Eagle Hills, the Abu Dhabi property developer fronted by Emaar chairman Mohamed Alabbar, is to run a series of roadshows in Saudi Arabia aimed at drumming up interest in its huge Bahrain project.
Eagle Hills Diyar, a joint venture between Eagle Hills and Diyar Al Muharraq, a vehicle owned by the bank KFH Bahrain and several other Bahraini investors, said it had sold about 10 per cent of the 250 apartments it is currently marketing to investors from Saudi Arabia in the Marassi Al Bahrain project, but hoped to increase that figure significantly.
The company said it has sold about 75 per cent of the 250 apartments it is marketing in the first phase of a project that is eventually slated to include 5,600 homes. The developer hopes to build 2,000 of these homes over the next five years in an ambitious project that will also contain a 178,000 square metre mall linked to two hotels, and up to 500 serviced and private apartments.
“We are trying to increase the number of sales to Saudi Arabia,” said Maher Al Shaer, the chief executive of Eagle Hills Diyar. “At the moment, there is not much from Saudi Arabia. They are one of our key target markets. Maybe the low price of oil is affecting them.”
Each year about 10 million visitors from Saudi Arabia cross the King Fahd causeway to Bahrain, putting Bahrain high on the investment list for many rich Saudis.
However, as global oil prices have fallen since 2014, property investment by Saudi nationals has slowed down.
According to official Saudi figures, oil accounts for 42 per cent of the country’s GDP.
In July, JLL said house prices in Riyadh and Jeddah continued to fall as domestic buyers cut back.
When completed, Eagle Hills estimates that Marassi Al Bahrain could provide a boost of as much as 4 per cent to Bahrain’s GDP.
The project will contain 1.29 million sq metres of built-up space on an 875,000-sq-metre site on the eastern shore of Diyar Al Muharraq, a 12.2 million sq metre reclaimed island close to Bahrain International Airport.
Mr Al Shaer said the company was talking to local and domestic banks to get funding to build the development and that it expected to award a main construction contract for the project at the start of 2017.
Follow The National's Business section on Twitter