Dubai: The developer of Al Hamra Village in Ras Al Khaimah may finally be ready to look at new possibilities beyond it.
“Probably by the year end, we could propose such a development to the board of directors,” said Barry Ebrahimy, head of marketing and sales at Al Hamra Real Estate Development. “But any new project we take on will still be in Ras Al Khaimah — demand for housing is increasing and not just with investors looking for second homes but buyers who want to own and live in a home here. Plus, the emirate’s credit standing is good and that’s another key fundamental in our planning.
“It could be that the new project too will be an all-inclusive community, though on a smaller scale than Al Hamra Village [which is set on 7 million square feet].” (It was also among the first set of developments to be launched with freehold status in the UAE.)
The property sector in Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah have been surfing the wave that has had its origin in Dubai. If in Sharjah’s case the upturn is entirely made up of what is taking place in the residential and commercial rental spaces, in Ras Al Khaimah it is residential freehold and hospitality that are in the vanguard.
“The northern emirates are currently benefiting from Dubai’s strong recovery as cost-sensitive occupiers seek affordable alternatives outside of the emirate,” said Mat Green, the UAE head of research and consultancy, CBRE Middle East. “This has been most noticeable in the border areas that offer good connectivity with Dubai. We expect this trend to continue throughout 2014, with rentals expected to maintain their upward trajectory.”
In Ras Al Khaimah, other developers are also keeping their project pipeline flowing. RAK Properties has been adding new inventory at Mina Al Arab, while Al Marjan Island LLC is busy with a mega development that bears its name. Both projects are located on the eastern coast of the emirate,
“Mina Al Arab has already seen the delivery of residential apartment and townhouse products, with future development more focused on hotel development,” said Green. “A number of properties with internationally recognised operators have been proposed and to be completed over the next five years as part of the emirate’s wider tourism development strategy.”
During this year and the next, CBRE expects to see around 1,500 new hotel keys being delivered. (This includes the recently opened DoubleTree by Hilton on Marjan Island.)
But it is not just tourists and buyers of holiday homes who are homing in on the options on offer in the emirate. According to Ebrahimy, the Al Hamra Village is now an 8,000-strong resident base, that is, people who live and commute to work from there. This number equates to around 60 per cent of the total residential stock of 2,500 apartments in the development, with the rest owned by investors.
“The community aspect will get a boost when a school opens in time for the September 2015 admissions,” said Ebrahimy. “There’s still some area at the Village that couple be taken up for development… after that you could say we would have reached saturation build-up there.”