Abu Dhabi Tenants will move for better value in 2017, says latest Asteco report
Average rental rates in Abu Dhabi for apartments and villas fell by 7% and 5% respectively during 2016 and are expected to soften further in 2017, according to the latest Abu Dhabi Real Estate Report Q4 2016 from leading consultancy Asteco.
The decline will be exacerbated by new supply to the market. Approximately 1,400 residential units were handed over during 2016, and around 4,000 units – including 2,700 apartments and 1,360 villas - are expected to be handed over this year.
“Although delays cannot be ruled out, this will definitely put pressure on rental rates for existing stock,” said John Stevens, Managing Director, Asteco.
The continued macroeconomic uncertainty will also negatively affect rents as tenants search for more affordable rates.
“Residential units that were previously able to maintain rental levels due to the reluctance of existing tenants to move, are now more likely to be affected as residents in search of the best value-for-money will become more frequent. High profile corporate mergers in the pipeline are expected to lead to increased job uncertainty and could affect employee benefit packages, including housing allowances over the next few years, raising the potential for softening demand and therefore declines in market rates,” added Stevens.
Average apartment rents fell by 7% over 2016, whilst prime and high-end apartments declined by 6% and 9% respectively year-on-year. The average annual rent of a high-end two-bedroom property on Abu Dhabi Island falling 10% to AED 141,000 in 2016; and a two-bedroom apartment in Khalidya/ Bateen dropping by as much as 13%, on average, to AED 146,000. Mid and lower end apartments experienced a 5% drop, primarily during the second half of last year.
Similar to apartments, villa rents declined by 5% on average in 2016, with the greatest decrease witnessed in the Al Raha Beach area (10%). “Mature villas, which previously recorded high rental rates, have been affected the most, which resulted in an increase in vacancies in some communities,” said Stevens.
Average rents for villas on Saadiyat Island remained relatively stable over the year, which was mainly due to a large percentage of owner occupier properties.
Apartment sales prices, meanwhile, decreased by 4% on average in 2016, with properties in Marina Square and The Gate both experiencing average drops of AED125 per ft2. Apartments in Raha Beach/Al Bandar and Reef Downtown both saw average price increases of AED50 per ft2 compared to 2015 figures.
In terms of average villa sales prices, there was an average 4% decline during 2016. Villas in Raha Gardens fell by AED65 per ft2 and Golf Gardens by AED60 per ft2 on average. Saadiyat Beach Villas (Standard) held their value year-on-year.
Stevens said: “The anticipated delivery of new residential projects is expected to increase investment opportunities, which in turn will have a positive effect on transaction volumes. Off-plan projects offering attractive sales rates and payment plans will continue to achieve good demand levels.”
Office rental rates decreased on average by 7% year-on-year, with a notable slowdown in office take-up and upgrades, particularly for larger space requirements. As a result landlords countered by offering smaller units, lower rental rates and more flexible payment plans.
“Demand for large offices will remain subdued and landlords are expected to continue to subdivide space in order to entice new take-up,” said Stevens. “New prime office projects are expected to be handed over in 2017, including Al Hilal Bank Headquarters and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank Headquarters, which are likely to increase vacancy levels on the back of low demand.”
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Dubai Tenants have the advantage in 2017, says Asteco
Tenants in Dubai could have the upper hand when negotiating rental rates thanks to a significant amount of stock coming to the market in 2017, according to the latest report from leading real estate consultancy Asteco.
There are 31,500 apartments and 12,500 villas and townhouses scheduled to be delivered this year in areas including City Walk by Meraas, Damac’s Akoya, Dubai Wharf by Dubai Properties and Emaar’s Mira. This is in addition to 8,750 apartments and 5,000 villas completed in 2016.
“Tenants will be offered a significant choice of completed properties in 2017 in both established and new communities,” said John Stevens, Managing Director, Asteco.
“The additional supply will continue to put downward pressure on market rates, which will place the negotiating power firmly in the hands of tenants, despite a forecasted increase in population,” he added.
