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It's not just waterfront properties in Dubai that are riding the wave of higher demand. The extension of the Canal works — already visible in key stretches of the city — has been providing a welcome lift for yacht sales as well.
''The expansion of the canal system adds to the opportunities to cruise along protected waterways and that's brought on quite a sizable boost in demand for boats,'' said Erwin Bamps, CEO of Gulf Craft. ''Not everyone who owns a boat wants to head out into the high seas — many would instead prefer to enjoy their boating without being exposed to the elements. For them, the pleasure comes from owning and spending time on their boats... and not act at being 'heroes'.
''That's exactly what the canal works in Dubai would help with — give boat owners more ''real estate'' on the water, by creating a lot more of shoreline — both inland and outland.
''So, with developers creating waterside attractions for residential, retail, entertainment, that automatically brings in boat owners in their wake. You have people asking themselves 'Why don't I spend the weekend on water?''. These days, since the Canal works became more visible, more are asking those questions.
Apparently, there is limited space left at the older — and popular — marina-side berths. And more will be created when Deira Islands (from Nakheel) take shape, as well as the Dubai Creek Harbour development within The Lagoons at Ras Al Khor. There is also The Beach that is part of Meraas' portfolio of signature projects.
''Actually, the possibilities for waterside berths stretch both ways, even all the way to Abu Dhabi and where Yas Island is already casting the net wide for boat owners,'' said Bamps.
''In fact, across the Gulf developers are creating possibilities for themselves and for investors with waterfront projects. In effect, they are re-situating the centre of living from within city centres to in and around the waterfront. The Gulf's waterscape is such that several such possibilities can be explored.''
While the Palm has always been the touchstone for waterfront developments in the UAE, the towers at Dubai Marina with access to the beach have always figured prominently in investor preferences. Now, with the staggered launch of units at Dubai Creek Harbour, investors can look to emerging locations in the city.
''The market has reacted positively to the launch with strong interest in four of the six towers launched, with average rates in the range of Dh1,700-Dh1,800 a square foot,'' said Antony Schober, Director of Head of Valuations UAE at the consultancy DTZ. ''There remains a premium for water-fronted locations. There is no doubt that these were some of the most sought after plots when the markets started to recover.
''The residential unit prices however have not risen at the same gradient, and this has put some pressure on developers' profit margins in such developments, especially with the focus on more affordable developments across the emirate.
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Source: Manoj Nair, Associate Editor, gulfnews.com