MAG has put up its MAG City community — part of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City. Image Credit: MAG

Dubai: Dubai’s property market and its developers had lots to cheer about in February, with offplan sales recording their best monthly performance since May last year.

About 1,700 offplan property deals were recorded last month as against May’s figure of 2,006 units and just ahead of October 2018’s tally of 1,666 units, preliminary data show. (In January, offplan sales had totalled 1,360 units.) In value terms, things got even better during February — the 2,006 homes sold had a combined value of Dh2.8 billion plus and with only December 2017’s Dh3.5 billion being better than that during the subsequent 13 months, according to numbers provided by Reidin-GCP. the real estate consultancy. (The January’s sales tally was Dh1.92 billion.) Dubai’s master-developers continue to run well ahead of the pack, with Emaar alone accounting for more than 60 per cent of the offplan units sold in February. Meraas and Wasl Properties too have done well with their recent releases, and which are now starting to show up in the registered deals with the Dubai Land Department.

Will the February response prompt other developers to test the market again with their offplan launches or new releases of ongoing projects? MAG Property Development has put up its MAG City community — part of the multi-district Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City — with two-bedroom townhouses from Dh1.57 million and with post-handover payment periods stretching to five years. Completion is scheduled for late 2021.

“The offplan sales spike in February have been fuelled by generous payment options now offered by all the major developers,” said Sameer Lakhani, Managing Director at Global Capital Partners. “Others are likely to join the bandwagon in offering extended payment plans in coming months.

“this strategy has clearly been successful in re-igniting demand across the board.”

Up until mid-January, the conventional thinking was that this year too was likely to be a slow one for offplan sales, after volumes dropped significantly right through 2017. But then Emaar and Meraas came out with launches that were met by sizeable demand. Dubai Holding too scored a hit with apartment blocks at its Madinat Jumeirah Living, located next to Burj Al Arab.

Among emerging freehold clusters, Dubai Hills Estate and Creek Harbour have had solid numbers, with the former seeing more than 200 plus units in each of the first two months.

If developers across the city can pull off February’s showing this month as well, it would allay some of the concerns about too much supply chasing too few buyers. For the moment, buyers are definitely there for offplan properties at the right price and payment plan, and more so if it is coming from a developer with a track record to show off.

Meanwhile, ready property sales continues to chug along at a steady pace — both January and February saw more than 950 units each being transacted, more or less unchanged from what they were during Q4-18. “There is demand for opportunistic trades in ready properties,” said Lakhani. “It’s apparent that this is so because payment plans are being offered in the ready space as well. This will stoke demand in the months ahead.”

New locations are scoring big in the freehold charts

For offplan property purchases, Dubai Hills Estate was the most popular spot for investors in the first two months of 2019, accounting for 508 transactions. In second place was Downtown, with 322 units, and followed by Dubai Creek Harbour, with 257 units.

Among ready homes, Dubai Marina and The Palm led with 228 units apiece according to data from Reidin-GCP.