• 20 Sep 2017

    Construction begins on new Dubai landmark One Za’abeel

    Ithra Dubai, the real estate developer owned by Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), today announced it has begun construction on its mixed-use development project One Za’abeel, expected to become one of Dubai’s leading landmarks.

    The project, due to be completed in Q4 2020, consists of two towers linked by the world’s largest cantilever, The Linx, floating at 100 metres above ground and offering fine restaurants and lounges.

    The overall development consists of a luxury hotel, residences, serviced apartments, office spaces and a retail podium.

    “With the recent appointment of ALEC Engineering & Contracting LLC as the main contractor, the project has now entered an exciting phase of construction where One Za’abeel and its panoramic 210-metre sky concourse ‘The Linx’ will in due course re-shape the ever-exciting Dubai skyline,” said Issam Galadari, director and chief executive of Ithra Dubai.

    construction-view

    The firm is on track to deliver the project, with site excavation, preparatory works, shoring and piling already completed, as well as the construction of a seven-floor basement currently underway.

    The towers consist of 67 and 57 floors respectively, and both rise up from a structure consisting of three podium levels and seven basement levels.

    The project has a total built up area of 480,000 square meters.

    zabeel

  • 16 Sep 2017

    Dubai realty attracts Dh78b investments to-date

    Dubai has attracted Dh78 billion worth of investments in the real estate sector so far this year, said a senior official on Saturday.

    “Thanks to high-quality, meticulously designed projects that hold their value, Dubai’s real estate market attracted Dh78 billion of investment from January 2017 to date. These figures reflect the world’s confidence in Dubai’s real estate market, which is based on a strong system of regulatory legislation that guarantees the rights of all,” said Majida Ali Rashid, assistant director-general and head of the Real Estate Investment Management and Promotion Center – the investment arm of Dubai Land Department.

    Dubai Land Department has organised roadshows in Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, and Shanghai with the last two of which generated Dh1.2 billion and Dh800 million of investments, respectively. DLD now plans to explore new destinations for promoting the emirate’s attractive real estate market through its flagship event, the Dubai Property Show.

    DLD last week signed an agreement with Sumansa Exhibitions – the organiser of the Dubai Property Show – to take Dubai’s real estate across the globe.

    Majid Al-Marri, senior director, Real Estate Promotion Department – Real Estate Investment Management & Promotion Center, Dubai Land Department, said earlier that a total of 217 nationalities have invested in the emirate’s real estate over the past 18 months.

    On Saturday, Dubai Land Department (DLD) said it had signed an agreement with Mashreq Bank concerning banking solutions for the transaction services of the ‘Tarweej’ real estate promotion initiative.

    Under the agreement, Mashreq will provide banking services for real estate transactions made both inside and outside of the country. In addition, the bank will receive priority as a partner for real estate promotion in accordance with the laws applied in each country, and will provide real estate customers and investors with consultation and information on products to meet their needs.

    The agreement was signed by Sultan Butti bin Mejren, Director General of DLD, and Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, CEO of Mashreq Bank.

    “We have reached this agreement with Mashreq Bank based on our mutual interest in supporting and strengthening our cooperation,” said Sultan Butti bin Mejren.

    “Dubai remains a very popular destination amongst expats and international investors, particularly as the country draws nearer to Expo 2020, which has made the UAE a top choice for real estate investment,” Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair said.

    The ‘Tarweej’ initiative was launched by the Real Estate Investment Promotion and Management Center, which aims to promote Dubai’s real estate market and its projects under the DLD umbrella by establishing a community of real estate developers inside and outside Dubai.

  • 17 Sep 2017

    Affordable housing boom to draw residents back to Dubai

    With Dubai’s affordable housing programme getting a major fillip following the government’s strong support – and given that an increasing number of developers are looking at provide such housing schemes – Dubai’s southern districts, where most of the low-cost developments are coming up, are set to witness a sharp growth in the working class population.

    Dubai’s low-cost housing initiatives, gaining momentum since the recent approval of the low-income housing policy by the government, is also having a knock-on effect in the Northern Emirates.

    “A spate of new affordable housing projects coming up in Dubai’s southern parts is set to trigger a reverse migration to Dubai, leading to sharp falls in rents in Sharjah and Ajman. Over that, some landlords are even offering monthly payments and rent-free periods to retain tenants,” said A Najeeb, managing partner of M.S. International Real Estate.

    Dubai’s new housing policy, which aims at providing residential units for low-income working people while renovating some old areas, classifies low-income people into Emiratis and non-Emiratis, in strategic sectors in Dubai.

    The policy will also include families’ income levels, place of residence and public benefits and will compare them with current requirements and the challenges faced by the families.

    According to analysts, the domino effect of the new affordable housing projects – mostly located in Jumeirah Village Circle, Dubai South, Al Furjan, IMPZ, International City, Dubai Sports City, Studio City, and Dubailand – will be felt across Sharjah an Ajman, from where a reverse migration of the working class will eventually take place. This will lead to nose-diving rents, lower property prices and overall ease of traffic, realty analysts said.

