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Investor appetite for luxury properties in Dubai is being tested with the Meydan-Sobha Group joint venture launching Phase 3 of the District One development in MBR (Mohammad Bin Rashid) City. The villas start from Dh2,300 a square foot and the priciest ones — set by the extensive waterfront — go up to Dh2,700.
Across the three phases, District One will have more than 800 residences, including ‘mansions’ with built-up areas of a substantial 18,000 to 32,000 square feet. For comparison’s sake, a standard-size villa there would be about 7,000 square feet. The first two phases together will create just over 600 units. At the time of the original launch, unit prices started at Dh1,800 a square foot.
“We have added more specifications for Phase III to create properties that don’t exist anywhere in Dubai as of now,” said Saeed Al Tayer, Chairman and CEO of Meydan. “So much so, other master-developers are trying to catch up with what we have been offering from the launch itself.
“This is a true destination we are creating over the next five years — not just with the properties but through the 14-kilometre Crystal Lagoons and the canal. Every stage is going to be unique and with low density built-up across the development.”
The developer is also looking to utilise the synergies from District One’s proximity to Meydan City itself. “It helps that on the other side of the road there’s a development with a world-class racecourse, 2,500 villas that we built on turnkey for Emirates Group and, which in the next stage, will have a destination mall (in the form of Meydan 1 Mall and to include the world’s largest indoor ski slope).”
On whether the current state of the market requires developers to bring in some course correction, Al Tayer said: “Every two to two-and-a-half years, the Dubai market has moved through a cyclical period of peak and trough. But consistently through the years, the Dubai product has been in demand.
“It was at the time of the financial crisis in 2008 that we started with the Meydan [City] project. We have the attitude and culture to meet these challenges of market cycles. I don’t see them as crisis — they are more like challenges that need to be overcome.”
In recent weeks, Dubai’s developers have doubled down on their marketing efforts to get in the cash-ready investor. High-profile trade shows in India and Hong Kong have helped keep the spotlight fixed on what they have to offer.
This process has also been boosted by prestige launches, such as Dubai Properties with the high-end 1/JBR high-rise and, now, Meydan-Sobha with the District One extension.
According to P.N.C. Menon, Chairman of Sobha Group, “Rich investors from India and Pakistan are still buying despite the depreciation their currencies have gone through. Also, African economies are doing well and Dubai is the epicentre of 3 billion people.
“This is where people come to for their second homes, and they still do. The biggest difference between 2019 and now is that deal are still taking place in the market, people are still selling... and buying.”
Source: Manoj Nair, Associate Editor, gulfnews.com