Dubai's developers in lateral expansion mode

Dubai's developers in lateral expansion modeImage Credit: Virendra Saklani,

Dubai developers' obsession with high-rises seems to have been scaled down. Instead, they are turning to themed low-rise — and quite upscale — communities set within a massive land expanse. In other words, developers are getting comfortable thinking horizontal.

This not-so-subtle shift in emphasis plays to Dubai's strengths, both from a development perspective in terms of land usage and for developers in creating new pockets of demand. Land availability has never been a factor here, and the more land that gets used up by developers and city authorities, the better. The march of progress is not confined to a few extremely well-developed clusters, but starts wearing a well-spread out look. It simultaneously eases the infrastructure bottlenecks from having too much of development within a confined area.

''Concrete blocks by themselves do not cut it with investors, they now expect much, much more by way of the overall attractiveness of the location,'' said Ziad Al Chaar, Managing Director at Damac Properties. The developer has been painting the city - and the halls at Cityscape – a shade of green with its talk of ''oxygen'', the second project bearing the Akoya name and now into the second round of sales. ''Today, Dubai's property market is about creating living spaces.''

Going by the masterplan revelations at Cityscape, most developers are moving closer to that line of thought. Apart from a three-tower cluster announced by Nakheel for the Palm, the focus clearly was on expansive projects. Deyaar's Midtown development intends to do the 5.5 million space available to it proud.

According to Badr Al Gergawi of Tecom Investments, ''Project concepts are becoming more creative and developers are doing their bit to build what people want. We took our time to develop the Dubai Design District and that was only because we wanted to source feedback from our future residents – the creative community in Dubai. In today's mature marketplace, developers can't do everything in isolation.''

Developers, and other stakeholders, are also seeing the bigger picture when it comes to sales cycles. The correction that has been on since February is getting absorbed into the wider market dynamics.

''The correction cannot be viewed as stagnancy or a down trend,'' said Mahendra Singh, Managing Director of SPF Realty, the brokerage services firm. ''For any healthy real estate market, such corrections are healthy… it brings stability.

''Dubai's realty has seen the appropriate [level of] correction, stability has been achieved and now in the last quarter is ready for an upturn. New developers are coming to the market, ensuring property prices continue to stabilize for now. There is plenty of availability to sustain demand increases.''

Read on Dubai's New Supply set to stem realty price spike

Source: Manoj Nair, Associate Editor,


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