However, the gap between planned delivery and actual handover can be “worlds apart, which could limit the impact of oversupply and generate modest levels of growth in certain popular communities,” he said.
Figures in the Asteco Dubai Real Estate Q4 2016 report support the fact that the balance has been tipped away from landlords and it is the tenants who have the advantage when it comes to negotiating lease terms.
Although average apartment rental rates declined by 5% since the previous quarter and 6% over the year, the individual numbers indicate that the market is becoming increasingly fragmented. Whilst rental rates in certain areas declined, others were more resilient to change and even experienced marginal growth. It is also important to note that buildings within specific communities are showing disparities in terms of the overall offerings and hence rates.
The majority of areas have seen rental rates for one bedroom apartments drop AED 5,000 to AED 15,000. Units in Jumeirah Beach Residence are now available for AED 105,000, Business Bay demands AED 75,000 and International City reports AED 45,000 on average.
As average one bedroom rents in Jumeirah Lakes Towers witnessed declines of AED 15,000 over the year to AED 75,000, rates in Downtown Dubai (AED 115,000), The Greens (AED 95,000) and Al Barsha (AED 75,000) all held their rental levels year-on-year.
Average villa rents fell by 3% over Q4 and 5% year-on-year. Similar to the apartment leasing market, rents in areas such as Al Barsha and The Meadows saw double digit declines over the year as tenants relocated to newer, more affordable areas.
However, average rents for three bedroom villas in popular communities such as Jumeirah (AED 190,000), Jumeirah Village (AED 160,000) and The Springs (AED 180,000) remained unchanged from a year earlier.
Two villa developments have crossed the AED 200,000 mark for three bedroom units including Al Barsha and Arabian Ranches with villas available for AED 175,000 and AED 195,000 on average.
Stevens said: “Landlords, especially corporates, offered incentives such as increasing the number of cheques accepted and longer rent-free periods to entice take-up, especially in newly handed over communities that still lack supporting infrastructure, retail and leisure facilities. Single unit owners (especially those with mortgages) were more inclined to reduce rental rates to increase take-up, rather than undergo prolonged periods without any rental income.”
Overall, average sales prices remained relatively unchanged over Q4 and for the full year, which Stevens believes, “signals the bottoming out of the market”.
Although average sales prices of an apartment in Dubai Marina dropped compared with 2015, rates rose marginally over the quarter. Apartment sale prices in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, on average, held firm at AED 1,150 per square foot.
In line with the apartment sector, average villa sale prices were generally flat over the last quarter, while the overall average annual change was minimal at -2%. Well established communities in prime locations such as Emirates Living and Arabian Ranches saw an average increase of AED 150 per square foot, whilst rates for developments with more supply growth potential, such as Jumeirah Village, dropped by AED 100 per square foot.
Stevens said: “Market sentiment is expected to improve on the back of increased government spending on infrastructure, hospitality and retail projects, which will have a positive effect on demand for real estate in Dubai.”
“The sales market will be increasingly driven by long-term investors and owner-occupiers and the rise in first time buyers will continue throughout 2017 as people take a long-term view to living in Dubai.”
Average office rental rates fell 3% year-on-year, while average sales also suffered a drop, of 5%. “Both office rental rates and sale prices will continue to come under pressure as new developments are handed over whilst demand is expected to remain low. Tenants and buyers will continue to expect attractive rates, incentives and flexible payment terms,” said Stevens.
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Tenants drive value as rents fall across Dubai
The latest Dubai Property Review Q3 2016 report by leading real estate consultancy Asteco has revealed increasing pressure is being placed on landlords as budget conscious tenants continue to place emphasis on downgrading to smaller units or relocating to cheaper communities to get better value for money.
Apartments in Jumeirah Village Circle and Dubai Sports City saw rates increase by 2% and 3% respectively – the latter also recorded the highest growth over the year, averaging 13% as demand for affordable housing increased. The mid to high end segment also saw some movement, with Business Bay recording a 5% decline due to new supply being handed over and budget conscious tenants looking for alternatives.
