Project delivery top priority for Dubai developers

After a few tough years that followed the financial crisis, Dubai’s property market is back in full swing. But today, developers are being more cautious, putting greater emphasis on finalizing projects to avoid repeating past mistakes.

According to the Dubai Statistics Centre, the construction of 736 buildings has been finished during the first quarter of the year, representing a 6.6 percent increase over the year-ago period. The value of the completed units is estimated at 3.73 billion dirhams, versus 3.5 billion dirhams in the previous quarter. Most of the delivered properties were multi-story buildings, representing 39 percent and a value of 1.44 billion dirhams.

Sales volumes have been increasing over the past year and a half in the emirate, with an uptake in demand. This has been accompanied with a flurry of new project announcements and the restarting of stalled developments, leading to a massive increase in construction activity.

The emirate is expected to attract greater numbers of buyers this year, as regulations for real estate transactions have improved and investors feel safer putting their cash into the market. However, buyers will be monitoring completion dates of projects currently under development. The next few years will test Dubai’s ability to deliver on its promises by completing newly announced projects on time.

Recently, Damac Properties announced several projects, not just in Dubai but also the region. These include a number of high-end serviced hotel apartments in Downtown Burj Khalifa area as well as in Saudi Arabia. At the end of last year, the company unveiled The Distinction, a 195-metre high tower. The project is already at an advanced stage with more than three floors completed. The building is planned to be finished by the first quarter of 2015. The developer is also working on a project called Upper Crest, which has a view to the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa. The building, which will feature furnished serviced apartments, is also at an advanced stage with handovers planned for the end of 2014.

Dubai’s home prices increased over nine percent during the first quarter of the year, according to real estate consultancy Knight Frank. The emirate rated second-best performer among 55 cities covered, lagging China by 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, house prices globally witnessed an increase of two percent during the quarter. In Europe, as the economy continues to suffer, the measure fell 0.3 percent.

Benefiting from the Arab Spring, Dubai’s stability continues to attract investors from the Middle East and abroad. The emirate is also bidding to host the World Expo 2020, which is expected to lead to further project announcements and construction activity if won. The winner of the bid will be announced in November.

Dubai is currently expanding Dubai Mall, one of the largest shopping malls in the world and is planning a massive mixed-use developed that will be home to more than 100 hotels and gardens larger than Hyde park in London.