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Nakheel profits rise 43 per cent to AED3.68 billion in 2014

Nakheel profits rise 43 per cent to AED3.68 billion in 2014

4150Nakheel today announced its results for the financial year ending 31 December 2014: a net profit of AED3.68 billion representing a 43 per cent increase on last year’s net profit of AED2.57 billion.

The strong financial performance in 2014, driven mostly by the continued delivery of residential units and plot sales, underpins investors’ trust and confidence in Nakheel and Dubai’s real estate sector, and is a testament to the support of the Government of Dubai, Nakheel’s Board of Directors and other stakeholders, the company said.

Nakheel handed over 1,117 units to customers in 2014, including 132 homes at Palma Residences and Palm Views on Palm Jumeirah, the first new projects to be launched by Nakheel post-restructuring. Other handovers took place at Al Furjan, International City, Jumeirah Village, Jumeirah Park and Jumeirah Heights. Nakheel has now delivered 8,837 units to customers since its restructuring began in 2010.

Nakheel Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah said: “2014 was our biggest year yet in terms of financial performance and achievements. Not only did we clear all AED7.9 billion of our outstanding bank debt four years ahead of time, we also completed and delivered our first new project – Palma Residences – since restructuring.

“Our results for 2014 are further evidence of the ongoing support from the Government of Dubai and Nakheel’s Board of Directors to implement a sustainable, realistic long term business strategy. They also highlight continued growth in investor trust in Nakheel and Dubai real estate.”

Interest in Nakheel’s expanding number of retail projects swelled in 2014, with almost 7,000 units at Deira Islands Night Souk and Warsan Souk pre-leased within a week of their launch. There was also a large appetite for space at Nakheel Mall and The Pointe at Palm Jumeirah and at various other retail projects launched by Nakheel last year.

Ali Rashid Lootah added: “We are looking to maintain the same pace, at least, of growth in 2015 as we saw last year. We will continue to build on the success of 2014 by releasing more units for lease, both on the residential and retail side. Our aim is to reach AED7.5 billion in recurrent rental income – via a portfolio of 10 million square feet of retail space and 30,000 residential units – within around three years.”

Nakheel expects to award around AED7 billion worth of construction contracts in 2015. Projects include Deira Islands Mall, The Circle Mall and Al Khail Avenue at Jumeirah Village, The Palm Tower, Ibn Battuta expansion and several other residential, retail projects and hospitality projects across Dubai.



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GCC Outdoor Design and Build Market to Benefit from Greater Focus on Sustainable Development

GCC Outdoor Design and Build Market to Benefit from Greater Focus on Sustainable Development

491Developers in GCC countries should focus more on providing sustainable, attractive, outdoor environments when they look at new construction projects, industry experts agree.

While the building industry is booming in the region, with the total value of construction projects awarded across the GCC expected to exceed USD 195 billion this year, attention is increasingly turning toward making sure that these developments include appropriately designed and built outdoor space.

The United Arab Emirates already stipulates that 25 percent of a project’s development area must be set aside for environmentally-responsible landscaping.

And, in line with its new ‘#HappyDubai’ campaign, Dubai Municipality’s planning standards aim to establish modern, sustainable, and integrated communitiesthat fit with the values and culture of Dubai and provide a distinctive life style to residents.

Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, said in a statement this month that the provision of public facilities, parks and beaches are among the most important services the Municipality provides.

EAbu Dhabi’s Urban Planning Council addresses sustainable development through its Estidama initiative. Estidama – which is the Arabic word for sustainability – addresses sustainability through four equal pillars: environmental, economic, social and cultural. With governments becoming increasingly focused on green, pedestrian-friendly space development, the GCC’s landscaping industry will also see growing demand for new energy and water-efficient technologies.

“A greater focus on pedestrian environments would make our streets and cities much more active and ensure we made much more use of the space available to us,” said Robert Shakespeare, Director of Dubai-based landscape architecture firm Cracknell.

