UAE property developer Arada is launching a Dh2 billion ($544 million) project in Dubai as it capitalises on high demand and looks to expand to new markets such as Saudi Arabia and Australia.
The Jouri Hills project, with 294 high-end villas and townhouses, will come up at Dubai's Jumeirah Golf Estates, Arada vice chairman Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed told The National in an interview on the sidelines of Cityscape Dubai on Monday.
“The construction will start in six months and it [the project] will be done in two years,” Prince Khaled said, adding that sales for the project's first phase began on Monday at the property exhibition.
This is the first project for the Sharjah-based developer in Dubai. Earlier this year, Arada bought a plot of land on Dubai’s The Palm Jumeirah for Dh240 million ($65.35 million) but it has yet to begin construction.
Arada “decided to go into Dubai as Dubai is one of the hotspots in the Middle East … prices have been growing and stability is still there. We believe that this project and The Palm Jumeirah are really the creme de la creme of Dubai”, Prince Khaled said.
The UAE's property market made a strong rebound in 2021 as it recovered from the coronavirus-induced slowdown and the trend has continued this year as the country's economy remains on a strong growth trajectory.
The economy is expected to grow at its quickest pace in more than a decade.
During the third quarter of this year, villa sales prices in Dubai jumped 19 per cent annually and apartment prices increased 17 per cent amid a broader recovery in the UAE's property market, according to an October report by property consultancy Asteco.
In Abu Dhabi, villa and apartment sales prices rose 4 per cent a year during the three-month period, it said.
Off-plan and secondary property sales in Dubai reached a 12-year high in the third quarter, both in terms of volume and value, according to a report by Property Finder.
A total of 25,456 sales transactions worth Dh69.72 billion were recorded in the quarter, marking an increase of about 62 per cent in terms of volume and more than 65 per cent in terms of value, compared with the third quarter of 2021.
Abu Dhabi's property market recorded 4,441 transactions amounting to $5.7 billion in the third quarter, according to the Department of Municipalities and Transport.
The Jouri Hills project will be financed through a mix of debt and equity, Arada chief executive Ahmed Alkhoshaibi said.
Last month, the developer also closed a $100 million Islamic bond deal after it tapped into an existing $350 million sukuk that was issued and listed on the London Stock Exchange in June.
“We have enough cash to keep us going … if required, we will raise money. But right now, we don’t have any requirement,” Mr Alkhoshaibi said.
Arada, a joint venture between KBW Investments — a company controlled by Prince Khaled and Sharjah's Basma Group — is looking to expand to Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s largest economy, as well as to Europe and Australia.
The company is in talks with different entities including the Ministry of Housing and Roshn, a Public Investment Fund company, on plans to start a project in Saudi Arabia, Prince Khaled said.
He did not disclose when they aim to start the project in the kingdom.
“We are actually looking into Australia. We have seen prices come down throughout the past few years … this is really the good time to start acquiring real estate so that we can start developing over there,” Prince Khaled said.
“There is a lot of rules and regulation and policy changes [that] are going to happen, which are going to be very favourable for the real estate market.”
Since launching in 2017, Arada has launched three successful master communities in Sharjah — Aljada, Masaar and Nasma Residences. The company has already sold about 11,000 homes.
The developer has also completed more than 2,600 units, with another 7,500 currently under construction.
Arada is currently on track for an annual 25 per cent increase in the value of the property sold in 2022 to Dh3 billion.
Amid plans for new projects in Dubai and other countries, “we haven’t overlooked Sharjah”, Prince Khaled said.
“The recent decision on opening up Sharjah for foreign direct investments is one of the best decisions to have come out of Sharjah in a long time. We are partners with Sharjah and we believe in the emirate … we have about $9 billion worth of projects in Sharjah,” he said.
Earlier this month, Sharjah took a decision to allow all nationalities to own a property in the emirate, with no time restriction, to help to boost the emirate's real estate sector.