John Stevens, Managing Director, Asteco, said: “Although rental rates have remained relatively stable this quarter we are seeing a definite shift to more affordable areas such as Jumeirah Village and Dubai Sports City where rents are cheaper and an increasing number of amenities are coming on line as communities reach critical mass.”
Apartment rental rates in Jumeirah Village ranged from AED40,000 to AED55,000 for a studio and from AED125,000 to AED165,000 for a three-bedroom unit. In mid to high end areas such as Jumeirah Lakes Towers studios ranged from AED55,000 to AED75,000 while three bedroom apartments were available from AED120,000 to AED180,000. The high to luxury end of the market with developments such as Downtown Dubai saw studios priced from AED75,000 to AED105,000 while three bedroom units varied from AED175,000 and AED300,000.
In the villa market rents ranged from AED130,000 to AED185,000 for a two-bedroom villa in Arabian Ranches, AED125,000 to AED160,000 for the same size in Jumeirah Village. In the Springs a two-bedroom villa is priced between AED130,000 and AED145,000, for a three bedroom the cost varies from AED165,000 and AED220,000.
Villas in Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim recorded a significant year-on-year decline of 19% and 12% respectively, which was attributed to substantial new supply and an increasing number of budget-conscious tenants.
Stevens said: “Given that tenants have a wide range of options to choose from, they are more likely to negotiate with their landlord; and if their requirements are not met, they will vacate. Whilst this was noticeable in Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim, this trend has spread throughout the wider Dubai market.
“With more handovers expected in the next few months, we anticipate villa rental rates could come under further pressure.”
According to Reidin, sales transactions were down by 22% compared with Q2 2016 and with many off-plan property launches at competitive rates, there is a possibility that developers could face some pressure in the near future. A significant increase in activity in the area closest to the new airport was recorded in the last few months, such as the launch of Emaar’s Urbana at Emaar South and various projects in Dubai South.
Stevens said: “Most of these recent releases had significantly lower asking prices compared with current market prices as developers expand into the affordable segment, by reducing unit sizes and launching projects in secondary locations.”
After dropping nearly 20% year-on-year, sales rates for apartments in Dubai Marina remained stable and it was a similar picture for DIFC, The Greens and JBR.
“With ample options available in the market, at various prices and attractive payment plans, buyers have significant choice. They also appeared to be better informed compared to previous years, as they researched their options, pricing, payment plans and developers’ track record,” said Stevens.
In terms of villa sales, interest was predominantly for more affordable and mid-priced units, typically priced between AED 2 to AED 5 million. As a result, established communities such as The Springs and Mudon recorded 5% and 1% increases respectively over the quarter.
Apartment sales prices in International City ranged from AED500 and AED900 per square foot, the Greens ranged from AED1,000 and AED1,600 per square foot and in Dubai Marina prices ranged from AED850 and AED2,400.
Villa sales prices varied from AED960 to AED1,380 per square foot in the Meadows, AED750 and AED1,500 per square foot in Jumeirah Park and between AED1,440 and AED3,500 per square foot on the Palm Jumeirah.
The commercial office sector in Dubai saw a 24% reduction in transactions compared to Q2 2016, although this was 12% higher than the corresponding period last year.
On the leasing front, Ibn Battuta continued to perform well with rates from AED 145 per square foot for small units and from AED 85 per square foot for larger shell and core space.
Land sales rates reached as low as AED 60 per square foot on the GFA in areas such as Majan, Jumeirah Village and Arjan.
Stevens said: “With more supply announced and due to enter the market over the next few months, there seems to be little potential for both rental and sales prices growth, except within select developments.”
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Landlords in Abu Dhabi are coming under increasing pressure as tenants look for more affordable rental rates against a backdrop of macroeconomic uncertainty and new supply, according to the Abu Dhabi Property Review Q3 2016 report from leading real estate consultancy, Asteco.
The report revealed the rental gap for high-end apartments between Dubai and Abu Dhabi reduced significantly over the last quarter, as Abu Dhabi recorded further declines – in Q1 2016 the price difference for one and two bedroom apartments between the two Emirates was typically AED 20,000 per annum and this has narrowed to AED 10,000.
