Hydra's middle-income Sharjah project sees strong take-up

Hydra Properties launches a middle-income, low-rise community development for Sharjah.

Sharjah, 15th December 2008.  Hydra Village scale model in Sharjah, at the property show in Sharjah Expo Centre.  (Jeffrey E. Biteng / The National) *** Local Caption ***  JB03-Hydra.jpg
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Hydra Properties has launched a middle-income, low-rise community development for Sharjah following its debut community project in Abu Dhabi. The new Hydra Village Sharjah project has already received more than 4,000 deposit payments since bookings opened in April out of a total 4,700 units available, despite the recent decline in the property market.

Sulaiman al Fahim, the chief executive of Hydra Properties, said middle-income projects would see the greatest demand among home-seekers during the slowdown. "We decided to launch a mid-income project because it is Sharjah, and because of the location. The crisis and the launch of a mid-income project happened together. We were lucky to come at the right time." Mr al Fahim was confident that people who had made deposits would follow through with the rest of their payments. "If people don't come and buy, they will lose their deposits. When you are targeting end-users, not the speculators, this is too much for them [to forfeit]," he said. Hydra Village Sharjah is a mixed-use project with 1,068 townhouses and 3,618 apartments. Home financing will be arranged by Aseel Finance, the Islamic finance branch of First Gulf Bank. The bank's major shareholder, Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed, is the chairman of Royal Group, which owns Hydra. The developer launched the sale of the project's townhouses and three- to five-bedroom apartments today. Buyers in Hydra's inaugural project, Hydra Village in Abu Dhabi, have been concerned about delays to the building schedule since it was first launched in June 2006.

Completion is due by the end of 2010 and Mr al Fahim said he was still committed to that date. Located near the Abu Dhabi International Airport, Hydra Village was redesigned three times and the price for units had risen due to the changes in design, buyers have said. Sale purchase agreements were issued only a couple of months ago and excavation work started in October. "We changed the master plan for a better location and lower density. We had to follow the vision of Plan Abu Dhabi 2030," Mr al Fahim said. "The price increased because of the bigger size. We are not charging more per square foot." Susan Cronin, a manager with Aljar Properties, said many people had bought there to avoid the high rents of Abu Dhabi.

Foundations are currently being put in place on the first few proposed villas. Only two cranes were working at the site this week, one of which was busy lifting the last letter of Hydra's name onto the site entrance. ngillet@thenational.ae