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As Dubai property market rebounds, agents woo Nigerian investors

By on September 22, 2013

The property market in Dubai, is recording an upswing since recovering from the global financial meltdown. Construction work has picked up again and the traffic of interested buyers is increasing at the offices of property agents and development companies. Some of these companies have representatives in Nigeria and are courting prospective buyers, who must understand the market so as not to run into problems, writes Bennett Oghifo

Most hotel and housing apartment buildings in Dubai are sold off-plan, meaning prospective investors are shown the brochures of an exquisite building and sometimes 3D presentations. Oftentimes, the displays get so nice and alluring that some people are compelled to say, ‘I’ll buy it’ without reading the part of the contract that is written in fine print.
Beyond looking at the contract document, it is also important to understand the timelines for remitting the various installments. A breach of the timelines could really freeze the smiles on the faces of all parties.

Delayed Projects
When the property storm blew, most projects were forced to a halt and panic swept through the investment landscape. Nigerians, who had unfinished projects thought they had lost everything, wondering why they trusted a market so far from home.  The fact is that some agents, who did not have strong links to property developers and those without solid payment profile had sour deals. But a few others braved the storm until the market recovered.

For instance, investors with The First Group were kept abreast of what was happening in the market. The First Group’s Senior Brand Manager, Eve Humphreys said, “We did not disappear, we were present all through the crisis and we remained in touch with our clients. But their were delays within the terms and conditions of the contracts, but we stayed in contact with people and we did try to build a relationship.”

Humphreys said The First Group, which has huge presence in Nigeria, is Dubai’s leading developer of landmark property with exceptional track record, “spanning over 25 years; expert eye for property market potential; partner with industry leaders for first class service; and expansive client base enjoying high returns.”

According to Humphreys, The First Group’s latest project, Wyndham Dubai Marina used to be TFG Marina Hotel. “There is a slight confusion with people, because when they announced it, it was called TFG Marina Hotel because it is a working name of the project. We were in talks with various operators to manage the project for us and we finally signed an agreement with Wyndham Hotel Group, which is the largest hotel group in the world and it has been renamed to Wyndham Hotel Marina simply because every huge hotel chain has their own standard of naming.”

She said just like every single country in the world suffered financial crisis, Dubai had its own share, “but things have changed and you can see the prices going up. We develop hotels and people actually invest in hotel rooms.”

Humpreys said when people buy hotel rooms, “according to your contract, you get a usage agreement where you can use the hotel for two or three weeks a year, depending on the contract. Most of the time, the hotel is operating and the room yields returns on your investment, depending on the breakdown.”

The First Group’s promoters said, “We have spent more than 25 years following our passion. To seek out unrivalled property investment opportunities that equal unparalleled returns. Our expert eye for emerging markets led us from British-born roots to dynamic Dubai, where we became one of the first developers to recognise the city’s lucrative potential.”

Dubai is now home to The First Group’s global headquarters, and the main location for the company’s diverse property portfolio, which also encompasses the wider United Arab Emirates. “Meticulous research and an entrepreneurial spirit led us to specialise in the highly profitable world of hotel investments. We have made it our business to build iconic hotels, offering individual investors the opportunity to profit from purchasing hotel rooms and suites. Our partnership with the world’s leading hotel operators also means these properties enjoy higher occupancy levels and greater rental rates – factors that in turn spell lucrative returns for our investors.”

The First Group’s promoters said the hotel industry in Dubai had been transformed into one of the world’s top performers, surpassing some of the most well established tourism destinations such as New York and Hong Kong. We have witnessed firsthand this vibrant market go from strength-to-strength and the figures speak for themselves. With hotel occupancy soaring upwards of 88 per cent in early 2013 and tourism touching 10 million in 2012, she  said, “we can hardly contain our excitement when it comes to inviting you to become part of this buzzing industry.”

The Pull
According to the Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Rob Burns, investing with The First Group means more than just securing financial collateral. “It is about creating a trusted partnership that will bring you continued prosperity. Unlike many developers, our relationship goes beyond the handover of a set of keys. Our clients remain the cornerstone of everything we strive for, from a project’s foundation to its years of success. The projections of Dubai’s property market are good, anchoring on the plans laid out by the ruler and, which are accomplished daily. Sheik Mohammed said the astonishing developments in Dubai are only 10 per cent of his plan, saying that the rest of it would be built in the new Dubai land.

“The UAE is a strategic location between East and West and a developing hub for international business. The market offers a good climate, favourable tax structure and, in the wake of the Arab Spring, is viewed as a safe haven for wealth, making it attractive for investors and second-home owners,” he said.

A report by Knight Frank published in Emirates 24/7 says demand for property in Dubai comes from every part of the world. “Dubai is already very cosmopolitan and the largest segments of buyers at present are Indians and Pakistanis, followed by Saudi Arabians and other GCC nationals. Russians, Europeans and other Western nationalities also continue to invest and reside in the UAE.”
The report says, “What’s interesting, however, is that developers have started to expand beyond the traditional markets and are targeting buyers from Africa and Asia.”

