Monthly Archives: January 2013

Emaar clients walk away from new property launch in disgust

Repost from Big News Network.com

Emaar, Dubai’s biggest property developor set the emirate on fire on Saturday but not in the way it intended.

The property giant, amidst heavy security, was launching its latest serviced residential apartments tower, proposed for a site opposite the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

After the debacle in September last year when a similar project was launched and hundreds of people camped outside the Emaar sales office for three days to get set, the company announced this time buyers would have to pre-register. What followed was a disaster, with one prominent Dubai real estate agent describing the actions of Emaar as “disgraceful.”

Registration was online and it took place on Wednesday at 10am. Emaar then vetted the applicants, estimated at around 12,000, and allocated tokens to those that had been successful. With 280 apartments on offer the developer it was assumed would have issued 280 tokens, and perhaps a number to offset those clients that didn’t turn up or didn’t proceed to buy an apartment. With approximately 300 to 350 tokens allocated it should have all gone swimmingly.

What the developer didn’t tell clients was that they had issued three lots of tokens. Successful registrants were told they had to be at the Emaar sales office at 8am. When they arrived they found long queues stretching from the front entrance to the three main buildings in the Emaar complex right around the outside of the buildings. The developer issued red, blue and yellow tokens. While the red queue moved swiftly through to the sales office to look over plans, prices and contracts, several hundred, possibly a thousand people, waited outside penned up in long lines for several hours without any communication from Emaar as to what was happening. Trays of Chicken sandwiches and croissants were passed around and bottles of water but there was no-one to tell the throngs what was going on.

Then as it was approaching seven hours in the queues, at about 2.40pm, a crowd marshal got up on her feet, without any amplification, and said the red tokens were up to number 155 and they had yet to start on the blues, and the yellows it seemed may not get a start at all. The Emaar employee stressed that people were welcome to stay but there was little likelihood they would get set. Angry scenes followed as frustrated buyers left in disgust, not so much because they had missed out, but they say because of the way they were treated. Scores were heard muttering, and others making their feelings known more loudly, indicating they would not take part in an Emaar property launch again.

For those that stayed however, in the ever-dwindling queues, and those that had made it inside into the sales office, the worst was yet to come. About 4pm, when the red tokens were up to about 175, an Emaar representative announced all apartments had been sold. There was a complete uproar as angry clients and their agents stormed Emaar personnel seeking an explanation. Agents had been told Emaar was restricting sales of the apartments to one per client, yet before even one third of the tokens had been dealt with all the apartments were gone.

Earlier in the day it had been indicated quotas of apartments had been allocated to each token category, however it appeared at the end of the day only those holding red tokens would get apartments, and clearly the one apartment per client rule didn’t apply to them.

The fact that Emaar may have been abusing their clients, many of whom have been with them for years, some even buying whole floors off them, didn’t seem to register. Management and marketing executives would have been well aware within a couple of hours of opening their doors, if not even before they opened, that there was no prospect of around 900 registrants being able to be dealt with by sales representatives, let alone complete purchases. An Emaar employee when asked about the situation, confirmed the company intended for it to happen this way as they wanted all the hype, and the subsequent publicity about hundreds being turned away. There were even suggestions Emaar limited the number of units on sale, preferring to establish the hype and then sell more units into the open market later.

What may have been deemed to have been a top marketing strategy ultimately turned into a public relations nightmare with more damage being done to the developer’s reputation, notwithstanding it sold whatever number of apartments it intended to. The company may not be so quick to sell the next project. It is unlikely those that took part Saturday, many of which had travelled from all over the UAE, elsewhere in the Gulf and as far away as Iran and Russia, would be lulled into going through a similar exercise again. One prominent real estate agent who did not want to be named said she and her colleagues in the industry were “appalled,” at the way in which Emaar handled the launch, describing it as a “con,” and a “disgrace.”

The developer was also under scrutiny as the emirate’s property regulator, RERA, requires payment programmes for off-the-plan properties to be set commensurate with construction milestones achieved. Emaar however was hitting clients with a 15% up-front payment, followed by a 10% payment in June, and then a 15% instalment when the construction is 10% completed. Investors will therefore have forked out 40% of the cost of their apartments while Emaar, which is state backed, will have only completed 10% of the construction.

The tower itself, The Address Residence Fountain Views comprises 60 floors of one, two, three and four bedroom apartments and penthouses. It will be the only Address property developed by Emaar to date to not include a hotel, however hotel services will be provided to the complex by Emaar’s hotel chain, The Address Hotels and Resorts. The company will also operate a serviced apartments pool in the tower.

Let us know if you had a similar experience at the launch; we would love to hear from you. You can also follow us @DXBPropInvest on Twitter.

The Dubai Property Market Post-Mortgage Cap – A Top Five First Time Buyer’s Guide

With the recent introduction of a mortgage cap of 50 percent loan-to-value rate for expatriates in the UAE, many prospective clients have to re-evaluate ways to get into the Dubai property market.