“The principle of creating these public spaces that are ‘open-to-all’ is still very new in this part of the world, but we are starting to see more of this inclusive thinking. Dubai is still not yet a very outdoor city, but it has plenty of potential.”

There are a number of real estate and infrastructure projects in the design and construction stage in Dubai, in addition to the Dubai Expo 2020 proposed site, with as much as AED 235 million worth of landscaping projects set to begin in the next six years. This spend is in addition to the already approved budget dedicated for a diversity of landscaping projects in Dubai.

“So many ambitious development plans are already underway, not just here in Dubai, but across the region, so it’s important that we plan now to include green space and urban landscaping elements into these projects,” said Nicholas Webb, Managing Partner of Streamline Marketing Group, the organisers of the Outdoor Design and Build Show 2015, taking place in Dubai on 13th – 15th April 2015.

The Outdoor Design and Build Show is an annual B2B tradeshow that focuses purely on design and build for all public and private spaces including parks, urban areas, hotels, schools, sports venues, and major residential projects.

Hosted and fully backed by Dubai Municipality, the event is the only dedicated international platform in the Middle East that caters to the entire spectrum of hard and soft landscape products and services.


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Cayan Group unveils plan to develop AED 1.2 billion mega property projects in Dubai & Riyadh

Cayan Group unveils plan to develop AED 1.2 billion mega property projects in Dubai & Riyadh

483Cayan Group, one of the Middle East’s leading real estate developers, has announced that it is developing AED 1.2-billion mega property projects in Dubai, UAE and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia this 2015. The award-winning company with a rich portfolio of premium developments across New Dubai’s skyline recently purchased strategically located prime lands in the two cities for the premier ventures.

In Riyadh, Cayan Group acquired a prime commercial plot along King Fahed Road in Riyadh where a state-of-the-art office building will soon rise. The company also acquired two lands on Umm Suqeim road for the location of its planned upscale residential and hotel apartment towers. The project will cater to the increasing demand for residential properties in the area.

Ahmed Alhatti, President and Chairman of Cayan Group, said: “The strategic land purchases as well as our upcoming landmark projects in Dubai and Riyadh form part of our comprehensive plans for 2015. Our new undertakings at the start of the year are fully aligned with the booming hospitality, residential and office sectors in both cities. Similar to our previous property ventures in the region, our property developments will demonstrate excellence and craftsmanship that we are known for as we aim once again to set new benchmarks across regional and global industries. Furthermore, we hope to meet the rising demand from various sectors, especially from the residential segment, by offering prime properties that meet the highest international standards.”

Founded in 2004, Cayan Group-Real Estate Investment and Development is a leading international real estate investment and development group supported by an extensive network of offices in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The company’s growing client base includes more than 2,000 customers from all over the world. Its portfolio encompasses a number of leading pioneering projects such as the Cayan Tower, Silverene Towers, The Jewels, Dorrabay, Cayan Business Center, in the UAE; Layaly Compound and Samaya in Saudi Arabia; and Broumana Lands in Lebanon. The Group’s prestigious real estate project, Cayan Tower, officially declared by the Guinness World Records in 2013 as the globe’s tallest twisted tower standing at 307 meters high, has become one of the most important architectural landmarks in the Gulf region.



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DAMAC Properties donates AED 1 Million to #UAECompassion Campaign

DAMAC Properties donates AED 1 Million to #UAECompassion Campaign

460DAMAC Properties has donated AED one million to the #UAECompassion campaign, to support thousands of refugees in Jordan and Lebanon hit by the ‘Huda’ across the Levant region.

DAMAC has supported the ‘Tarahamu’ campaign with a donation to the UAE Red Crescent, who is delivering aid to the most severely hit areas.

The first planes carrying aid from the UAE have already arrived in Jordan as the snowstorm Huda continued to increase in intensity.