    In 2012-2014, on the back of a sharp rise in rents across the residential districts in Dubai, there has been a consistent geographical shift of the mid- and lower-income segment to the fringe locations or to the Northern Emirates. “This trend is soon going to reverse, as thousands of affordable units are made available in the southern parts of Dubai,” said Najeeb.

    The tens of thousands of the working population now commute daily from Ajman and Sharjah to Dubai, will eventually shift bases to the southern parts of the Dubai – closer to their workplaces – which means the number of cross-emirates commuters will drop drastically.

    This means lesser money will be spent on petrol and car maintenance, and eventually, even the health problems caused by long and exhausting hours behind the wheel, a property market analyst said. It will result in an overall improvement in the quality of life.

    They said the upcoming extension of the Dubai Metro will connect the Nakheel Harbour and Tower station to the Expo 2020 site, further enabling the lower income segment to explore affordable options. This is likely to encourage occupiers to migrate to developments such as DIP and DubaiLand, where they can find newer apartments which are also accessible to the rest of the city.

    Changing faces of emirates

    According to John Stevens, managing director of Asteco, there will be further decline in rents in Sharjah and Ajman in 2017, if the supply of affordable property continues to stifle demand in the Northern Emirates.

    “Sharjah and Ajman are expected to experience more downwards pressure on rates, in comparison to Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain,” said Stevens. In 2015, the Dubai Municipality, as part of a major initiative, defined affordable housing for the first time as a “living space for people whose salary is between Dh3,000 to Dh10,000 per month.” The civic body allocated over 100 hectares of land for affordable housing in Muhaisnah 4, Al Qouz 3 and 4, mostly to meet the demand for dwellings for people in this income category. The developments will house more than 50,000 people.

    Other steps taken on affordable housing included a voluntary system for developers to set aside at least 15 per cent of units for lower-income use. When mandatory, this policy is known as inclusionary zoning.

    A research paper from Core, the UAE associate of Savills, said few of the homes being built by the private sector in Dubai branded as “affordable”, are actually within reach of lower-income families.

    “Typically, for homes to be considered affordable, those paying for them should spend no more than 30-35 per cent on housing expenses. However, most homes being branded as affordable by private sector developers are out of reach in price terms, with even the cheapest properties tending to start at prices of around Dh500,000,” it said.

    David Godchaux, chief executive of Core, pointed out that developers faced a number of issues when building for lower-income families, with land purchase prices among the most significant.

    Godchaux said lower-income households would struggle to raise the necessary borrowing from banks. Lower loan-to-value ratios introduced in 2013 to stabilise the market would mean that a buyer requires a deposit of 25 per cent before gaining a mortgage. This means that they have to save Dh125,000 as a downpayment to afford a Dh500,000 home.

    Analysts argued that apart from a law by the Dubai Municipality requiring private developers to include up to 15-20 per cent of affordable housing within new projects, public-private partnership schemes where government provides land for free in a bid to lower housing costs, might provide an impetus to the affordable segment of the market.

    “Affordable housing is a fundamental urban issue faced by most of the global cities and the quantity and quality of this residential strata greatly shapes a city’s growth, scalability and sustainability,” they said.

  • 18 Sep 2017

    Payment plan ‘key for Dubai’s real estate project success’

    Dubai’s well-regulated property market is now matured with serious developers, genuine brokers and real buyers and needs out-of-the-box re-thinking of customised payment plans to attract buyers, said an expert.
    Matured real estate market requires matured thinking from property developers. Gone are the days when buyers used to take whatever used to be imposed by developers, when the market was a sellers’ one, according to property experts.

    With Dubai’s real estate market maturing further, developers are offering deferred payment plans to attract property buyers as it has turned into a buyer’s market, they stated.

    For instance, Gemini Property Developers, a boutique real estate developer, recently launched a game-changing-industry-first customised payment plan for luxury residential units in the Dh280 million ($76.2 million) Splendor at MBR City that offers a wider choice for property buyers allowing them to pay for five years after hand-over.
    This offer received an overwhelming response from the property buyers at the recent Cityscape Global exhibition in Dubai, said the experts.

    Splendor at MBR City, the G+8-storey luxury residential building is being built at Sobha Hartland within the Mohammed Bin Rashid City, Dubai, and scheduled for completion in January 2018.
    It offers a stylish, synchronised and elegantly-designed collection of 134 modern homes for the upwardly mobile families, who prefer to live at the heart of the city – yet within a sanctuary.

    “The key is to offer the freedom to choose how and when they want to pay as it has now become a buyer’s market. Dubai’s real estate market needs out-of-the-box thinking by all stakeholders,” remarked Sudhakar R. Rao, the managing director of Gemini Property Developers.