The new regulations will impact those that require a mortgage to cover the repayments on the outstanding balance. The most recent statistics from the Land Department show mortgages account for 66 percent of total registered transactions in Dubai in Q1 2011. Foreigners are also substantial owners and buyers, purchasing real estate worth almost AED 30 million in H1 2012.

So, you are keen to invest in Dubai, but you no longer have the initial down payment required on the place you had lined up. What to do? Well, it may well be a blessing in disguise.

Dubai’s property market is currently increasing at a good rate. Now is the time to invest in the market, to capitalize on the growth to come. Here are a few things to consider:

1.    New Locations

If you are not able to find the 50 percent down payment on that stunning two-bed overlooking Burj Khalifa, take a look at the two-bed in IMPZ, Jumeirah Village or even Dubai World Central.

These locations have many stunning properties under development, but are as much as 50 percent less than Dubai Marina or the Burj Area. Okay, the infrastructure is going to take a couple of years to come online, but you will be close to all major roads and have a stunning property with enviable facilities, all for a fraction of the cost of the current prime areas.

2.    Take the emotion out

By looking at property in the development areas of the city, you are taking the emotion out of the investment and making a considered choice based on future capital growth. By being a ‘trend-setter’ and getting into these areas early, you will have much more room to grow the capital growth, indeed in the medium to long-term a new property such as Lago Vista or the Crescent in IPMZ, will certainly increase in value by higher percentages than the more established areas.

3.    Control your level of investment

The mortgage cap has been introduced to control the level of overseas investment in the Dubai property market and to try to restrain the boom and bust mentality of the past. It is a sensible approach to retain control of the markets and will help to ensure you are only investing the money you can afford. While all predictions suggest the Dubai real estate industry is on the consistent path of growth, there only needs to be another short-term dip and you could find yourself in financial difficulties. Accept the mortgage cap and use it to your advantage by looking at those properties in new development areas.

4.    Buy to live

This blog encourages a buy to live mentality, or at least a medium to long-term strategy for your Dubai investments. If you are considering a purchase in Dubai, think about what it is for. If this is for investment and to give you a home then we suggest looking also at the Hotel apartments springing up around the Burj Area. These offer not only a solid foundation for capital growth but the management companies will also take responsibility of renting out your apartment while you are away for any period of time.

5.    Do your research

As you set into the Dubai property market you will soon note that there is quite a bit of paperwork to get through. While this can be timely and frustrating, take it as a huge positive. This is a signal of the strength of the regulation now supporting the market and has been introduced to protect the buyer. Always ensure you ask the developer to provide you their licenses, including agreements with main contractors and also funding assurances through Escrow. By law, every developer has to provide you this documentation.

How has the new mortgage cap affected you? What impact do you think it will have on the market? We would love to hear from you in the comments section below, or joining us on Twitter, @dxbpropinvest.

UAE Construction Sector Set for Growth in 2013 as Increase in Middle East’s HNWI’s Drives Investment

The construction sector in the Middle East is expected to grow again this year, providing a significant boost to the countries non-oil contribution to GDP, the latest report from KFH-Research suggests.

Analysts stated that industrial production will ‘improve gradually’, but the non-oil sector will be ‘more significant.

All signs point to a resurgence in the real estate market, particularly in the well-developed luxury areas within Dubai. 2012 saw the most growth in pricing across the board in more than four years.

“We forecast moderate economic growth for the UAE, at three percent in 2012, conservatively lower than the Central Bank’s forecast that growth maybe exceeding 3.5 percent,” KFH-Research said.

The strength in the market is supported by the growth of HNMI’s in the Middle East who are again looking to the property asset classes as a means of secure long-term capital growth.

The report showed that in the Middle East, the number of HNWI’s has increased by 2.7 percent year-on-year to 450,000. Total financial wealth of the Middle East HNWI’s grew by 0.7% year-on-year to US$ 1.7 trillion.

It is thought there are around one million wealthy households in the GCC region, with total investable assets of between US$ one trillion to US$ 1.2 trillion. Of these, around 260,000 to 280,000 households have total assets of more than US$ one million in each household.

By country, Saudi Arabia has the most number of wealthy households, estimated between 600,000 and 625,000, followed by the UAE (200,000-220,000) and Kuwait (120,000-130,000). Naturally, Saudi Arabia also has the highest total investable assets in the region, estimated at US$ 500 billion to US$ 550 billion, followed by the UAE (US$ 260 billion to US$ 280 billion) and Kuwait (US$ 140 billion to US$ 150 billion).

As the wealth of the GCC high spenders increases again we expect to see further investment in the Dubai property market, which is considered a safe haven within the region and secure place for investment. This will support the continued growth in the luxury sector of the market, with serviced hotel apartments a prime investment opportunity for those looking to own a high-end, well serviced property and the flexibility of earning rental returns while they are not living in the apartment.

What impact do you see on the Dubai Property Market in 2013? What is your own personal experience of the price rises seen over the past 12 months? We would love to hear from you in the comments section below, or joining us on Twitter, @dxbpropinvest