“It is our humanitarian duty to do whatever we can for our brothers facing an unthinkable freezing cold winter away from their homes,” said Mr. Sajwani. “As a UAE-based company, we are keen to support the philanthropic efforts of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai as they guide us to become a global leader in international support and aid.”

“The #UAECompassion campaign has already seen an overwhelming response from every area of society throughout the UAE, highlighting the kindness in the hearts of everyone,” he added.

DAMAC Properties has consistently supported the campaigns of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and the efforts of the UAE Red Crescent, including recent donations of AED two million to the ‘clothe a child’ campaign, AED one million to the UAE Suqia (Water Aid) programme and a further AED one million to help build a high-tech care facility for the Dubai Autism Centre.

“We thank DAMAC Properties and Mr. Hussain Sajwani for their continued support towards these humanitarian and charitable campaigns, which deliver assistance to those most in need,” said, Mohamed Abdullah Al Haj Al Zarouni, General Manager of Dubai Branch, UAE Red Crescent. “We need as many companies and individuals to come forward to join this campaign as possible – to help the tens of thousands of people who are homeless and freezing.”

“This action isn’t new from a prestigious real estate company working for the happiness of people by providing them with decent living.”

The UAE Red Crescent says that anyone who wants to support the campaign can deliver their donations at any of its branches across the UAE, or via SMS through Etisalat and Du networks on 7100 and 7200, or through the bank accounts published in all official newspapers. Alternatively there is a toll free number: 800733.


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Dubai Properties Group sees 62 Employees Graduate from its Corporate Academy Programme

Dubai Properties Group sees 62 Employees Graduate from its Corporate Academy Programme

439Dubai Properties Group (DPG), master developer of world class destinations in Dubai including Business Bay, DUBAILAND, JBR and Culture Village, recently hosted a graduation ceremony in conjunction with the prestigious Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) to celebrate the completion of the Corporate Academy programme.

Launched in May 2013, Corporate Academy was designed to tailor dedicated training and development courses, providing DPG employees with the necessary skills for their current and future roles in the company. Certificates handed out at the graduation ceremony were given to DPG employees who completed both the ‘Leadership & Management’ and ‘Effective Team Leaders and Members’ modules.

Mohammed Al Habbai, Chief Officer for Urban Planning and Infrastructure at DPG, commented: “We created the Corporate Academy programme in collaboration with ILM and Zayed University to equip our junior and middle management teams with the correct set of soft and technical skills for their careers. Seeing our employees complete the modules and receive their certificates has made us very proud.”

He continued: “The level of commitment and dedication we witnessed from our employees over the course of our Corporate Academy programme has been inspiring and we look forward to continue investing in them to ensure they always receive the best in training.”




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UAE real estate sector to stay attractive in 2015

UAE real estate sector to stay attractive in 2015

428UAE’s real estate sector will remain attractive in 2015 despite global challenges, says real estate development and marketing firm TASWEEK.

Positive microeconomic, regulatory and population factors continue to drive real estate growth across the UAE, according to TASWEEK’s Q4 market findings.

The country’s banks remain generally sound and profitable, although TASWEEK cautions the gross loans/deposit ratio is nearing 100 per cent, thus indicating more limited room for growth.

The domestic population remains on track, reaching around 9.9 million by the end of 2014 and is expected to hit 18.83 million by 2023 to further stretch market demand.

TASWEEK affirms a positive correlation between this growth rate and the increase in new UAE real estate projects. Moreover, government measures to dampen speculative activities in real estate and better control credit growth have further streamlined industry.

Masood Al Awar, CEO of TASWEEK Real Estate Development and Marketing, says: ”There are many factors pointing to the continued growth of real estate in the UAE in 2015 and beyond, including a surging population, a resilient economy with an overall inflation rate of less than 2 per cent, resurgent market confidence, and stricter regulatory controls on the sector.”

