Gulf News, 16 December, 2018
Abu Dhabi: A slew of development projects is set to change the nature of the housing market in the capital by encouraging greater home ownership, a senior municipality official said in the capital on Sunday.
The projects will offer units for sale at a variety of prices, including options for middle income earners, Chafika Al Baloushi, escrow account section head at the Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities, Abu Dhabi City Municipality, told Gulf News.
“As these projects come on the market, we expect that more and more people will become homeowners. Already, we’ve seen a lot of off-plan buying from residents, both Emirati and expat, as well as from people living in India, China, the United Kingdom, Russia, and a number of Arab countries,” Al Baloushi said.
“The housing sector is increasingly adopting a freemarket approach, and this is expected to soon be supported by immigration regulations for homeowners. Interested parties can look forward to owning second homes in any of the various communities for instance, and rent them out with ease,” she added.
Al Baloushi was speaking following the signing of a Dh15-billion escrow agreement between the department and Imkan Real Estate. Under the agreement, Imkan will develop Al Jurf Gardens, a Riviera-style project near Ghantoot that will not only include residential villas but also ranch-sized plots that buyers can maintain as their second homes.
A total of 40 projects are currently being overseen by the department, and the majority of them are set to develop new residential spaces in the emirate. Officials believe these should attract buyers because of the variety of offerings.
“For instance, we saw the first phase of the Al Ghadeer community by Aldar being fully snapped up because it offered house ownership at aggressively low prices, starting at about Dh400,000 for a studio. This was just one example of how the housing market will diversify going forward,” Al Baloushi explained.
Another unique project has been planned for Saadiyat Island, known as Al Nudra. It is being developed by Imkan, and chief executive officer, Walid Al Hindi, said there will be 37 villas and plots for sale.
“This will be a boutique development with a private beach for residents. Since it is a luxury project, the homes will be developed in a shell-and-core format so that owners can design their homes as they wish. We hope to hand this over by July 2019, and buying has already started,” Al Hindi said.
On the other side of the capital, Imkan is developing the Makers District on Reem Island, which will be geared towards millennials with a trendy, artistic mindset.
“The first phase of the District includes seven mixed-use towers that will offer retail, commercial and residential space. Two towers have already been released. But before the units are fully completed, at the end of the second quarter of 2019, we will open up Reem Island’s first swimming beach, which will also include a sea pool,” Al Hindi added. The community is expected to eventually house 3,500 people.
Al Jurf, on the other hand, will have a private beach and a marina with berths for 120 yachts.
“A school, clinics and a wellness facility are also planned for the second phase of the project. But in the first phase, we will be looking at handing over 293 villas and plots by September 2021. When complete, it will be able to house about 5,000 people,” Al Hindi said.