can customize it on our website or app and order it online. KEF will then manufacture and deliver it to your site.

Since your technology cuts cost and human efforts and it seems good for affordable homes, how far could you bring down the cost of a home? We have built a prototype of a two-bedroom affordable home that is ready for deployment and we could deliver it within INR 600,000 or


KEF Holdings

stablished in 2007, KEF Holdings is a privately-owned holding company with operations in strategic investments, infrastructure manufacturing, and healthcare development. Founded by Faizal E. Kottikollon, the company possesses the unique ability to disrupt sectors through technology-driven, highvalue businesses that creates strong investment appeal and a positive social impact. Incorporated in Singapore and headquartered in the UAE, KEF Holdings has office in Bengaluru, Indian and operated three subsidiary businesses including KEF Infra, KEF Health and KEF Investments. KEF Holdings is guided by the social-enterprise vision of its founder and Chairman Faizal E. Kottikollon and his wife and Co-Chairperson of KEF Holdings, Shabana Faizal.

KEF Infra

KEF Infrastructure India Pvt. Ltd. or KEF Infra, a just about US$8,000 a piece. It is a spacious home with two bedrooms, a small living room, a kitchenette and a bathroom with toilet. If the assignment involves a large number of affordable homes and we achieve economies of scale, then the price could come down further. We can create variations within a specific range.

How strong are these buildings, since they are coming out of a concrete batch plant where beams and columns are constructed separately and connected through grout-

ing technology? How safe are these structures, in terms of earthquake resistance? Very strong. In fact, since the re-bar mesh and concrete are machine-made they are made with precision and to perfection. We use steam curing which makes the concrete more durable as well. There is very little human intervention in the entire process so there is less room for error – everything is factory-controlled. The building life of a precast structure is longer and more earthquake-resistant than those built through the

wholly owned entity of KEF Holdings, was founded in India in 2014 by successful entrepreneurs Faizal and Shabana Kottikollon, who wanted to bring state-of-theart infrastructure creation to India. The company is a technology-driven infrastructure manufacturing company that is dedicated to transforming the way that buildings and basic services are created and delivered in India by revolutionizing production, using world-class technology. KEF INFRA invested over US$100 million to set up KEF Infra One Industrial Park in Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu - the world’s largest integrated facility for offsite construction spanning one million square feet. Through this park, KEF using off-site manufacturing technology to build hospitals, schools, hotels and homes and offers design engineering; manufactures precast concrete structures; modular rooms, bathroom pods and mechanical, electrical and plumbing; joinery (wood-working); glazing and stone processing solutions, and overall project management support. g traditional construction process because of the seismic design and engineering that goes into it. Tall buildings and skyscrapers could be built with prefab technology and it could go up to as high as 80 storeys.

You are doing precast construction that might just cover the structure. What about the rest of the works – mechanical electrical and plumbing (MEP), interiors, fittings, etc? Who would you depend on delivering these? We do everything in-house.


“For me, moneymaking is the secondary or tertiary objective, not the prime consideration – because I had already gone through that phase in the UAE...” – Faizal E. Kottikollon Chairman KEF Holdings

Modular MEP is part of our in-house expertise. We have pre-engineered certain products – such as bathrooms, kitchens and hotel rooms with all the amenities and fittings prefabricated – that could be just transported onsite and installed as a pod within the specified slot in a building– which makes it look like a plug-and-play affair for users. We also have one of the largest joinery factories in Asia that, in addition to delivering the interiors, can also manufacture furniture to suit the client’s requirements and specifications. g Gulf Property



Eagle Hills and Shurooq plan Dh2.7 bn projects


Gulf Property Exclusive

agle Hills, an Abu Dhabi-based property developer and Sharjah Investment Authority (Shurooq) announced that they will jointly develop three projects in in the emirate of Sharjah with a development value to the tune of Dh2.7 billion. The projects will deilver income-generating assets that will help generate continous cash flow for both the Sharjah Government through its


Gulf Property

investment authority Shurooq and Eagle Hills. His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, last month unveiled the three real estate projects, collectively worth a total of Dh2.7 billion. Mohammed Alabbar, Chairman of Eagle Hills, said, both the parties will be responsible for the development and management of these projects equally. “It’s an equal partnership between Eagle Hills and Shurooq,” Alabbar re-

sponded to a query at a news conference, when asked by Gulf Propety. This marks the entry of the Abu Dhabi-based developer in to Sharjah emirate. Shurooq and Eagle Hills will work together through a joint venture – Eagle Hills Sharjah Development – a dedicated real estate company that aims to develop the three projects; Maryam Island, Kalba Waterfront and Palace Al Khan. The largescale projects including high-end hospitality facilities in Sharjah will give a strong boost to the emirate’s prop-

erty sector, setting new benchmarks for housing, hospitality and retail offerings, as well as lifestyle communities in the emirate. Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Shurooq and Eagle Hills Sharjah Development, said: “Sharjah is witnessing a distinctive boom in its diversified economy which has been attracting various investments from business leaders around the world, making the Emirate a premium investment destination for tourism and trade, thanks to the leadership of His


His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, seen with Sheikh Budoor bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, seen with dignitaries at the unveiling of three projects in Sharjah with a collective development value of Dh2.7 billion

Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council Ruler of Sharjah. “At Shurooq, we dedicate our efforts to working with various government entities in the Emirate to establish the groundwork for promising opportunities for several businesses, and to strengthen our infrastructure in support of both public and private sectors. Today, we are gathered to announce a strategic partnership between Shurooq and Eagle Hills in order to launch three new projects that provide

unique residential and leisure opportunities to citizens and residents in Sharjah, thanks to our firm belief in the Emirate’s competencies.” Sheikha Bodour also reiterated her complete trust in the new partnership with Eagle Hills, to introduce a new chapter in Sharjah’s real estate sector, which will translate His grand vision to increase investments and economic diversification in the emirate. Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Eagle Hills and Vice Chairman of Eagle Hills

Sharjah Development, said: “To us, Sharjah is a symbol of traditional and national values, representing our roots and Arabic culture. It is a place of tolerance and welcoming hospitality that brings warmth to all its citizens and visitors in alignment with the wise vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi. “Unveiling such prestigious projects in Sharjah with our partner Shurooq demonstrates our commitment to the sustained development of the Northern Emirates.

These three developments will offer the local community a whole new level of living and lifestyle experiences that will in turn attract a larger footfall to Sharjah, boost the economy and increase investments in the Emirate. We look forward to a longstanding partnership as we focus on developing these projects to the highest standards of design excellence and build quality.”

Maryam Island

Maryam Island is the largest development of the three Gulf Property



His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, seen with Mohammed Alabbar, Chairman of Eagle Hills, at the unveiling of three projects in Sharjah with a collective development value of Dh2.7 billion

projects in terms of both value and area. The Dh2.4 billion mixeduse development will be located between Al Khan Lagoon and Al Mamzar in Downtown Sharjah, where it will be centrally situated within the city’s commercial and residential facilities. The breakthrough masterplanned waterside development will spread across 460,000 square metres, with a builtup area of 310,000 square metres. With stunning views overlooking Al Mamzar and Al Khan lagoons and Sharjah’s skyline, Maryam Island will house uniquely designed vil-


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lages offering an excellent package of accommodation and holidays offerings. Through its unique design, residents and visitors will enjoy the serenity and tranquillity of the surroundings. The waterside development will comprise low-rise buildings that do not exceed eight floors, featuring 1,890 luxury apartments and villas. It will be home to premium five- and four-star hotels featuring more than 600 hotel rooms, with a series of 100 restaurants, cafes and retail outlets spread along the waterfront. Maryam Island will offer residents and visitors high-end service amenities

and world-class facilities, including a spa, a fitness club, a swimming pool and a children's play area. Work will commence in the first quarter of this year and is set for completion by 2019.

