Dubai: All legacy issues faced by earlier investors in Ajman’s freehold property should be resolved sometime next year once a new decree passes into law, according to a top official at the emirate’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Rera). These relate to investments stuck in projects that never took off after the UAE property market crashed in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis.
“The decree is still being finalised … but once it’s passed will have clear guidelines on what the affected investors could do to compensate for those funds,” said Yafea Al Faaj, Executive Director at Ajman Rera, speaking on the sidelines of an event to launch a real estate conference. “It could allow such investors to seek alternate units in new developments that will be built in the emirate.
“We are seeing more developer activity coming up — three were launched this year and another two are close to doing so with all of the designs done. More will be on the way.
“With the new decree and the initiatives we have taken so far, Ajman’s property market will be the second most transparent in the country.”
Just before the 2008 crisis broke, Ajman was a favoured destination for mid-market developers, and “Emirates City” had multiple tower launches. Investors were taken in, especially those on tight budgets, and piled on board especially as the prices on offer then were significant lower than the boom-driven values on offer at the time.
But then the downturn happened and with a few exceptions, development activity ground to a standstill. No official data is available on the number of such projects where investors had exposures.
Since then, Ajman Rera has played a central role in trying to get some of the original projects back on track, or help out investors where possible. It issued laws regarding the issue of title deeds, set up escrow accounts and also issued time-bound project requirements on developers.
“My engineering department is working closely with developers, contractors and consultants to ensure they stick to the promised timelines on completion,” said Al Faaj. “If for some reason they can’t, they have to come up with sound reasons to explain why. We will not projects drag on indefinitely.”
All of the emirate’s freehold zones are located on and off the Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road. The Rera official said there was limited to no space available within the core city limits for these.
The new project launches are taking place in the area behind “Emirates City”. “That developers want to get into Ajman now is what I’m excited about,” said Al Faaj. “It means that that a viable property development market exists in the emirate despite everything that happened during the crisis years.
“And even during the crisis, we had one or two developers continuing with their projects.
“On our part, the authorities are doing everything to support them on the infrastructure side. At locations such as “Emirates City”, infrastructure works are nearly done.
“The biggest challenge now is to clear all issues related to pending projects. We will have clear rules to help us get there.”
Real estate activity perks up in Ajman
In the year to date, real estate related transactions were valued at more than Dh1.5 billion. More than 18,000 freehold units were transacted during this period, up 39 per cent on 2015.
The first Ajman Real Estate Conference will open December 14.
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