In the affordable and mid-range residential segments, Abu Dhabi’s rates have reduced moderately, by AED 5,000 on average, since Q1 2016, whereas Dubai’s rates were marginally down by AED 1,000.
John Stevens, Managing Director, Asteco, said: “The ongoing job cuts across various industry sectors and the reduction of staff housing allowances continues to negatively affect demand with a number of tenants opting to downsize and / or move to more affordable units.”
In the capital, villa rents were down, on average, by 2% from the previous quarter. The highest drop was in Al Raha Gardens (6%) followed by Al Raha Beach Villas (4%). Demand for older villas inside Abu Dhabi City was also down with premium units most affected – the average decline since the same period last year was over 10%.
Saadiyat Beach Villas were the only exception with rates continuing to increase since handover, recording a 7% increase compared with the same period last year.
Prime apartment projects on Saadiyat Island maintained stable rates and close to full occupancy during Q3, while other prime and high quality apartments saw their rates fall by 1% from Q2 2016 and by an average of 6% since Q3 2015. High end units in the Corniche saw rates drop by 9% from the same period last year.
Stevens said: “The majority of vacant apartments, which were offered at reduced rates in Q2, have now been leased out, especially the smaller unit types (studio, one and two bedroom). This indicates that there is demand in the market, but value for money is the most important factor. In comparison, larger and more expensive three and four bedroom duplexes and townhouses recorded over 10% decline since the last quarter, with a high percentage remaining vacant for over six months.”
In terms of apartment sales, there was a 1% average decline during the quarter, with Reem Island affected the most. Projects at Al Raha Beach and Saadiyat Island, as well as Al Reef, recorded higher sales rates of 3% to 5% compared with the same period last year.
Villa sales remained quiet with limited transactions mostly for completed units. Stevens said: “Sales prices decreased by 1% on average, since last quarter and by over 4% since Q3 2015. Only Saadiyat Beach Villas recorded no change this quarter, however, rates were up by 4% compared with last year.”
Low oil prices continue to negatively affect Abu Dhabi’s economy. Office rental rates are currently at their lowest point since market peak in late 2008, with rates, on average, 72% lower. Rents in prime office buildings are now close to AED 1,600 per square metre, representing a 4% decrease over the last three months.
Stevens said: “Large corporate and government entities often form the main tenants of prime office space, and with uncertain economic conditions and low oil prices, demand from these segments has reduced considerably.”
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Middle East’s largest real estate services firm named overall Arabia regional winner in two categories, with five stars for Best Property Consultancy and Best Property Consultancy Marketing in Dubai
Asteco, was recognised at the Africa & Arabia Property Awards during a glittering gala ceremony at the JW Marriott Marquis on Thursday evening (22nd September), as the UAE’s leading real estate firm won Best Property Consultancy Dubai and Best Property Consultancy Marketing Dubai.
The company, nominated as Arabia’s best, will now represent the Middle East competing with other winning entries from Europe, Canada, the Caribbean, USA, Central & South America, the UK and Asia Pacific for the title of the ‘World’s Best’ winner in London on the 12th December.
“This is the first time we have entered these awards and I’m delighted we’ve been recognised ahead of some stiff competition from the best of Dubai’s real estate industry. The award is testament to our ongoing commitment to offering a first class service which has helped us secure AED13 billion of sales and nearly 16 million square feet of leased property over the last 30 years,” said John Stevens, Managing Director, Asteco.
Initiatives contributing to Asteco’s success on the evening included the introduction of the first UAE real estate company franchise offering, which is now practicing in four countries and the Asteco Training Academy, another first of its kind for the real estate industry in the GCC region.
Other exceptional developments include Asteco’s in-house web-based multi-lingual software program for property management called Estateman, custom designed in-house. Asteco still holds a unique position as the UAE’s only company able to offer developers a full range of services across the entire project development value chain, were also contributing factors to their recognition on the evening.
“We’ve built an incredible team at Asteco based on market-leading experience, innovation and embracing new technologies. These professional skills are essential to our ability to plan for the future. We look forward to competing with our international peers in London and being the standard bearer for real estate professionalism throughout the GCC,” added Stevens.
