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Mudon, part of the ambitious Dubailand development of Dubai Properties Group (DPG), has come a long way since its launch was announced prior to the global financial crisis. The plan was shelved as property markets crashed in the wake of the recession.
Confident about the potential of the project, the developer was quick to restart work in September 2012 after the market showed some signs of recovery.
The initial 398 townhouses launched last year were sold out, while the second phase consisting of 200 villas in Rahat also registered a similar strong response from buyers and investors within few days of its launch in May.
Mudon also holds great significance, being the second project of Dubai Properties (DP) since it was established as a new entity of DPG to focus on delivering integrated and end-to-end project development solutions.
So what is it that's working for Mudon?
Is it the unique design, infrastructure and community facilities or the growing positive sentiment in the Dubai property market? At a time when fear of another bubble burst hasn't been put to rest completely, can Dubai sustain the surge in new project launches and subsequent price rise?
The developer is confident it can, having witnessed great demand for Mudon and its other projects. Property Weekly caught up with Abdulla Abushabieb, Executive Director of Sales and Customer Service at DP, to check on the status of the projects.
Abushabieb also shares his thoughts on the current market scenario, the government's efforts to discourage property flipping and the future growth potential of the Dubai property market.
• What is the current status of your newly launched Rahat villa project and local infrastructure at Mudon? When will this project be completed and handed over?
We have just launched more than 200 villas in Mudon's second phase, Rahat, and the project is planned for completion by early next year. Mudon's infrastructure and road network are now nearing completion and a range of community facilities are already planned and will include a school and a 64,000-sq-ft community centre.
The community centre will host restaurants, tennis courts, a supermarket, pool, gym, mosque, children's playground, nursery, clinic and multifunction community hall.
• What are the unique selling points and special features of this project? What are the other community facilities this project offers?
Mudon remains one of the most popular destinations in DP's residential portfolio due to its location, unique contemporary design and balanced lifestyle offerings. Rahat will be an extension of the vibrant community lifestyle already offered at Mudon, including leisure facilities for residents to enjoy.
Focusing on the wellbeing of its residents, Rahat will be set among an abundance of natural green open spaces, including a parkland with cycle routes, jogging paths and children's play areas.
• The project is inspired by contemporary Arabian themes. Who are its architects and designers?
Arif and Bintoak has been contracted for the design and architecture of the development. The firm has a strong portfolio of landmark projects in the UAE and throughout the GCC since it was established in 1975.
We recently appointed Shapoorji Pallonji Mideast as the principal contractor for the villas. The company is responsible for the construction of Mudon's premium town houses in phase one of the development.
Shapoorji Pallonji will build these Arabian-themed three-, four- and five-bedroom properties at Rahat and we look forward to seeing the company bring these unique and contemporary designs to life.
• You are using web and mobile technology to reach out to your prospective customers. Is this the first time the company has adopted such a marketing strategy?
Yes, this is the first time we have a mobile-optimised registration site, but we have had online registrations for previous launches.
• How has been the response to your project?
We are pleased to say that sales of our premium villas in Rahat received a strong response from end users and those purchasing for investment.
• Can you tell us more about the villas?
Mudon remains a popular option for investors in our extensive residential portfolio and offers a vibrant community lifestyle to end users. Villas in Rahat ranging in size from 6,700-10,000 sq ft are competitively priced from Dh3 million. We have experienced strong demand for the development with only a few remaining units available for sale.
• How do you plan to fund this project?
We have funding available from internal equity and the escrow account for the project, whereby the customer's investment is always protected.
• Have buyers started to move into the initial 398 town houses in Mudon that were sold out Last year.
We will start handing over the town houses in the fourth quarter.
• Do you plan to launch more projects in Mudon or some other locations within Dubailand?
Mudon is a master-plan community of more than 5,000 dwellings and we have a strong pipeline of projects planned for the future in Mudon and other locations across Dubai.
• This is DP's second project since it became a new entity. How will this move help you deliver the project more efficiently?
We first launched Manazal Al Khor, additional units in Remraam and now Rahat, so it has been an extremely busy quarter for us. DP is now responsible for the ongoing development of a growing portfolio of retail, commercial, residential and mixed-use projects to meet the growing demand of real estate investors in the region.
For all new and existing built-to-sell (BTS) projects, DP will manage the entire spectrum from project building to sales to handover services upon completion. With the group's recent strong performance and the forecast for the regional real estate industry, the logical decision to refocus DP's remit will increase our competitiveness in the market, helping to facilitate quicker and more focused delivery for new projects, maintaining our position as one of the leading developers in Dubai's growing real estate industry.
As DPG's dedicated development company, DP is now commercially and operationally responsible for developing projects, including Mudon and Maraya Residences in Business Bay, in addition to projects in the city's first creek-side destination, Culture Village.
• Do you think there is more demand in Dubai for luxury houses and villas over other types of residential property?
With a growing population of locals and expat nationalities, there is natural growth in demand for residential property in every corner of Dubai. This is not just limited to the luxury residential market, but is also evident across the pricing spectrum, from affordable units to the more luxurious offerings.
• Do you think the arrival of mesa projects such as yours is an indication of Dubai's full recovery?
Dubai is experiencing strong growth in many sectors, including real estate, and our projects will continue to meet market demand in line with Dubai's growth across the residential, commercial and retail segments.
• The steady price rise has been a matter of concern for Dubai's property market, with a world-leading annual growth of almost 30 per cent. Should there be any concern of another bubble burst or drastic fall in demand and price in near future?
We have worked closely with the government to enforce regulations when launching new developments for sale. The ongoing regulation of the industry is a step in the right direction and will help us move towards more transparent real estate practices, which not only protect investors and end users but also the developers.
With the market scenario right now, investors are looking for value-for-money projects in prime locations across Dubai, with completed infrastructure, accessibility and good-quality build and finishing.
• Speculative buying has been one of the reasons for the market boom and the crash in the past. What's your company policy in this regard?
There are property laws in place to prevent flipping as much as possible and we continue to work alongside the government to develop the ongoing regulation of the real estate industry and we strongly support the trend of tighter regulation and investor protection.
• How do you expect the market to perform in the next five to six years? What would be the impact of Expo 2020 on your projects and Dubai as a whole?
As one of the leading developers in Dubai's growing real estate industry, our priority is to continue developing key developments, destinations and districts that support the growth of the emirate.
With Dubai hosting the World Expo 2020, the market trend for growth and investor demand in our key districts across Dubai has been further enhanced.
DP will continue to implement a strategic development plan that is aligned with the needs of a growing city, and the World Expo is an important factor that will add impetus to these plans.
Source: Syed Ameen Kader, Special to Property Weekly