I am domiciled in Germany and thinking of investing in an apartment in Dubai. I would rent out the property initially, and intend to use it myself when I retire. Can you advice me on what I should consider?

Q1: I am domiciled in Germany and thinking of investing in an apartment in Dubai. I would rent out the property initially, and intend to use it myself when I retire. Can you advice me on what I should consider?

A1: I am assuming that proximity to the beach would be preferable for you. The income you will receive from this investment will be greater since the majority of tenants aspire to live near a beach. It also opens up the option for short-term rentals. If the property is managed well by a professional agent, this strategy can provide you superior returns.

Jumeirah Beach Residence. Dubai Marina or the Palm Jumeirah all offer a sought-after lifestyle, while providing excellent amenities and entertainment options. These developments are very popular with holiday makers, residents and retirees alike. Quality properties are available in the range of Dh 800 per sq.ft to Dh 2,500 per sq.ft.

You should expect a minimum net rental return of around 7%, which makes for a solid investment in preparation for outright ownership upon your retirement. Diligence is required with factors such as location, the developer’s record, quality, service fees, building management and the existence of a functioning owner’s association.

Q2: There is news that Dubai’s real estate decline has bottomed out and excellent opportunities exist in villa investment. I am looking for a villa in the Dh 3 million to Dh5 million price range. Can you make a recommendation?

A2: After years of decline, research shows that prices for villas in Dubai are starting to stabilize and have even increased in sought-after neighborhoods.
A fair proportion of the demand is focused on locations such as Arabian Ranches, Palm Jumeirah, Emirates Living communities (i.e The Springs, Meadows and Lakes) and Emirates Hills, More affordable villas can be found in developments such as Falcon city, The Villa project, Sports City and Motor City in Dubailand, where prices are often up to 30% less than in established communities.

The Villa Project in Dubailand has become a much sough-after community. The primary attraction of buying a unit there is that it offers good value for money. One can purchase a large, brand new villa at a relatively lower price in comparison with most similar-sized properties in other parts of Dubai.
Superior value for money has been reflected in very healthy capital gains for owners. A 4-bedroom unit in The Villa cost Dh1.9 million in August 2011, but the same unit today is worth Dh2.8 million. Likewise. Rentals have also gone up. A 4-bedroom villa that used to be rented for Dh 120,000 in August last year is now available for rent at Dh 165,000.

Q3: Will the prices go up or down in the rest of 2012:?

A3: Overall stability has returned to the market as far as prices are concerned, while good quality developments have witnessed price appreciation and increase in rents. The villa segment, in particular, has seen sales prices and rents increase mainly due to a combination of increased demand and relatively limited supply. Villa price increased mainly due to a combination of increased demand and relatively limited supply. Villa price increases in Q1 2012 versus the prior quarter were in the range of 5 to 12%, depending on the development. Top performers were the The Villa Project, Emirates Hills and Arabian Ranches.

Apartments rates around the city have generally stabilized as well. However, some areas such as Silicon Oasis, International city and Dubai Investments Park will remain under pressure due to new supply added to a segment which is already oversupplied. Having said that, locations renowned for their lifestyle appeal such as Dubai Marina. JLT and JBR, or the more affordable and up and coming Skycourts, have shown a lot of promise with quarter-on-quarter increases of 3% to 5%.


Great News for All Palm Jumeirah Investors

Villas and Apartments at the Palm Have surely outperformed similar properties in Dubai

By Mohanad Alwadiya
Special to properties

Property owners at the Palm can now breathe a little easier. On the average, villas have increased in value by 23%year –on- year at the end of the first quarter of 2012.Some villas have even managed to reach their pre-recession values. This performance outstrips the market average where villa values are estimated to have grown to around 13%. Apartment prices in Palm Jumeirah increased by 9% to 13%, depending on the configuration, easily outperforming the average price increase in similar properties across the emirate.
But a project will never attain its true value until its completed .Nakheel, fresh from sorting out its debts woes announced a first quarter 2012 profit almost $100 million causing some eyebrows to raise, not just in amazement at the embattled developer’s comeback, but in curiosity about what’s in store at The Palm.
The answer lies in the project known as Palm Views East and Palm Views West. They will comprise of 190 studios catering to a ‘younger occupier ’demographic. In a strategy seemingly aimed primarily at investors instead of owner-occupiers, Nakheel will be charging around Dh1 million for each of the studio properties. Each apartment has an approximate gross area of 500 square feet. While definitely more affordable than the traditional Palm property, approximately priced at Dh2,000/sq.ft., these studios continues to reflect the premium expected from such a location. If an investor intends to retrieve a net return of 7% on a studio, he would be renting the same for around Dh85, 000 to Dh90, 000 per year, depending on service charges. The units are not outrageously expensive (check out a studio in a comparative location in Hong Kong) but not exactly cheap either. Nakheel expects to hand over the apartments, along with a selection of retail and food outlets, in the first quarter of 2014.

