Real Estate News - Kenyans buying property in Dubai

Dubai is quickly becoming a viable investment bet for Kenyans and other foreigners, writes Millicent Muthoni.

Those who know it fondly refer to it as the ninth wonder of the world.

A village of real estate that sits in the middle of Dubai City with a breathtaking view of the oilfields. It is one of the Middle-East’s best-kept secrets in the world of property and real estate.

That is the Emirates Gardens for you. Emirates is just one of the many properties in which affluent Kenyans and those who want to buy property offshore have invested.

"Kenyans who buy property in Dubai have two major aims. Some rent out to Kenyan and other businesspeople traveling to Dubai while others are trying to cash in on the rocketing demand for residential and office units in the city. The very wealthy use the apartments as holiday homes," says Fawaz Souz, the Director of Sales, Damac.

"In Sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya is our first market. Given the positive response, we plan to spread our tentacles into Tanzania and South Africa," he adds.

One of the world’s fastest growing economies

Dubai is quickly becoming a viable investment bet for foreigners, with Britons, Indians, Pakistanis and Iranians leading the pack.

It is also a favourite with celebrities. As a result, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is currently one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

Real estate is the second largest engine of growth for the economy after oil. Damac Properties offers a five-ten per cent rebate on their property.

Their selling price range from Sh15 million for a one bedroomed house to Sh40 million for a three bedroomed house. The company also sells four bedroomed houses and penthouses.

Rates vary depending on facilities available and environment.

Facilities in a single development may include health clubs and gymnasia, temperature controlled swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, jogging and cycling trails, restaurants, retail stores, medical facilities and amphi theatres.

Commercial space demand is projected to grow by six million sq feet until 2009, while that of units is estimated to escalate to 50,000 units per annum this year. The supply has variously been put at 43,000 units every year.

Company won three prestigious awards

Damac’s other developments include The Waves, Marina Terrace, Park Towers, Jumeira Village, The Emirates Gardens, Palm Terrace, The Heights and La Residence in Dubai.

There’s also La Residence in Lebanon, which it did in partnership with Ivana Trump, the ex-wife of Apprentice tycoon, Donald Trump.

In Egypt, Damac has sunk billons into the coastline, developing an integrated luxury bay consisting of hotels, golf courses, adventure parks, residential units, shopping malls, education amenities and cinemas.

Big on flair in their designs, of late the company has been doing hi-rise buildings that also boast hi-tech architecture. The exteriors of their buildings are bold and impressive.

Damac’s vantage stand at the Property and Home Living Expo 2007 won the best stand award.

Last year, the company won three prestigious awards for its projects in the UAE at the CNBC Arabian Property Awards. It bagged the best development award for its ‘Oceanscape’ project and best architecture award for ‘Ocean Heights 2’.

Delayed construction schedules

Damac has, however, been dogged by allegations of delayed construction schedules and wrangles over compensation from investors who have bought property in advance of completion. Some buyers have also lashed out at them over compromised interior finishes.

Since its establishment in 1982, the Dubai-based company has been offering freehold ownership of luxury residential, leisure and commercial premises in Dubai and other world cities, but has grown into a conglomerate that deals in real estate, hospitality and industrial projects.

Damac Properties, the real estate arm of the holding company, was founded in 2002 and has seen tremendous growth, billing itself as the largest freehold private developer in the United Arab Emirates. They also have property in Qatar, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.

"The company controls its own land purchase activities, appointment of architects and designers, construction services, sales and after sales services," says Mr Souz.

"Our portfolio stands at 52 towers, worth Sh300 billion.

There are 120 property consultants doing the company’s bidding in 95 countries. We also want to explore development prospects in Tunisia

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