Kalba Waterfront

The Dh60 million Kalba Waterfront is a master-planned retail development that is set to become one of the most prominent retail projects in the Eastern Region. The retail project has a gross floor area of 17,000 sqm and a gross leasing

area of 11,200 square metres. The mall will be constructed within the Kalba Eco-Tourism Project, adjacent to Kalba’s stunning serene lagoon surrounded by mangrove trees, offering a unique experience in one of the most beautiful and tranquil areas in the country. The mall will house 86 retail outlets and top local and international fashion brands. With its unique interior design and its serene outdoor space, the shopping centre will offer an exceptional experience for visitors, tourists and residents. The unconventional design of the mall includes internal public


Maryam Island project

Kalba Waterfront project

Palace Al Khan project

Maryam Island project

streets where outlets and shops spread on both sides, with its outdoor dining space meaning that visitors can enjoy an al fresco dining experience and stunning views overlooking the mangrovelined lagoon throughout the year. The mall will also include indoor and outdoor restaurants, a children's play area and a park surrounding the lagoon, offering a unique atmosphere that allows visitors to relax and enjoy promenades on either side of the water feature. It will also host a supermarket, a family entertainment centre and a large indoor dining area. Work on the Kalba Water-

front will commence in the first quarter of 2018 and the development is set for completion in Q3 2019.

Palace Al Khan

Palace Al Khan, the third project to be developed by Eagle Hills Sharjah Development, is the first luxury waterfront resort in the heart of Sharjah city. Overlooking the Arabian Sea, the Dh120 million fivestar seaside hotel will extend over 66,300 sqm. It will offer 87 hotel keys; two 2-bedroom units, nine 1-bedroom units and 76 studios. As a luxury resort, Palace

Al Khan will offer residents a unique opportunity to experience the heritage of the region by living in a truly historical setting within an important pearling village in Sharjah’s history. With its beautiful interior halls and the natural views and green landscape, the hotel will be a haven for visitors who can relax and enjoy peace and tranquility in the heart of Sharjah. With its rich expereince in offering a fusion of contemporary style and elegance, Address Hotels + Resorts, a premium luxury brand by Emaar Hospitaly group, will manage Palace Al Khan.

Work on Palace Al Khan will begin in the first quarter of 2018, and is set for completion in Q2 2020. "Managing Palace Al Khan reflects the expansion of our brand Address Hotels + Resorts to Sharjah, the cultural capital of the UAE and one of the most prominent touristt destinations in the region. We will contninue to embrace our philosophy ‘Where Life Happens’ in managing Palace Al Khan, which is the same philosophy that led us to founding Address Hotels + Resorts to provide the very best service for our guests,” said Olivier Harnisch, CEO of Emaar Hospitality Group. g Gulf Property



Decoding Smart City: From fiction to reality


Gulf Property Exclusive

ome of the Hollywood fictions that showed how robots been used to add comfort in life – where robot carries out all the daily chores, cleans the house, washes clothes among other works – to cars flying in the air and delivering passengers on docking space on high-rise buildings after criss-crossing amid growing air traffic, might become start realities as most


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cities in advanced economies are racing against time to become Smart Cities by adoption of technologies to improve service delivery. A smart city is a municipality that uses information and communication technologies to increase operational efficiency, share information with the public and improve both the quality of government services and citizen welfare. The UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) considers smart cities a process rather than a static outcome, in which in-

creased citizen engagement, hard infrastructure, social capital and digital technologies make cities more liveable, resilient and better able to respond to challenges. The British Standards Institute (BSI) defines the term as “the effective integration of physical, digital and human systems in the built environment to deliver sustainable, prosperous and inclusive future for its citizens. As the smart city movement grows around the world, a new study sees Asia emerging as the global smart city leader of the future. The paper focused on rise

in worldwide smart city projects, which rose 38 per cent to more than 235 initiatives in 2016 from 170 at the end of 2013. In terms of market value, smart cities jumped from $14.85 billion in 2015 to a predicted value of $34.35 billion by 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate of over 18 per cent. The paper found that a key driver of smart cities growth was the ongoing trend of global urbanisation. “With 70 percent of the world’s population forecast to live in cities by 2050, the need for sustainable, livable



Anne Marie Thodsen, Project Manager of Future Cities Show

What is a Smart City?

world cities is essential for a prosperous future,” said the report. One of the more interesting findings of the research was that Asia, not America, is most likely to emerge as the region leading global smart city development. India is developing an astonishing 100 new smart cities, while converting 500 other urban areas into smart cities. China, on the other hand, is well on the bandwagon as well, having launched 285 smart city related projects. In an exclusive interview with Gulf Property, Anne

mart City is no longer just a popular term, it’s becoming a reality in most developed urban environment. A smart city is an urban area that uses different types of electronic data collection sensors to supply information which is used to manage assets and resources efficiently. This includes data collected from citizens, devices, and assets that is processed and analysed to monitor and manage traffic and transportation systems,

Marie Thodsen, Project Manager of Future Cities Show, elaborated her thoughts on Smart Cities or Future Cities. Excerpts:

Smart cities of the future will enable financial growth, environmental bettering and human growth and wellbeing on a scale that we can’t imagine yet and will affect our entire planet in a positive way.

power plants, water supply networks, waste management, law enforcement, information systems, schools, libraries, hospitals, and other community services. The smart city concept integrates information and communication technology (ICT), and various physical devices connected to the network (the Internet of things or IoT) to optimise the efficiency of city operations and services and connect to citizens. Smart city technology allows city officials to interact directly with both community and city infrastructure and to monitor what is happening in the city and how the city is evolving. g Gulf Property: What makes a city ‘Smart’? What do you mean by Smart City? Anne Marie Thodsen: Smart cities are about many

– Anne Marie Thodsen Project Manager Future Cities Show

different aspects and is not a topic that is possible to nail down easily. Smart cities are cities where governments are thinking about the city as a framework for companies, citizens and overall society to flourish: connectivity and access in regards to infrastructure, energy, water and waste management, mobility, Internet of Things, big data analysis and overall code words like: liveability, quality of life, co-creation, energy and time efficiency, innovation and integration are clues to tasks that today’s citizens are seeking when they Gulf Property



choose to settle in a city. Smart is also often referred to meaning only technology, but often the human aspect is forgotten which is the whole reason for even discussing the cities of the future. From an environment point of view, can a Smart City be carbon neutral in real sense? Energy efficiency and using renewable energy sources and green technology is a key aspect of smart cities. Every city has their unique issues and opportunities, and the smartest cities use


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them both to their advantages and mobilise their citizens to think it into their businesses and organisations.

How different would our lives be in a Smart City? The cities of tomorrow are not meant to change the way people live, but rather support that they utilise the time and energy best possible so they can get most out of their surrounding society. It might be that habits will change, but this is not a goal in itself, as habits take a long time to change, and it is easier to adapt technology and

solutions to human behaviour.

