By Elizabeth Broomhall
Al Futtaim Group plans to launch 150 new apartments in two new tower blocks
Dubai Festival City is to increase its residential offerings this year with the launch of two apartment blocks and several new villas, the group director for Al Futtaim Real Estate has said.
The multi-billion dollar development, which ground to a halt in the wake of the global financial crisis, will add up to 150 new apartments at the beginning of next year as parts of the project come back to life.
“What we’ve built so far is about 35 to 40 percent of the total master plan, so there is still a lot to go,” said Vishesh Bhatia. “There are lots of residences coming up, we are looking at doing two apartment blocks behind the villa complex next to the golf course.
“The plan is for about 150 new apartments, and we also looking at villas. We hope to start this year and complete within 12 months.”
Al Futtaim put the brakes on the Dubai Festival City development towards the end of 2008, when the economic downturn began to take its toll on the emirate.
The real estate sector, hit hard by the crisis, saw scores of investors flee the market as house prices plummeted more than 60 percent and billions of dollars-worth of projects were scrapped.
Analysts say real estate in more desirable locations complete with amenities could see an uptick this year, with prices forecast to increase anywhere between 5 and 10 percent.
Al Futtaim has since commenced its residential sales programme in the hopes of seeing an upturn in the market.
“In Dubai Festival City we have just begun to sell, we made our first sale very recently and we have a list of about 20 others in the pipeline.
“[We didn’t sell before] because we needed the title deeds, but the intention was always there,” said Bhatia. “The market was also not right for selling in 2009, 2010 and 2011, but it’s beginning to pick up now. There's interest, and there’s appetite to buy here.”
The office market was less stable, he added.
“We have just finished one small project in our business park but I think we will wait and see [about others]. Commercial space generally in Dubai is grossly oversupplied, so we need to be careful.”
The Dubai Festival City development is a 1,300-acre, waterfront development, housing a mix of residential, commercial and retail properties.
Developer the Al Futtaim Group has also announced plans to revamp the site’s mall over the next two years in a bid to boost the number of shoppers.
Upon completion the centre will feature more entertainment aspects and a mix of new retail brands, as well as large structural alterations to enhance sections of the mall with low occupancy rates.
Is there really room for another batch of apartments, doesn't this constant release of new units marginalise the empty and unsold apartments in buildings elsewhere still further? Add social housing projects on top,.
Tourists will not buy property now, people keen to be in Dubai and out of their home country who have access to either sufficient funds or will be granted a mortgage, professional investors are just not spending here unless they can purchase for chickenfeed prices (80% off 2008 peak).
Therefore just building more unless they're units pre-sold from an earlier era is far from justified amidst the current glut surely? Plus I note from the listing sites that there is now a rush to sell high end apartments and villas above 5 million AED