    “That’s why we have devised a game-changing industry-first payment scheme that is designed to offer the best comfort level to our property buyers. This has received a strong response that is also resulting in transactions,” he added.

    Under the scheme, the buyer moves in to Splendor at MBR City upon paying 50 per cent, thus freeing up the rents – that could be converted into monthly instalments for five years – or as low as 0.83 per cent per month that could be paid in quarterly instalments – and property buyers can enjoy the benefits of living in their own freehold homes within the MBR City and its central location within the city of Dubai.

    This plan actually removes the burden of payment under stress and allows them to pay as per their convenience and thus eases the pressure on the property buyer.

    Prabhakar R. Rao, the joint managing director, said: “Usually, the customer has to comply with the payment plan designed by the developer and has to align his/her finances as per the developer’s plan.”

    “Also, while some developers are offering post-handover payment plan which is a popular thing, whereas some customer may not want to go for it since he/she can avail bank mortgage. Gemini for the first time is offering the customer, the freedom to customise his/her payment plan according his/her financial situation,” he added.

    CEO Sailesh Jatania said the new payment scheme comes just in time as Dubai’s real estate market is witnessing signs of upturn.

    “Under this, customers can pick from customised payment plan for apartments as per their convenience from a host of options made available by Gemini. Firstly, customers can choose whether they want a post-handover payment plan or not because we don’t want to push the post-handover plan if the customer does not want the same or he/she has mortgage loan available,” noted Jatania.

    “Secondly, he/she can choose how much percentage is desired to be paid post-handover (40 or 50 per cent) and in how many years he/she wants to pay this (2, 3 or 5 years),” he added.-TradeArabia News Service

Construction begins on new Dubai landmark One Za’abeel

Ithra Dubai, the real estate developer owned by Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), today announced it has begun construction on its mixed-use development project One Za’abeel, expected to become one of Dubai’s leading landmarks.

The project, due to be completed in Q4 2020, consists of two towers linked by the world’s largest cantilever, The Linx, floating at 100 metres above ground and offering fine restaurants and lounges.

The overall development consists of a luxury hotel, residences, serviced apartments, office spaces and a retail podium.

“With the recent appointment of ALEC Engineering & Contracting LLC as the main contractor, the project has now entered an exciting phase of construction where One Za’abeel and its panoramic 210-metre sky concourse ‘The Linx’ will in due course re-shape the ever-exciting Dubai skyline,” said Issam Galadari, director and chief executive of Ithra Dubai.

construction-view

The firm is on track to deliver the project, with site excavation, preparatory works, shoring and piling already completed, as well as the construction of a seven-floor basement currently underway.

The towers consist of 67 and 57 floors respectively, and both rise up from a structure consisting of three podium levels and seven basement levels.

The project has a total built up area of 480,000 square meters.

zabeel

20 Sep 2017

Dubai realty attracts Dh78b investments to-date

Dubai has attracted Dh78 billion worth of investments in the real estate sector so far this year, said a senior official on Saturday.

“Thanks to high-quality, meticulously designed projects that hold their value, Dubai’s real estate market attracted Dh78 billion of investment from January 2017 to date. These figures reflect the world’s confidence in Dubai’s real estate market, which is based on a strong system of regulatory legislation that guarantees the rights of all,” said Majida Ali Rashid, assistant director-general and head of the Real Estate Investment Management and Promotion Center – the investment arm of Dubai Land Department.

Dubai Land Department has organised roadshows in Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, and Shanghai with the last two of which generated Dh1.2 billion and Dh800 million of investments, respectively. DLD now plans to explore new destinations for promoting the emirate’s attractive real estate market through its flagship event, the Dubai Property Show.

DLD last week signed an agreement with Sumansa Exhibitions – the organiser of the Dubai Property Show – to take Dubai’s real estate across the globe.

Majid Al-Marri, senior director, Real Estate Promotion Department – Real Estate Investment Management & Promotion Center, Dubai Land Department, said earlier that a total of 217 nationalities have invested in the emirate’s real estate over the past 18 months.

On Saturday, Dubai Land Department (DLD) said it had signed an agreement with Mashreq Bank concerning banking solutions for the transaction services of the ‘Tarweej’ real estate promotion initiative.

Under the agreement, Mashreq will provide banking services for real estate transactions made both inside and outside of the country. In addition, the bank will receive priority as a partner for real estate promotion in accordance with the laws applied in each country, and will provide real estate customers and investors with consultation and information on products to meet their needs.

The agreement was signed by Sultan Butti bin Mejren, Director General of DLD, and Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, CEO of Mashreq Bank.

“We have reached this agreement with Mashreq Bank based on our mutual interest in supporting and strengthening our cooperation,” said Sultan Butti bin Mejren.

“Dubai remains a very popular destination amongst expats and international investors, particularly as the country draws nearer to Expo 2020, which has made the UAE a top choice for real estate investment,” Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair said.

