By Shane McGinley
Fund was set up in 2009 and is due to be completed by the end of 2012
UAE real estate firm Tasweek Real Estate Development and Marketing is predicting a return of up to 20 percent when it completes the US$250m fund it set up in 2009 to target distressed assets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the company’s CEO told Arabian Business.
“Hopefully by the end of this year we should be completing that fund,” Masood Al Awar, CEO of Tasweek Real Estate Development and Marketing, said in an interview.
The UAE was one of the markets hardest hit by the downturn in the region’s property sector, with property prices declining by up to 60 percent and around half of projects stalled or cancelled.
The US$250m fund was set up in September 2009 to target distressed assets, mainly in Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach Residence and DIFC in Dubai and Reem Island, Al Raha Beach, and Building Material City in Abu Dhabi.
While a return of 10 percent was anticipated when it was launched in 2009, Al Awar said this was conservative and the return could be as high as double this amount.
“It is a very healthy return for real estate. It is guaranteed double digit, between 15 and 20 [percent] and I have no worries as I know we will deliver,” he said. “We thought this fund would be completed sooner but the market conditions did not let [it]… Valuations took a lot longer as, the more you have to choose from, you take longer.”
Al Awar, who holds the distinction of selling the first ever freehold property in the UAE, said the Abu Dhabi-based firm now plans to expand into the development side of the sector.
“Focus is now we are going into development… We have a property… It will be appealing,” the added.
Last month, Tasweek announced it had entered into a joint venture to develop, own, operate and market the luxury properties in Malaysia.
The deal is with Casabrina Vacation Villas and, under the terms of the venture, Tasweek will market nine boutique Villa hotels under a Shariah-compliant scheme.
The villas are spread over 30 acres of hillside land surrounded by a 130-million-year-old virgin rainforest just under an hour's drive from the Patronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur.
Each villa offers investors a unique design complete with approved building plans and occupies between one and three acres of freehold hill side land with no restrictions on foreign ownership, Tasweek said.
Upon completion, the complex will comprise eleven exclusive six- and eight-bedroom suites nested at the foothills of Bukit Frasier in Pahang, the largest state in West Malaysia.
Tasweek said it has also secured long-term and competitive mortgage facilities from a reputable Malaysian financial institution.
Given that we are in a self declared recovery and the fact that 'distressed' properties by their very nature would have been bought at well under heavily depressed market values, say 70% below 2008 peak, hopefully for the sake of the troubled vendor not that much below original sales price, then approximately 20% return on the investment is not that scintillating!
Better than the interim interest rates had you elected to stick that money in the bank, I admit, however in the scheme of things you'd expect to make a lot more margin out of a distressed property fund. Nevertheless, I guess it's an indication of just how far the market had fallen and how long it is taking to recover.
A good indication that we are really only at the 'patchy green shoots' stage in the property sector and Abu Dhabi wants its 'x' thousand government employee commuters backliving in the fold within the year!