|18 June, 2019

Sharjah real estate to clock in strong 2019

Recent laws that allow for foreign ownership has created a market in Sharjah that is looking increasingly attractive

Image used for illustrative purpose. Sharjah downtown, with the Central Souq in the foreground and downton's skyscrapers in the background, shoot in the afternoon.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Sharjah downtown, with the Central Souq in the foreground and downton's skyscrapers in the background, shoot in the afternoon.

Gettyimages

Sharjah's real estate sector this year will continue to enjoy the steady growth and momentum that it recorded in 2018, driven by a growing interest from investors across the world in its mixed-use developments and attractive payment plans.

Real estate developers spoke about how the spillover effect from Dubai's real estate market, combined with recent laws that allow for foreign ownership, have all created a market in Sharjah that is looking increasingly attractive for both end-users and investors. The value of real estate deals in the emirate totalled Dh22.5 billion last year; and according to the Sharjah Real Estate Registration Directorate, investors from 48 nationalities worldwide were involved in the transactions. GCC nationals topped the list with investments worth over Dh20 billion.

Dr. Faisal Ali Mousa, chairman of FAM Holding, described the real estate sector in Sharjah as being stable. He revealed that FAM Holding had not changed the prices of their units across their developments since 2014, and that the payment plans had also remained the same. This, he revealed, was because of the fact that developers had not flooded the market with a huge number of units, as is usually the case in Dubai.

"The Dubai market has a lot of players, but that is not the case for Sharjah," he said. "Supply is more or less equal to the demand from buyers and investors. We are happy with the state of our sales."

Asked about increasing competition as more units in mega developments near their completion date, he said: "We love competition, and this is a healthy market. If there is no competition, then it is not a good situation to be in. What we are focused on is distinguishing ourselves in the market through our unique product offering."

Mousa predicted that demand for developments with unique facilities and innovative lifestyle offerings would increase substantially in the coming years. Developers, he said, would have to compete on the lifestyle offering front, as well as their unit prices. Asked about prices, he noted that unit prices in Sharjah currently stood at around Dh600 per square foot. The main bulk of the demand comes from Emirati and GCC nationals, who are attracted to Sharjah because of its peaceful and family friendly environment.

As of now, the company is concentrating on the sale of its current portfolio, but there are plans to launch another residential tower soon. "We only start on another development once we sell around 80-90 per cent of our latest project. We have plans for another tower which will be a ground plus 50 floors in the Al Mamzar area called FAM Tower."

Mousa's comments about developers competing on their lifestyle offerings were shared by Issa Ataya, Alef Group's managing director, who spoke about the developer's unique offering at Al Mamsha - a Dh3 billion project with a built-up area of 9.3 million square feet.

"We are Sharjah's first fully walkable and pedestrian community," he said. "The development offers an excellent environment for investors and their families. We are also very focused on sustainability and green spaces. In the first phase, the first seven buildings of the project are expected to complete by December 2020. The remaining eight buildings will be handed over to the buyers in June 2021. Prime location and early unit delivery prospects are fueling the demand for units at Al Mamsha."

Ataya also spoke about the importance of offering lots of different payment plans to make it easier for buyers to finance their purchase. "People today are investing wisely, and we are focused on ensuring that we are their choice when it comes to having the right product and right financing plans."

Abdallah F. Al Shakra, chairman of Ajmal Makan - Sharjah Waterfront City, noted that interest in Sharjah's real estate sector had grown substantially since 2014, when the Sharjah Government opened up the emirate to foreign investment. The momentum continued last year when it was announced that non-Arabs would no longer need to have a residency visa to purchase property.

"The new laws and regulations, especially regarding freehold, have been driving interest in projects across the emirate," he said. "The market has matured and investors from the European, Chinese, and Subcontinent markets are taking a keen interest."

Ajmal Makan - Sharjah Waterfront City is one of the largest freehold waterfront developments in Sharjah. Once completed, the development will include a collection of eight islands that will be visible from outer space. The Dh25 billion mixed-use waterfront community is set to be home to 60,000 people, living in 1,500 villas and townhouses, and 95 high-rise residential and commercial towers. Phase one of the project covers Sun Island, a development includes 321 waterfront villas; while Phase two of the project covers Blue Bay Walk, a development comprising of six residential buildings.

 
 

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