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Abu Dhabi’s Al Bahr Towers second to Canada’s Marilyn Monroe buildings in best architecture awards

Emaar Properties said yesterday that investors will this week be able to buy homes in the latest phase of Arabian Ranches, as the Dubai developer expands one of its most popular communities.

Emaar said it would open online registration on its website for 121 villas with Spanish-style architecture in the Palma phase on Wednesday. Sales are to be held simultaneously in Dubai and Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

“Arabian Ranches is one of Dubai’s most popular communities,” said Ahmad Al Matrooshi, the managing director of Emaar. “With the launch of Palma ... we are offering another opportunity for homeowners and investors to be part of this world-class community.

In the first half of this year, more than 250 new mortgages were issued for homes in Arabian Ranches, with a total value of Dh722 million – an average of Dh2.8m per property, according to data from the research company Reidin.

Reidin ranked Arabian Ranches as the UAE community with the fourth-highest value of new mortgages over the year’s first half. It was exceeded only by Emaar’s Downtown Dubai (Dh1.4 billion), Emaar’s Dubai Marina (Dh840m) and Nakheel’s Palm Jumeirah (Dh822m).

The surge in housing costs in the emirate has translated into higher costs for tenants. Annual rents for a four-bedroom villa in Arabian Ranches rose by 8 per cent in the second quarter of this year to about Dh290,000.

Prime house prices in Dubai are rising faster than anywhere in the world, rocketing 21.7 per cent over the past year as new mortgages in the emirate surge, figures showed this month.

According to the property broker Knight Frank, the average price of prime property in Dubai increased 14.7 per cent over the six months to June alone and by 5 per cent between April and June.

The property valuer Cluttons has said the number of mortgage valuations it has been asked to carry out over the past 12 months has increased by 40 per cent from a year earlier.

Last week, Emaar held simultaneous sales events in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, London and Jeddah for 178 serviced apartments in a tower close to Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai. Other developments being planned include The Opera District in Downtown Dubai. Emaar’s shares declined 1.8 per cent to Dh5.75 each yesterday as retail investors divested out of big cap firms in preference of small caps.

“Today was a play on penny stocks, more so than big blue chip companies,” said Mohammed Ali Yasin, managing director at National Bank of Abu Dhabi’s brokerage arms. “Most of the stocks they that were concentrated on were below Dh1.” Shares of Emaar have risen by more than 50 per cent this year.

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