Cityscape 2021: Danube Properties to roll out projects worth $272m over next five years

Exclusive: The developer expects a 'boom' in the UAE market and plans to enter Abu Dhabi market, chairman Rizwan Sajan says

Dubai developer Danube Properties plans to launch two to three projects every year through to 2026, worth as much as Dh1 billion ($272 million), with the aim of bridging supply gaps in the emirate's cheaper housing segment, its founder and chairman said.

Danube may increase the value of investments to as much as Dh1.4bn if the market continues its rapid recovery from the coronavirus-induced slowdown, Rizwan Sajan told The National in an interview.

“I will be launching, on an average, Dh1bn projects every year – Dh800m to Dh1bn,” said Mr Sajan, whose interests span the property development, building materials and home decor businesses.

“This is my plan. I am not rushing ... in spite of me selling projects so fast.”

The company launched Skyz, a Dh475m residential project, in Dubai last month and plans to launch its next project worth between Dh300m and Dh400m in the first quarter of 2022, he said.

“We are working on [details] of areas where we have plots; it could be Arjan, it could be Furjan or Warsan areas [of Dubai]," he said.

Danube Properties, which has a portfolio worth Dh5bn in Dubai, is bullish about business prospects in Abu Dhabi and is actively looking at plots of lands in the capital for future projects.

The developer is also open to joint ventures with landowners to export its “affordable luxury” brand to the emirate, Mr Sajan said.

The property market in the UAE, the second-biggest Arab economy, has made a strong recovery from the pandemic-driven slowdown, as the country’s economy improves on the back of fiscal and monetary measures.

Pent up demand and improved investor sentiment have also helped to drive property sales, especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, amid a pick-up in economic activity.

Dubai, the commercial and trading centre of the Middle East, recorded 37,537 sales transactions worth Dh88.12bn in the first eight months of the year, about 23 per cent more than the whole of last year, according to listings portal Property Finder.

Prices of residential properties in Dubai have risen 4.4 per cent on average in the eight-month period through to the end of August, the highest annual growth since February 2015, according to property consultancy CBRE.

Average prices of residential units in Abu Dhabi have risen 2.2 per cent over the same period, the consultancy said. The UAE capital registered property transactions worth Dh16.2bn during the third quarter of 2021 alone.

Danube has already sold more than 40 per cent of its Skyz project, its first after the Covid-19 pandemic, and expects to achieve 90 per cent of its sales target before the end of this year, Mr Sajan said.

Quote
When I get a good project and I know that the permissions will be easily achievable, I will definitely want to launch in Abu Dhabi,” he said
Rizwan Sajan, founder and chairman of the Danube Group

“The market has recovered so well that we are now extra bullish,” he said. “I personally feel that the boom is now coming to the UAE market, especially if you look at the prices that have gone up in the last six months to one year."

Investors from all over the world have been “pumping money” into the UAE market and buying properties and “I feel the real estate prices will definitely go up further”, Mr Sajan said.

Danube Properties, which ventured into the real estate market in June 2014 with a Dh500m town house development in Dubai's Al Furjan district, currently has a development portfolio of 7,002 units.

It has so far delivered about 2,155 units with a combined sales value of Dh2.1bn.

The developer, which offers attractive payment plans, intends to focus on the cheaper housing segment of the market.

“I want to stay in the affordable sector because I am able to sell it very fast, Mr Sajan said.

“I still see a lot of potential [of growth] for this segment of the market.”

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Day one at Cityscape - in pictures

Updated: November 9th 2021, 1:38 PM
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