New developer Arada targets UAE’s mid-market housing sector

A joint venture between Sharjah’s Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi and Saudi’s Prince Khaled Bin Alwaleed Bin Talal is planning an affordable homes project in Sharjah.

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A joint venture between companies owned by Sharjah’s Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi and Prince Khaled bin Al Waleed has been set up to develop new residential projects.

Arada is co-owned by Sheikh Sultan’s Sharjah-based Basma Group and by KBW Investments – a business set up just over three years ago by Prince Khaled, who is the son of Kingdom Holding’s founder Prince Al Waleed bin Talal.

The company said that its ­focus will be on “creating communities” in the mid-market sector, and a spokesman said that its that its first project “will be devoted to fulfilling the growing consumer need for aspirational yet affordable living communities in Sharjah”.

The homes will be available for investors to buy under the 2014 law which granted rights for all nationalities to buy homes in freehold areas, and an announcement regarding its launch will be made soon. In the long term, Arada could move both into other territories and asset classes, the spokesman added.

The Basma Group has already invested in other real estate ventures, including Sharjah’s 25 million square feet Tilal City project which, once complete, should be home to 65,000 residents.

KBW Investments, meanwhile, has signed a series of partnership deals in the construction, engineering, manufacturing and automation sectors, among others, since its inception in 2013. These include an agreement with Brazilian consulting engineer Progen Group, Romanian building consultancy Arcadia Engineering and with UK project management company Faithful + Gould targeting social infrastructure and master planned developments in Saudi Arabia.

Sheikh Sultan will serve as Arada’s chairman, while Prince Khaled will be vice-chairman.

Commenting on the launch, Sheikh Sultan said: “We are very proud to be present here today in a show of strong confidence and commitment to further grow the private sector in the UAE and cement the entrepreneurial spirit of this nation. The property sector remains highly attractive, especially in the residential segment.”

Prince Khaled added: “Over the past few years, KBW Investments has been carefully curating a group of companies that work together across sectors, and have amassed the expertise, scale, and capabilities to contribute to Sharjah’s burgeoning real estate segment.

“Through our discussions with industry experts and investors, we’ve determined the consumer need for aspirational urban concepts that provide a strong value proposition to Sharjah residents or those looking to invest from other emirates and the larger GCC.”

In its recent Q4 2016 report for the Northern Emirates, Land Sterling reported that average apartment rents dropped by 2 per cent year-on-year, with the highest fall among larger, three-bedroom units. Typically, two-bedroom apartments rent from Dh28,000 per year at the lower end of the market and Dh70,000 at the higher end.

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