Abu Dhabi’s first major off-plan property launch in four years sold out in just a couple of hours on Saturday.
Aldar Properties sold all 223 off-plan apartments and town houses at its new Al Hadeel scheme in Al Raha Beach as more than 600 people came to the Crowne Plaza hotel on Yas Island yesterday in the hope of purchasing a flat. The project is Aldar’s first to come to the market since April 2010.
Property prices ranged from Dh770,000 for a 610 square foot studio apartment, to Dh4.5 million for a nearly 3,500 sq ft town house, Abu Dhabi’s largest listed developer said.
The “sale launch of units at Al Hadeel was a huge success”, said the Aldar chief executive Mohammed Al Mubarak. “As we witness the continued growth of the Abu Dhabi residential sector through increased demand from buyers, we look forward to continuing this success in the future.”
Local property agents report that prices in the secondary market in Abu Dhabi stand at Dh1,200 to Dh1,500 per sq ft.
By comparison, agents estimate that similar off-plan studio apartments in Dubai’s largest state-backed developer Emaar in its popular Downtown project are selling for about Dh1,800 per sq ft.
“Abu Dhabi property is a little bit cheaper than Dubai because Dubai is more internationally recognised and the first port of call for many businesses,” said Sean McCauley, the director of agency services at Asteco. “We expect Abu Dhabi property to start becoming more attractive because it offers investors more value for money.”
Craig Plumb, the head of research at JLL’s Dubai office, said: “The success of the Aldar sales launch shows that confidence is growing in the Abu Dhabi sales market. It used to be the case that people would choose to live in Dubai and commute to work in Abu Dhabi because it was cheaper to live in Dubai, but that is no longer the case.”
According to JLL, asking prices for homes in investment areas in Abu Dhabi, which plunged by more than 50 per cent after the global financial crisis, increased during the first quarter to reach Dh1,301 per sq ft from Dh1,189 per sq ft at the end of 2013. Sales prices increased by 27 per cent over the year to the end of March, it added.
The Hadeel at Al Bandar scheme was one of three unveiled by Aldar last month, when the developer announced that it would attempt to curb speculation by preventing buyers from selling units until they had paid 50 per cent of the purchase price.
Construction of the project is due to start early next year.
Unlike the Dubai master developers Emaar and Nakheel, which launched a string of off-plan projects over the past 18 months, Aldar had until recently concentrated on completing delayed developments hit by the global financial crisis and merging its operations with the rival developer Sorouh.
Like many developers in the UAE, Aldar expanded rapidly during the boom and was hit hard by the global financial crisis, prompting the Abu Dhabi Government to initiate a series of asset purchase plans with the company. Under the agreements, the Government purchases infrastructure assets from Aldar as the company completes them.
During the first quarter, Aldar reported a 194 per cent increase in profit, much of which the company attributed to its programme of infrastructure sales to the Government.
The company says that it plans to launch at least two new schemes in the emirate every six months.
Aldar added that it would announce the sale of off-plan units at its other developments – Ansam on Yas Island and Al Nareel Island – in the coming weeks.
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