TASWEEK’s report shows that residential activity continues to lead Abu Dhabi’s property market while business in Dubai is enjoying higher consumer confidence.

Overall, the sector sustained the growth momentum of the past three quarters and moved towards a strong finish for the year.

Abu Dhabi’s residential segment led the local market upsurge, supported by the reduction of supply as a measure for landlords to protect rent levels, the removal of the rental cap, and the return of government employees residing in other parts of the country to the emirate in compliance with new housing policies.

Overall, rent prices rose 5 per cent in the mainland and 3 per cent in freehold areas located at the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.

For Q4, the best studio deals were found in the Muroor Road and Al-Markaziyah areas at an average annual rate of AED 57,750. Muroor Road offered the best 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-bedroom rates at AED 68,250, AED 84,000, AED 126,000 and AED 168,000, respectively.

As for villa rentals, the Al-Reef gated community had the best offers for 3-, 4-, and 5-bedroom units at corresponding prices of AED 130,000, AED 160,000, and AED 180,000.

The sales market continued to stabilize in Dubai for Q4 2014. The observed slowdown in transactions is indicative of a growing market patience and confidence in the future.

On average, sales prices decreased a little by 3 per cent compared to Q3.

TASWEEK notes government measures to better regulate mortgage financing and double RERA transfer fees helped cool down the market in the last quarter.

The company adds that more buyers are expressing interest in Dubai’s off-plan property options.

As predicted by TASWEEK at the start of 2014, the UAE’s real estate market ended strong. Thanks to a vibrant economy, a surging population, strategic sector-related government measures, and renewed global confidence in the country’s property offerings.

Abu Dhabi’s residential segment stood out in Q4 2014 and is expected to lead the local market in 2015.

Dubai, on the other hand, is enjoying market stability characterised by a more patient and confident consumer base.

Positive Q4 2014 trends in the UAE’s two main property markets bode well for another solid year of real estate business in 2015.



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TASWEEK’s Q4 2014 report reveals steady UAE property business

TASWEEK’s Q4 2014 report reveals steady UAE property business

416TASWEEK Real Estate Development and Marketing’s final market intelligence report for 2014 shows that residential activity continues to lead Abu Dhabi’s property market while business in Dubai is enjoying higher consumer confidence. Overall, the sector sustained the growth momentum of the past three quarters and moved towards a strong finish for the year.

Positive microeconomic, regulatory and population factors continue to drive real estate growth across the UAE, according to TASWEEK’s Q4 market findings. The country’s banks remain generally sound and profitable, although TASWEEK cautions that the gross loans/deposit ratio is nearing 100 per cent, thus indicating more limited room for growth. The domestic population also remains on track in which it reached around 9.9 million by the end of 2014 and expected to hit 18.83 million in 2023 to further stretch market demand. TASWEEK affirms a positive correlation between this growth rate and the increase in new UAE real estate projects. Moreover, government measures to dampen speculative activities in real estate and better control credit growth have further streamlined industry.

“There are many factors pointing to the continued growth of real estate in the UAE in 2015 and beyond, including a surging population, a resilient economy with an overall inflation rate of less than 2 per cent, resurgent market confidence, and stricter regulatory controls on the sector. These were correctly predicted by TASWEEK at the start of 2014 as the core drivers of the industry’s resurgence, said Masood Al Awar, CEO, TASWEEK Real Estate Development and Marketing.

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi’s residential segment led the local market upsurge, supported by the reduction of supply as a measure for landlords to protect rent levels, the removal of the rental cap, and the return of government employees residing in other parts of the country to the emirate in compliance with new housing policies. Overall, rent prices rose 5 per cent in the mainland and 3 per cent in freehold areas located at the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.