Globally, is there any smart city – or a city that qualifies as a ‘Smart City’ in all aspects? There are many cities globally that are becoming smarter and smarter. A few stand out because they are smart in more than one aspect and take the opportunity to differentiate on both in sustainable development, innovative solutions and supporting happier cocreating societies. How many cities are trying

to become Smart Cities in the world? Around the world there are countless countries that are seeking to become smart. The smart city phenomenon is not a one-size-fits-all and it is not a goal in itself, as the race to become greener, smarter and happier is a continued effort. Progress is such an interesting factor, meaning that we have to acknowledge and reward countries and cities that go from zero to 60 just as much as the ones that go from 99 to 100 on a scale of the best and smartest. Sustainability is not benefi-


Future Cities Show

he second edition of the Future Cities Show is set to take place from the 9th to the 11th of April 2018 in Dubai, UAE. The show highlights the latest and the most innovative technologies, which could change the future. The first edition of the Future Cities Show attracted 30 exhibitors and a large chunk of the 19,000 visitors visiting a number of exhibitions taking place concurrently at the Dubai World Trade Centre from over 141 countries. Sustainability accounts for ‘what can be done now to ensure that the future generations can see the present that we live in’. This can be done via innovation as it is the key to bringing sus-

cial and real unless progress is made around the world, and the Middle East and Asia are taking milestone steps and overtaking countries that have worked for decades on these matters. Among them are the initiatives with the 100 Indian smart cities, which has a huge impact and benefitting the whole world on an economic, environmental and social level.

How much money is being invested in developing Smart Cities in the world? The smart city development is said to be a multi-billion or event trillion dollar marked in

the coming years. The monetary side is however not as interesting as the impact of smart cities, because we are transforming cities, which hold something like 75 percent of the world’s current population and a growing number worldwide. Smart cities of the future will enable financial growth, environmental bettering and human growth and wellbeing on a scale that we can’t imagine yet and will affect our entire planet in a positive way. Are we talking about flying taxis, robotic life where everything in life and work are automated with artificial intelligence powering robots to do the unthinkable and all things delivered as you press the button? Many of the past’s impossible ideas are already coming true. And at a speed that is

tainable change in the working of the world. The combination of factors will lead to greater happiness in the society. Future Cities Show 2018 brings together environmentalists, sustainability leaders, innovators, solution providers, healthcare practitioners, security vendors, energy consultants, manufacturers, builders, urban developers, architectures, investors, mayors, mobility players and students under one roof to interact, discuss and showcase solutions for a smart sustainable future. The Future Cities Show is a great platform for local and international institutions from various industries to showcase their latest technologies which redefine the way we live. The show focuses on three pillars which are sustainability, innovation, and happiness. g accelerating. Yes flying cars, robotic colleagues and artificial intelligence is part of it, but these will be the least of the wild things we will see in the coming decades. And I’m not afraid of neither artificial intelligence or robots. There are always new jobs coming when someone’s tasks are being automated, and humans are innovative in nature so we continue to grow and seek new heights and depths.

Where does sustainability fit in? Are Smart Cities sustainable? Sustainability is everywhere in smart cities: it is the overall goal to create sustainability on all levels both for humans, for the environment and for continued economic growth. There is a fear of job loss with the development of smart technologies that


automate things without human intervention. Are we going to see a Smart City filled with unemployed people? No, on the contrary: humans keep innovating and will develop our brains further together the more of the hard labour we can share with the machines. In a Smart City, humans would interact more with machines, and less with other human beings. Is that what we might be seeing in future? We have in the last decade seen humans turning more to ICT solutions for interaction and entertainment. This aspect is not lightly to disappear, but humans will become better at separating their online time and offline time, because we already see many movements that go in the opposite direction of the online interactions only.

Can you portray a human life in a Smart City with all that technological advanced features? How exciting or boring would life be? Would you rather live in a normal environment with all its pitfalls? Smart cities are not meant to make people adapt, and the changes to our lifestyle will be gradual and self-chosen for the most part. People themselves choose if they have an exciting life, and in a smart city they have more options to select from and a better way to navigate and use the citizen’s time. g Gulf Property



Mohammed Qasim Al Ali, Chief Executive Offier, National Bonds Corporation

If you have money, buy property now: Al Ali 62

Gulf Property


Gulf Property Exclusive

f you have money, go out and buy property now, or it might become more expensive later and you might lose out,” this is how Mohammed Qasim Al Ali, Chief Executive Officer of National Bonds Corporation, would advise Dubai’s tenants and wouldbe buyers. “I can’t think of a better time for buyer to buy properties in Dubai. First, the market is well-regulated where investors’ money is protected through trust accounts and then the market is full of good choices for the investors and buyers to choose from,” he was speaking to Gulf Property in an exclusive interview where he elaborated his thoughts on a number of issues. “Dubai’s real estate market is currently in its best condition. “The prices of properties are one of the best that we’ve seen and with the attractive payment plans, a tenant with a steady household income base could easily invest part of the savings to buy and move into the dream home and save on rentals. “Good payment plans by property developers could attract the families with steady income to invest in properties. Besides, Dubai’s real estate market is free of speculative elements and clean players are active in the market,” he says. “The developers have done well to attract the endusers and help them buy properties. It is just a matter of time before we see more and more people start buying freehold homes.” Crude price recently touched US$70 a barrel and the expectations are ripe for


National Bonds Plans its Own REIT

ational Bonds Corporation will launch its own real estate investment trust (REIT), Mohammed Qasim Al Ali, its Chief Executive Officer told Gulf Property in an exclusive interview. “We are evaluating the possibility of launching our own REIT sometimes in 2019,” he said, when asked by Gulf Property. “The market has matured enough for REITs to enter and benefit from the opportunities. There are a number of assets ready for absorption and the REIT could help both the developers and tenants to benefit from the opportunities. “We will register the REIT where there will be ample liquidity and later the option for partial listing to full listing,” he said when asked if it would be registered with the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). g it to reach US$80 a barrel. The recent surge in oil price is a confidence booster, he says. “Oil price has an effect in every aspect of the economy. If the current oil price holds, public spending in infrastructure and housing will increase employment, consumption as well as the demand for more homes. Qasim Al Ali also dismisses the chance of an over-supply in the market. “Although the number of deliveries in real estate market is going up, I do not think there will be an over-supply in the market,” he says. “The


market has the capacity to absorb the current supply line as Dubai continues to attract foreign investment, especially in the real estate sector. “Many people with high disposable income and savings are not investing and holding on to the liquid cash, due to apprehension. If they start buying, then the market will pick up very fast.” The surge in demand for affordable homes will drive Dubai’s real estate sector which, for a long time, has been known for luxury real estate. “The rising demand for affordable homes reflect the fact that the middle income families are looking at the real estate market favourably,” Qasim Al Ali says. “A lot of the developers are now building affordable homes, which National Bonds Corporation championed.” National Bonds Corporation, a national saving scheme of the UAE that provides UAE nationals, UAE residents that offers National Bonds – a savings certificate – that helps bond-holders to benefit from annual dividends. It invests in real estate through National Properties, its wholly-owned real estate subsidiary that helps the company to build assets and offer dividends to the bondholders. National Bonds Corporation, a Shariah-compliant saving and investment company in UAE, will offer nearly the same profit rate for 2017 Gulf Property



as in the previous year, Al Ali said. National Bonds has 825,000 subscribers from over 200 nationalities. It rewards buyers with prizes worth Dh37 million annually. UAE citizens make up 23 per cent of subscribers while Arab expatriates contribute 24 per cent. Asians contribute about 40 per cent, with Indians topping the list followed by Pakistanis and Filipinos. Last year, National Bonds raised over Dh2 billion, with total assets reaching Dh6 billion. National Bonds offered up to four per cent in annual


