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Sat 3 Jan 2015 09:20 AM

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Forecast 2015: PNC Menon

No shortcuts to quality. Sobha Group founder PNC Menon is confident that education, construction, tourism and property will all play their part in Dubai’s growth story during 2015.

Forecast 2015: PNC Menon
Leading from the front: PNC Menon says he is confident that the Dubai property market will not see a repeat of the 2009 collapse.

With Dubai’s population expected to grow from 2.1 million to 3 million by 2020, we envisage the real estate sector to keep pace with this growth as we head into 2015 and beyond. This is good news not just for property developers across the emirate such as ourselves but will also lend itself to job creation as the population grows and housing demands continue to rise. Dubai has re-emerged as a leading hub not just in terms of real estate but also tourism and construction thus attracting investors from all over the world.

Given Dubai’s central location as the perfect meeting point between the east and the west, I decided to launch Sobha Hartland in Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City in the heart of Dubai, just a few minutes’ drive from Burj Khalifa and Downtown Dubai. As an integrated gated, mixed-use development, its location plays a vital part in differentiating itself from other projects. With only 282 ultra-contemporary villas Hartland Garden Apartments as well as a collection of urban high-rises, I see this development changing the scene for family living with the green spaces available throughout the development and an exciting community just minutes away.

As with all Sobha developments, all aspects of the design and architecture meet the highest international standards, something that Sobha Group is renowned for. Unlike other developers, Sobha manages every area of the project by itself, from the master plan design, architecture, interior design, construction and even landscaping, ensuring the Sobha ‘No Shortcuts to Quality’ ethos remains. 

I believe that real estate is leading the investment trend in Dubai given the change in investors’ attitudes since the financial crisis a few years ago and this can be seen from the interest we have had in the development so far.

For Sobha Hartland we have so far received more than 3,000 enquiries since the launch earlier last year and have already sold a good part of our apartments and some villas. We are seeing a lot of interest from all over the world, including Middle East, Europe, India and Pakistan.

Dubai is ‘hot property’ based on 2014 investment figures. Over AED35bn has been invested in the first half of 2014 according to Dubai Land Department — an increase of 57 percent over the same period last year.

With the government’s injection of more than AED290bn to boost infrastructure in the past three to four years I am confident that the investment in the real estate sector will keep on thriving with interest from local and foreign investors. 

We are seeing a greater long-term perspective from investors, whether it is end user driven or genuine sustainability in the long run. I believe the market will no longer welcome speculators given the new laws, regulations and legal infrastructure of the real estate market. Dubai became the first country to back new international property measurement standards (IMPS) in September 2013, which should help regulate the market in the years to come and avoid a repeat of the situation we saw in 2009.

Looking to the future, Sobha Group is excited about tapping into the rise in tourism, with 100 million passengers expected in Dubai by 2020, our development, Sobha Hartland is focused on capitalising on this with two four-star hotels due to open within the development and catering to this rising demand.

According to Alpen Capital’s GCC Education Industry report (July 2014) the UAE is expected to be a major driver for investment into the region’s education sector with 30,000 new school places expected in Dubai over the next two years alone.

Educational provision goes hand-in-hand with community development and we have for the first time expanded into the education sector with the launch of Hartland International School in Sobha Hartland. I strongly believe that quality education is the key pillar for sustainable growth in any society. The school will not only focus on academic excellence but will also make schooling a joyful experience while cultivating values, cultural spirit, confidence and self-reliance amongst students.

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