If one wants evidence that the UAE’s off-plan property market is being driven by end users, then here it is: more and more developers are coming up with attractive pricing structures and buying options, luring customers who have been waiting for the “right time”. Several residential units being offered at economy rates are also being equipped with luxury amenities, which were often only seen in premium developments.
Invest Group Overseas (IGO), which recently launched its latest off-plan development, IGO 101 in Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT), is doing just that. The developer promises to increase the inventory and plug the gap for more affordable premium homes.
Their previous projects, the Polo Residences and Polo Townhouses, were delivered ahead of schedule and also included upgraded interiors that were not part of the original plan.
As Anas A. Kozbari, managing partner and CEO of IGO, points out, all of its projects are aimed at creating residential solutions tailored for the end user, while aiming to redefine the affordable luxury segment. “IGO 101 does just that,” says Kozbari.”
One of the project’s most important features, he adds, is its location in Cluster K of JLT. It is one of the last residential towers to be built in the community. “Few locations in Dubai offer the advantages that JLT does,” he says. “It is a very well-established development and has become a self-sustainable hub.”
The 195m-tall, G+39 residential tower is being built with an investment of Dh500 million. Designed by VE Experts (VX), the tower’s design maximises open views and integrates usable and generous exterior balconies.
According to the developer, each apartment will boast high-quality finishes and feature a lounge, dining area, modern kitchen and bedrooms with attached bathrooms. Larger units will include a powder room, laundry closet and maid’s room. Other amenities in the building include a gym, health club, squash court, outdoor swimming pools, a children’s pool, Jacuzzi and sun deck with loungers overlooking the lake below, a children’s play area, as well as retail, food and beverage outlets.
IGO is also offering attractive pricing options and those interested can book a unit with just a 5 per cent down payment.
“It is easier to own an apartment today and we are making it even more easier for the buyer,” says Kozbari. “The payment terms are very good and beneficial to both the user, as well as the financial market.”
According to Kozbari, JLT also has a very high occupancy rate, making the project an attractive option for investors as well. “The occupancy rate is almost 95 per cent in JLT,” he says. “If you are an investor, the net yield in JLT is about 7.5 per cent. That is reason enough to invest.”
Kozbari admits that the purchasing power of investors has been affected by global economic fluctuations, he notes that demand is still abundantly high in Dubai and the UAE, with developers offering more diversified portfolios.
IGO, a Dubai-based, privately held investment group, has itself delivered projects worth more than Dh4.5 billion during the last five years. The group has operations in the US, Europe, and the Middle East, but focuses mainly on the UAE market, with Dubai accounting for 70 per cent of its total investments.
Kozbari says the firm was attracted to Dubai because of its proactive development program, which has helped the emirate to grow its real estate, financial and business services sectors.
“In terms of infrastructure, we have facilities here that most developed cities do not have,” he says. “While most places are still planning for the future, here we are already building the future.”
He adds: “We have a mixed-use project in Dallas, Texas, called The Gate. It takes about six to nine months of procedural work in the US and the same can be achieved in Dubai in two to three weeks. Business acumen dictates that we invest in those markets that are regulated, mature and offer opportunity for growth and Dubai has all this and more.”
According to him, there are more opportunities for the real estate industry to flourish in Dubai and the UAE. “We believe that the fundamentals of the real estate sector in Dubai are strong and market will continue to grow, taking into account the continuous expansion of the city and the growth in the number of residents. In addition, Dubai will remain a centre of attention to the real estate business.”
However, Kozbari also acknowledges that demand may change, driving more investments into different and new segments. “Increasing economic activity in the UAE and the continuous growth in the real estate market in particular have boosted investor appetite in the real estate sector. But this economic growth may carry with it some challenges, such as sustained development in this sector.”
The developer plans new real estate investments in Dubai totalling Dh2 billion by 2020. “We will be announcing a new project, another high-rise residential tower, during the forthcoming Cityscape in Dubai.”
Although real estate is its core business, the group also has investments in other industries such as Islamic banking, research, medicine and education.
“Our forecasts and insights indicate that over time we will increase our investment in other sectors in the future, but currently we are focusing on real estate development,” says Kozbari.