Gulf Property

returns for 2016 to bondholders. National Properties invests 25 percent of the Dh6 billion funds allocated to it. “We currently have a development pipeline of Dh2.65 billion,” he said. Al Ali said the company would invest Dh900 million to develop real estate projects in the UAE this year, with the first project being launched in Reem Island, Abu Dhabi. The second project will come up in Satwa near City Walk, with both targeted at the upper middle class. “This year, we are also expanding into Abu Dhabi mar-

ket with Dh800 million Reem Tower,” he says. “We are also going to develop three plots of land on Sheikh Zayed Road.” The 44-storey Reem Tower will be situated in Marina Square, the first phase of Reem Island. NBC has tied up with Japanese architectural and urban design firm Nikken Sekkei for the project. The project will rise 172 metres above sea level and have a development value exceeding Dh750 million. Work on the tower is expected to start next year. It will include 216 two-bedroom apartments; 117 three-bed-

room apartments; and two four-bedroom apartments. “We are also developing 140 residential units with a total buils-up area of 120,000 square feet. The low-rise G+8 storeyed properties will be on lease,” he said, “to help develop leasehold asset base that will make the company’s business more sustainable. “We are going to issue tenders for these projects in 2018 and construction is expected to commence this year.” National Bonds Corporation, through its real estate arm, National Properties, has


“The prices of properties are one of the best that we’ve seen and with the attractive payment plans, a tenant with a steady household income base could easily invest part of the savings to buy and move into the dream home and save on rentals...”

– Qasim Al Ali Chief Executive National Bonds

announced the handover of the second phase of Motor City Green Community known as Casa Familia villas which boasts 95 townhouse villas in a record time. Infrastructure has been completed to provide modern facilities for residents and meet their lifestyle needs at all levels, following the launch of Phase III of the Casa Flores villas and apartments project at the Motor City Green Community development in Dubai. Casa Flores townhouse villas consist of 137 villas only which is very unique and exclusive opportunity and pro-

tects the investment of any buyer, while the Eden Apartments will have 136 luxury apartments, with options of studio, one- and two-bedroom units, the company said in a statement. The villas are available with options of three bedrooms and four bedrooms – the ground floor of each townhouse villa boasts an impressive grand entrance hall, spacious living and dining areas, kitchens that are fully fitted with "Grade A" appliances and electronics, the convenience of a separate breakfast room, the peace and quiet of a study in addi-

tion to a generous storage space. National Bonds will soon invite bids for the Dh100 million project and will award the contract in March-April. It is slated to be complete in 14 to 16 months, Al Ali said. The company recently acquired a new mall in Dubai Investment Park at a cost of Dh64 million and has rented it out to a retailer. “We want to diversify our portfolio to make the business more sustainable so that the company manages business well even in economic slowdown. "This was the first commer-

cial asset we bought as we changed our strategy. When the market is going through a correction, especially rentals, we opted to secure a longterm adjustable lease. This strategy is paying off well," said Al Ali. “Going forward, we are also looking at acquiring high-performance commercial assets, including labour and staff accommodation assets, shopping mall, commercial complexes. “Through diversification, we seek to achieve longterm sustainability – this is our vision. So, we are now working on our future.” g Gulf Property


Yardi manages 500,000 units in the Middle East INTERVIEW


Gulf Property Exclusive

ardi Systems, a Santa Barbara, California-based real estate solutions provider, which serves more than 20,000 clients across 80 countries from offices in Australia, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America, has acquired 500,000 units under its property management solutions across the Middle East, a senior official said. Yardi provides integrated property management software and investment management solutions for all real estate verticals allowing owners, managers, investors


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and other stakeholders access to information specific to their needs. Yardi products bring about 15 million residential units, 12 billion commercial square feet, and more than $2 trillion assets under management. More than 500,000 units across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Turkey, Lebanon, and Egypt are managed under Yardi’s cloud- based Voyager 7S platform that help property owners and operators manage their properties with less cost and greater efficiency. “In addition, Yardi solutions today manage almost 80 per cent of the retail assets in the UAE, which is a huge achievement,” Said Haider, Regional Sales Director of

Yardi Middle East, told Gulf Property in an exclusive interview. “We achieved around 70 per cent revenue growth in 2017, which is an outstanding accomplishment. The company’s ability to grow revenues in a period where the overall industry saw a contraction in sales was an excellent outcome. We secured market share gains in most of our major markets, supported by new product introductions, and a much closer focus on our customers.” The global property management software market is projected to grow to US$1.86 billion by 2021, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 5 per cent over the forecast period,

according to a latest report by Technavio, a leading global technology research and advisory company. The company develops over 2000 pieces of research every year, covering more than 500 technologies across 80 countries. The US and Canada lead the American market for property management software, due to the presence of many property management software vendors and customers. Vendors in the market typically provide integrated solutions like asset management, expense management, lease management, and collaboration management. The property management software market in EMEA is expected to be worth


Said Haider, Regional Sales Director, Yardi Middle East

Gulf Property


INTERVIEW US$570 million by 2021, driven by increased digital marketing, Internet penetration, and property management process automation. Germany and the UK are the leading revenue contributors to the market in EMEA, with many organizations opting for digital property management software solutions to collaborate with customers and market their properties. Property management software aids enterprises to collect, analyse, and manage the data generated from social media. Yardi’s Middle East client base ranges from real estate investment trusts such as Riyad REIT, to property developers and owners such as Dubai Properties Group and Dubai Select Group, to property consultancy firms such as Jones Lang LaSalle and Abu Dhabi Commercial Properties, to several individual owners of multiple properties and individual retail owners such as Dalma Mall, Mall of Qatar, Red Sea Mall, and Mercato, extending to some of the largest operators and owners of retail in the region, such as Majid Al Futtaim Properties, Meraas Holding, Emaar Malls Group, Lulu Group International, Nakheel Malls, Unified Real Estate Development and Arabian Centres. “Yardi solutions are flexible, scalable and configurable to real estate variables such as a client’s expansion plans, tax implications, changing real estate rules, etc. Our investment management suite automates the asset, investment accounting and investment lifecycle with a single connected solution that delivers faster reporting, drives investment strategies, satisfies