The Arabian Property Awards are part of the long established International Property Awards, recognised as one of the prestigious accolades in the residential and commercial property industries. Following a stringent judging process, held in London, involving a panel of over 80 international experts, Asteco was awarded five-stars in both categories and progressing to the global stage of proceedings.
"The Arabian Property Awards are an internationally recognised mark of excellence in the industry. Competition is intense and becomes more so each year, so any company achieving success in the Awards should be proud of their achievement - it demonstrates an outstanding level of quality and service,” said Stuart Shield, President, International Property Awards.
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Dubai sales market forecasted to bottom out by end 2016; trend towards affordable development persists with increase in single-unit buyers expected in 2017
Government cuts to budgets expected to impact rental rates and sales transaction volumes in Abu Dhabi in H2 2016; 3% drop in rental rates recorded from Jan-June with 2% average decrease in apartment sales prices
Asteco, the Middle East’s largest full service real estate company has released a special Cityscape report on the current status of the UAE real estate market revealing a general slowdown in all emirates, but highlighting marked differences between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Dubai experienced a slow first six months, but for different reasons, with developers slowing the pace of project completions and handovers due to the forecasted oversupply of residential properties in the market, which prompted a slight decrease of around 2% and 1% respectively on rental rates for apartments and villas.
The cumulative effect of falling oil prices and the resulting cuts to government budgets over the last 18 months has been the catalyst for the slowdown in Abu Dhabi, where resulting job cuts in the last 6-8 months led to H1 2016 residential rental rate declines of 3% on average, with high-end units down by 4%; and a subdued sales market.
“We are seeing two unique pictures emerge for the residential sector in both emirates. What is interesting to note in Dubai is the decision of families to downsize and even send spouses and children home in an effort to save money,” said John Stevens, Managing Director, Asteco.
“We are seeing signs of this in Abu Dhabi with a migration or downsizing mainly from high-end large units, to more affordable developments; which has led to a rise in vacancy rates for larger units and which could prompt an increase in rental rates for smaller units in more desirable buildings,” added Stevens.
Dubai added 2,000 new primarily mid-level and affordable apartments and 200 villas and townhouses in H1 2016, with affordable developments such as Siraj Tower at Arjan and 400 units in Dubai Silicon Oasis; the mid-range Ajmal Sarah Tower and Dubai Sports City, Canal Residence West; and, at the top end, Palm Jumeirah’s Osaimi Apartments.
The Asteco report highlighted substantial interest in Jumeirah Village from both end users and investors with buyers recognising the potential of the community from a locational point of view in comparison to newer projects launched south of Mohamed Bin Zayed Road.
Apartment prices in most communities continued to be under pressure with an overall price reduction of 3% during H1 2016, however prices are still 64% higher than 2011. For the villa market, rates were broadly stable over the last six months with an average increase of 0.3%, with a trend towards smaller two to four-bedroom homes in communities such as Arabian Ranches, The Springs and Mudon, still prevalent.
“We expect to see further marginal declines in values over the next six months as the market looks likely to bottom out by year end with, at most, a 5% decline. This could be offset by potential increased transaction volume as lower prices unlock demand and stimulate renewed interest from single-unit buyers for soon-to-be-completed buildings.
“From a rentals perspective, demand for studio, one and affordable two-bedroom units is likely to remain strong, with a potential increase in rates in some areas as occupancy levels improve,” said Stevens.
Limited supply of new H1 released supply in Abu Dhabi helped to limit any major reduction in rental rates with just 800 apartments added including Wave Tower on Reem Island, resulting in an overall drop of 3%. This trend was replicated in the villa market, however at a reduced rate of just 1%.
Transaction levels in the capital have been largely quiet with asking rates still relatively high in comparison to other emirates (nominal 2% decline recorded) despite owners putting units back onto the market; and the ongoing lack of affordable units stymying prospective investors with limited budgets.
