Nakheel reaps almost Dh1 billion after villa buyers queue overnight

Nakheel takes deposits on nearly Dh1 billion worth of property on its Jumeirah Park scheme.

Nakheel said it had taken deposits on nearly Dh1bn of property for the first phase of villas it plans to build at its Jumeirah Park. Above, the company's sales office in Dubai. Satish Kumar / The National
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As Dubai's property firms started to take stock after last week's Cityscape exhibition, Nakheel, the developer behind the Palm Jumeirah and The World projects, had more cause to celebrate than most.

The company said it had taken deposits on nearly Dh1 billion (US$272.2 million) of property for the first phase of villas it plans to build at its Jumeirah Park site between Sheikh Zayed Interchanges five and six.

The developer held a sales launch on October 1 for the three, four and five-bedroom villas, the day before Cityscape, at its sales offices at the foot of the Palm Jumeirah. The launch attracted more than 100 people, some of them queuing through the night, to buy the villas.

Nakheel, which was also marketing the houses at its lavish stand at Cityscape Global at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, said that by the end of the exhibition last week it had taken deposits for nearly two thirds of the 360 luxury villas at the scheme.

The developer said that it had received deposits for a total of Dh977m (US$266m) of property from hopeful investors for 225 of the villas which are being marketed at between Dh3.4m and Dh5.1m. A total of 202 homes were sold during the sales launch, the developer said and a further 23 at Cityscape.

A Nakheel spokesman said the developer was "very pleased", with the Jumeirah Park sales.

Estate agents in Dubai said that a few of the investors who had put down deposits for some of the best located villas in the scheme were already selling them on for premiums of about five per cent - despite recent attempts to crack down on property speculation in the UAE.

"Deals are being done for property which is in the right location," said Mario Volpi, the sales and leasing manager at Cluttons' Dubai office. "As always it's a case of supply and demand and for the right product you can still sell through a power of attorney."

Despite its impressive Cityscape sales this time around, Nakheel's sales at Jumeirah Park pale into comparison compared with the first time the scheme was launched back in September 2006 before it was put on hold due to the global financial downturn.

At the time it was reported that all 900 properties released sold out within hours of going on sale with queues of more than 400 people forming at the Nakheel Sales Centre 12 hours before sales started. A further 100 buyers waited at Nakheel's other sales centre at Ibn Battuta Mall.

Originally Nakheel planned that the 370-hectare Jumeirah Park scheme would comprise of more than 2,000 three, four and five bedroom villas.

And agents were quick to warn property developers not to get carried away with the upturn in sentiment.