Capitalization rate card for investment

Many investors use gross yield and net yield to assess differing property investments in order to determine which course of action represents the best decision from a financial point of view.

But there is another calculation which is often ignored which is instrumental in determining how to deliver the best returns on an investor’s equity. This calculation is called the Capitalization Rate and is an important indicator for investors to consider. In the post Global Financial Crisis (GFC) period, yields from any type of investments became increasingly harder to find and without doubt, the post global recession environment saw investors having to take greater levels of risk to generate acceptable and goal satisfying yields. Dubai’s rental yields have always been strong, particularly when compared to countries where rental income is taxed at high marginal tax rates. With a market that boasts an Average Gross Yield of around 7 percent, it has for some time stood as a beacon for those who appreciate the significant structural and regulatory development that the market has undertaken which, in reality, decreases the risk perception associated with investing in the market. A close look at Gross Yields can reveal a number of insights. It can provide a retrospective view or learning opportunity by revealing how accurately market factors were comprehended, analyzed, forecast and modeled when planning a particular development. Gross Yields can also highlight inefficiencies because inefficiencies, unless corrected, must be eventually supported by either Gross Yield or margin reduction. Investors are concerned with what can be put into his wallet and expectations of Net Yield will always pressure Gross Yield and the cost of resources required to generate that Gross Yield. In times of tight supply, inefficiencies in construction, administration, maintenance and operating methodologies are hidden because elevated Gross Yields driven by excessive market demand are more likely to drive acceptable Net Yields for investors. However, the real test as to effective Yield management is when supply exceeds demand. But really, what is the true meaning of Gross Yield? Gross Yield is the income on an investment prior to expenses being deducted expressed as a percentage. Simple. But Gross Yield only measures the income as a percentage of the original purchase price and does not reflect the effects of significant underlying fluctuations in underlying asset values such as those that have been witnessed in Dubai during the last 5 years. Now, what is the Capitalization Rate (Cap Rate) of an existing property? Cap Rate is the rate of return on a real estate investment based on the income that the property is expected to generate. The capitalization rate is used to estimate the investor’s potential return on investment. The Cap Rate may be calculated by dividing the investment’s net operating income (NOI) by the current market value of the property, where NOI is the total revenue derived from leasing the property less operating costs. Simply put, the Cap Rate = Net Operating Income/ Current Market Value. Given that the capital values for property in Dubai has, in many cases, shown significantly greater volatility than the income being derived from the property, we need to look at the Net Operating Income being generated from the property at today’s value. This allows us to see whether the property’s wealth generating performance is improving or declining by referring to the Cap Rate. If the Cap Rate is declining, it may lead us to conclude that to sell the property and reinvest elsewhere would generate greater income and/or overall wealth even if the Gross or Net Yield still looks impressive.

Cap Rate is used as part of the objective when establishing a client’s property portfolio. We will determine the lowest cap rate that the client should accept in order to make the investment worth-while. Typically, we will suggest a Cap Rate of between 5 and 10 per cent depending on expectations of asset value fluctuations going forward. As revenues are typically locked in line with rental contracts, the ability to accurately forecast the potential and likely shifts in property asset values will be essential to establishing realistic Cap Rates and forming longer term portfolio strategies. Another useful application of the Cap rate is to determine an estimation of the payback period of an investment. When you divide 100 by the estimated Cap Rate you arrive at an estimate, expressed in years, which will provide an indication of the payback period of the investment. For example, an investment with a cap rate of 7 per cent will have an estimated payback period of 20 years. Caution must be used when using this ratio, however, and it must be reviewed periodically as the underlying asset value and the revenues generated from the asset will always exhibit different rates of volatility.

توافره يعالج أهم العوائق في سوق التمويل ال

Emarat Alyoum

Emarat Alyoum

‏‏‏توافره يعالج أهم العوائق في سوق التمويل العقاري ويعزز أداءها
خبراء: تأمين تعثر الديون العقارية شبه معدوم في الإمارات‏
إطلاق برامج للتأمين على القروض العقارية ولو جزئياً يعزز من أداء السوق العقارية. الإمارات اليوم
‏‏أكد خبراء في مجال التأمين، أن منتجات التأمين ضد تعثر سداد القروض العقارية شبه معدومة في الدولة، نظراً لعدم وجود استعداد من قبل شركات التأمين لتغطية مسائل التعثر، خصوصاً تأمين الديون العقارية، إضافة إلى أن وثائق هذا النوع من التأمين عادة ما تُسعّر بقيم مرتفعة، ما يجعل من غير الممكن أن تكون في متناول المقترض.
وأضافوا لـ«الإمارات اليوم» أن هذا النوع من التأمين يحمي البنوك من تعثر المقترضين إلى أن يتم تحصيل الدفعات المتأخرة، أو التنفيذ على الضمانات الموضوعة للقرض، مشيرين إلى أن التأمين ضد التعثر في سداد القروض العقارية مربح جداً لشركات التأمين في أسواق أوروبا وأميركا.
وأكدوا أن شركات التأمين لا تشارك البنوك في تقييم الموقف المالي للعميل، وبالتالي فإن البنك يتحمل وحده مخاطرة عدم سداد العميل لأقساط القرض العقاري.
من جانبهم، قال مختصون في قطاع العقارات، إن إطلاق شركات تأمين، برامج تأمين على القروض العقارية، ولو جزئياً، يعزز من أداء السوق العقارية، مع تقاسم تحمل مخاطر عدم السداد بين البنوك وشركات التأمين، مؤكدين أن توافر هذا المنتج سيعالج واحداً من أهم العوائق المهمة في سوق التمويل العقاري�).
وأضافوا أن توفير منتجات تأمين على مخاطر عدم سداد القروض العقارية، سيشكل حافزاً أمام البنوك، لضخ سيولة للمشترين للحصول على وحدات سكنية من دون مخاوف من التعثر.
تغطية حالات التعثر
وتفصيلاً، قال مساعد مدير شركة «تكافل ري» لإعادة التأمين، تامر ساهر، إن «شركات التأمين في الإمارات لم تشارك مسبقاً في تغطية حالات عدم سداد القروض، لأنها لا تشارك في تحليل وتقييم الموقف المالي للعميل، وقدرته على السداد، الذي يتم في إدارة الائتمان في البنك المعني، لكنها تغطي حالات الوفاة والعجز»، لافتاً إلى أن «بعض الشركات لاتزال تغطي حالات فقدان الوظيفة في نطاق ضيق، نظراً لزيادة مخاطر وقوع هذه الحالات في ظل ظروف الأزمة الاقتصادية».
من جانبه، قال مدير عام شركة الوثبة الوطنية للتأمين، بسام جلميران، إن «منتجات التأمين ضد تعثر سداد القروض العقارية شبه معدومة، لعدم وجود استعداد من قبل شركة التأمين لتغطية مسائل التعثر، خصوصاً في موضوع تأمين الديون، إضافة إلى أن هذه الوثائق عادة ما تُسعّر بقيم مرتفعة، ما يجعل من غير الممكن أن تكون في متناول المقترض».
وأضاف أن «البنوك تمول العملاء على مسؤوليتها، وفي حال تعثرهم، فإنها تكتفي بالاستحواذ على الأصل العقاري لبيعه»، مشيراً إلى أن «هذه الوثائق متوافرة في أسواق خارجية، لكن انحسارها أخيراً يعكس الأزمة المالية العالمية التي كانت نابعة أصلاً من التوسع في هذا النوع من الإقراض».
وقال إن «هناك شركات تأمين كبرى تعرضت لخطر الانهيار لأن مخاطر هذا النوع من التأمينات عادة ما تكون عالية، حيث تعتمد درجة الخطورة على الوضع الاقتصادي عموماً، ومدى انتعاشه».