“We are still seeing good levels of demand for affordable products like the Al Ghadeer and Al Reef townhouses, with no decline in sales prices, which confirms the appeal, and shortage, of this kind of product in the market,” noted Stevens.
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Middle East’s largest real estate services firm reaffirms commitment to talent development and franchisee support
Leading UAE real estate services firm Asteco has reaffirmed its commitment to recognising the importance of its employees and growing franchisee network to its long-term commercial success with a people-first pledge as it looks to future growth despite challenging market conditions.
The company has recently promoted seven individuals to newly created associate director positions, and has also launched the Asteco Academy, a first-of-its-kind training and development facility for brand franchisees.
“These are testing times, not only for the real estate sector, but for businesses in general. While we are seeing an increasing number of lay-offs and company restructuring in response to the bottoming out of the market and current economic challenges, Asteco believes that this exactly the time when we need to invest in our greatest asset – our people,” said John Stevens, Managing Director, Asteco.
Building on almost four decades’ market-leading experience, the run of recent promotions has further strengthened Asteco’s senior executive team with the new associate directors being Tamer Chaaban from the Property Management Department; Anne Marie Shein and Morgan Dalton from the Asset Management Department; James Joughin from Valuations; Julia Knibbs from Research & Consultancy; Melnora Francisco Burayag from Finance; and Nick White from Owners Association Management Services.
All new associate directors will have greater autonomy over budgets and will act as the figurehead within their respective departments while also being responsible for reporting to the Asteco board.
“With close to a cumulative century of industry experience both here and internationally, the team is truly at the vanguard of Asteco’s strategic development and this confidence and acknowledgement of these individual’s professional skills is essential to our ability to plan for the future and maintain our position as the Middle East’s largest real estate consultancy practice.
“The route to associate director has now been clearly defined and we can see the motivation that this given other colleagues in the company who didn’t meet the requirements to be considered for an Associate this year but are working to ensure that they achieve it during the next review process,” added Stevens.
Earlier this year, the Middle East’s largest independent full service real estate company also launched a unique training and development facility for the UAE market and its growing community of internationally licensed brand franchisees, the Asteco Academy.
Headed by leading organisational practitioner and Head of Training & Development, Brian Weaver, the academy is an international standard facility for the region and offers franchisees access to Asteco expertise with the aim of aligning corporate deliverables with franchisee business goals, offering Continuing Professional Development (CPD) opportunities to help franchises maintain a competitive edge; and providing long-term in-house support and advice as franchisees build their businesses.
“As well as supporting in-house talent and capabilities, we know that in order to develop Asteco brand presence and reputation, we need to bring our franchisees into the fold and offer holistic support and advisory services that will allow them to grow their business - and ours,” remarked Stevens.
“An employee or partner should not be viewed as a risk-bound asset that can be discarded at the first sign of weakening market or economy. We consider our teams and franchisees indispensible to our long term commercial viability and we also want to secure our position as a preferred employer or partner of choice,” he added.
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UAE real estate services firm Asteco supports Indy Lights rising star Ed Jones; association part of corporate initiative to back home grown talent
UAE real estate services firm Asteco has agreed to sponsor Dubai-based British racing car driver Ed Jones as he competes on the Indy Light circuit in the US this year. The relationship underscores a fundamental part of Asteco’s CSR programme, to support home grown talent.
“Ed’s personal qualities certainly provide synergy with our own corporate values. Ambition, talent, determination, are just a few of the core values shared between us, so we had no hesitation supporting him when the opportunity arrived,” said John Stevens, Managing Director, Asteco.
The talented 21-year-old, who drives for the Carlin team, finished his 2015 rookie season in third position. This season after eight rounds of racing, he is currently leading the drivers’ championship - 29 points ahead of his nearest rival, with a further 10 rounds to go.
In his most recent race, Jones claimed second place in the Mazda Freedom 100 on May 27th, losing out on victory in the closest ever finish in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After starting from pole, Jones was a front runner throughout the race that saw plenty of changes for the lead. After a last lap attack, Jones looked to have secured victory, only for the timing screens to show Dean Stoneman 0.00024 seconds ahead at the line.
