Emaar allows UAE home buyers to jump the queue

But what is the catch with the Dubai developer's new scheme as attention returns to the practice of flipping off-plan property sales?

From left the Address Hotel, Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall are all Emaar projects in Dubai. Jeff Topping / The National
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Emaar Properties is offering anyone who pays 30 per cent down on a new home the chance to skip the queue and register early. But the catch is that they must hold on to it until completion.

Buyers who make a 30 per cent down payment on the total value of off-plan homes and commit to maintaining ownership of the property until handover can now avoid waiting in the regular queues for property purchases or early registrations, the Dubai-based developer said yesterday.

Emaar said the new promotion was aimed at “strengthening investor confidence” in Dubai’s off-plan sales market, which was hit hard by the global financial downturn when property values plummeted by more than half, stalling development on hundreds of schemes and leaving purchasers out of pocket.

“Emaar has introduced several measures to strengthen investor confidence and support our long-term customers,” said Arif Amiri, Emaar’s chief commercial officer.

“The new programme has been launched following the strong response to our recent projects and growing demand from end-users,” he said. “This focus on long-term customers will strengthen investor confidence in the property sector and encourage more investors from around the world to make a stable property investment in Dubai.”

The promotion comes as attention returns to the practice of flipping off-plan property sales, in which purchasers put down small deposits on off-plan flats and then sell them on at a profit.

Such property speculation was blamed for fuelling the UAE property bubble, which burst spectacularly in 2008.

“It’s a great deal for Emaar because they get a lot of cash flow up front,” said Sean McCauley, the director of agency services at Asteco’s Dubai office. “However, I can’t see it working for other developers who do not have the brand or the track record of Emaar.”

Property developers in Dubai are coming under increasing criticism for fuelling property speculation by offering increasingly lax payment plans, which make it more appealing for buyers to purchase risky off-plan apartments than ones that have already been built.

Emaar shares remained unchanged at Dh11 on Monday as reports emerged that the company was considering scrapping a plan to list its malls and retail business on the London bourse and will instead focus on listing it solely in Dubai.

“Emaar is considering several options regarding the listing of Emaar Malls, including DFM, and will announce details when they are finalised,” said an Emaar spokesman.


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