ولفت إلى «انخفاض نسبة مساهمة البنوك في القروض العقارية من 85٪ إلى 70٪، فيما يُموّل المقترض النسبة المتبقية، نظراً لارتفاع المخاطر في القروض العقارية».
وأوضح أن «هناك نوعاً شبيهاً بتأمين التعثر في سداد القروض العقارية، تسمى بـ(بوليصة تأمين على الحياة)، توفرها شركات تأمين بالتعاون مع بنوك في حالة الوفاة أو العجز الدائم، حسب عُمر الشخص ووضعه الصحي، وبموجب هذه البوليصة، يتم دفع المبلغ المستحق أو المتبقي من قبل شركة التأمين للبنك».
وثائق غير إلزامية
إلى ذلك، أكد مدير عام شركة دبي للتأمين، عبداللطيف أبوقورة، أنه «وفي ظل التوسع الكبير في الإقراض العقاري، لاحظت بنوك أن حالات التخلف عن السداد، أو التعثر من قبل مقترضين، عادة ما تكون بنسب قليلة جداً، لذلك فإنها لم تجد حاجة كبيرة لطلب التغطية التأمينية عليها، كي لا تضيف أعباء إضافية على المقترضين وعملائها».
وأوضح أن «البنوك أدركت في الوقت ذاته، حجم الخطر في حال وفاة المقترض، ولهذا طلبت وثائق تأمينية تغطي مخاطر السداد في حال الوفاة»، لافتاً إلى أن «شركات التأمين لا تمتلك خبرة فنية كافية وقدرات تؤهلها لتسويق هذه المنتجات في السوق».
وأضاف أن «معظم وثائق التأمين على الديون والقروض ليست إلزامية، ولا تطلبها البنوك، نظراً لأنها لم تتعرض لحالات عدم سداد أو تعثر كثيرة».
تأمين مربح جداً
بدوره، قال خبير التأمين، مدير عام شركة (وايت لو) لتقدير الخسائر والأضرار، يوسف جبور، إن «هذا النوع من التأمينات في السوق الإماراتية قليلة، إلا في حالات استثنائية جداً يجلب وثائقها بعض وسطاء التأمين من الخارج»، لافتاً إلى أن «نسبة هذه الأقساط من إجمالي أقساط التأمين في الدولة تقل عن 1٪».
وأوضح أن «البنوك ترى في العقار ضمانة، يمكن بيعه في حال التعثر، لذلك لا تطلب من المقترضين هذه الوثائق، إضافة إلى أن إمكانات شركات التأمين في المنطقة محدودة جداً، ولا تتوافر لديها خبرات وكفاءات قادرة على إدارة هذا النوع من التأمينات».
وبيّن أن «التأمين ضد التعثر في سداد القروض العقارية، مربح جداً لشركات التأمين في أسواق أوروبا وأميركا»، مستبعداً حاجة السوق الإماراتية لهذا النوع من التأمينات.
وأضاف أن «قيمة قسط التأمين على قرض عقاري بمليون دولار، يصل إلى نحو (1.5 أو2٪)، وفي حالات نادرة إلى 3٪ من القيمة الإجمالية للقرض في الأسواق الأوروبية والأميركية، حيث انه كلما ازدادت قيمة القرض، قلت النسبة التي تُحصلها شركات التأمين من المقترض».
تعزيز للسوق العقارية
وفي السياق ذاته، قال المدير العام في شركة هاربور العقارية، مهند الوادية، إن «إطلاق شركات التأمين، برامج للتأمين على القروض العقارية ولو جزئياً، يعزز من�أداء السوق العقارية، مع تقليل تحمل مخاطر عدم السداد بين البنوك وشركات التأمين».
وأكد أن «إتاحة منتجات التأمين على مخاطر عدم السداد للقروض العقارية، سيشكل حافزاً أمام البنوك، لضخ السيولة أمام المشترين، للحصول على وحدات سكنية من دون مخاوف من عدم السداد»، لافتاً إلى أنه «يمكن لشركات التأمين أن تضع بعض الضوابط بالتعاون مع البنوك، لضمان أفضل تطبيق يجعل من هذا النوع من التأمين محفزاً للقطاع العقاري الذي ت�*زايد فيه الفرص، مع تراجع الأسعار بشكل ملحوظ خلال السنوات الماضية».
وأوضح أن «فقدان السيولة بسبب الأزمة المالية، أدى إلى معاناة نحو ثلثي بلاد العالم من الركود الاقتصادي»، مشيراً إلى أنه «وبحسب تقديرات الأمم المتحدة، فإن أكثر من 90 مليون شخص، يقعون في خانة الفقراء نتيجة للأزمة، كما تراجعت التجارة العالمية بنسبة 10٪ للمرة الأولى منذ ثلاثة عقود».
وتابع «تبلغ قيمة ديون البنوك في العالم نحو 4.6 تريليونات دولار، فيما يتطلب العودة إلى النمو زيادة معدلات الادخار»، لافتاً إلى أن «عدم وفاء المصارف بالتزاماتها في الوقت المناسب، يمكن أن يتحول إلى صدمة كبيرة، ويؤثر في وضع البنك وسيولته محلياً وخارجياً، ولذلك يجب أن تكون المصارف مستعدة للتعامل مع الصدمات غير المتوقعة من السيولة».
وأضاف أنه «يمكن للبنوك تأمين أموالها عن طريق شركات التأمين، التي بدورها تعيد التأمين لدى شركات إعادة التأمين»، موضحاً أنه «إذا واجه البنك مستثمراً متعثراً غير قادر على سداد التزاماته لأسباب خارجة عن إرادته، مثل الإفلاس، فإنه يلجأ إلى المفاوضات أو التسوية لحل الوضع، أو إلى بيع أو رهن الاستثمار».
وقال إن «البنك يقوم بجميع المحاولات لاسترداد أمواله لمدة ستة أشهر، وهو العرف المتبع، ومن ثم تتدخل شركات التأمين، لتقوم بعمليات تحقيق خاصة بها قبل تغطية المبلغ المفقود».
مخاطر طبيعية
من جانبه قال المدير الإقليمي في شركة «جونز لانغ لاسال» للاستشارات العقارية، فادي موصلي، إن «شركات التأمين المحلية تؤمن على القروض العقارية ضد مخاطر الوفاة، أو الحريق، أو المخاطر الطبيعية الأخرى، التي تتعرض للعقار، لكنها لا تؤمن ضد مخاطر عدم السداد»، مشيراً إلى أن «بعض الجهات الحكومية تنفذ هذا المنتج التأميني، عند توزيعها للوحدات السكنية للمواطنين، لكن ذلك غير ممتد للعقارات الخاصة، ولا تقوم البنوك بهذا الإجراء».
وأضاف أن «البنك هو الجهة التي تختص بالنظر في القوة الائتمانية للعميل، وتحدد ما إذا كانت ستمنحه التمويل العقاري أم لا، وبالتالي فإن البنك يتحمل وحده مخاطرة عدم سداد العميل لأقساط القرض».
وأوضح أن «شركات التأمين تعمل في التأمين على المخاطر العشوائية، لكن عدم سداد القرض العقاري يعد مخاطرة غير عشوائية لا تغطيها شركة التأمين»، مبيناً أن «توافر هذا المنتج سيعالج واحداً من أهم العوائق المهمة في سوق التمويل العقاري، لكنه يعتبر أحد العوامل غير الأساسية لتحريك السوق العقارية في الدولة».

