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Dubai economy likely to grow at faster pace

A strong uptick in the travel and tourism sector supported by projections of a hike in infrastructure investment and government spending bode well for Dubai, economists and analysts said.

“Overall, we expect Dubai’s economy to grow at a slightly faster rate this year, underpinned by infrastructure investment and government spending,” Khatija Haque, head of Mena research at Emirates NBD, said.

“The PMI survey data for February continued to show solid growth in Dubai’s economy, with the travel and tourism sector performing particularly well after a relatively soft fourth quarter in 2017,” Haque said.

According to Helal Saeed Almarri, director-general of Dubai Tourism, the hotel industry remains at the forefront of cross-sector efforts to drive tourism growth, as Dubai works towards realising its Tourism Vision and 2020 goals.

Damac awards dh424 million villa contract to Arabtec

Damac Properties has awarded another construction contract worth Dh424 million to Arabtec to build additional villas in Akoya Oxygen. EFECO (Emirates Falcon Electromechanical Co), a subsidiary of Arabtec, will be carrying out the MEP works for the project.

This is the second contract to be awarded to Arabtec in the last 12 months and will see it build another 916 villas. In August 2017, Arabtec was awarded a Dh628 million contract to build 1,296 villas at the same master development. In October 2017, Damac awarded further contracts for roads and main works construction for Dh350 million, bringing the total value of contracts awarded for Akoya Oxygen since August 2017 to Dh1.4 billion.

Developer woos buyers with monthly payment, rent guarantee

End-users and investors in Dubai have never had it this easy to purchase property. Danube Properties is targeting both buyer segments with its 10th project – Jewelz – in Arjan with its 1 per cent monthly payment plan and 15 per cent rental guarantee.

The Jewelz project comprises 463 fully furnished units and has an estimated project value of Dh300 million. The average price per sqft at the property is approximately Dh1,000. A studio at Jewelz costs Dh465,000, 1-bed is Dh750,000 and a 2-bed comes for Dh1 million.

“Pay 46 per cent until handover and take your keys. A studio rents for Dh42,000 in Arjan. So, an investor can pay the remaining amount through rental proceeds and get a RoI of approximately 16.8 per cent,” said Atif Rahman, director and partner, Danube Properties.

The property will charge owners a service fee of Dh12 to Dh14 per sqft.

Danube Properties acquired the Arjan plot for about Dh110 a square foot compared with Dh130 to Dh150 that it spent for an earlier project, said Rizwan Sajan, chairman and founder of Danube Group. “There has been a 10 to 15 per cent reduction in land prices. This translates into cost benefits for us on the project cost side.”

However, the developer will only buy another plot once it has achieved sales in excess of 70 to 80 per cent on its new project. “We have a conservative approach to development. We don’t want to be overly aggressive,” added Sajan.

Danube’s high-rise in Business Bay, Bayz, is 95 per cent sold out, said executives. With Jewelz, Danube Properties’ development portfolio will be worth Dh3.3 billion.

The developer has sold around 1,000 units in its earlier projects launched in Arjan – more properties than in any other community. “Arjan is a fully developed community where 90 per cent infrastructure is already ready. Some developers deliver affordable housing in areas which will take 5 to 10 years to develop. Jewelz will be delivered by September 2020,” Sajan informed.

Why female real estate entrepreneurs thrive in the UAE

Aside from the sunshine, the reason most of us live in the UAE is because there are few better places in the world to do business. The UAE’s pro-business, pro-entrepreneur policies level the playing field.

We recently gathered 7 women at the top of their game and in leadership roles at some of Dubai’s best real estate firms and property management companies. They were brought together to speak about how they got to the UAE, their breaks from the ranks to strike out on their own as entrepreneurs, and what it takes to succeed in a country where women not only drive, they are at the wheel in more ways than one.

These women have much in common: after living in Dubai, they all realised it would not only be possible but profitable to run their own company; each one weathered the 2008 slowdown and say they are stronger for it; and they all attribute much of their success to the UAE business environment.

But from there, their paths diverge, because there is no one single story about how women find success in a male-dominated world.

Worth noting is the disparate number of men in Dubai. As of late 2016, 70 per cent of foreign workers in the emirate were male, according to the Dubai Statistics Centre. However, efforts by the government and the leadership of women in the private sector are creating a new face of female in the Middle East. As of November last year, 9 of 29 UAE government ministers were women, and Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, at 23, is the youngest government minister in the world.

At the same time, the UAE is just shy of breaking into the Top 20 countries when it comes to ease of doing business, according to the latest ranking by Knight Frank. It jumped 5 spots to 21st this year.

Dubai developers reach out to cryptocurrency investors

A handful of developers and landlords in Dubai are going down the cryptocurrency route in accepting Bitcoins as a mode of payment from investors/tenants. What’s more, a few are even offering discounts in project costs for buyers paying with cryptocurrency. Clearly, in a subdued sales market, industry players are thinking out of the box to target crypto investors and help divest their wealth into tangible assets.

The volatility displayed by Bitcoin at the start of the year when it soared to $20,000 and currently trading above $11,000 can be a dampener for anyone looking to close a property deal in that currency.

“There is little evidence to suggest that cryptocurrencies are getting widespread usage in the real estate market, beyond the one-off announcements that have been made. This is obviously due to the volatile price nature these crypto assets have witnessed, as well as a wide series of warnings [including from the UAE Central Bank] that have repeatedly cautioned investors from using the same,” says Nasser Malalla, senior partner at the law firm of NP Associates.

