Dubai is developing an insatiable apetite for key residential projects

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There has been a lot of buzz in Dubai over the past few weeks about highly desirable real estate projects that are being launched and sold out within days or even hours of being released. This is not to say that every property project in the Emirate will receive this response. Rather the demand is skewed towards projects, with very specific facilities and amenities in key areas.

The first project to generate a huge response was ‘The Address the BLVD’ by Emaar, which according to media reports has ‘sold out faster than tickets to Justin Bieber’s Dubai concert’. The latest Emaar development to hit the market and bound to cause a frenzy is the launch ofan extension to Arabian Ranches called “Casa”. The first phase that has been released is made up of 253Moroccan style villas.The completion of these villas is predicted by the end of 2014 and it will include schools, health clubs, cafes/restaurants and other retail outlets.

In order to avoid confusion with long physical queues, which would put buyers and their agents to considerable inconvenience, the sales management at Emaar have set up an online system for registration. The online registration was on a first come first serve basis . This allowed people to complete their business in an efficient manner whilst avoiding bad publicity from disruptive queues and waiting time.

People who have registered online will receive a time slot to purchase a property when Emaar releases them on 24th November and this guarantees the sale of 253 units as well . An additional benefit is that individuals can register directly and only Emaar- approved agents can register for their clients or for themselves too, which eliminates the possibility of scams or any kind of fraud.

Aside from the online system of registration, the interesting thing here is the popularity of these projects. It seems as though that Dubai is developing an insatiable appetite for residential projects in key areas. Established residential communities within easy access of work and leisure facilitiesof Dubai simply cannot be built fast enough. Residents want to be within easy commuting distance of DIFC, Media City and other commercial districts, and also want to be within comfortable distance from beaches, malls and other leisure attractions of the city.

At the same time, the average Dubai resident has very high standards of requirements for their Homes. They want green spaces, beautifully manicured public areas, access to gardens, children’s play areas, fitness facilities and swimming pools as well as onsite supermarkets and cafes.

A few key communities do manage to offer it all. Prime examples are The Arabian Ranches and Emirates Living. There are several reasons why a community like Arabian Ranches, for example, is popular. Firstly, Emaar properties are highly regarded in terms of quality, finish and services. The Casa development launch is a small part of a much larger development that is already well-established and leverages on the existing supply of successful schools, mosques,community centers, recreational facilities, tennis courts and retail units which will guarantee a successful launch.

The proposed properties themselves have good specifications, with a beautiful Moroccan design, and are of an excellent size (3,100 – 3750 sq ft), offering six different layouts for 3 or 4bedrooms and are due to be delivered quite soon (at the end of 2014).

It is interesting to see that the only companies launching properties at the moment are Emaar, Nakheel, and Damac, and in particular most are launching specific sections of each project. This sendsout a clear message that the market can absorb these small amount of units. This is quite a different scenario to that of the pre- 2008 era, when massive developments were being planned without any regard for genuine demand. This time it is more carefully considered ,where projects are being launched at a rate that allows the market to absorb them and where supply is catering to a real and proven demand.

Overall, it’s a very positive message and  the Dubai property market is on the right track. With more positive signs like this coming out from Dubai, the more likely it is that serial investors and first time owner- occupiers will be encouraged to take the plunge and purchase property in the Emirates or increase their portfolio once again.

By Mario Volpi, Head of Residential Sales & Leasing at Cluttons in Dubai.

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