Sales show improvement in key realty projects

Article from Emirates Business 24-7

Article from Emirates Business 24-7

Downtown Dubai has the highest number of listings by most realty agents.

Downtown Dubai, Emirates Living, Dubai Marina and Dubailand top the listing chart for sales and leasing queries, according to agents.

“Downtown Dubai has the highest number of listings by most realty agents in Dubai. The second popular area is Dubai Marina with a large focus on Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR),” said Mohanad Al Wadiya, Managing Director, Harbor Real Estate.

For Harbor Real Estate, the number of listings in these areas has increased by 20 per cent to 25 per cent in 2010. “Business Bay with a larger focus on the recently launched Executive Towers comes third, according to us,” he added.

Al Wadiya said Downtown Dubai and Dubai Marina have always been ranked high and are one of the most sought-after areas in Dubai.

“The location of both these areas is good, which is the most important decision investors take while investing. Further, the current price points have also made these two districts more attractive as they have became more affordable.

“Another key reason for this increased attention and demand is the fact that both these areas include popular attractions such as The Dubai Mall, The Marina Mall, The JBR walk, The Marina walk, the free beach in JBR and Burj Khalifa.”

Better Homes’ Liz O’Connor, Director – Residential Sales and Leasing, said: “Our top-selling districts between November 2009 and February 2010 have been The Emirates Living District, Marina District, Downtown District and the Dubailand districts.”

“For us, between November 2009 and February 2010, we received the most listings for the Emirates Living District, such as The Greens, Emirates Living, Jumeirah Village, Jumeirah Lake Tower (JLT), followed by Dubai Marina, Dubailand and Downtown Dubai districts,” said O’Connor.

Vineet Kumar, Head of Leasing and Sales – Dubai, Asteco Property Management, said: “Majority of listings we received in the past two months are for recently handed over projects such as the Loft apartments in Downtown Dubai and the Executive Towers in Business Bay.

“Other areas, which have received good level of listings are Dubai Marina and JLT, villas in Emirates Living such as Springs and Palm Jumeirah.

“Also, Sheikh Zayed Road continues to draw interest from tenants looking for quality residential buildings.

“Listings are always linked to the status of handed-over projects. As more projects have been handed over, or are nearing completion, we have seen a growth in the number of listings in these select locations,” he added.

Handover

Real estate agents said the main reason for these areas recording the highest listings has been due to recent handover within these areas and the fact that these communities offer a complete lifestyle with lesser construction happening in these areas.

Al Wadiya said: “The overall market condition in Dubai is stabilising and the appetite of all the stakeholders in the property market is improving as there is a general consensus that the prices have bottomed out and if there is any further decline, it will be very marginal and will not affect areas or developments that are completed.”

O’Connor said: “For residential real estate, location plays a big role in the demand for these areas. People want to live in popular areas that provide them with a good lifestyle and one which are easily accessible.

“Our customers are increasingly looking for The Emirates Living district, followed by Dubai Marina, Dubailand and Downtown districts,” she added.

Kumar said: “Buyers will show interest in master-plans that are developed and offer convenience of living and at rates which are attractive. Further those buyers who receive handover of their property and do not wish to occupy them for self-use will often offer these for sale or leasing.”

Meanwhile, listings for properties (sales and rentals) in JLT and Discovery Gardens has dropped due to buyers looking at other value for money investments in other parts of Dubai.

Al Wadiya said: “During the second half of 2009, we were seeing more listings for JLT and Discovery Gardens. The listings have been reduced in these areas mainly because of the shift of focus to the more popular areas of Dubai such as Downtown Dubai and Dubai Marina.

“Prices are more affordable in these areas, hence buyers especially end-users and investors are shifting to these areas. In addition, Downtown Dubai and Dubai Marina offer a more established community lifestyle with less construction going on in the area,” he added.

He said the number of transactions in these areas could have fallen during 2010. According to Better Homes, no significant drop in listings has been noted in any particular areas.

“There are always shortages of a particular type of properties within a certain area for the right price which leads to a shortage in particular communities. Certain communities in Dubai, particularly those with villas, do not have many units becoming available as they have end users living in them who are there for the long term.

“The villas in Phase I Green Community are an example,” said O’Connor.

“Further, not having listings in a particular area could mean a number of things, such as a shortage of property within these areas for the right price.

“It could also mean that property owners are leasing rather then selling in these places,” she added.

Harbor Real Estate said the company does not remove any particular area from its listings.

“However, we focus more on the areas that have more demand. Having said that, we continue to provide minimum support to off-plan projects as the demand for these projects is still very low,” said Alwadiya.

Kumar said: “We have identified certain locations and focus on those areas alone. However, we have not removed any areas.

“You may find we do not have a presence in certain areas such as Downtown Jebel Ali and Dubai Waterfront. We will revisit these locations once we believe the market will be interested from a price-point which is agreeable to the sellers.”

Real estate agents said delivery of new properties in Dubai is likely to increase the number of distress sales.

O’Connor said: “Delivery of new properties in Dubai are likely to see a number of ‘distress sales’ coming into the market. In fact this is already happening. In all situations the reasons to sell are unique; however, we generally expect to see distress sales coming from areas where projects are not expected to be completed or cancelled.”

She added that in the case of a property with mortgage attached, the extent to which a seller is willing to sell his property would depend on the mortgage finance, as the final selling price must cover the bank’s finance amount. In the case of cash sales, however, there is no limit to which a seller may sell.

Kumar said: “As more inventory gets delivered there will be sellers who will prefer to exit from the purchase but the value will be linked to quality of project, status of the master community etc.

From the buyers perspective, this is a good time to buy a piece of real estate at realistic value with the aim of holding the property for the mid to long-term.”
He added that the term, “distress sales” should never be used, as selling a property is a seller’s personal decision.

“The reasons for selling the property at the value they deem right is the seller’s choice. We might use the term ‘motivated seller’ but not distress. Quite often such sales are at lower than market price and could translate into a financial loss for the seller. However, market conditions may be only one reason for such sales.”

According to Harbor Real Estate, the term ‘distressed sale’ emerged during the early days of the crisis during the last quarter of 2008 and has soon become a common property jargon.