For Q4, the best studio deals were found in the Muroor Road and Al Markaziyah areas at an average annual rate of AED 57,750. Muroor Road offered the best 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-bedroom rates at AED 68,250, AED 84,000, AED 126,000 and AED 168,000, respectively. As for villa rentals, the Al Reef gated community had the best buys for 3-, 4-, and 5-bedroom units at corresponding prices of AED 130,000, AED 160,000, and AED 180,000. Al Reef also bested other areas in apartment and villa buy-side deals, posting an average price of AED 1,000 per square foot for apartments and rates of AED 1.5 million, AED 2.1 million, AED 2.5 million and AED 3 million for 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-bedroom villas, respectively.

Dubai

The sales market continued to stabilize in Dubai for Q4 2014. The observed slowdown in transactions is indicative of a growing market patience and confidence in the future. On average, sales prices decreased a little bit by 3 per cent compared to Q3. The hotel sector which has been underperforming over the second and the third quarters was expected to rebound during the peak Q4 of year 2014. As for retail, the segment maintained its solid growth even as office transactions remained inconsistent due to high levels of supply. Given how government data shows an average of 100 new commercial licenses issued daily, TASWEEK expects new demand to absorb existing and future supply. Prices will thus remain at the same level for the meantime.

Overall, the Dubai market has leveled off since Q3 2014, with the ongoing announcement of new projects not expected to have an immediate impact on supply given the longer-phased nature of the developments. TASWEEK notes that government measures to better regulate mortgage financing and double RERA transfer fees helped cool down the market in the last quarter. The company adds that more buyers are expressing interest in Dubai’s off-plan property options.

Conclusion

As predicted by TASWEEK at the start of the 2014, the UAE’s real estate market ended strong thanks to a vibrant economy, a surging population, strategic sector-related government measures, and renewed global confidence in the country’s property offerings. Abu Dhabi’s residential segment stood out in Q4 2014 and is expected to lead the local market in 2015. Dubai, on the other hand, is enjoying market stability characterized by a more patient and confident consumer base. Positive Q4 2014 trends in the UAE’s two main property markets bode well for another solid year of real estate business in 2015.

“With preparations for Dubai World Expo 2020 starting to gain steam, we can expect 2015 to be another stellar year for real estate in the UAE despite a number of global challenges. Industry players can refer to TASWEEK’s quarterly analyses to gear up for another period of consolidation and planning for future growth. The world is watching the UAE’s next moves as an invigorated property hub; we are confident that UAE will deliver above and beyond expectations given the market developments of 2014,” concluded Al Awar.


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Ten takeaways from Dubai’s 2015 budget

Ten takeaways from Dubai’s 2015 budget

49Dubai has kicked off the New Year by unveiling a deficit-free budget for 2015, the first-ever since the 2008 financial meltdown. Here are 10 things you should know:

1) Fiscal prudence was the order of the day as the AED41 billion-budget broke even and eliminated the budget deficit, which was envisaged at AED882 million in 2014 and AED1.5bn during 2013

2) Expenditure will not be curtailed going forward though, and is set to increase by nine percent from the balance of fiscal year 2014

3) This will be financed by an 11 percent projected increase in public revenues. The increase represents a slower pace as compared to fiscal 2014 when Dubai’s government had managed a 13 percent rise in receipts. But tax revenues, up 12 percent, have shown an exponential jump as compared to a year ago when they grew only by one percent. Revenue from government services, which represents 74 percent of total government revenue, too, is expected to increase by 22 percent compared to 2014

4)  The budget has shown an operating surplus of AED3.6bn, which means its recurring revenue this year is expected to be higher than recurring expenses

5)  Revenue dependence on oil is fast waning, accounting for only four percent of government revenue this fiscal, and a five-percent reduction from fiscal 2014

6)  A focus on jobs is evident in the budget. New employment opportunities numbering 2,530 are likely to be created in fiscal 2015 as compared to 1,650 posts in fiscal 2014. The good news is, government expenditure on salaries and wages has remained unchanged at 37 percent