New skyscrapers spring up daily and there is always something new to see every time. Data released by Dubai Land Department (DLD) shows that the total value of property transactions in Dubai rose 63 per cent to Dh44 billion in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period last year.

Investor Benefits
Humphreys said, “Investing with us goes beyond bricks and mortar. Becoming an owner with The First Group gives you access to an exclusive club and a host of exciting VIP privileges. We also cover every aspect of ownership, from purchasing and management, to rental and returns, leaving you free to focus on enjoying the rewards.”

The Prime Areas
The Dubai Marina is Dubai’s most coveted address. It is believed to be one of the world’s most stunning views. It is the largest man-made marina in the world, featuring a breathtaking combination of reflective waterways, alfresco dining, waterside promenades, and glittering developments.

“This is where it is at. One look at this cosmopolitan locality and it is easy to see why property in Dubai Marina has been commanding premium rental and sales prices, a factor that makes it one of the most lucrative choices for investment,” said The First Group.

Established in 2003, Dubai Marina is one of Dubai’s most successful architectural and engineering feats. Carved along a 3km slice of the Persian Gulf coastline, sparkling waterways dotted with expensive yachts weave their way around impressive high-rise developments. When Dubai Marina welcomed its first residents, there were just three completed towers. “Take a look today and you will see that the area has become a thriving hub of commercial and residential activity, encompassing some of the most stunning and eye-catching developments in the world.”

There is always something happening in this vibrant area, from office workers enjoying a coffee break to fitness enthusiasts on a morning jog. A short stroll takes you to the beachfront where the city’s most popular tourist spot unfolds, The Walk, an extensive stretch of cafés, restaurants, and retail options. Need access to the rest of the city? Commuting could not be easier. With a superb location just off Sheikh Zayed Road’s Interchange 5, you can choose your mode of travel: via Dubai’s Metro, car, taxi, water taxi, or the soon to open Al Sufouh tram network.

TECOM, Dubai
This is a vibrant, bustling and thriving business district in Dubai. It is an exciting location in the heart of ‘New Dubai’ that is home to four of our hotel developments, as well as The First Group’s global headquarters. “Our very first TECOM hotel projects, Metro Central Hotel Apartments and First Central opened in 2011 and continue to enjoy high occupancy levels and tremendous success. So much so that we had no hesitation in making TECOM the location for our biggest and most ambitious project to date, Sky Central Hotel.”

The very fact that “we chose TECOM as the base for The First Group’s global headquarters also pays testament to the strength of this exciting address.”

TECOM was originally established to cater for the free zones of Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City and Knowledge Village. These areas now play host to over 20,000 employees and some of the world’s biggest conglomerates and Fortune 500 companies, including Microsoft, HP, Siemens, BBC World, CNN, Reuters and CNBC – to name but a few.

As one of Dubai’s most rapidly evolving communities, TECOM is home to a vast collection of residential, office and commercial projects, including hotels and hotel apartments, supermarkets, pharmacies, restaurants and cafés. The area is also served by its own Dubai Metro station, located right in front of The First Group’s Metro Central development, which makes commuting the city even more convenient.

Dubai Sports City
Introducing Dubai’s Sports City, The First Group’s Property Consultant-Discovery Team, Carolyne Matara, said the Dubai Sports City is three billion square feet.

She said Dubai’s Sports City, “is a buzzing location that we are especially proud to be a part of. As the site for the very first development in The First Group’s portfolio, The Diamond, this dedicated hub of sporting activity continues to capture global attention. So impressed were we by Dubai Sports City’s convenient location, cutting edge facilities and investment potential that we made it the address for not just one, but four of our dynamic developments.”

In addition to The Diamond (completed 2010), these include The Spirit, (February 2013), The Bridge (July 2013) and The Matrix due to open in 2013.

Launched in 2003, Dubai Sports City has grown to encompass everything a sports enthusiast could possibly wish for, including state of the art academies in golf, cricket, hockey, football, swimming and rugby. Situated within easy access of Dubai’s major road networks and the rest of the emirate, Dubai Sports City has become a beehive of activity, combining a sporting lifestyle with a thriving residential and commercial community.

Dubai Sports City is also the base for the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) global headquarters and the International Cricket Stadium, which opened to huge acclaim in 2009, hosting Australia and Pakistan’s ODI series. With its capacity of 25,000, this eye-catching venue has attracted a worldwide audience of millions, becoming a top location for international cricket. Testament to its versatility, the International Cricket Stadium also regularly hosts major concerts and events.

Dubai Sports City’s facilities include: The Els Club designed by golfing legend, Ernie Els; Butch Harmon School of Golf; DSC Football Academy; Swimming, rugby and hockey academies; International Cricket Stadium, ICC Global Headquarters and ICC Cricket Academy; Residential communities such as Victory Heights, Canal Residence and Gallery Villas.




[This Day]