“Few people really know what it means and how to qualify a property as a genuine distress sale,” said Al Wadiya. “The global credit crunch has hit the property industry hard. Developers find themselves in the position of having built projects which now have no buyers or the people who bought off-plan are now trying to pull out and recoup their deposits,” he said.

He said that distressed properties are properties that are in danger of facing foreclosure proceedings or that have already been scheduled for sale as a result of default on the part of the owner.

“A property is said to be distressed when an owner gets behind on mortgage payments or a direct payment to a developer and the lender or appropriate debt collector begins to start the necessary proceedings to sell the home in order to collect the outstanding debt.

Distressed properties can cover any kind of real estate, from commercial spaces to apartments. It’s a great chance to save, often ranging anywhere from 40 per cent to 60 per cent off their actual market value or buying price, but it’s also a great chance for making a good investment, since purchasing for a discount often means creating a huge margin for future profits,” he said. O’Connor said: “It is important to understand that a ‘distress’ sale is really only where the seller is willing to sell for less than he paid for, particularly if the property is off-plan.

“Some sellers are willing to sell for the original price of the property or less, but many sellers – in particular those with ready properties rather than off-plan – are unable to emotionally ‘let go’ for less than they think it should be worth.”

She said that many sellers will describe themselves as ‘distress’ sellers, even though they may expect to receive quite a bit more than they paid for the property.

“However, in the case of investors off-loading their off-plan properties, those that are prepared to incur a loss will generally accept up to 40 per cent less than the original price in order to just get some of their investment back,” she said.

“Owners looking to sell are increasingly twitchy about moving their properties off the market and banks have large numbers of repossessed property stock effectively sitting on their balance sheets when what they really need is liquid cash sitting in the coffers. All of this adds up to something that buyers love more than almost anything else – the opportunity for a bargain,” said O’Connor.

O’Connor said the situation occurs mainly with cash buyers. “This is a worse situation for a finance buyer, because he has to pay the bank and pay the difference directly from his pocket; in many of the finance distress sales, the client will walk away.”

“It is important to say that using the term ‘distress sale’ without the permission of the owner is considered a breach of the agents code of ethics introduced under by-law No 85 of 2006 because agents are supposed to be trusties for the owners and they should not disclose the owner’s financial status under any circumstances,” she said.

The real estate agents said some properties like JLT, Greens, Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai are providing some good value for money investments for buyers.
“Some of the apartments in JLT are value for money and will prove to be a good investment when the infrastructure of the community is complete and the metro is fully operational. However, investors need to choose carefully. Those towers on Sheikh Zayed Road side of the community are proving to have the most popular locations,” said Al Wadiya.

“Greens is due to shortly handover and many investors are anxious to off-load their property at original price and in some cases for less,” said Al Wadiya.

More buyers get lawyers to read the fine print

Article from Emirates Business 24-7

Article from Emirates Business 24-7

Property owners are concerned over growing disputes and investment security.

The number of property dispute cases filed in Q1 2009 increased by 55 per cent compared to Q4 2008. (EB FILE)

Increasing real estate disputes and concerns over security of a property investment are prompting buyers to seek legal advice prior to making a transaction, according to agents.

“Clients have serious concerns over the security of their real estate investments. Further, increase in number of real estate disputes is a result of many prospective buyers seeking legal advice prior to making a transaction,” said Mohanad Alwadiya, Managing Director, Harbor Real Estate.

“This was not the case in previous years which also contributed greatly to the problems that clients were facing as proper due diligence was not conducted prior to the sale and purchase of property,” he said.

Speaking to Emirates Business in a round table, Shilpa Guruswamy, Head of Legal and Sales Coordination, Asteco Property Management; Charles Neil, CEO, Landmark Advisory & Landmark Properties and Liz O’Connor, Director – Residential Sales & Leasing, Better Homes, said they were ensuring all correct steps were followed within their companies and ensuring all documentations were in place before a transaction is completed.

Do you have a law firm that advises you on the authenticity of your real estate transactions?

Guruswamy: Yes, we have a legal department, which oversees our transaction details and is also responsible for the compliance and risk mitigation process.

Neil: We have law firms to draw up all our documentation which protects the rights of our clients. Our accounts are audited by one of the four big auditors in order to ensure there is a clear distinction between our funds and our clients’ funds.

Real estate agencies, however, should be careful using companies claiming to be trust companies as they are not regulated, and if they have doubts they should use a reputed company of lawyers instead.

O’Connor: Yes, we do have a lawyer on board who manages our legal procedures and contractual obligations on transactions. Through our in-house lawyer as well as our managers, we ensure that all correct steps are followed and documentation is in place before a transaction is completed.

Alwadiya: In 2009, we joined forces with Prestige Legal Consultants, an international law company, to provide counselling and representation to all our clients in all legal matters concerning real estate in Dubai.

This partnership was started to keep in line with our vision to evolve our services from traditional real estate brokerage of merely bringing buyers and sellers together to world-class end-to-end real estate services. The holistic real estate legal services will complement our diverse line of services and govern all the activities and transactions of our clients.

The combined real estate experience of our firms enable us to provide clear candid counsel and guidance to our clients at all times to ensure that their rights are always protected.

Is this a new trend due to the downturn in the real estate sector?

Guruswamy: Real estate transactions, whether sales, lease, or appointment of sub-agents, are all essentially structured through legal contracts. Therefore, all these underlying documents need to be verified to ensure compliance to statutes and contract laws.

It is not a new trend but as the market matures there is greater emphasis on regulation and transparency. Therefore, there is increased need to have people with necessary legal background and expertise to scrutinise or draft documents. It is in no way related to the downturn because we had a legal department in place and operational long before the onset of the downturn.

Neil: We feel there should be laws allowing the setting up of trust accounts, but in our case customers trust us as we have strong finances and strong shareholders.

O’Connor: No, for us this is not as a result of the downturn in the real estate sector. We created this position a number of years ago due to volume of transactions and to oversee our international operations.

Alwadiya: Real estate-related enquiries have increased since the 2008 financial downturn. Many of the clients have serious concerns about the security of their real estate investments.

It was estimated that the number of cases filed in the first quarter of 2009 increased by 55 per cent compared to the fourth quarter of 2008. This drastic increase in the number of real estate disputes is a result of many reasons ranging from investors not fulfilling their obligations, sale and purchase agreements containing provisions that contradict the law about developers not delivering projects on time, and many more.

Prospective buyers are also seeking legal advice prior to making a transaction. This was not the case in previous years and also contributed greatly to the problems that clients were facing as proper due diligence was not conducted prior to the sale and purchase of property.

Most of the current legal enquiries that our legal division receives are usually concerned with the real estate regulations and legislations.

The profound perception of the industry and the daily interface with real estate clientele have resulted in the espousal of a fresh innovative legal counselling scheme. According to a recent study conducted by Harbor research division, majority of people perceive legal counseling as an exhorbitant service which leaves them with no alternative other than staying unaided and frustrated.

For that reason, the legal solution introduced by Harbor & Prestige is viewed as a results-driven method. Customers who seek legal counselling will incur minimal fees and no extra charges will be required in case of not winning the case.

Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) recently proposed a free legal advice service for buyers and sellers, an initiative that we applaud. We believe that this innovative policy will assist in boosting the confidence levels in the real estate industry.

Can you specify which particular transactions are scrutinised by your analysts and lawyers?

Guruswamy: The legal department is involved in overseeing all transactions not limited to primary sales, secondary sales, leases, registration at the Land Department verification of power of attorneys etc. Should a party to the transaction be a corporate body, incorporation documents of companies need also to be verified.

Neil: We do use lawyers for more complicated transactions and are working with one firm to do conveyance transactions.

O’Connor: We have standardised processes and procedures that govern every transaction. Our in-house legal advisor oversees all the legalities of these processes to ensure that all parties, wherever possible are secure.

Alwadiya: The legal services introduction is vital as the real estate market matures through the current economic crisis to become a more structured and regulated market. We obtain legal counselling for all our transactional activities in order to ensure providing our clients with a secured transactional experience. Needless to say, the more complex and high-end the transaction is, the more legal involvement we require.

Do you collect a deposit from a client in order to lock-in your clients?

Guruswamy: We generally do not encourage collection of deposits. However, should there be a delay in completion of transaction, a deposit may be collected by the agent to secure buyer’s interest and lock the seller to a commitment. In this case the agent takes up the role of an escrow agent.

In case of default, deposit maybe forfeited and returned to the aggrieved party. On successful closure of the deal, the deposit is adjusted towards the balance sale price of the transaction.

Neil: We only take deposits as part of a transaction and to secure the rights of the parties involved in a transaction, we don’t take it in to lock in a client. If the deal falls through, then the deposit is returned in the manner agreed upon by the parties at the time of signing the agreement. Sellers can no longer demand deposits and hold on to them.

O’Connor: We have now begun to encourage our customers to hold their deposit with a Rera-approved escrow facility, but in the absence of an escrow we take a deposit from the buyer as security for the seller.

Alwadiya: Accepting deposits from potential buyers or tenants is a common practice in the property market which is usually used as a closing technique or a gesture to test the seriousness of the potential client. More sellers and landlords are starting to ask for deposits as well in order to secure their interest in the transaction, especially when the closing date of the transaction is delayed for justified reasons such as releasing a property mortgage or finalising the transaction contracts or obtaining a date to conduct the transfer at the developer’s office or the Land Department.

We try to avoid retaining any deposits at our end as this is an added liability on us and it can place us in a conflict of interest situation as we usually represent only one part in the transaction. Having said that, we usually recommend that deposits are usually handed by a financial or legal third party entity with neutral position in relation to the parties involved in the transaction.

Do you maintain a separate account to receive agents’ commissions?

Guruswamy: Commission fees are payable to the agent by the parties involved and shall not form a part of the purchase consideration.

Normally, the purchase consideration is exchanged between the buyer and seller and the commission is paid to the agent. Therefore, there is no possibility of both of them being booked into the same account. However, should the agent be involved in collecting the booking deposit, it is booked separately into a designated account, which is distinct from all other operational accounts. Such payments are held on behalf of the buyer and seller and do not form part of the operational funds of the agent.

Neil: No comment.

O’Connor: We have an accounts department and we run a series of profit centres, most of which have commissions as the primary revenue source.

Alwadiya: Our company’s bank account is supervised by an independent certified accounting and auditing firm. Our internal accounting and finance resources follow the processes and guidelines set by this consultant/firm in order to ensure complete compliance with the best financial and accounting standards.

High service charges hit rental yields

Article from Emirates Business 24-7

Article from Emirates Business 24-7

Service charges for some properties in Dubai range between 18 per cent and 48 per cent of annual rents, according to a recent report by Investment Boutique (iB). Further, falling rents coupled with high service charges are contributing to lower rental yields for an investor in Dubai.

Real estate analysts also said that developers in Dubai were not necessarily following the service charges set out by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera). “We don’t see all the developers abiding by the service charges set out by Rera. For example, the rate for luxury-serviced apartments should be around Dh50 per square foot yet some luxury projects in Downtown Dubai are charging Dh63 per square foot,” said Mohanad Alwadiya, Managing Director, Harbor Real Estate.

Meanwhile, iB in its latest fourth-quarter report – Market Pulse – said developers of some properties in Dubai continue to charge high service fees despite the Rera regulating service charges in the emirate.

“A 1,000 square feet one-bedroom unit in Discovery Gardens at Dh24 per square foot amounted to service charges of around Dh24,000. Current average rents are Dh52,300, which means that service charges constitute an exorbitant 46 per cent of rents. What this does to an investor’s rental yield is but obvious,” said Heather Wipperman Amiji, CEO, Investment Boutique.

According to Alwadiya, high service charges coupled with falling rents can reduce the rental yields for an investor. “High service charges can burn up the capital appreciation and annual rental yields for end-users and investment buyers.”

Elaine Jones, CEO, Asteco Property Management said: “Currently Although we have seen rents stabilise over the past three months, it is also possible that as developments settle and the true level of maintenance and upkeep is determined that service charges will soften. Different owner occupiers also have varying levels of expectation with regards to security, common area cleaning, landscaping etc. and whilst initially the most cost effective route is chosen in the medium to long term a recognition of the added value that a well cared for and maintained property can bring or add to the sale or rent value is significant.”

She said that property in New Dubai is subject to master community charges in addition to local community service charges and property maintenance.

The impact of service charges has been felt throughout Dubai with developers facing concerns from property owners on the high service charges and perceived low quality of service.

In the case of apartments, service charges constituted between 15 per cent and 32 per cent of rents in the first quarter of 2008. Downtown Dubai and The Green Community charge the highest service fees in the apartment and villa category respectively, with Jumeirah Lake Tower (JLT), Arabian Ranches and Emirates Living being the cheapest.

According to the report, service charges also vary substantially from community to community with JLT currently the most attractive to investors as service charges are between 21 and 23 per cent of rents. Developments such as Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah and Burj Khalifa have relatively higher service charges.

With charges remaining more or less stable and rents declining substantially, service charges now constitute between 18 per cent and 48 per cent of annual rents.

Discovery Gardens, a mid-end development with modest facilities called into question the rationale behind high service charges. Owners organised themselves in an effort to force the master developer to reduce the charge. However, they met with limited success as the final rate was reduced by Dh5 per square foot.

Previously in 2008, there were increases across the board with Emaar’s Arabian Ranches doubling, Union Properties’ Green Community also witnessing a 50 per cent rise. The reasons cited included initially subsidised charges, rising labour costs, increasing costs of utilities, such as electricity and water, and inflationary pressures on raw materials.

In December 2008, Salwan, a subsidiary of Dubai Properties and the property management company for Jumeirah Beach Residence, upped service charges at the beachfront community by 129 per cent from Dh9.5 per square foot to Dh21.75 per square foot. In February 2009, Salwan reduced the service charges to Dh15.32 per square foot. Soon after this, owners of units in Nakheel’s Discovery Gardens also realised that their own service charges were well above market rates at Dh29 per square foot, almost double of Jumeirah Beach Residence, with fewer facilities.