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investors and enables full transparency from investor through asset,” Said Haider says. “While Voyager manage your entire business lifecycle, including operational, financial, construction, sales, leasing, and maintenance activities, all in a single database. “We continue to make sizable investments in our people and our systems to better meet the operational and regulatory needs of our clients and support our aggressive regional growth. We have increased our workforce and currently doubling the size of our office space to

accommodate our continued growth. We launched a new Data Centre in Dubai back in 2016 to meet the data security and infrastructure needs of our rapidly growing client base in the Middle East.” In 2017, Yardi reached a new milestone in Dubai by announcing integration between the award-winning Voyager® 7S property management platform, and Ejari, a regional real estate reporting system. The Ejari smart application is a tool that allows both landlords and tenants to manage maintenance contracts and create related pa-

perwork. Ejari allows property management companies to register and manage personnel and maintenance requests and contracts, and also classifies all companies registered in the system. This will help reduce rental disputes in a changing market scenario where rents keep changing while making the processes very transparent for all stakeholders – including the government authorities that are responsible for collecting fees and taxes. “The new integration is designed to speed up the process of the issuance and


renewal of Ejari tenancy contracts, by digitally updating rental information between Ejari and Voyager. The process is paperless. We have plans to integrate our platform to each local city’s register for tenancy contracts and sales agreements,” Haider added. “Our product development team constantly develops new platforms and every year, we introduce new solutions that help reduce costs and creates greater operational efficiencies. “We have extended our suite of products with Commercial Café, a portal that

help our clients attract prospects and retain tenants with powerful marketing and tenant self-service. Commercial Café make life easier for prospects, tenants and staff with dynamic corporate and property websites and a selfservice portal and app for tenants to make lease payments and enter maintenance requests and retail sales data online. “Fully mobile and integrated with Yardi Voyager, it allows marketing and onsite staff to turn more leads into leases – faster than ever. “We have also released RENTCafé, a powerful resi-

dential marketing and leasing platform that includes dynamic property websites, smart multichannel marketing tools and innovative search engine optimisation (SEO) and SEM capabilities. Make life easier for prospects, residents and staff with online leasing, rent payments and maintenance requests.” In the United States, RENTCafé has recorded 45 per cent increase in online work orders to more than 4.8 million work orders, platform adoption increased 34 percent resulting in 4.7 million units and 51 percent jump in

online payments amounting to US$18 billion. Document Management for SharePoint is a new release by Yardi, allow you to leverage the best of Yardi Voyager and Microsoft SharePoint and increase productivity and communication across your business. Centralise key documents and enterprise information in a secure, mobile-enabled system, he says. “Better decisions happen on Yardi, our clients are immediately benefiting from a solution that takes dramatically less time and cost to implement than other business intelligence systems. Yardi Orion Business Intelligence is a unique, mobile-enabled platform with more than 200 built-in key performance indicators and powerful, flexible reports and dashboards. “We are an innovative business and constantly evolving with new ideas, products and solutions,” Said Haider says. “One of the key challenges for us is to manage the changes taking place in urban environment globally and accordingly, we roll out products to match the needs of the clients. “Sustainability in Energy and Buildings is now supported by Yardi in the states and will be available in the middle east in the next couple of years. Yardi smart energy helps you reduce your properties’ energy consumption, keep tenants comfortable, and simplify analysis and reporting with automated energy management solutions. With products from the Yardi Smart Energy Suite, we can help you create the energy program that fits your needs, whether you have residential, commercial or corporate real estate.” g Gulf Property



Danube Properties bags Dh820m sales in 2017 70

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Gulf Property Exclusive anube Properties, a major Dubai-based property developer, has sold new homes worth Dh820 million (US$233 million) in 2017. This translates to a daily average sale of Dh3.10 million per working day throughout the year and reflects the developer’s ability to sell homes despite tough market conditions as Danube gains investors’ trust due to strong commitment, timely delivery of projects and excellent quality of

PROJECTNEWS finish supplied with world class amenities. The company, which started journey with the launch of its first project, Dreamz, in June 2014, has launched nine residential projects with 3,150 residential units with a combined development value exceeding Dh2.84 billion (US$773.84 million) since then. “The year 2017 has been very significant for Danube Properties as we started delivering our promises – the dream homes to our clients – in this landmark year when we sold Dh820 million worth of properties,” Atif Rahman, Director and Partner of Danube Properties, said. “In

2017, we launched two new projects – Resortz and Bayz – together having 875 apartments with a combined development value exceeding Dh750 million, all sold out. “So far, we have sold out almost all of the projects that we launched since the announcement of our first project in June 2014. We have delivered 302 residential units in Glitz Residences I and II at Dubai Studio City in 2017, while 529 more units are being readied for handover in the next few weeks. “We also awarded five construction-related contracts with a combined value exceeding Dh392 million in 2017 – a year it started delivering homes.”

“The year 2017 has been very significant for Danube Properties as we started delivering our promises – the dream homes to our clients – in this landmark year when we sold Dh820 million worth of properties. In 2017, we launched two new projects – Resortz and Bayz – together having 875 apartments with a combined development value exceeding Dh750 million, all sold out...”

– Atif Rahman Director and Partner Danube Properties

Arif Rahman Director and Partner of Danube Properties Gulf Property



These include a Dh221 million main construction contract recently awarded to Naresco Contracting LLC to deliver Miraclz Tower near Miracle Gardens at Arjan that will host 599 units including 591 apartments. The 28month contract will see the project delivered by the end of 2019. Danube Properties has also awarded a Dh146 million contract for the main construction package for the Resortz project to Dubai Walls Construction. The 17month contract will see the project gets ready for occupancy by the second quarter


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of 2019. Resortz will host 444 units including 419 apartments, 25 retail outlets, landscaped environment that appears more like a five-star resort, than a residential compound. Prior to that, Danube Properties awarded a Dh10 million piling and shoring contract to Atlas Foundation for Miraclz Tower and a further Dh4 million piling and shoring contract for Resortz project. Recently Danube Properties has awarded a Dh11 million piling and shoring contract for its latest project – Bayz at Business Bay as well.

Arif Rahman Director and Partner of Danube Properties

“So, as it stands, we do not have any unsold projects now. All our announced projects are sold out and remains either in the process of delivery or construction – that reflects our strong commitment to the property buyers,” Atif Rahman said. “As a developer, we launch a project once the previous project is sold out and it helps us to clearly focus on sale and project construction for each of the projects. Once we close the sale, we then put the project on tender and construction starts as the buyers keep making payments as per agreed pay-


Danube Properties in 2017

anube Properties has had an excellent record in 2017 – a year in which the developer awarded contracts worth Dh392 million, delivered 302 homes worth Dh270 million while launching two projects worth Dh750 million. Danube Properties, part of the Danube Group, made its foray in to the real estate market in June 2014, by launching the Dh500 million 171 townhouses at Al Furjan. Since then, it continued to expand its development portfolio by launching Glitz Residence I, II, III, Starz, Glamz, Miraclz, Resortz and Bayz projects. The company currently has a development portfolio of 3,217 units, including 3,165 residential units with a combined value exceeding Dh2.84 billion. It is delivering about 831 units in 2017-18, with a combined sales value of Dh1 billion – or a third of its portfolio value. Danube Properties is part of Danube Group, the largest supplier of building materials and home furnishing products. Danube Group traces its origin through Danube Building Materials. Established in 1993, the company provides more than 25,000 products in stock and inhouse value added services in all of its multiple set of showrooms across the Middle East region and India. g Construction Contract Awarded by Danube in 2017 Project Name Scope of Work Contractor Miraclz Main Construction Work Naresco Contracting LLC Resortz Main Construction Work Dubai Walls Construction Miraclz Piling and Shoring Atlas Foundation Resortz Piling and Shoring Atlas Foundation Bayz Piling and Shoring ............................... Total 5 Contracts Danube Project Development 2014-2018 Danube Projects Res. Units Dreamz 171 Townhouses Glitz Residence I 151 Apartments Glitz Residence II 151 Apartments Glitz Residence III 354 Apartments Starz Tower 452 Apartments Glamz Residence 418 Apartments Miraclz Tower 591 Apartments Resortz Tower 419 Apartments Bayz 456 Apartments Total 8 Projects 3,165 Res. Units

Source: Danube Properties

ment schedule. “This process helps us to complete each stage of the project – from concept, design, secure permission, sale and marketing, tendering, construction, completion, payment and delivery to complete the life cycle of the project. “These construction contracts reflect our deep commitment to our largest stakeholders – our valuable property buyers and investors – who have put their trust and hard-earned life savings in our projects to receive the keys to their dream homes.”

