Investor interest moves to Dubai’s highways

Projects on and off Mohammad Bin Zayed Road getting on to investor radars

Dubai: Prospective property buyers looking at options in Dubai outside of Downtown or the Dubai Marina belt would do well to take a drive down Mohammad Bin Zayed Road. They will realize that saturated Arabian Ranches is not the sole property investment destination on that side of town.

A resurgent property market has got developers with extensive interests there to ramp up project activity, while more could be on the way. The Falcon City has already built up scale, while the strictly super-premium Al Barari community is adding to its already extensive list of features and new living spaces.

At the same time, the promoter of City of Arabia – IMG – makes a point of emphasizing that the in-the-making destination is not just about dinosaur and superhero theme parks but will have a residential mix as well.

“The project will largely be developed by IMG Group; however, the masterplan does include plots that have been earmarked for high-rise buildings and some of them have been sold to sub-developers as well,” said a spokesperson for the developer. “With the market conditions improving, some of these sub-developers will commence construction work shortly.

“The masterplan is being reviewed based on current market demands. Pursuant to revisions that may be made based on these reviews and related approvals, sales and marketing [of the residences] will commence.”

The flagship Wadi Tower is set for completion by the year end, while development of the cluster’s low-rise element, Wadi Walk, is progressing, according to IMG. (The leisure and entertainment features at City of Arabia, comprising four dedicated zones, will open simultaneously next year.)

Emerging freehold developments and the options they provide could also help dilute investors’ dominant interest in locations such as the Downtown or the high-rise clusters on the stretch leading up to Jebel Ali Free Zone. But it will be a slow build-up of interest for those buyers looking at some home financing support.

“Although finance has started in some, banks are still not that aggressive in financing off-plan projects,” said Jonathan Fothergill at the property firm Cluttons. “However anecdotal evidence suggests that there are sales happening in off-plan projects like Falcon City where there is an already established and running phase one.

“As with the rest of the Dubai market rentals and sales have picked up in Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC). Widening of Hessa Street and completion of internal roads within the development have definitely helped.

“JVC has the advantage of good access from both Al Khail Road and (eventually) Mohammad Bin Zayed Road, and the development is still in its infancy. Apartments in the development are still at affordable levels and would attract both type of buyers [investors and end-users].”

Cluttons estimates a “right price” at the Nakheel-built development as being in the Dh600 to Dh800 a square foot range.

A more “mature” development such as the Arabian Ranches currently has asking prices from Dh1,100 to Dh1,325 a square foot for the townhouses and between Dh1,175 to Dh1,475 a square foot for properties with what might constitute as a sylvan view. (Luxury villas such as the Hattan command its own premium, obviously.)

According to Cluttons, Victory Heights – another mature investment destination – is achieving sales prices of around Dh1,225 to Dh1,500 a square foot, while those in Motor City are “achieving something similar”.


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