Lack of clarity

According Investment Boutique, there continues to be a lack of clarity and solutions with respect to service charges in Dubai. The Strata Law has yet to be ratified, owners’ associations are slow to set up, developers and property management companies continue to charge unjustified rates even with Rera trying to control the increases. Owners and tenants continue to be dissatisfied with the level of service received.

The iB report said some MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) and facilities management professionals speculate without reference to any specific project that the high service fees quoted may be the actual cost of the service provided, but they are unnecessarily high due to poor selection of equipment and materials at project inception as well as a poor maintenance programme.

FM consultants

Including facilities management (FM) consultants at the design stage helps save substantial costs over the life of a building. As the market begins to open to investors, more are interested in the rental yield than capital appreciation. These buyers should also invest in FM advisory services to ensure that running costs to date have not been kept artificially low.

Analysts outlined the various reasons for service charges for villas to be higher than those of the apartments. According to Harbor, service charges for villas are low mainly due to the fact that service charges for villas are calculated based on the plot area of the villa. “In addition, villa communities have less MEP and other common elements in villas compared to apartments,” said Alwadiya.

Jones said: “District cooling, housing tax and Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (Dewa) costs are usually borne by the occupier. Traditional Dubai property that we have managed as full block management will have cost between 20 per cent to 30 per cent of rent income, dependent on air-conditioning, age of building etc. New Dubai property is a little higher due the additional Master Community Charge.”

“Rera reviews and approves the service charge assessed by the home owners association. Rera is also involved in the apportionment of area charges where there is a mixed-use development. The costs that make up the service charges are transparent and the home owners association will usually collect three quotes for each service line so as to ensure that the most competitive rate is secured – bearing in mind always that cheapest is not always best.”

Utility costs will be estimated in the first year based on advice from consultants. The second year’s service charge may well be more accurate than the first as the level of service required and the actual consumable costs are defined. “Service charges are for the common areas of which villas have far less of. Most villa plot and property maintenance costs are individual costs and not shared. The roads, street lighting, landscaping, garbage collection are the only shared amounts,” said Jones.

In case of villas, the service charges are charged on the basis of the plot size. The case of villa service charges differ completely from the fees, accounting for between three and nine per cent of rents, except for The Green Community, which is relatively more expensive. The huge difference in the service charges between apartments and villas is due to a typical building budget.

Villa service charges are substantially lower when compared to apartments as there are fewer common areas to maintain. Security, landscaping and the upkeep of pools and lakes are covered by the service charges, but municipality fees are paid separately and maintenance of the individual villa is the owner’s responsibility.

Chilled water for common areas accounts for a third of maintenance costs, other utilities account for one-sixth and the master community charge accounts for one-tenth for the average property.

A typical breakdown of other costs includes soft services such as pest control, façade cleaning and swimming pool cleaning and treatment, while subcontractor services and repairs cover the emergency lighting system, aviation warning lights, water tank cleaning, automated doors, building management unit (cradle) and its certification, building management system (BMS), fire alarm system, fire protection system, generator, CCTV, access control system, apartment intercom, public address system, lighting control system and gym equipment.

Majority of expenses are specific to apartment blocks and not to villas, which explains the difference. Variations in service charges needs to be taken into consideration by investors choosing between apartments and villas as this could impact both rental yields and capital appreciation. The report also called for more clarity from the developers and property management companies with respect to the manner in which funds are used. It is hoped that once the Strata Law is introduced, owners’ associations will have a say in the matter and the resulting transparency will only benefit the Dubai property sector.

The last quarter of 2009 was when the optimists had predicted that recovery would happen.

“According to our analysis of the market, we still have some time to go before we see recovery in the UAE property sector, especially in Dubai,” said Amiji.

Transactional activity

The majority of transactional activity in 2009 occurred in the completed property sector. The off-plan market has seen very little transactional activity at all during this time period and as such has not effectively been re-priced.

If off-plan projects are completed and enter the market en masse there will need to be an asset re-pricing in terms of rental values and capital values, which will also have an impact on the local market. However, by the end of 2010, we expect some stabilisation as there will likely be more certainty in global markets and local exposure to bad loans. Over the course of the year, project stakeholders are likely to take stock of their situation and either cancel projects with little economic value in the new market of 2010 and absorb the write-offs or allow the supply to come on stream and let the market adjust accordingly.

Residential affordability is key

While rents and sale prices have suffered considerably in Dubai, declining by more than 50 per cent, Abu Dhabi has proven more resilient with rents estimated to have fallen by 23 per cent between the first and last quarters of 2009. Even though Abu Dhabi faces an undersupply, rents have fallen due to factors such as redundancies and job insecurity, the substitution effect of Dubai’s more affordable housing market, and limited selection of high quality or easily accessible units due to the abundance of construction and infrastructure activity.

While sale prices have also been moving downward, properties close to completion on Al Raha Beach and on Al Reem Island have managed to trade at premiums to opening prices although these have fallen between 30 per cent and 46 per cent respectively from their 2008 peaks.

Downward pressure on rents

The greatest contributing factor to the downward pressure on rents in the Abu Dhabi market has been the mismatch between Abu Dhabi income levels and rental values.

There is a lack of affordable property for the majority of people in the emirate. Prices and rents will continue to fall until they reach the level at which the average middle income or upper income end-user can comfortably rent property, assuming an international benchmark of 25 per cent of income on housing expense, or comfortably purchase property assuming a benchmark of 30-40 per cent of income spent on mortgage payments.

As such, excluding the last two categories, which account for 29 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s population, rents in Abu Dhabi are not affordable to the majority 71 per cent of the population, and thus there is a downward pressure on rents in Abu Dhabi given Dubai’s substitution effect.

According to the analysis, affordable unit prices average around the Dh1,000 mark. While prices were reduced substantially in 2009, a further decline is required to bring prices in line with income levels, especially given the fact that average prices in the neighbouring Dubai are currently lower than the Dh1,000 mark.

Developers will need to keep this in mind while pricing new products

Rera’s colour-coded norms will not impact agent commissions

Article from Emirates Business 24-7

Article from Emirates Business 24-7

Agent commissions will not be impacted under the colour-coded system introduced by Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) whereby brokers are authorised to sell a particular type of property in a specified area, according to realtors.

Natasha Pereira, Area Manager-Dubai, Sherwoods Property Consultants, said: “Areas such as Discovery Gardens, International City and Dubai Silicon Oasis generate lesser revenue than others. For agents who have been assigned these areas, we also give them (parts of) other areas to handle the sales and rentals as well.”

She added: “Our agents are already classified into specific areas and asset classes.” While some real estate consultancies said they were already segregating the functions of a real estate agent based on specific areas and asset classes, others felt now was not an opportune time to introduce the colour-coded system.

Avais Najam, Managing Director, Venture Horizon Real Estate, said: “There is already an oversupply of real estate brokers in the market since business activity is yet to pick up in Dubai. Further, most brokerage firms continue to employ real estate agents on a commission-only basis, rather than enrolling them in their companies.” He added many brokerage firms and agents were unaware of rules that require a colour-coded system and have sought more clarity on the system’s implementation from Rera.

Najam said: “We are already segregating our real estate agents on the basis of the territories they work in. Most of our agents follow a specific territory.”