Dev. Value Dh500 million Dh135 million Dh135 million Dh350 million Dh300 million Dh270 million Dh400 million Dh300 million Dh450 million Dh2.84 billion

Danube Properties, part of Dubai-based diversified conglomerate Danube Group, has launched nine residential projects, of which two have been delivered, two are getting ready for delivery while four others are at various stages of construction and one in tendering stage. “As a committed property developer, we see ourselves as a custodian and responsible for the delivery of their dream home on time and with the promised quality and facilities. Construction contracts are part of the process and we try to constantly challenge ourselves on timely

Contract Value Dh221 million Dh146 million Dh10 million Dh4 million Dh11 million Dh392 million

Status Ready for Delivery Delivered Delivered Ready for Delivery Under Construction Under Construction Under Construction Under Construction Tendering Stage Development/Delivery delivery and with quality beyond the buyers’ expectations,” he says. “We work for our stakeholders — our buyers — and there is nothing like seeing the smile of a happy customer. We strive to achieve that.” The company has one of the fastest development-todelivery ratio in the region’s real estate market where timely delivery of properties remains a major challenge. That way, Danube Properties’ performance in construction and delivery is helping strengthen buyers’ trust in real estate. g


“So far, we have sold out almost all of the projects that we launched since the announcement of our first project in June 2014. We have delivered 302 residential units in 2017, while 529 more units are being readied for handover in the next few weeks. We also awarded five construction-related contracts with a combined value exceeding Dh392 million in 2017 – a year we started delivering homes...”

– Atif Rahman Director and Partner Danube Properties

Gulf Property



Samana buyers can pay in Cryptocurrency


Gulf Property Staff Report

s societies embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution, property developers, asset managers in the UAE are also gradually accepting cryptocurrencies and adding to the modes of payment that include cash, bank transfer, cheque, credit card and now cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank. Today cryptocurrencies have become a global phenomenon known to most


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people. While still somehow geeky and not understood by most people, banks, governments and many companies are aware of its importance. Star Business Centre, part of Dubai-based conglomerate Samana Group, said, it is now ready to accept cryptocurrencies – especially Bitcoin – as a mode of payment for its services. Star Business Centre offers state-of-the-art fully-furnished offices for new investors, businesses and those international companies seeking suitable readymade fully furnished plug-and-play workplaces. The company’s commercial tenants are now able to pay rents and service charges by using digital currency along with the traditional payment systems, which saves time and effort.

The digital payment system will allow Star Business Centre customers – who are multinationals and SMEs – from various industries, to focus on their business growth and expansion, without having to go through the time-consuming manual processes. Star Business Centre is one of the few licensed commercial premises, service provider and diversified business conglomerate active in the UAE who have embraced the cryptocurrency payment system. The system uses decentralised control as opposed to centralised electronic money and central banking systems, which uses blockchain transaction database. One Bitcoin equals Dh51,276.07 on an average. Keeping abreast with the

digital revolution in the financial technology, Dubai has launched its own cryptocurrency in 2017 – emCash – through Dubai Accelerators programme. Imran Farooq, Chief Executive Officer of Star Business Centre, and Group CEO of Samana Group, commented: “I am pleased to announce that Star Business Centre is ready to process transactions in cryptocurrency as the new financial technology is changing the way customers make payment. Our customers can now make their payments through cryptocurrency that reduces hassles and allows them to focus on their core activities. “We have recently been watching the cryptocurrency revolution and how Dubai is leading the way in GCC in embracing futuristic tech-


Imran Farooq, CEO of Samana Group

nologies that encouraged us to enhance our business capability and align them with our business offerings. Accepting cryptocurrency from our customers in Bitcoin is the latest facility. The fundamental of our business strategy is to make our clients’ businesses and life much easier – saving time, effort and money, and eventually help them to focus on their business growth and expansion plans.” Farooq said, he plans to expand the cryptocurrency payment across all his business verticals and entities – so that it becomes an additional payment channel for customers. “As we embrace the fourth industrial revolution, we want to incorporate all the new products, services and apps to help our clients benefit

from these products and services,” he says. Not only Bitcoin, there are 800 digital currencies out in the world. The current cryptocurrency market is valued at Dh1.1 trillion (US$300 billion) in 2017, according to recent reports. “Star Business Centre is among pioneers in using cryptocurrencies in private sector of UAE. The centre is equipped with state-of-the art office facilities in two of the Dubai’s major business districts – Jumeirah Lake Towers and Business Bay. The Centre frees up business owners from time-taking feasibilities, leasing and office setup,” said Imran Farooq. Samana Group’s Star Business Centre is helping the start-ups to boost their business with finest serviced office suites put together by

the top architects, designers, and ergonomic specialists in the country who were pooled together to create the perfect meeting point for businesses. It reduces the cost and burden on start-ups. It empowers them to take advantage of many investment opportunities in Dubai. In addition, the centre also provides start-ups with many types of assistances - such as helping complete the required business incorporation documentation, secretarial services, stat-ofthe-art IT setup and coffee shops. Star Business Centre – dealing in business set-ups is a cost-effective, one-stopshop for new businesses, multinationals, SMEs and the companies who are planning for re-structuring – with zero hidden charges. g

“We have recently been watching the cryptocurrency revolution and how Dubai is leading the way in GCC in embracing futuristic technologies that encouraged us to enhance our business capability and align them with our business offerings. Accepting cryptocurrency from our customers in Bitcoin is the latest facility. The fundamental of our business strategy is to make our clients’ businesses and life much easier – saving time, effort and money, and eventually help them to focus on their business growth and expansion plans.”

– Imran Farooq Chief Executive Samana Group

Gulf Property



Healthcare projects in GCC worth Dh223 bn


Gulf Property Exclusive

he total value of 707 healthcare projects exceeded Dh223.50 billion (US$60.9 billion) in January 2018, according to the latest GCC Construction Intelligence report issued by BNC Network, the largest and most comprehensive construction intelligence platform in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Of these, 445 projects worth US$51.9 billion (Dh190.47 billion) are hospital projects while the rest


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262 projects worth US$9 billion (Dh33 billion) are medical clinics or research centres. Out of the 707 projects in the GCC, 264 worth $24.7 billion (US$90.64 billion) are under construction, 227 projects worth US$12.7 billion are in the design and pipeline while there are 75 healthcare projects with a combined estimated value of US$1.76 billion (Dh6.46 billion) in tender. The healthcare industry constitutes 4 per cent of all

active projects in the GCC's urban construction sector and in dollar terms, these projects account for 5 per cent of the total estimated value, according to BNC Network’s construction intelligence. In the fourth quarter of 2017, eight healthcare contracts with a combined estimated value of US$813.9 million (Dh2.98 billion) were awarded in the GCC. In the fourth quarter of 2017, the number of healthcare contract awards in the GCC in-

creased by 33 per cent as compared to the fourth quarter of 2016. “Mandatory health insurance scheme, that is gradually bringing the entire population of the GCC under medical insurance cover is driving investment in hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and other healthcare facilities,” Avin Gidwani, Chief Executive Officer of BNC Network, says. “With higher oil price, the GCC will see increased investment in infrastructure, housing and these activities