If you are a current property investor in the Palm, this is great news. The Palm’s overall performance and these new projects offering residential and retail spaces are sure to attract more people into The Palm. Nothing drives investment more than confidence.
The writer is the Managing Director of Harbor Real Estate

Handy Hints
• Apartment prices in Palm Jumeirah increased by 9% to 13%
• Villas increased in value by 23% by the end of the first quarter in 2012
• The Palm Views East and West cater to a “younger occupier” demographic

Will the prices of 2008 ever come back, and if so, when?

Mohanad Alwadiya
Managing director of harbor real estate and part-time instructor at the Dubai Real Estate Institute.

Q1. Will the prices of 2008 ever come back, and if so, when?

A1. Dubai real estate face values fell, on average, by 50% during the recent global recession. In some area, it was closer to 33%, and in others, closer to 65%, depending on the location an proerpty type.
For smiplicity’s sake, however, let’s assume that 50% is the representative value.
An investment needs to grow at approximately 7% per annum, compounded for 10 years to double in face value. Assuming your property consistently appreciates at 7% per annum, you would need to wait approximately 10 years for the face value of your real estate asset to double.
Many factors will contribute to this growth, including the pace of global economic recovery, regional economic and geopolitical factors, and of course, Dubai’s own growth strategies.
Don’t forget that one of the advantages of investing in real estate is that it can provide you a regular income and capital growth. Some properties in dubai today are returning between 7% and 9% net to the owner. This type of return is hard to match anywhere else.

Q2. I’m looking to rent a house, but I found that it has district cooling. Is this something good or bad?

A2. District cooling for the provision of chilled water has emerged globally as a way to provide cooling in a more environmentally sensitive way. Aside from the obvious benefit of having chilled water. Especially in the summertime, it helps in saving on the costs of electricity which will be reflected in lower DEWA bills for tenants.
However, the DEWA savings will be somewhat offset, as the overall utility chares of units that are equipped with chilled water district cooling will be slightly higher, since they include expenditures for fixed operating costs via the application for the appropriate consumption charges.
Most units which are serviced by chilled water district cooling are still offered at lower rental rates. If you look at newly-completed projects such as Skycourt, Rita and Moto Ciry, which provide this form of service, the affordability o units in these properties is enhanced by a number of elements, including more energy efficient cooling.

Q3. I would like to invest in a Two-bedroom apartment in Burj khalifa, but I’m not sure if that is a sound decision or not. What’s your advice?

A3. I am assuming that you are not referring to an apartment at the Armani Residence, and you are taking a long-term view of your investment.
The rate of return will depend on a number of factors, including the initial purchase price, cash inflow from the rent, cash outflow from the charges associated with maintaining the property and your projected capital growth.
Two-bedrooms (with maid’s room) in the Burj Khalifa are being advertised for around Hd3,000 per sq.ft., depending on the floor and view. Therefore, you will be looking at an outlay of approximately Dh 6 million for a reasonable-sized apartment. Service charges will be around Dh33 per sq.ft., so you will need to cash out around Dh66,000 annually.
Assuming you wish to achieve a minimum of 5% net rental return, you would need to charge around Dh366,000 per annum or Dh30,500 per month. Values in Burj Khalifa have virtually bottomed out and there have been positive signs of capital appreciation over the last 12 months. Barring a collapse in the credit markets and the recurrence of a global recession, you could reasonably expect an average capital growth of around 7% over the next 10 years.
This is particulat investment can be very lucrative. You will be investing in an architectural icon which will always give some measure of security because of its apparitional qualities, that even after taking a long-term view, the risks would appear to be of secondary importance to its value.