7) Infrastructure spending has slowed down. Only 13 percent of the budget has been allocated for spending on the sector as compared to 17 percent in fiscal 2014. For infrastructure, transportation and economic sectors as a whole too, the allocation this year at 36 percent is a notch lower than last year’s 37 percent

8) Health, education and housing sectors will receive a boost as 35 percent of expenditure has been earmarked for social development in these areas, comparable to the figures last year

9) Security, justice and safety allocations stand at 22 percent, up from 21 percent last year

10) Dubai is spending a smaller portion of the budget in servicing debts this year. There is a six percent allocation for debt service as compared to 11 percent, which was spent on bond interest payments last year




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Dubai losing grip as global rental growth supremo, seeing end-of-year prime rentals growth stagnation

Dubai losing grip as global rental growth supremo, seeing end-of-year prime rentals growth stagnation

4121Dubai held the global top spot for rental growth for the second consecutive quarter to September, recording a 12.4 per cent increase year-on-year, a report said.

However, the rate of rental growth in the UAE emirate is slowing with no change recorded in prime rents in the three months to the end of September, added the Prime Global Rental Index released by Knight Frank, a leading real estate consultant.

“Although our Prime Global Rental Index increased by 2.1 per cent in the year to September 2014, its rate of annual growth has slowed considerably,” said Kate Everett-Allen, partner at Knight Frank Residential.

An annual rise of 2.1 per cent in the 12 months to September represents the index’s weakest rate of annual growth for almost five years, she said, assessing what’s behind the slowdown.

The index’s overall slowdown becomes apparent when the results are compared year-on-year. In the year to September 2013, nearly 90 per cent of the cities tracked saw prime rents increase on an annual basis; this figure has now shrunk to 66 per cent.

Luxury rental demand is firmly linked to demand from corporate tenants and hence business sentiment. With the global economy stuttering in 2014, business sentiment has dipped, indeed Markit’s Global Business Outlook Survey is now  at a five-year low, the Knight Frank report highlighted.

Of the 16 cities tracked, New York in the US continues to command the highest luxury rents in real terms with a typical two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan available at around $8,000-$8,500 per calendar month (pcm). London (UK) and Moscow (Russia) sit in second and third place with prime rents around $6,500-$8,000 and between $6,000 and $7,000 pcm respectively.

“Prime rental markets often move in the opposite direction to the sales sector.  With the luxury sales market now the target of both cooling measures (Asia) and a changing tax landscape (UK, US, France), we expect the Prime Global Rental Index to strengthen in 2015 with London and New York leading the way,” said Everett-Allen.


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Saudization of real estate, health, food and retail jobs under study

Saudization of real estate, health, food and retail jobs under study

4112The Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) would study ways next year to increase Saudization in the real estate, construction, health care, retail and food sectors, a senior official said. “The process will need in-depth studies to determine the workers needed for these sectors,” Abdulkarim Alnujaidi, executive deputy director general for the HRDF, said recently.

Alnujaidi said these sectors offer the greatest opportunity for large-scale employment of citizens. The sectors were chosen after surveys of the labor market using information provided by the Nitaqat program, he said.

He said the studies would allow the HRDF to work out programs that would help prepare citizens for these jobs, which includes ensuring they have the proper education and training. “The study of some sectors might take three to six months,” he said.

“The outcome of the studies will be used to draft programs and policies to match applicants with jobs. We want to make sure that the jobs are productive, stable and ensure the development of workers over the long term,” said Alnujaidi.

He said there are challenges that would have to be overcome to attract citizens in some sectors including wage levels, long working hours and workplace conditions.

On a related issue, the Shoura Council will on Tuesday listen to inputs from its management and human resources committee on the HRDF’s annual report.

Members of the committee are expected to highlight various issues including the continued hiring of foreign workers in the construction and maintenance industries.

The committee members had previously argued that these industries can accommodate many citizens if enough financial incentives are offered. The committee has recommended that the HRDF expand its training programs in these industries




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