Top GCC Construction Projects Project Name

Project Value


Coal Fired Power Plant

$2.18 billion


Azizi Victoria

$6.8 billion


Jeddah Downtown

$2 billion

Saudi Arabia

Mixed-Use Development

$900 million

Saudi Arabia

Gold and Jewellery City

Source: BNC Network, UAE

$1 billion




BNC Network

will create new employment that will increase demand for more healthcare projects. “Historically, the GCC healthcare sector was driven by the public sector hospitals that offered subsidised medical care and almost free medicines. However, there has been a fundamental shift in the healthcare system, where the employers are now being made responsible for the employees’ medical care and welfare. This necessitated the introduction of the mandatory

health insurance schemes and created a demand for increased number of hospitals, clinics and pharmacies.” In December, the number of healthcare projects in the GCC decreased by 1 percent as compared to November 2017 and the total estimated value of these projects decreased by 2 percent. Notable projects like New Khasab Hospital located in Oman worth $197.5 million was awarded during December, 2017. Six health-

care projects with a combined estimated value of $600 million were completed during December 2017. BNC, the largest project intelligence provider in the MENA region, tracks more than 25,324 live construction projects with a value exceeding US$7.7 trillion (Dh28.3 trillion). It publishes 250 project updates and shares construction intelligence with more than 73,000 executives and professionals every day. g

NC, the largest project intelligence provider in the MENA region, tracks 25,324 live construction projects with a value exceeding US$7.7 trillion (Dh28.3 trillion). It publishes more than 250 project updates that are distributed amongst 73,000 executives and professionals every day. It is used by thousands of business leaders and construction industry professionals around the world to track developments, gain insight on projects and do business in the construction industry. BNC covers construction projects, across all sectors including urban construction, mega developments, transportation, utilities, industrial developments and oil and gas and publishes over 2,000 construction analytics annually based on extensive research and analysis. g Gulf Property



GCC transport project value hits Dh1.39 trn


he combined value of the 1,424 active transport projects in the GCC has exceeded US$392.2 billion (Dh1.39 trillion) in at the end of 2017, according to latest GCC Construction Analytics report issued by BNC Network, the largest and most comprehensive project research and intelligence provider in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Of these, 139 projects worth US$207.5 billion (Dh761.5 billion) involve the development of the railway sector – in bits and pieces –


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that will later be interconnected to the GCC railway system and create a regionwide rail network to help accelerate cross-border movement of goods, services and people. However, the highest number of projects – 1,069 – are dedicated to roads and highways sector, with a combined value of US$122.6 billion (Dh450 billion) that will improve and expand the road networks across the region. As many as 100 projects with a combined value of US$37.4 billion (Dh137.25 billion) are in the aviation

sector, mostly in aviation infrastructure projects. Saudi Arabia is developing a number of small airports to have them connected to the rest of the country as mobility among the GCC residents are growing, necessitating greater connectivity. In the UAE, Al Maktoum International Airport also represents a significant portion of these projects. Around 116 marine projects with a combined estimated value of US$24.7 billion (Dh90.6 billion) will also expand the region’s marine transport sector. The GCC's transport sector

constitutes 6 per cent of all active projects in the region and in dollar terms, these projects account for 16 per cent of the total estimated value, according to the report. The relatively higher spending in the roads and transport infrastructure sector reflects a clear focus on economic diversification of the GCC countries where transport, logistics, trade and tourism will dominate the economic landscape in future. “Relatively high investment in infrastructure clearly shows that the governments

“Relatively high investment in infrastructure clearly shows that the governments of the GCC countries are planning to make their economies more sustainable by expanding and improving infrastructure that will help trade, tourism and public mobility that are essential for diversification...”


$392 billion total value of transport projects in the Gulf

$208 billion

total value of all railway projects in the Gulf in 2017

$122 billion

Avin Gidwani CEO of BNC Network

value of aviation projects works in the Gulf

value of the total projects in the Middle East in 2017

GCC countries are spending a lot of resources in developing rail projects to strengthen mobility

creased investment in roads and transport sector. “Once completed, these projects will change the way people move within the region as well as the way goods are traded and transported from one country to the other.” In the third quarter of 2017, 15 projects with a combined estimated value of US$2.08 billion (Dh7.63 billion) were announced in the GCC's transport sector. The number of projects announced in this sector increased by 25 per cent in the third quarter of 2017 as compared to the second quarter

$37.4 billion

Dh28 trillion

– Avin Gidwani, CEO, BNC Network

of the GCC countries are planning to reduce dependence on hydrocarbon and make their economies more sustainable by expanding and improving infrastructure that will help cross-border trade, tourism and public mobility that are essential for diversification,” Avin Gidwani, Chief Executive Officer of BNC Network, says. “The news of crude oil price bouncing back to the US$65 per barrel level will help boost investor sentiment. Higher oil price means higher spending in infrastructure and if the current price stabilizes, we could see in-

value of the roads and highway projects in the GCC

of 2017. Notable projects announced in the third quarter of 2017 in the GCC's transport sector include Expansion of Um Al Hassam Interchange located in Manama, Bahrain, worth US$1.2 billion; Haima to Thumrait Railway Line in Oman worth US$400 million which is part of Oman Mineral Railway Line located in Muscat and Sea Taxi at Abhor located in Jeddah worth US$150 million. As many as 32 projects with a combined estimated value of US$3.7 billion were awarded in the GCC's trans-

port sector in the third quarter of 2017, while 60 projects with a combined estimated value of US$6.64 billion were completed. A total of 11 transport projects with a combined estimated value of US$811.6 million moved to the construction stage from other stages during November 2017. The largest transport project in dollar terms to be awarded in November was Roads and Infrastructure Works for Al Salmi Road worth US$620 million located in Al Salmiya, Kuwait. A total of 32 transport projects with a combined estimated value of US$1.4 billion were completed during November 2017. g Gulf Property




Harbor gets Gold ranking

ubai Land Department; the provider of accurate and up-todate information on licensed Dubai real estate companies has revealed the Real Estate Brokerage agencies ranking results for 2018. Out of 2,256 real estate agencies that are registered in Dubai, Harbor Real Estate was ranked as the top performing agency with Gold Ranking. DLD ranks the emirate’s property brokers based on their performance including experience, number of transactions, commitment to real estate regulations, customer service, structure of their offices and corporate social responsibility. All the data of the listed companies was based on their actual performance. "We are very happy to receive the gold rank which encourages us to continue to raise the bar higher. Harbor Real Estate might not be the oldest and largest real estate service provider in the UAE, but we are by far the most innovative and passionate in the industry and our team and results are definitely worth being ranked gold," said Mohanad Alwadiya, Chief Executive Officer of Harbor Real Estate. It has received various awards and recognition from government entities across the UAE and was ranked among the top 5 real estate firms by Forbes magazine in 2017. g


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Mirdif Hills completes 30% construction