Jones’ next challenge will be the Mid-Ohio test in Lexington, Ohio on June 7 followed by Round 9 & 10 races at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin on 24th and 26th June. The Indy Lights season wraps-up with Round 18 on September 11th 2016 at Monterey, California.
The Mazda Road to Indy is the only driver development program in the world to feature a champion’s scholarship at every level to advance to the next step on the ladder system. The Indy Lights champion is awarded a US$1 million scholarship which pays toward competing in the Verizon IndyCar Series with three guaranteed races including the Indianapolis 500. Team and driver prize packages total over US$1.9 million.
“We are proud to be supporting such a talented young racing driver who is flying the flag for the UAE in the US. Ed’s performance so far has been very impressive and we hope he can achieve his ultimate goal this year of winning the Indy Lights championship and stepping up to the IndyCar series next season,” added Stevens.
Jones is fast gaining a reputation as one of the best young racing drivers to emerge from the UAE. His first major success came in 2006 where he won the National UAE karting championship. Following a number of title wins, he made the transition to cars in 2011 and worked his way up from the Intersteps Championship to the Formula Renault and Formula 3. In 2014 Jones clinched the European F3 Open Championship and after joining Carlin, competed in the FIA European F3 Championship, prior to his debut season in Indy Lights last year.
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Asteco, the Middle East’s largest full service real estate company has highlighted a continued focus on affordability in the UAE’s residential sales market, with prices in Dubai dropping by 5% year-on-year and transaction levels declining by 17%.
“This market has moved favourably towards the buyer as prices drop and cash investors and end-users find themselves in a strong negotiating position. Buyers are definitely considering their investment options as the market appears to be bottoming out and sellers seem prepared to take a more realistic view on pricing,” said John Stevens, Managing Director, Asteco.
The most transacted areas in value terms were Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeriah and Downtown Dubai however apartment sales prices in those locations were down 6% on the Palm Jumeirah and 4% in both the Marina and Downtown in Q1 2016.
International City had the highest number of transactions recorded in the quarter with a corresponding 1% increase in prices, further underscoring the demand for affordable housing. IMPZ, and Jumeirah Village also notched quarter-on-quarter increases of 4% and 5% respectively.
The villa market experienced a similar trend with sales prices down on average 6%, compared to last year and 2% when compared with Q4 2015. Buyer interest at the higher end of the market was limited and communities such as Jumeirah Golf Estates, The Villa and larger sized villas in Arabian Ranches saw sales prices drop by 14%, 11% and 13% based on last year’s prices.
“Newly launched properties with more affordable price points and payment plans are attracting investment interest and are selling very well. The reputation of the developer is also playing a major role as investors and end users want to be certain that their properties will be delivered as agreed and the required infrastructure and community facilities completed,” added Stevens.
In Abu Dhabi sales demand for both apartments and villas was stunted. The popular Saadiyat Island and Al Raha Beach recorded price increases of 2% and 6% however these increases can be attributed to the limited available stock.
The other areas within Abu Dhabi to experience decreases in prices were The Gate, Sun & Sky Towers and Marina Square which saw quarter-on-quarter decreases of 6%, 5% and 6% respectively.
Villa transaction levels in Abu Dhabi were limited in Q1 2016, following strong demand throughout 2015, particularly in the more affordable communities in Al Raha Gardens and Al Reef. However new launches on Yas Island by Aldar and Al Saadiyat Island by TDIC are expected to generate reasonable demand due to a lack of suitable mid to upper-end villa communities available on a freehold ownership to all nationalities.
“Sales for new launches, which slowed down in 2015, are expected to pick up once buildings come closer to handover, we anticipate that this will more than likely be a 2017 scenario. The signs are already promising with Yas Acres by Aldar and Saadiyat Lagoons District by TDIC and Al Faya at Bloom Gardens development by Bloom Properties, all launched in Q1 2016,” said Stevens.
The Northern Emirates are also attracting strong interest with a number of significant projects being planned and announced particularly in the tourism and residential sectors.
