Omar Al Mukhayet says Alandalus provides ample outdoor amenities Image Credit: Jumeirah Golf Estates

Last month, when Jumeirah Golf Estates officially released its Andalusian-themed town houses with a starting price of Dh1.3 million, 65 out of the 95 units were sold within three hours of being released. According to Yousuf Kazim, CEO of Jumeirah Golf Estates, there is an increase in the demand and appetite for mid-market homes in the lead-up to the World Expo 2020. The Alandalus development, which targets the middle market, is expected to be ready in September next year. PW caught up with Jumeirah Golf Estates’ projects manager, Omar Al Mukhayet, to get an update on the community.

Tell us about the Alandalus Townhouses.

The gated community features a collection of two- and three-bedroom homes, and has been carefully designed to feature clearly defined, open spaces flooded with natural light. Combining modern and traditional Andalusian materials for a sophisticated, functional and comfortable space, each townhouse will have a private outdoor terrace, including an optional plunge pool and patio area — an essential element for family living and sociable lifestyle.

The town houses have been built to complement the surroundings, that include fascinating water features and landscaping that includes Mediterranean olive and citrus trees.

Your thoughts about affordable housing in the UAE.

According to a recent study by CBRE, the demand for affordable housing currently far exceeds supply, with significant population growth exceeding 6.5 per cent per annum over the last five years in the low to mid-end population brackets. Both residential sales and rental rates have significantly increased over the past three years, overtaking the growth in salaries and thus making affordability a decisive factor in the purchase decision of Dubai residents. The nature of demand in Dubai’s real estate sector is shifting, and it is crucial for any developer to remain agile and adaptable. Over the past year we have expanded our residential proposition to link luxury living with affordable prices.

How does Alandalus fit into the affordable luxury category?

Part of phase A of the Jumeirah Golf Estate’s 1,119-hectare development, Alandalus is an Andalusian-inspired development that consists of affordable luxury apartments and town houses, boasting 715 one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments and 95 town houses. Answering the Dubai government’s call for affordable accommodation, Alandalus offers luxury living at more realistic prices, with one-bedroom apartments starting from Dh597,000. The name Al Andalus originates from a time when the Moorish ruled, between the 8th and 15th century, when Muslim culture had a strong influence on the architecture.

The development started in May 2015 and last month we completed 25 per cent of construction, which is currently on track. We plan to complete and hand over the project in 2018. Inspired by the Andalusian region, Alandalus will have a strong focus on outdoor living.

Who are Alandalus’ architects, designers and landscapers?

The architecture is being taken care of by Development Design Group and Engineering Consultants Group, which has expertise in large, complex projects. CDM Smith is our infrastructure consultant and Badri Associates is the landscape consultant.

Who are investing in Alandalus?

The development has attracted a diverse investor audience, with a large percentage of investments coming from Western and Asian expats. Our apartments feature rental yields of approximately 8-10 per cent, while villas and townhouses feature rental yields of about 4–5 per cent. Capital appreciation stands at 20–30 per cent for Alandalus’ apartments.

Are units still available?

Since we launched in 2015, there has been tremendous interest in the community, particularly from investors and end users. The one-bedroom apartments, starting at Dh597,000, sold out early last year, with the larger one-bedroom units (Dh835,000) selling out in the fourth quarter. Now only a selection of two- , three- and four-bedroom apartments are available for sale in the current phase of development, priced at Dh1.161 million, Dh1.51 million and Dh2.047 million respectively.

What financing options are available?

There are two payment plans in place. One allows investors to pay 5 per cent on booking, 25 per cent during construction and the final 70 per cent on handover of the property. The second option requires 5 per cent on booking, 45 per cent during construction, with the remaining 50 per cent being payable up to one year after the handover of the property. In August, we partnered with Emirates Islamic Bank to introduce financing of up to 25 years at affordable rates.

How sustainable is Jumeirah Golf Estates?

We are totally dedicated to sustainability. To underline this commitment, in January last year we sponsored the Dubai Sustainable Cities Summit that focused on sustainable environment strategies, their development and implementation. We’ve implemented several measures to promote sustainability across climate control, water, light, conservation and recycling. The approximately 2,000 mature trees, grass and other vegetation on our courses impact the community by lowering temperatures, reducing energy use and removing air pollutants.

Villas are built with pitched terracotta roofs, with the added height minimising the houses’ exposure to the sun, keeping indoor temperatures regulated. Homes also feature intelligent lighting systems to encourage residents to minimise their energy usage via smart technology. Jumeirah Golf Estates also uses 100 per cent treated sewerage effluent water to irrigate golf courses and villa gardens. Alongside this, all of the internal residential roads are constructed using a concrete block permeable solution that functions as a water filtration, retention and detention facility.