The ‘Tarweej’ initiative was launched by the Real Estate Investment Promotion and Management Center, which aims to promote Dubai’s real estate market and its projects under the DLD umbrella by establishing a community of real estate developers inside and outside Dubai.

16 Sep 2017

Affordable housing boom to draw residents back to Dubai

With Dubai’s affordable housing programme getting a major fillip following the government’s strong support – and given that an increasing number of developers are looking at provide such housing schemes – Dubai’s southern districts, where most of the low-cost developments are coming up, are set to witness a sharp growth in the working class population.

Dubai’s low-cost housing initiatives, gaining momentum since the recent approval of the low-income housing policy by the government, is also having a knock-on effect in the Northern Emirates.

“A spate of new affordable housing projects coming up in Dubai’s southern parts is set to trigger a reverse migration to Dubai, leading to sharp falls in rents in Sharjah and Ajman. Over that, some landlords are even offering monthly payments and rent-free periods to retain tenants,” said A Najeeb, managing partner of M.S. International Real Estate.

Dubai’s new housing policy, which aims at providing residential units for low-income working people while renovating some old areas, classifies low-income people into Emiratis and non-Emiratis, in strategic sectors in Dubai.

The policy will also include families’ income levels, place of residence and public benefits and will compare them with current requirements and the challenges faced by the families.

According to analysts, the domino effect of the new affordable housing projects – mostly located in Jumeirah Village Circle, Dubai South, Al Furjan, IMPZ, International City, Dubai Sports City, Studio City, and Dubailand – will be felt across Sharjah an Ajman, from where a reverse migration of the working class will eventually take place. This will lead to nose-diving rents, lower property prices and overall ease of traffic, realty analysts said.

In 2012-2014, on the back of a sharp rise in rents across the residential districts in Dubai, there has been a consistent geographical shift of the mid- and lower-income segment to the fringe locations or to the Northern Emirates. “This trend is soon going to reverse, as thousands of affordable units are made available in the southern parts of Dubai,” said Najeeb.

The tens of thousands of the working population now commute daily from Ajman and Sharjah to Dubai, will eventually shift bases to the southern parts of the Dubai – closer to their workplaces – which means the number of cross-emirates commuters will drop drastically.

This means lesser money will be spent on petrol and car maintenance, and eventually, even the health problems caused by long and exhausting hours behind the wheel, a property market analyst said. It will result in an overall improvement in the quality of life.

They said the upcoming extension of the Dubai Metro will connect the Nakheel Harbour and Tower station to the Expo 2020 site, further enabling the lower income segment to explore affordable options. This is likely to encourage occupiers to migrate to developments such as DIP and DubaiLand, where they can find newer apartments which are also accessible to the rest of the city.

Changing faces of emirates

According to John Stevens, managing director of Asteco, there will be further decline in rents in Sharjah and Ajman in 2017, if the supply of affordable property continues to stifle demand in the Northern Emirates.

“Sharjah and Ajman are expected to experience more downwards pressure on rates, in comparison to Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain,” said Stevens. In 2015, the Dubai Municipality, as part of a major initiative, defined affordable housing for the first time as a “living space for people whose salary is between Dh3,000 to Dh10,000 per month.” The civic body allocated over 100 hectares of land for affordable housing in Muhaisnah 4, Al Qouz 3 and 4, mostly to meet the demand for dwellings for people in this income category. The developments will house more than 50,000 people.

Other steps taken on affordable housing included a voluntary system for developers to set aside at least 15 per cent of units for lower-income use. When mandatory, this policy is known as inclusionary zoning.

A research paper from Core, the UAE associate of Savills, said few of the homes being built by the private sector in Dubai branded as “affordable”, are actually within reach of lower-income families.

“Typically, for homes to be considered affordable, those paying for them should spend no more than 30-35 per cent on housing expenses. However, most homes being branded as affordable by private sector developers are out of reach in price terms, with even the cheapest properties tending to start at prices of around Dh500,000,” it said.

David Godchaux, chief executive of Core, pointed out that developers faced a number of issues when building for lower-income families, with land purchase prices among the most significant.

Godchaux said lower-income households would struggle to raise the necessary borrowing from banks. Lower loan-to-value ratios introduced in 2013 to stabilise the market would mean that a buyer requires a deposit of 25 per cent before gaining a mortgage. This means that they have to save Dh125,000 as a downpayment to afford a Dh500,000 home.

Analysts argued that apart from a law by the Dubai Municipality requiring private developers to include up to 15-20 per cent of affordable housing within new projects, public-private partnership schemes where government provides land for free in a bid to lower housing costs, might provide an impetus to the affordable segment of the market.

“Affordable housing is a fundamental urban issue faced by most of the global cities and the quantity and quality of this residential strata greatly shapes a city’s growth, scalability and sustainability,” they said.

