While the pandemic has forced developers in the UAE to rethink project launches, slowing down the off-plan market considerably, real estate experts say there is a sustained demand for off-plan projects in prime locations. According to Property Finder reports, in November 3,928 transactions worth Dh7.65 billion took place in the Dubai real estate market. Around 38.5 per cent of these transactions were in the off-plan market.
Prime locations in demand
Rakesh Mirchandani, CEO of RNR International Real Estate says, “Off-plan is still attractive in prime locations. The Madinat Jumeirah Living is a perfect example of this. It has seen a good demand from investors. So has La Mer, Emaar Beachfront and Emerald Hills project in Dubai Hills. Developers are also being as competitive as possible, offering waivers on service charges, DLD fees etc to attract demand.” Property Finder’s November report seconds this. Four apartments in El Primo were sold recently, each for more than Dh18.9 million. But projects, even in affordable luxury, have also done well, says Pantheon Group founder Kalpesh Kinariwala. Despite Covid-19, he reports great sales in off-plan and plans to launch around 160 units next year. “There is not much inventory in the villa and townhouse sector, hence demand has been steady,” he says. Mirchandani says in the Madinat Jumeirah Living, one-bed apartments start from Dh1.22m and two-bedroom apartments from Dh1.88m. Plots in Emerald Hills start from Dh3.3m, apartments in La Mer start from Dh1.2m and Emaar Beachfront from Dh1.5m.
Top areas in Dubai
According to Property Finder data, as of November 30, top off-plan villa/townhouse transactions have been in Tilal Al Ghaf, Dubai South, Dubai Land, Arabian Ranches 3, Serena, Dubai Hills Estate, Town Square, The Valley, Arabian Ranches 2 and Jumeirah, while top off-plan apartment transactions have been in Mohammed Bin Rashid City, Jumeirah Village Circle, Business Bay, Downtown Dubai, Dubai Creek Harbour (The Lagoons), Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Harbour, Arjan and Dubai Hills Estate. The measures taken by the Dubai government during Covid-19 has also helped revive the off plan sector. Shadaab Ahmed Shabbir Patel, managing director of Oscar Real Estate Ltd says, “Now with new construction on hold, we can hope that the excess supply in market will slowly be absorbed. Demand is being generated with new investment opportunities in the market and also with the reissuance of residential visas in Dubai.”
More certainty next year
Richard Waind, group managing director of Better Homes, says a good off-plan launch in the market is getting snapped up very quickly. He expects a peak supply of new properties to come into the market over the next 12 months when there is more certainty. The improvements in the local economy against the backdrop of Expo2020 Dubai will also be a catalyst for the sector, experts feel. With most investors in Dubai’s real estate being regional and international, PP Varghese, partner and head of real estate strategy and consulting at Knight Frank, believes the future of the off plan market will depend on the global economic climate.
Here are three communities in the off-plan sector in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi that hold promise:
Madinat Jumeirah Living in Dubai
Located opposite the iconic Burj Al Arab, Dubai Holding’s exclusive flagship residential development, Madinat Jumeirah Living offers a luxury lifestyle in the heart of the city. This gated residential cluster, once ready, will include a convenient community centre, community retail, and a suite of concierge services, day care centres, play areas, parks and open spaces, gyms and swimming pools, ample basement parking for residents and even designated visitor parking. Phase 1 has two one- to four-bedroom residential buildings and is on track for handover in the second quarter next year.
Naseej District in Sharjah
Arada has launched Naseej District, an upscale neighbourhood that celebrates art, design and culture at the Dh24 billion megaproject, Aljada, in the heart of new Sharjah. It will have 16 apartment buildings designed in a contemporary style and accompanied by cultural attractions. Naseej has so far seen a strong demand from investors and end-users who are seeking new and upscale standards for urban design. Tiraz, the first residential building to go on sale at Naseej District features 128 units in total including a range of studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments that overlook open courtyards and garden spaces. The first homes will be delivered in the first quarter of 2023.
AlJurf in Abu Dhabi
Located on Sahel Al Emarat – known as the UAE’s Riviera – AlJurf is a second-home coastal destination developed by Imkan Properties. It is nestled within a nature reserve surrounded by wildlife and lush greenery. Imkan, the Abu-Dhabi based placemaker, has taken a guardianship role by following in the footsteps of previous generations to create this tranquil getaway. Phase One of the destination features timeless villas and exclusive land plots. AlJurf will also be home to the first SHA Wellness Clinic in the Middle East, which will bring its world-class treatments to the region for the very first time.