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Be it plots, villas or upscale apartments, more Sharjah developers are opening their doors to buyers of all nationalities, but with UAE resident visas. The widening list of options that Sharjah now offers — and even extending to offices and commercial real estate assets — has helped “maintain” transactional activity through the first six months of the year, sources inform.
One upscale development that is testing investor interest in the three-tower Al Rayaan Complex in Al Nahda, being built by JMS. Two of the towers will be for residences — where a one-bedroom has a price tag of an average Dh745,000, while that of a three-bedroom is Dh1.25 million. The third structure will be a mixed-use, for Grade A offices and a hotel component. Further enhancing investor attention would be a “boutique mall”.
“The project footprint takes up quite a substantial area and is being built to a quality that’s not common in Sharjah,” said Suzanne Eveleigh, Director at Cluttons, the property services firm. “There’s already a fairly high level of interest among private sector businesses for the Grade A offices in Al Rayaan. There will be a major sales push closer to Cityscape [in September].” (Completion is scheduled for late in the first quarter of 2016.)
Sharjah’s developers are playing it smart when attracting investors. No longer are they pitching their projects based on the price differential vis-a-vis what a similar sized one would command in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Greater emphasis is being put on the quality aspects of the project itself and how it would fit into a buyer’s scheme of things at the broader level.
That means developers are choosing locations with easier access into and out of the location being developed. “That means a major shift to the outskirts where the infrastructure can simultaneously be developed for connectivity to Dubai as well as the other northern emirates,” said Eveleigh. “Highway 611 is where a lot of the action is taking place, given the proximity to the airport and the free zones.
“These development activities — plus developers selling to a wider investor base than before — have contributed to Sharjah maintain steady transactional volumes in the first half,” said Eveleigh. “The slowing down in Dubai has not had an impact to date, but there could be a knock-on effect at some point.”
In the recent past, Sharjah’s key launches have been the Dh2 billion Tilal City and the Dh440 million Shoumous Residential Complex, being built by a joint venture that includes MAG Group. Both have an expansive stretch of land available, with Tilal City taking hold of 25 million square feet and Shoumous can call on 6 million square feet. Plots will be sold to investors to develop their own properties.
Tilal City has been split into five zones, with A and C representing the first phase and with the infrastructure works due for completion in 2016. B and D will follow suit in 2017. Zone E is to feature a mall, either built by the master-developer or offered to a third-party.
“In all, there will be 1,855 plots across Tilal, and we are seeing a mixed bag when it comes to the demographics of the buyers,” said Eveleigh. “There are a lot of UAE nationals buying into it as an investment asset.
“Seventy-five per cent of the plots within A and C have been bought ... while those at B and D zones are already in the market, but there will be a marketing push closer to Cityscape.” (The plots are between 1,580 to 5,000 square feet, with prices set at Dh140 — Dh225 a square foot. Apart from villas, investors can also build mid-rise apartment blocks on the plots. There is also a sizeable retail component, in addition to the mall.)
Incidentally, plot buyers do not have a specific timeline under which they are supposed to build up. There is no “legal framework” in Sharjah to enforce that, the Cluttons official added.
Investors can also sell their land holding into the secondary market provided they pay up 40 per cent the value. But there is little of that taking place now, Eveleigh said.
Source: Manoj Nair, Associate Editor, gulfnews.com