17 Sep 2017

Payment plan ‘key for Dubai’s real estate project success’

Dubai’s well-regulated property market is now matured with serious developers, genuine brokers and real buyers and needs out-of-the-box re-thinking of customised payment plans to attract buyers, said an expert.
Matured real estate market requires matured thinking from property developers. Gone are the days when buyers used to take whatever used to be imposed by developers, when the market was a sellers’ one, according to property experts.

With Dubai’s real estate market maturing further, developers are offering deferred payment plans to attract property buyers as it has turned into a buyer’s market, they stated.

For instance, Gemini Property Developers, a boutique real estate developer, recently launched a game-changing-industry-first customised payment plan for luxury residential units in the Dh280 million ($76.2 million) Splendor at MBR City that offers a wider choice for property buyers allowing them to pay for five years after hand-over.
This offer received an overwhelming response from the property buyers at the recent Cityscape Global exhibition in Dubai, said the experts.

Splendor at MBR City, the G+8-storey luxury residential building is being built at Sobha Hartland within the Mohammed Bin Rashid City, Dubai, and scheduled for completion in January 2018.
It offers a stylish, synchronised and elegantly-designed collection of 134 modern homes for the upwardly mobile families, who prefer to live at the heart of the city – yet within a sanctuary.

“The key is to offer the freedom to choose how and when they want to pay as it has now become a buyer’s market. Dubai’s real estate market needs out-of-the-box thinking by all stakeholders,” remarked Sudhakar R. Rao, the managing director of Gemini Property Developers.

“That’s why we have devised a game-changing industry-first payment scheme that is designed to offer the best comfort level to our property buyers. This has received a strong response that is also resulting in transactions,” he added.

Under the scheme, the buyer moves in to Splendor at MBR City upon paying 50 per cent, thus freeing up the rents – that could be converted into monthly instalments for five years – or as low as 0.83 per cent per month that could be paid in quarterly instalments – and property buyers can enjoy the benefits of living in their own freehold homes within the MBR City and its central location within the city of Dubai.

This plan actually removes the burden of payment under stress and allows them to pay as per their convenience and thus eases the pressure on the property buyer.

Prabhakar R. Rao, the joint managing director, said: “Usually, the customer has to comply with the payment plan designed by the developer and has to align his/her finances as per the developer’s plan.”

“Also, while some developers are offering post-handover payment plan which is a popular thing, whereas some customer may not want to go for it since he/she can avail bank mortgage. Gemini for the first time is offering the customer, the freedom to customise his/her payment plan according his/her financial situation,” he added.

CEO Sailesh Jatania said the new payment scheme comes just in time as Dubai’s real estate market is witnessing signs of upturn.

“Under this, customers can pick from customised payment plan for apartments as per their convenience from a host of options made available by Gemini. Firstly, customers can choose whether they want a post-handover payment plan or not because we don’t want to push the post-handover plan if the customer does not want the same or he/she has mortgage loan available,” noted Jatania.

“Secondly, he/she can choose how much percentage is desired to be paid post-handover (40 or 50 per cent) and in how many years he/she wants to pay this (2, 3 or 5 years),” he added.-TradeArabia News Service

18 Sep 2017

Is the ‘Hawaii of China’ taking design cues from Dubai?

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Hainan, China (CNN) — The dancing begins almost as soon as the sun sets on Sanya, in southern Hainan.

Dozens of locals — some in costume, some without — set up in the wide paved areas beneath the palm trees, along the famous long white shoreline of Sanya Bay.
Then, to the beat of an electronic boombox or traditional Chinese performers holding drums and cymbals, the synchronized movements begin.

Watching the dancing as the waves break on the shore, on a balmy summer evening, it’s easy to see why Hainan, an island and the southern-most province in China, has long been known in advertising campaigns as the “Hawaii of China.”

Traditional Chinese dance performed on the shores of Sanya Bay, Hainan. pic.twitter.com/uFKZYrC4Uy
— Ben Westcott (@Ben_Westcott) September 14, 2017
But only a few hundred meters down Sanya Bay, a different side of Hainan is glittering and glowing in the growing dark.

On a newly reclaimed island on one edge of the bay, the imposing towers of Phoenix Island are projecting a light show.

Giant diamonds sparkle on the sides of the massive hotel, followed by hundred-meter high dolphins splashing across an animated sea.

It’s just one of a growing number of extravagant Hainan resorts and hotels, each trying to out do each other in novelty and grandeur.

‘A little dream to go to Hainan’
The next day, dressed in full suits and glamorous dresses beneath the beating tropical sun, couples pose to have their wedding photos taken beneath the palm trees and beside the white sand.

Around them, dozens of tiny white crabs scuttle from hole to hole along the beach, an example of the natural beauty which has lured the couples here to make Hainan a permanent part of their memories together.

Wei Kailei, dean of the College of Tourism at Hainan University, tells CNN the island is a “world-class attraction.”

