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Tue 8 Sep 2015 01:27 PM

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Arabian Business blog from Cityscape Global 2015 in Dubai

Keep up to date with all the latest real estate news breaking from the Middle East's biggest property event

Arabian Business blog from Cityscape Global 2015 in Dubai

6:15: We're going to finish this blog on a high note, a really high note in more ways than one. Developer Omniyat announced today that its ONE at Palm project on Palm Jumeirah will feature a penthouse apartment with a AED200 million price tag - that's more than $54 million! Omniyat says it will be the most expensive sold in Dubai when the project is complete in 2017.

5:15pm: What do you think about the quality of real estate brokers in Dubai? Well, Dubai Land Department (DLD) today used Cityscape to announce its Brokerage Offices Ranking System which will rate brokers on their performance. About time too!

Sultan Butti Bin Mejren, director general of DLD, says the move aims to "enhance efficiencies" in the property sector.

Brokers will be scored on five factors - experience, number of transactions, commitment to real estate regulations, structure of their offices and social works.

4:45pm: One of the star attractions at Citscape today is Meydan One, recently launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. A 3,671,000 sq m leisure, residential and hospitality destination, it is set to become Dubai's No. 1 destination when the first phase opens in 2020, if you believe the hype.

Meydan One will become home to more than 78,000 residents and feature the 711m tall Dubai One Tower, Meydan One Mall, a Civic Plaza with dancing water features, a 4km canal and 100 berth marina and is set to break at least seven world records.

4:15pm: Cityscape can be a bit Dubai-dominated so let's head to Ajman to find out what's going on there. Today, Al Zorah Development Company, a joint partnership between the Government of Ajman and Solidere International, has unveiled two new communities with a development value of AED1.5 billion ($408 million).

The Golf Estates gated community is a combination of villas, townhouses and apartments set on the 18-hole Nicklaus Design Golf Course while the Al Zorah Beach Residences comprises chalet-style villas and apartments. Both Golf Estates and Beach Residences will start construction in early 2016 with the former scheduled for completion in 36 months and the latter in 24 months.

3:20pm: Ever thought that getting around Palm Jumeirah can be difficult? Well Nakheel today announced plans to transform the entire trunk of Palm Jumeirah into a walkable beach, park, retail and café complex.

Its Palm Promenade project will stretch 1.5km along the island's trunk, with new walkways and road crossings connecting the area's 30 apartment buildings with Al Ittihad Park, Palm West Beach and retail, dining and entertainment facilities on The Palm.

3pm: Dubai already has the world’s biggest mall in The Dubai Mall, but it is aiming to top its own record with Mall of the World. While some may have scoffed that it would never happen, the project moved one step closer to reality today with developer Dubai Holding announcing the appointment of Morgan Parker as chief operating officer for the project.

Morgan comes from good stock as he was previously with the Rockefeller family-owned global private equity firm Rose Rock, where he served as CEO. Mall of the World was unveiled in 2012 as the world’s first temperature-controlled city, will occupy a total area of 8 million square feet and will include the largest indoor theme park in the world, which will be covered by a glass dome that will be open during the winter months.

2:50pm: Not sure whether to rent or buy? Our research released earlier today showed there is little correlation between sales and rental prices. Well, Dubai South has come up with the best of both worlds: a rent-to-own payment scheme. When probed by Arabian Business at Cityscape, executives were unsure of the details yet, but rent-to-own initiatives traditionally involve a tenant paying rent towards a property over a number of years, which can then be converted into equity if they decide to purchase the unit after a certain period.

2:40pm: Consultants Asteco have released a new report at Cityscape today that suggests that affordability is now the key factor driving Dubai's real estate market. It says more affordable locations in the emirates have seen price rises during the summer months while more high-end areas have experienced declines, with prices on Palm Jumeirah down by up to 13 percent annually. Read more here.

2:25pm: Dubai South used Cityscape today to launch a rent-to-own scheme as a finance option for buyers in its upcoming ‘The Villages’ project. Rent-to-own initiatives traditionally involve a tenant paying rent towards a property over a number of years, which can then be converted into equity if they decide to purchase the unit after a certain period. The $6.8 billion project will also have a green focus, consisting of a greenhouse with a botanical garden and farms to allow residents to grow or buy locally grown produce. Read more here.

1:50pm: DMCC, the authority on trade, enterprise and commodities in Dubai, today unveiled its conceptual master plan for the Burj2020 District.

Set to be the commercial heart of south Dubai, the project will be spread over 1 million square metres, the equivalent size of approximately one-third of the existing JLT area and nearly twice the size of New York's Rockefeller Center. The project will have as its centrepiece the world's tallest commercial tower, the Burj 2020.

1:30pm: Welcome to the 2015 edition of Cityscape Global, the Middle East's largest real estate exhibition which has opened its doors in Dubai today.

Traditionally, the event has been THE place to launch new multi-billion dollar luxury mega projects but with sliding property prices and a new focus on affordability, will developers be quite so bullish this year?

Arabian Business will be reporting from the exhibition and bringing you all the latest developments. Ahead of the show, which runs until Thursday, we've had some announcements - SKAI is planning a third hotel project near the Expo 2020 site in Dubai while Damac (who else?) has already launched two projects - its Italian-inspired Merano Tower project and the world's first Bugatti-styled villas.

These come at a time when Dubai's property market is stabilising after more than a year of price hikes. So the big question is how many developers will follow suit this year and launch at a time when prices are falling? Only time will tell and we'll be here to report on the latest breaking news.


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