Mohanad Alwadiya, Managing Director, Harbor Real Estate, said: “At the moment we are not ready for renewals of our agents. However, we have been following our own policies similar to that set out by Rera. All our agents follow the system. For example, for handling Dubai Media City, Internet City and Tecom areas, we have one designated person since these are all free zone areas. We also have a specific division that specialises in office space.”

In September, Rera announced the four-tier broker classification system whereby brokers were granted one of four types of licences authorising them to sell property of a particular type or in a specified area.

Under the new colour-coded classification, tier one brokers, those issued a blue licence by the Department of Economic Development (DED) and registered with Rera, will be allowed to carry out all types of brokerage activities and operate throughout the emirate, including free zones if authorised to do so by the authority. These have the widest sphere of operation.

Tier two or yellow licences will be issued by the appropriate free-zone authorities to carry out the full range of brokerage activities but will be registered to operate only within “designated” freehold areas owned by that authority. The tier three registered brokers, having green licences, will be authorised by the DED and registered by Rera, to sell only properties of specific companies or developers. The last tier of licenced brokers will be issued a red licence to promote, sell or rent time-share units.

This move by Rera is a step towards regulating professional services in the sector and enhancing rights of buyers, sellers and tenants. The agents also called for the “Agent Trust Account” to be put in place at the earliest to help further regulate the brokerage industry.

Broker firms in Dubai current employ legal firms to oversee some transactions into the account and help them manage accounts in cases where deposits may have been taken by the agent from the customer.

Najam said: “For us, all the commission earnings go into an account and in cases where we receive a deposit, we take on a solicitor to safeguard the client’s deposit money and see to it that it is secured and the transaction made is accurate.

“We sometimes take a deposit of about five per cent to 10 per cent to lock in a client. The deposit money can either be in cash or cheque. In such a scenario, we usually have a solicitor on board to ensure the transaction is valid.”

According to Alwadiya, Harbor Real Estate has hired a professional legal firm to audit its transactions.

Oil field should boost sector

Article from Freehold Monthly

Article from Freehold Monthly

The discovery of a new offshore oil field is likely to boost Dubai’s economy, although its impact is hard to gauge until its volume is determined, say real estate executives.

With production to begin in 2011, they think the resulting hike in revenue could boost infrastructure development.

“It is hard to tell what impact this will have until we get more information on this,” says Charles Neil, CFO of Landmark Properties. “Then we can judge the impact it will have on finances and infrastructure. More money flowing into the economy will be a positive development. There would be an increase in people to work in production and housing, and revenue flowing in for infrastructure but without barrels per day it’s hard to say.”

Mohanad Alwadiya, managing director of Harbor Real Estate, says the discovery should boost investor confidence, but adds this largely depends on the oil field’s output.”This positive effect will surely rub off on the property market,” he adds.

“Irrespective of the capacity, it can only add to Dubai’s income stream,” says Aditya Awtani of Fine and Country. “The mantra ‘buy on the rumour and sell on the news’ has worked well for many equity traders. However, in the real estate market, especially one that has dropped significantly, investors naturally shall remain on the sidelines until there’s concrete data.”

As the oil field’s production picks up, it will have a positive effect on the property market as well, says Aditya.

“Experts are predicting approximately 10,000 barrels could potentially be pumped via the Al Jalila oil field. If this is to be believed, that would imply, at today’s oil prices, an additional $270 million for Dubai.” This would help reduce the emirate’s budget deficit, he adds.

Penthouses in Dubai more resilient than other assets

Article from Emirates Business 24-7

Article from Emirates Business 24-7

Penthouses in Dubai more resilient than other assets

Buyers of penthouses do not sell their property at low rates as their holding capacity is much better. (SUPPLIED)
of penthouses in Dubai have been relatively lower than other types of residential units as their buyers have the financial capacity to hold on to the units, realtors said.

However, owners need to offer “higher” discounts to find buyers in the secondary market since the product caters to a niche buyer segment.

Vineet Kumar, Head of Sales – Dubai, Asteco Property Management: “Buyers of penthouses do not sell their property at low rates as their holding capacity is much better since they are more financially stable.”

Mohanad Alwadiya, Managing Director, Harbor Real Estate said: “Penthouses in Dubai seem to be more resilient than other residential assets. Last year, there was an increase in the rental demand for penthouses in prime areas. This demand was mainly from high profile tenants who could take advantage of high quality units at affordable rates.

“In addition penthouses are limited in number, which has helped retain its value.”

Yolanta Farah, Associate Director, Head of Residential, Sales & Leasing, Group Seven Properties, said: “Penthouses are faring better than average units. More than regular units, penthouses are owned by end users as first or second home or guest house. These owners are not selling in current market, except in cases of higher necessity as part of property consolidation. Penthouses available on secondary market are usually not the truly special ones that a penthouse should have such as a top floor with a great view, good location and space.

“There is very little demand for any property at the moment, but there is hardly any availability of really special penthouses, either.”

Bernard Aoun, Manager – Residential Sales & Leasing, Better Homes, said if a client owns a penthouse it can be considered they may have a higher holding capacity.

“The penthouse properties have suffered just like any other real estate property in Dubai during the crisis. However, because there is limited supply they have survived better than the rest.”

According to real estate agents, penthouse prices have dropped anywhere between 25 and 50 per cent in the past one year. “The asking prices have seen a drop of 25 per cent to 30 per cent,” said Kumar.

“The selling price in secondary sales started from Dh2,000 per square foot for a penthouse in Emaar’s building in Dubai Marina. The recently released Executive Towers on Sheikh Zayed Road has a penthouse of 5,877 sq ft selling at Dh1,600 per sq ft amounting to Dh9.4 million.

Aoun said on an average, the prices of the penthouses in Dubai have come down by 50 per cent from 2008. Alwadiya said that prices of penthouses dropped by an average of 35 per cent since last year.

According to Group Seven Properties, some penthouses in Dubai’s secondary market are in the Golden Mile, with building number 4 developed by IFA going for Dh4.2m. Bayside Residence in Dubai Marina, developed by Trident at the 22nd floor; with a total area of 6,500 sq ft and a full Marina view is around Dh10m.

In South Ridge, Burj Downtown, a three-bedroom apartment of 3,003 sq ft area plus balcony with Burj views is around Dh5.9m. Indigo Tower in Jumeirah Lake Tower, a four-bedroom penthouse apartment of 3,745 sq ft area with lake views is Dh4.1m.

Real estate agents said that average return on investment (RoI) is between five and seven per cent for penthouses.

“We are looking today at between five per cent and seven per cent RoI, which in a depressed market is considered as a great return on investment,” said Aoun.

Better Homes also said average rental yields for penthouses currently are a minimum of five per cent in a case-by-case scenario.

Alwadiya said rental yields for penthouse is currently around three to five per cent compared to other residential assets.

“We believe penthouses can offer very handsome capital growth opportunities over the longer term. We estimate an average of 40 per cent in capital growth would be realistic over a six-to-seven year period and the downside risk to achieving this is considered minimal.”