The UAE Central Bank has issued warnings against trading of any digital currency as it hasn’t given any licences for such currencies. As per sub-section D.7.3 Provisions for Virtual Currencies of the Regulatory Framework for Stored Values and Electronic Payment Systems published January 1, 2017: “All virtual currencies [and any transactions thereof] are prohibited”. This is probably due to the speculative nature of this medium of exchange.

“It is our understanding that investors who allegedly purchased properties using cryptocurrencies, as per some media reports, did not make a direct payment using the technology. Rather, it was the equivalent value of the cryptocurrency in UAE dirhams,” reckons Haider Tuaima, head of real estate research at ValuStrat.


Revealed: Most popular areas for new businesses in Dubai in February

The Department of Economic Development (DED) issued 1,646 new business licences in February 2018 with Bur Dubai topping the list for new licences.

According to the Department of Economic Development (DED) statement issued on Wednesday, Bur Dubai area topped the list of new licenses issued with 785, followed by Deira (714), New Dubai (193) and Hatta (7).

The share of the top ten sub-regions, that constituted 51.7 per cent of the total transactions, is as follows: Burj Khalifa 13.8 per cent, New Dubai 8.4 per cent, Al Marar 6.3 per cent, Naif (4.3 per cent), Port Saeed 4.2 per cent, Hor Al Anz and Dubai World Trade C entre 1 (3.1 per cent each), Al Garhoud (2.4 per cent), Al Karama (2.3 per cent) and Al Khabaisi (1.9 per cent).

In February, 23,407 transactions were completed for business registration and licensing, DED said.

Of the total, 11,300 transactions were related to renewals while 2,060 Initial Approvals were given and 3,029 trade names reserved during the same period.

February 2018 also saw 1,646 transactions relating to commercial permits, 1,644 Auto Renewals, 11 Instant Licences and 67 e-Trader licences.

Majority of the transactions were related to Commercial licenses (62.3 per cent) while the Professional (36.6 per cent), Industrial (0.9 per cent) and Tourism (0.6 per cent) categories of licenses followed in that order.

The Outsourced Service Centres witnessed hectic activity, accounting for 18,977 transactions, or 79 per cent of the total, during the month.

Sale alert: enjoy 50% discount at UAE’s hypermarkets for one month

The residents of the UAE can now enjoy 50 per cent discount on consumer goods and food from March 20 to April 20.

The initiative has been launched by the Ministry of Economy as a part of the World Happiness Day in cooperation with co-operative outlets and other hypermarket and supermarket chains in the country.

According to Al Bayan, the initiative increased the discount period to 51 days, as it began on March 1 as a part of the 13th Gulf Consumer Protection Day.

The discounts include the reduction of prices of 7,500 items – 3,000 of which are present in co-operatives, and 2,000 in Carrefour and Lulu stores.

No accident record in UAE? your car premium could be lowered

UAE drivers who have an accident-free record with no insurance claims are getting rewarded as their premiums have been reduced.

The UAE Insurance Authority announced a reduction in insurance premiums for vehicles owners who have claim-free records beginning from this year.

The authority also announced the reduction of insurance premiums for vehicle and motorcycle fleets by 30 per cent less than the minimum.

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy and Chairman of the Insurance Authority, chaired the authority’s board meeting and issued amendments to decision No. (30) of 2016, concerning the tariffs regulation of motor vehicle insurance. The second decision is to amend some provisions of decision No. (25) of 2016, concerning the regulation of the unified motor vehicle insurance policies.

Al Mansouri said the new amendments were based on the results of studies conducted by the authority on the effects of the 2 regulations in the local market during 2017.

He clarified that the new amendments help to encourage policyholders not to commit accidents and to reduce the death rate resulting from road accidents.

He pointed to the importance of the new provisions in enhancing competition in the local market and encouraging companies to provide the best services at competitive premiums.

In accordance with these amendments, the insurance company shall grant a reduction of the premium at the rate of 10 per cent of the minimum premium to the owner of the vehicle which has not caused an accident leading to a claim during the previous insurance year and 15 per cent of the minimum premium to the owner of the vehicle that did not cause an accident leading to a claim during the previous two years, and 20 per cent of the minimum premium to the owner of the vehicle that did not cause an accident leading to a claim during the previous three years.

The company shall also grant a 10 per cent discount on the minimum premium as “a loyalty reduction to the company’s customers” at the time of renewing his policy with the same insurance company, provided that the insurance is not transferred to another person, it said.

Another amendment about fleet entitled the company to grant a reduction of up to 30 per cent of the minimum premium. The fleet is defined by “five or more of vehicles or motorcycles owned by one natural person or a legal person.

The new amendments grant reduction in insurance premium for vehicles running on gas and electricity of up to 25 per cent, taking into account the accidents caused by the vehicle which led to claims at the renewal time. Nevertheless, when there is more than one reason for reduction, only the highest rate of reduction shall apply.

According to the UAE Insurance Authority’s vehicle insurance tariff system, which stipulated minimum and maximum rates, insurance premium for third-party 4-cylinder saloon vehicle is between Dh750 to Dh1,300. While Dh850 to Dh1,400 was set for 6-cylinder; Dh950 to Dh1,600 for 8-cylinder; and Dh1,300 to Dh2,100 for 8+ cylinder cars.

For saloon commercial vehicles, 4-cylinder vehicle’s premium will range between Dh750 to Dh1,350; Dh850 to Dh1,500 for 6 cylinders; Dh950 to Dh1,600 for 8 cylinders; and Dh1,300 to Dh2,250 for 8+ cylinders.

For 4×4 private vehicles, Dh1,000 to Dh1,750 was set for 4 cylinders; Dh1,050 to Dh1,900 for 6 cylinders; Dh1,100 to D,950 for 8 cylinders; and Dh1,200 to Dh2,150 for 8+ cylinders.

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