“It is well known as an island of leisure, vacation and longevity,” he says. “The blue sky and pure water in Hainan are even more precious, contrasted with the rest of the nation plagued by smog.”

sea-shore

Father and son play on Sanya Bay beach in southern Hainan Island, China.

Sichuan native Thomas Liu brought his wife and his son to Hainan all the way from their central China hometown of Chengdu.

“For (my son) to see how broad the sea is and have a beach where he can play? It’s great for him,” he says, while walking along Yalong Bay.

“I think many people, when we are young, we know that Hainan is a very beautiful place, so I think for many people they have a little dream to go to Hainan.”

Despite the island’s natural beauty, however, Liu says it’s becoming a little too popular.

“There’s too many people here, from now I think all over the world and all over China,” he says.

According to the provincial statistics bureau, more than 60 million tourists made trips to Hainan in 2016, up 12.9% compared to the previous year.

But the island and its main cities of Haikou and Sanya are popular tourist destinations not just for Chinese but also for many Europeans.

Valter Julia, a Russian citizen from the city of Norilsk, says she and her partner came to Hainan nine years ago for the first time and, after they had a son, they’d wanted to return.

“I think it is a good place to have a rest … Very special and very pleasurable place,” she says.

‘Oriental Dubai’

Increasingly, rather than Hawaii, parts of Hainan bring to mind the unashamed extravagance of Dubai, the wealthy United Arab Emirates city state that once built a man-made island in the shape of a map of the world.

The huge, curved towers of Phoenix Island catch the eye the moment you walk down to Sanya Bay.

The futuristic hotel has changed the skyline of Sanya Bay dramatically. Connected to the city by a long bridge, which only guests can cross, the artificial island gives off the air of outrageous opulence.

In the lead up to the launch of Phoenix Island, it was even described in promotional literature as the “Oriental Dubai.”

sea-shore

A birds-eye view of the vista of Sanya Bay, taken in June, featuring the new Phoenix Island in the top right.

Phoenix Island isn’t the only artificial land mass being constructed in Hainan. In the north, off the coast of Haikou, a massive island the shape of a yin-yang symbol is being built, according to the local government’s website.

Once finished it’ll feature a new hotel, a yacht club, a cruise port and a waters sports area.

In Sanya city, away from beach, an ambitious new hotel has been built in the shape of nine enormous green trees.
“Hainan is the largest special economic zone, the only international tourist island and the first tourist model construction zone in China,” says Wei.

“Everyone in the province puts great effort into infrastructure and environment, aiming to provide tourists high quality attractions, facilities, environment and services.”

biuldings

Beauty Crown Hotel in Sanya features nine enormous tree-like structures, which hold dozens of hotel rooms.

108-meter Buddha
It isn’t just apartments and hotels anxious to steal the limelight on Hainan.

In the island’s south, an enormous white statue of the Bodhisattva Guanyin stands on an artificial island at the center of a sprawling temple complex.

Finished in 2005, the 108-meter high statue was reportedly consecrated by 108 Buddhist monks from across China. It’s an appropriate choice, as she is sometimes known as “Guanyin of the Southern Seas.”

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A woman poses for a photo in front of a 108-meter statue of Guanyin, the Buddha of the Southern Seas.

Some 15% of the Chinese population consider themselves to be Buddhist, according to 2014 stats, so it’s no surprise this is a popular landmark.

Even on a weekday, hundreds of predominantly Chinese tourists pour into the temple grounds to see the sights and pray to Guanyin. At the altar leading to bridge to the statue, the air is thick with incense and pilgrims wrestle for kneeling space.

As you walk towards the enormous Buddha, the path on both sides is cluttered with stores selling memorabilia and expensive tea.

Even once you get inside the enormous statue, surrounded by the piped sounds of Buddhist chanting, the interior has half a dozen more opportunities to buy merchandize and commemorations.

At the very foot of the statue, up a lift and then hundreds of steps, one woman grips the Bodhisattva’s enormous toe and implores her loudly, “Ah! Guanyin Buddha!”

A uniformed guard shushes her and encourages passersby to move on.

statue2

A woman prays to the Bodhisattva Guanyin at her huge statue in southern Sanya, Hainan.

No slowing down
Back in Sanya Bay, the sun is beginning to set again and locals on dozens of motorbikes are pulling up to the shoreline to watch the imminent entertainment.

As with so much of Hainan, the dancing is a combination of the old and the new. Some women and men, dressed in full costume, are performing a traditional square dance or guangchang wu. Next to them, other performers dressed in leotards are moving in time to modern pop songs.

This contradiction, a combination of Hawaii and Dubai, appears here to stay — for now at least.

As the dancing begins again in the sweltering heat, the giant diamonds of Phoenix Island light up and begin to spin.

map

Getting to Hainan: Sanya International Airport services flights from a number of cities in the region including Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore.

20 Sep 2017

Bespoke home finance to boost Dubai realty

For Mohamed Farah, it sounded like a great deal.

