Prospective home owners are racing to buy apartments offered to expatriates in a development in Ajman.

The project makes Ajman the third emirate in the UAE after Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah to offer properties on a so-called freehold basis to expatriates.

The project is also open to expatriates who live abroad.

Al Naeemiya Towers, on Emirates Road close to Sharjah, are under construction and only about one third of the project is still available.

"Expatriates and UAE nationals alike can own freehold apartments in Al Naeemiya Towers," said Ghalib Jabir of Ajman-based Properties Investment Company.

Freehold, which in the UAE is actually a 99-year lease, means buyers also share ownership of the plot on which the buildings are constructed. They can also obtain residence visas in the investor category based on their apartment ownership.

The project, comprising Al Naeemiya Towers 1 and Al Naeemiya Towers 2, is ready for sale.
The first phase, Towers 1, is expected to be completed by November next year and the second by August 2006.

The complex will comprise 15 residential buildings. There are seven in the first phase and eight in the second.

Jabir told Gulf News all apartments in Al Naeemiya Towers 1 and 25 per cent of Al Naeemiya Towers 2 have been sold.

The complex will have a total of 470 apartments. Each building will have 16 floors and four apartments on each floor.

The towers will comprise high-quality residential apartments of different sizes including two- and three-bedroom homes. A three-bedroom flat of 2,366 square feet is priced at Dh369,000.

Two-bedroom apartments covering 1,813 square feet are being sold for Dh282,000. Payment has been structured in installments and a large down payment is required at the time of booking.

The venture, aimed at attracting more investment in the emirate's real estate sector, is expected to generate strong investor interest due to its proximity to Dubai.

Many Ajman residents commute to their offices in Dubai. Investors would find the price in Ajman attractive compared to others on the market.