Mirdif Hills will be a new self-contained community near Mushrif Park

ubai Investments, the leading, diversified investments company listed on the Dubai Financial Market, has announced that the construction of the Dh3 billion Mirdif Hills project, being developed by its subsidiary Dubai Investments Real Estate Company [DIRC], is 30 per cent complete. “Structural work on the project’s clusters – Janayen Avenue, Nasayem Avenue and Multaqa Avenue – is progressing as per schedule. Construction of Janayen Avenue is 31 percent complete including the fourth floor slabs, while Nasayem Avenue is 34 percent completed with fourth floor slabs. The Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing works have also commenced,” a company spokesperson said. Multaqa Avenue is in preliminary stages of construction. Mirdif Hills is the only freehold in Mirdif now. A luxury

community like no other, the project is expected to be fully completed starting from the second quarter of 2019. Dubai Investments has also launched the sales in Nasayem Avenue. The cluster offers a mix of two & three bedroom apartments as well as three & four bedroom duplexes. Obaid Mohammed Al Salami, General Manager of DIRC, said: “The construction of Mirdif Hills is progressing on schedule. DIRC is confident of delivering the project on time while meeting the highest quality standards. A unique, well-equipped development in a strategic location, Mirdif Hills offers distinctive advantages in line with the needs and demands of the market. “The Nasayem Avenue offers a unique mix of affordable residential and commercial units that are modernly designed to meet investors’ expectations. The overall response for the project has been very encourag-

ing and the company anticipates similar demand for units in Nasayem Avenue.” Mirdif Hills offers flexible payment plans at special price points. The payment plan includes 30 percent payment during the construction phase spread over 18months period and the balance 70 percent payment on handover, making the process seamless and easier for buyers. Two bedroom units start from Dh1.2 million. Strategically overlooking Dubai’s Mushrif Park with close proximity to Dubai International Airport, leading business districts and shopping malls, Mirdif Hills is replete with lifestyle attractions including a four-star hotel by Millennium Hotels and Resorts with 116 rooms and 128 serviced apartments, retail units, a 230-bed hospital and around 1,500 apartments – a mix of studio, one, two, threebedroom apartments and duplexes. DIRC was established in 2006. g


S&T gets Royal Atlantis fit-out contract

Sultan Butti bin Mejren, DirectorGeneral of DLD, and Masood Al Awar, Chairman and CEO of Medallion Associates signing an agreement

Medallion to promote Dubai realty overseas


ubai Land Department (DLD) has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Medallion Associates. The agreement was signed by Sultan Butti bin Mejren, Director-General of DLD, and Masood Al Awar, Chairman and CEO of Medallion Associates apponting the latter as the custodian for DLD’s international promotions. Sultan Butti bin Mejren said: “Promoting Dubai’s real estate market is of paramount importance, especially given the increasing demand for Dubai property among foreign investors. Real estate promotion destinations in various cities around the world are full of investors seeking the best opportunities, and Dubai is certainly capable of fulfilling this demand.” Under the terms of the agreement, Medallion Associates will act as the custodian of DLD’s international

real estate promotion, helping the department to position Dubai as the world's premier investment destination for innovation, trust and happiness. Medallion Associates will also promote attractive investment opportunities among multinational investors in Dubai’s real estate market. Majida Ali Rashid, Assistant Director General and Head of the Real Estate Investment Management and Promotion Center, commented: “In the latest annual report for the year 2017, a total of 39,480 GCC, Arab and foreign investors made 53,000 investment transactions worth over Dh107 billion. This wide diversity of nationalities reaffirms the continuing appeal of Dubai’s real estate market all over the world, and shows that investor confidence is increasing.” The agreement will help to enhance international real estate promotion and encour-

age investment from different nationalities, as Medallion Associates will be providing its services in several selected cities across the world. These include inquiry services and specialised services that will help to attract investments and introduce international investors to the services. Medallion will also support DLD by participating in the department’s international real estate roadshows. Masood Al Awar, Chairman and CEO of Medallion Associates, said: “As DLD’s international real estate promotion trustee, we will raise awareness of the real estate opportunities available in Dubai to investors, adhere to regulations and legislation, assist them in preferred languages, and provide programmes and orientation meetings. Our approach is to create a platform where real estate investors feel encouraged, safe and protected.” g


&T Interiors and Contracting in Dubai has won two contracts for the Royal Atlantis Resort and Residences project located on The Palm Dubai. This project speaks volumes about the company’s brand promise to provide turnkey solutions with a difference. The contracts include packages F3 for complete interior fit-out of the 219 super luxury apartments and F9 for all back of house areas. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019. The Royal Atlantis Resort and Residences is the newest icon of Dubai and the next modern wonder. It is a contemporary interpretation of classic architectural design masterpieces, creating a destination perfect for living. Rising above the crystal-clear waters of the Arabian Gulf, it is amongst the most exclusive residences in Dubai. S&T Interiors and Contracting is a leading turnkey contracting company specialising in civil, construction, interior fit-out works, operating across 10 countries in the Middle East, UK, Europe and Asia. Established in 1977 in Oman, it has executed over 150 projects like Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar, Oman; Anantara Qasr Al Sarab, Abu Dhabi; Dubai International Airport Project Concourse 3A. g Gulf Property




GREA to spur creativity

he Gulf Real Estate Awards launched by Dubai Land Department (DLD) is expected to promote a culture of creativity and innovation among all parties involved in the real estate sector, DLD said in a statement. The Gulf Real Estate Awards is a living example of DLD’s efforts to consolidate this culture, as it promotes best practices among real estate developers, brokers, contractors and consultants, as well as facilities management, engineering and legal companies, among other parties. The awards programme also aims to create a culture of competition among real estate companies and is aligned with the country's directives for excellence, sustainability, creativity and happiness. DLD has received over 150 entries from companies involved in various real estate related activities, each of which has sought to demonstrate excellence in their real estate sector innovation. Sultan Butti bin Mejren, Director General of DLD, commented: “We are keen to not only encourage greater innovation across all of our operations, but also to foster a culture of creativity and innovation through initiatives and practices that have significant impact on both our local real estate market and that of the wider region.” DLD has asked companies to compete in various areas of innovation. g


Gulf Property

DLD eyes Builders of the Future


ubai Land Department (DLD) recently held an internal ceremony to honour employees participating in the ‘Builders of the Future 2017’ programme, which aims to develop the capabilities and skills of the department’s staff. DLD invited all staff participating in the programme to attend the ceremony in the presence of the evaluation committee and DLD’s senior and departmental managers. Sultan Butti bin Mejren, Director General of DLD, honoured the employees with certificates of appreciation recognising their professional excellence and successful completion of all phases of the programme. Bin Mejren commented: “These programmes contribute to DLD’s development and improve our performance by providing a moral incentive, as well as appropriate working conditions, to encourage constructive cooperation and a spirit of positive competition among employees. They are also of great benefit to DLD and its employees as they contribute to enhancing our productivity, increasing our efficiency and rationalising our expenditure.” DLD launched the ‘Builders of the Future 2017’ programme to establish excellence, innovation and quality as key values within the department. The programme provided a reference point for assessing the progress and development of DLD’s performance, as well as for ensuring that the department’s duties and tasks are fulfilled

Sultan Butti bin Mejren, Director-General of Dubai Land Department

to the high levels of quality, efficiency and professionalism. Bin Mejren added: “This project reflects Dubai Land Department’s ongoing aim to develop its human resources, invest in young cadres, support excellence, and prepare employees to compete for local and international awards. “This will enhance the qual-

ity of our performance and services in the real estate sector, thus directly impacting customer satisfaction. “The positive impact of the programme has been evident in our employees’ performance; it has motivated and encouraged them to pursue innovation, excellence, career commitment, while also mastering customer service and improving efficiency.” g

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