A Dubai resident since 1992, the Syrian business owner was able to buy an off-plan studio flat in Damac Heights for Dh700,000 without putting down any new money as a deposit.

“I have two flats in Dubai Silicon Oasis where I had completed the repayments,” he says. “My businesses have been very strong over the past ten years. All of the flats I own, I had paid for in cash.”

Farah is one of a number of property investors taking advantage of a new generation of more accessible home finance products in Dubai.

These are the result of competition among financers to provide finance facility to a reluctant pool of end users and investors during a slow market.

Tailored finance

Under the terms of the “Double Your Property” product offered by Amlak Finance PJSC, a leading specialised real estate financier in the Middle East, purchasers who already own at least one property in Dubai without an existing finance can leverage their first home as collateral in order to acquire another property.

This second property may be either a ready or under construction property. The idea is that rental payments on the second property will eventually pay off the finance payments.

The product, which is open to both residents and non-residents of the UAE who own property in Dubai, effectively allows investors with a minimum salary of Dh10,000 a month to double their property portfolio by leveraging the equity release on first property to own one or more properties.

Dubai

As Dubai enters the run-up to Expo 2020, many are predicting another mini boom

“The existence of this product opens up possibilities for investors to have easy access to finance,” says Jonathan Rawling, Chief Finance Officer at Yallacompare, a financial comparison site in the Middle East.

“The real benefit is that it allows you to make the finance payments on your second property through the rental income on that property. Some home finance products in the market will not take account of rental income when calculating your eligibility for a home finance.”

Refreshing change

“Amlak is recognising that, where individuals already own one property, there is additional collateral available for the finance on the second property,” Rawling adds. “This is perhaps a refreshing change to the more blinkered approach where banks look at property financing on an asset-by-asset rather than a portfolio basis.”

Property analysts say that, after stalling over the past two years following a 2014 oil shock, Dubai’s sales market showed some signs of recovery during the spring.

According to the Dubai Land Department (DLD), the value of deals transacted between January and June this year stood at Dh132 billion, 16.8 per cent higher compared with the Dh113bn recorded over the same period in 2016.

The DLD said the total value of new home finance increased 24.2 per cent to Dh60 billion, up from Dh48.3 billion.

Stimulate market

For Amlak Finance, this is an attempt to stimulate the market as sales of completed and under-construction properties in Dubai start picking up.

Arif Alharmi, Managing Director and CEO of Amlak Finance, (pictured right), says, “The product is primarily focused at existing investors who already own property in Dubai. We want to boost the Dubai real estate market, and have therefore developed a product that helps investors grow their portfolio without putting in any additional contribution.”

Nonetheless, analysts still say that a glut of new supply coming to the market is dampening the sales market.

Research from Dubai-based property data company Reidin and property consultancy Global Capital estimates that 13,991 new off-plan homes were launched in the six months between January and June 2017.

“The growing off-plan supply continues to negatively affect ready property sales,” says David Godchaux, Chief Executive of Core Savills.

“Existing owners try and attract the same pool of investors and end users as they attempt to sell their ready properties. They contend with highly competitive and attractive payment plans offered by master developers.”

Niranjan Mendonca, Head of Marketing and Business Development at Dubai-based property broker Homes4Life, says he is currently negotiating with three customers about signing a deal on Amlak’s product, which only came on the market a couple of months ago.

lake

The DLD said the total value of new mortgages increased 24.2 per cent to Dh60 billion, up from Dh48.3 billion

He explains that investors are being drawn to off-plan property launches rather than buying completed properties because they expect far higher resale prices in the wake of Expo 2020.

This is compounded by the fact that the down payments required for developers on off-plan properties are attractive now.

Property developers are also offering generous payment terms on off-plan property deals, some of which can extend for as many as five years after the construction period.

Win-win proposition

More than competition, it is a win-win situation for all, says Arif Alharmi. “Developer payment plans are still restricted in terms of repayment to between two and five years.”

“Our proposition is to extend that plan to 15-20 years for the consumer. [They] get a longer payment plan, the developer gets to sell stock and we can facilitate the whole process.”

Expo 2020

Whether Amlak’s innovative home finance product will succeed in helping lift the Dubai property market from a two-year lull remains to be seen, but the initial signs are promising.

As Dubai enters the run-up to Expo 2020, many are predicting another mini boom.

Arif Alharmi further commented: “We have already seen market conditions improving in the UAE and this momentum is expected to continue. As we move closer to hosting the Dubai Expo, we have witnessed significant investment in diversifying the local economy, in line with the UAE’s economic growth strategy.

“There has been improvement in key sectors such as tourism, aviation, and real estate, and it is expected that we will see this increase even further as we approach 2020.”