According to the Ajman Real Estate Regulatory Authority, approximately 4,000 units were sold in 2015, totaling AED 11 billion and representing a 27% increase in transactions taking place in 2014. Good quality, completed developments are attracting investors with developments in Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah, proving popular with Asian and Europeans as well as Kuwaitis, Saudis and Emiratis.
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Remaining 30 one-bedroom units to be released for sale with guaranteed ROI of 10% per annum through to 2018; Asteco will also show DUKES Dubai British-themed project with just 13% of units remaining.
In partnership with Dubai-based luxury property developer Seven Tides, leading regional real estate consultancy firm and appointed sales agent, Asteco, will release the final tranche of units for sale as part of its luxury Anantara Residences hotel rooms collection at this year’s Cityscape Abu Dhabi exhibition.
This year Asteco will be making its Cityscape debut, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 12-14 April 2016, offering 30 one-bedroom hotel room units for sale at the Anantara Residences Hotel Rooms project on The Palm Jumeirah, with sizes ranging from 530 up to 650 square feet, and a starting price of AED 1.3 million.
This follows the successful December 2015 release of phase one of the Anantara hotel rooms project, which saw all 73 units snapped up within days of release.
"The Anantara Residences project, and the hotel rooms' component in particular, have been in high demand from the international investment community since day one of release. The choice between an upmarket second home and hotel rental managed one-bedroom unit has allowed us to reach out to a wider investor base, which when coupled with the extremely attractive ROI potential, has fast-tracked interest and sales," said Abdulla bin Sulayem, CEO, Seven Tides.
A complete lifestyle experience is included with guests enjoying full
access to the hotel's exclusive facilities, which include a 4,000-square
foot state-of-the-art gym, 107,600-square feet of temperature
controlled lagoon pools, six world-class dining and entertainment venues
and the Anantara Spa as well as housekeeping, at-home dining, laundry
and childcare services.
The Anantara Residences North and South buildings, which also come with a three-year developer-backed guarantee of 10% (paid quarterly) will also be on show at Cityscape. Asteco will be presenting the one-bedroom through to penthouse apartments to interested investors.
Asteco statistics show that units have been purchased by investors from across the GCC as well as Russia, and India, reflecting the ongoing attraction of high quality and internationally branded residential projects located in prime Dubai areas to both regional investors and overseas buyers.
"With 10% guaranteed ROI for three years and the cachet of being situated on Palm Jumeirah within a truly unique island community, backed by a luxury global hospitality brand and five-star lifestyle, are compelling reasons why investors are drawn to this project," said John Stevens, Managing Director, Asteco.
DUKES Dubai, which has also performed exceedingly well in the current market environment. Ready for immediate rental from handover, investors are able to quickly realise ROI potential, which will be bolstered by the appeal of the hotel's luxury positioning and exceptional facilities.
Asteco will also be showcasing Seven Tides' latest development, its British-themed DUKES Dubai development, which is almost 90% sold out, with the developer recording unprecedented demand from investors across the region.
"DUKES 'Best of British' lifestyle has clearly resonated with investors and with just a few units remaining, we expect to see strong interest at Cityscape Abu Dhabi in the hotel-managed studio and one-bedroom apartments," said bin Sulayem.
Starting from AED 1.8 million, the DUKES Dubai collection of studio and one-bedroom apartments range in size from 376 to 882 square feet and are being marketed with the added bonus of a developer-backed ROI guarantee of 10% for five years.
"The DUKES units are for investment purposes only, sold on a freehold,
fully furnished basis. As part of the hotel-managed rental scheme,
purchasers have peace of mind from day one plus the added benefit that
for the first five years they are exempt from service charges,
maintenance fees and utility bills," noted Stevens.
Established in 2004, Seven Tides has developed its own portfolio of commercial, residential and resort properties in some of the world’s most desirable locations. Its award-winning flagship hotel, DUKES London, is situated in the fashionable Mayfair district and has been a hospitality icon in the capital for well over a century.
Asteco is exhibiting at Cityscape Abu Dhabi in Hall 6 – stand number E01. For sales enquiries please contact +971 600 54 7773 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.