Look - no garages. At Signature Developers' new project in JGE, all of the parking spaces are in the 'basement'. In fact, all of the 21 villas will share a basement 'spine' for parking spaces for up to 6 cars.. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: New villas in short supply? Don’t worry, developers in Dubai are rushing to fill gaps in the market as demand for villas – whether mid-priced or of the Dh100+ million sort – remain steadfast.

Signature Developers, which owns the Taj Hotels’ tower in JLT, confirmed it will be building a cluster of villas at Jumeirah Golf Estates, ‘on one of the handful of plots available’ at that upscale community. “These villas are not aiming for uber-luxurious of Dh100 million upwards,” said Raju Shroff, one of partners at the developer. “Prices would be in the Dh18 million to Dh35 million, and with one topping Dh50 million.

“Our aim is to create an uber-luxury environment at JGE (Jumeirah Golf Estates) associated with Dubai's most happening locations. It's doable.”

Going ‘deep’

Signature will also be getting creative with the land available – by having the garages under the villas rather than external ones. In fact, “The basement spine will stretch across the 21 villas, and where each owner can park up to 6 of their vehicles,” said Shroff. “Drive down and walk into your villa, that’s the plan. We decided to go this route because the land was undulating, and we felt that the 189,000 square feet would be better served taking the garages down and leave more spaces for the individual villas.”

Plan is to launch construction and offplan sales in September/October. “This will be a gated community within a gated community and where the owners are just 50 metres away from the clubhouse,” said Shroff.

Stock - Raju Shroff and Jayant Ganwani
Raju Shroff and Jayant Ganwani, partners in Signature Developers, is ready to tee with a niche project at Jumeirah Golf Estates. "The intention is to create a mini- Emirates Hills or Dubai Hills," says Shroff. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Through the first six months of this year, market sources had been talking about less villa stock being available for buyers, with much of the available ones picked up last year. Which also explains why villa asking prices recorded 15-30 per cent increases this year. (And we are not even talking about the prices in the super-luxury villa space. Alpago Properties is building a cluster of six villas at the Palm’s ‘Billionaires’ Row’ at Dh120 million to Dh300 million.)

Bahraini developer’s entry

This is the setting for Bahrain’s GFH – one of the biggest investment firms in the Gulf – with a timely launch of a villa- and townhouse-only project in Dubai. Located in Dubailand and near the IMG Park, the ‘California Village’ is split into two phases and will take $187 million to build.

The California Village homes story from Dh1.7 million to Dh4.6 million.

For potential buyers who do not want to wait, Phase 1 comes ready with four-bedroom townhouses and five-bedroom ‘twin-villas’. Phase 2 is on offplan, and features three- to four-bedroom townhouses. There is an additional sweetener with the developer allowing 70 per cent of the payment to be done post-handover over five years.

“With increasing mortgage interest rates, this payment plan will benefit end-users by borrowing less from banks,” said Wassim Abdallah, the Head of OffPlan and Investments at Betterhomes, which is handling the sales. “GFH have successfully launched numerous projects globally, and Harbour Heights is one of their flagships that shaped Bahrain's skyline. Now, they have entered the Dubai market…”

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The 'California Village' villa and townhouse project in Dubailand is from GFH, the Bahrain investment firm that has sizeable global exposure in real estate. Image Credit: Supplied

Pick up the pace on villa launches

Since the relaunch of the offplan boom since the second-half of 2021, developers in Dubai had been focussing principally on apartment towers or more niche offerings. It was felt that villa-only projects could get caught up in market cycles and take longer to build. Plus, it was felt that there were enough ready villas in the city that can meet demand.

Market sources say that many developers got the last part wrong, as demand keeps outpacing whatever villa and townhouse supply there is in the market. Damac’s Akoya and the recently launched Lagoons developments have been beneficiaries, and niche projects in Jumeirah too have seen unprecedented demand.

“All of which ensured that developers had to bring forward their launch plans for villas – or someone like Emaar, Nakheel, wasl or Dubai Holding could easily launch new projects and take in much of the demand that is there,” said an estate agent.