20 Sep 2017

Dubai Is Building a Floating Miniature Replica of Venice

Dubai may be known for modern, soaring skyscrapers and eccentric innovations—we’re talking drone taxis here—but its newest project aims to bring in some old world Italian flair. By 2020, a miniature version of Venice will be floating 2.5 miles off the city’s coast. Complete with 12 restaurants, an underwater spa, and gondolas imported straight from the famous Italian city, the resort claims to be the world’s “first five-star floating destination.”

Overseen by Dubai developer Cityscape Global, The Floating Venice, as it’s been dubbed, will be able to accommodate up to 3,000 guests daily. In true Dubai fashion, visitors will have to travel by seaplane, boat, or helicopter in order to reach the resort. Upon arrival, they’ll check in at the underwater lobby before being transported to one of the mini-city’s 414 cabins—and 180 of those cabins, along with the hotel’s spa, restaurants, and bars, will be submerged, offering an immersive view of the Arabian Sea. Of course, it’s no ordinary ocean view: The on-site coral nursery, with over 400,000 square feet of coral and marine life, will be the focal point of the subterranean rooms. More claustrophobic guests will be able to come up for air at one of the complex’s 12 floating beaches, and sample Venetian delicacies as they tan.
In keeping with the project’s ode to Venetian tradition, visitors will also be able to participate in some of Venice’s popular festivals. The Carnevale di Venezia—Italy’s famed festival of masks—will be celebrated, along with the Regata Stoica di Venezia and the Festa del Redentore. Even operas will be performed on-site at the resort.

Read More : No place like Dubai for GCC home buyers

The extravagant hotel isn’t the first replica of its kind. China unveiled plans to remake Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-Upon-Avon late last year, with Tudor streets and a winding Avon River. And Titanic fans will be able to flock to a full-scale replica of the famous ship in Sichuan (80 miles from the provincial capital of Chengdu) once the project is complete, “iceberg experience” and all.

11 Sep 2017

PROMOTING AND EXPANDING

Sharjah Media Centre is adapting to the Emirate’s rapid evolution. What are the main new developments at the Centre?
The government established Sharjah Media Centre five years ago. Today, it has emerged as a single-window, unique platform that anyone can approach to know any and everything about Sharjah, its government, institutions, the economy, government procedures, media, education, history, and landmarks—or any other area. We have a team of more than 100 qualified, well-trained professionals. We are also constantly looking to empower our staff by providing them with training and new skills so that they give their best in serving the Centre. We are in touch with other contact centers in the UAE and the region to help us with this. The Centre is also responsible for the PR and media coverage of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, both in the UAE and abroad. We have a dedicated social media account for the Ruler covering all of his events and engagements.

The Sharjah Media Centre is the media arm of the government of Sharjah and aims to promote the Emirate. How is the Centre working to achieve that?
We have built a rewarding relationship with other government departments and agencies in the Emirate and are constantly working with them toward the objective of acting as the media arm and platform of the government. For example, we liaise with the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority to publish various statistics about the industry, such as the Emirate’s tourist numbers and museum visitor data. If the number of tourists visiting a particular area or attraction is seen as dwindling, then the Centre could focus on promoting it. Of course, we are constantly working to strengthen our partnership with other stakeholders and present a positive image of the Emirate through our media interaction. Since the inception of the Centre, especially with the launch of the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF), which is attended by more than 2,000 world leaders and media personalities, there has been a clear, positive, and perceptible improvement in the way Sharjah is seen around the world and across the region.

This year Sharjah hosted the fifth International Government Communication Forum (IGCF) with the slogan “Citizens for Prosperity.” What were the main highlights of this year and how would you rate its results?
The IGCF is all about enhancing government communication and this year we focused on improving communication between citizens and the government. As HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, said in his opening address at the 2015 edition of the Forum, communication needs to be two-way, not just one way—from the government to the people. As part of this theme, we discussed various aspects of communication involving the government and its people, including areas as different as aviation and culture, with experienced speakers from both the public and private sectors running the sessions.

What are your priorities and goals for 2016?
Every year we set ourselves certain objectives and activities that are aimed at supporting and working with other government departments. We need to take the next step now and have one centralized media entity in Sharjah. We are planning to meet with every media team of every government department at least every three months to see what their problems and concerns are and how to address them. We are working to produce one coordinated media calendar for Sharjah. We need to streamline the system. We also need to improve our call center so that it is open and accessible 24 hours. We need to make the Press Club more attractive and accessible to journalists as well by providing more services and benefits. We also need to expand the scope of the Ruler’s PR and media coverage beyond Arabic and English to other languages, especially when he travels abroad.

12 Sep 2017

Who we are

The team, at Chii Richtown, comprises indigenous experts in renting, selling and managing commercial properties and villas in Dubai, UAE. Established in 2006, the company has over a decade of experience in tracking new property developments and estimating trends in prime market areas that help clients in meeting their requirements. We are currently selling and leasing out properties in all areas of Dubai.We strongly believe if you have a requirement for a home or office space, we will help you find it!

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