Farah said while over-investment in real estate during 2008 put some people in trouble, those buying penthouses are generally educated buyers who know that buying the best in the best location is safer, regardless of market conditions.

Kumar said unlike the rest of the world, Dubai’s penthouses offer options to buyers to buy it as shell and core so buyers can finish the apartment to their liking with their personal choice.

Aoun said that it is not possible to compare Dubai and the rest of the world in terms of real estate because the emirate is still an emerging market where taste and requirements are often different.

However, Alwadiya said penthouses in Dubai are much bigger in space and offer better value for money in terms of price per square foot. “In addition, there are no property taxes in Dubai which makes owning a penthouse better,” he said.

“By international standards, the prices of penthouses in Dubai are low. Prime penthouses in Central London are being offered between Dh9,000 per sq ft and Dh10,000 per sq ft. In South Mumbai, it ranges between Dh2,700 per sq ft and Dh3,500 per sq ft and in Upper Manhattan it ranges between Dh8,500 per sq ft and Dh11,000 per sq ft.”

Farah said that in the pre-freehold times, in “old Dubai”, there were landlords who built penthouses true to their name.

Top picks

Tower: Le Reve Tower
Location: Dubai Marina
Project status: Ready
Developer: Sulaiman Al Bassam
Price: Dh18 million/Dh2,950 per square foot

Tower: The Residences
Location: Downtown Burj Khalifa Area
Project status: Ready
Developer: Emaar Properties
Price: Dh16m to Dh17m/Dh2,000 to Dh2,100 per sq ft

Tower: The Address Lake Hotel
Location: Downtown Burj Khalifa area
Project Status: Ready
Developer: Emaar Properties
Price: Dh16m/Dh3,555 per sq ft

Tower: Al Seef Tower 1
Location: Dubai Marina
Project Status: Ready
Developer: Deyaar Development
Price: Dh11m/Dh1,570 per sq ft

Tower: Bayside Residence
Location: Dubai Marina
Project Status: Ready
Developer: Trident International Holdings
Price: Dh10m/area – 6,500 square feet

Tower: Tiara Residence
Location: Palm Jumeirah
Project status: Ready
Developer: Zabeel Investments
Price: Dh9.5m

Tower: The Executive Tower
Location: Business Bay
Project status: Ready
Developer: Dubai Properties
Price: Dh7m/Dh1,000 per sq ft

Tower: Emirates Crown
Location: Dubai Marina
Project status: Ready
Developer: GGICO/Mohamed Saif Mohamed bin Shafar
Price: Dh7m/Dh850 per sq ft

Tower: Jumeirah Beach Residence, Bahar
Location: Dubai Marina
Project status: Ready
Developer: Dubai Properties
Price: Dh6.5m to Dh7.5m/Dh1,100 per sq ft to Dh1,200 per sq ft

Tower: South Ridge
Location: Burj Downtown
Project Status: Ready
Developer: Emaar
Price: Dh5.9m/area – 3,003 sq ft

Tower: Building No. 4, Golden Mile
Location: Palm Jumeirah
Project status: Ready
Developer: IFA Hotels and Resorts
Price: Dh4.2m/Dh1,000 per sq ft

Tower: Indigo Tower
Location: Jumeirah Lake Tower
Project Status: Ready
Developer: Jumeirah Properties Investment
Price: Dh4.1m/area – 3,745 sq ft

Tower: Lake Shore Tower
Location: Jumeirah Lake Tower
Project status: Ready and occupied
Developer: Al Bodor Real Estate Development
Price: Dh3m

Ask the Experts

Article from Freehold Monthly

Article from Freehold Monthly

Every month we invite you to have your property questions answered by an expert. This month, Mohanad Alwadiya tackles the task.

Q I’ve been looking at a few Union Properties developments, but am unsure about buying leasehold. How does this differ to freehold property in Dubai?

A The choice between freehold and leasehold property depends mainly on your particular needs and the asset type you wish to invest in. If you wish to buy a property for a limited number of years or you are buying a property to benefit from its annual rental yield, leasehold should be your preferable option as the cost would be considerably less compared to freehold. Similarly, the cost of leasehold for 30 years will be less than that for 99 years. Leasehold is common in many established overseas markets for high-rise apartments and integrated communities. This represents a benefit for owners in Dubai particularly as certain owners may visit infrequently and ‘forget’ to pay their maintenance bills. Under leasehold tenure contracts, the landlord could apply for an eviction order after a long period of non-payment, therefore safeguarding the integrity of the whole property or community.

Q Judging from the property classifieds, rents in Dubai Marina haven’t gone down much at all. Some even seem to have risen despite more supply coming on to the market. I’d like to buy an apartment to live in at the Marina; I’m just wondering which towers and areas of the Marina are the best options for long-term appreciation?

A During Q3 2009, Dubai Marina apartments witnessed a noticeable increase in rental rates, fuelled by the increased demand from visitors and tenants from Dubai and Abu Dhabi. This factor provided sellers and landlords with room to reconsider their offered prices with the aim of maximising their return on investment. Estimating long-term capital growth requires some careful thinking. This is where certain considerations such as location, property type, views, quality of structure, fit and finish, amenities, developer reputation and an estimation of future demand are taken into account.

You should seek some professional advice from property consultants. Given your personal objective is to maximise capital appreciation, I would recommend you consider towers in the central part of the Marina next to JBR (e.g. Al Sahab or Marina Promenade towers), and minutes away from The Walk.

Q I’m thinking of leaving my job and setting up a small company in a free zone. I’ve been impressed by some commercial buildings at Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) as I do a lot of work in Abu Dhabi. Should I get a multiple-year lease at a discounted rate, or opt for something more short-term?

A I believe that the recession may be the best time to start a new business as you will be able to generate great savings and benefit from the reduced inflation rates which can impact your start up costs. JLT enjoys a strategic location and has a fantastic master plan. It also has a good balance between office and residential space.

Office tenants have the tendency to relocate less frequently compared to residential tenants due to cost of relocation, interior design and building client familiarity with their location. Since you will be able to obtain a better bargain from a long-term lease, I would suggest you opt for the multiple-year lease contract at a discounted rate which will only help reduce your set up costs and overheads over time.

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Real estate legal advice a growing sector

Article from Freehold Monthly

Article from Freehold Monthly

Dubai – Real estate legal services are becoming more popular among existing investors and prospective buyers in Dubai.

Dr. Ali Al Jarman, legal partner – Harbor Real Estate and founder of Prestige Advocates, says real estate-related enquiries have increased since the 2008 financial downturn. “Many of our clients have serious concerns over the security of their real estate investments,” he says.

Prospective buyers are also seeking out legal advice prior to making transaction. “This was not the case in previous years and also contributed greatly to the problems that clients are facing as proper due diligence was not conducted prior to the sale and purchase of property. Most enquiries are usually concerned with the real estate regulations and legislations such as the date of completion of a project, delay penalties, invalidity of the contract, cancellations and payment commitments.”

RERA (Dubai’s Real Estate and Regulatory Agency) has recently proposed a free legal advice service for buyers and sellers, an initiative that Dr. Ali applauds: “We believe that this innovative policy could also assist in boosting the confidence levels in the real estate industry,” he says.

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