Published on February 18, 2014
EGYPT SPECIAL INVESTOR EDITION In-depth real estate sector overview Hot investment opportunities Interior design, retail & more A Middle East perspective on global real estate AUGUST 2012 Licensed by International Media Production Zone Nicholas Publishing International FZ LLC er Discov lam n Al Hassa rties’ Prope xury e lu uniqu nities u comm INVESTING IN EGYPT Regaining political stability, the country on the Nile offers ample investment opportunities FROM DUST TO DAWN Tourist arrivals are increasing as Egypt repositions itself on the global tourism map RETAIL ON THE RISE Strong market fundamentals make Egypt the region’s most promising retail opportunity
Actual Site photos: Rivoli Apartments Separate Villa Attached Villa Hyde Park Properties for Development is one of the leading real estate developers in Egypt. Existing in the Egyptian market for the last 10 years, the company succeeded in facing all challenges and overcoming obstacles of the real estate industry. The company’s main objective is to support the real estate sector and offer high-end housing units to meet the increasing demands of customers for luxurious accommodation. Located in New Cairo, approximately 40 km from the center of Cairo, Garden Heights embraces the largest private landscape park in Egypt, across 6 million sqm. The project’s offers; Hyde Park, Centre Ville and Park Avenue, will include more than 1,400 Villas, 28,700 apartments, 1,500 shops and the biggest public park area. Separate Villas Park Avenue Shopping Mall So far, Hyde Park is constructing 1365 villas, apartments and commercial units. The company is also ready to deliver about 800 units by the end of 2012. As described by Hyde Park’s CEO, Alaa Ayoub Hyde Park is designed to be the preferred destination for elite residential communities, global business parks, designer shopping arcades, world-class entertainment and recreation centres. Hyde Park offers a touch of Paris with fine living fondly-inspired by the 1920’s downtown Cairo. Separate Villa Hyde Park, a City in the Making
AUGUST 2012 A MIDDLE EAST PERSPECTIVE ON GLOBAL REAL ESTATE SPINE City scape m agazine
Actual Site photos: Rivoli Apartments Separate Villa Attached Villa Hyde Park Properties for Development is one of the leading real estate developers in Egypt. Existing in the Egyptian market for the last 10 years, the company succeeded in facing all challenges and overcoming obstacles of the real estate industry. The company’s main objective is to support the real estate sector and offer high-end housing units to meet the increasing demands of customers for luxurious accommodation. Located in New Cairo, approximately 40 km from the center of Cairo, Garden Heights embraces the largest private landscape park in Egypt, across 6 million sqm. The project’s offers; Hyde Park, Centre Ville and Park Avenue, will include more than 1,400 Villas, 28,700 apartments, 1,500 shops and the biggest public park area. Separate Villas Park Avenue Shopping Mall So far, Hyde Park is constructing 1365 villas, apartments and commercial units. The company is also ready to deliver about 800 units by the end of 2012. As described by Hyde Park’s CEO, Alaa Ayoub Hyde Park is designed to be the preferred destination for elite residential communities, global business parks, designer shopping arcades, world-class entertainment and recreation centres. Hyde Park offers a touch of Paris with fine living fondly-inspired by the 1920’s downtown Cairo. Separate Villa Hyde Park, a City in the Making AUGUST 2012 I CITYSCAPE I 1
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EDITOR’S LETTER D uring the past 18 months, there was hardly a day when international media did not report on news from Egypt. After the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, these reports revolved primarily around political turmoil, economic setbacks and street protests of thousands of young Egyptians who fought for political change and improved living conditions in their country. News coverage that metaphorically describes the Arab Spring as having turned into an Arab Winter fails to recognise two essential elements which are present in the minds and hearts of many citizens: optimism and hope. Although views over the country’s political direction and future remain divided, many Egyptians also regard the present as a chance, a chance to change. This optimism is shared by both Egyptian real estate industry professionals and international investors alike. Just as any sector of the country’s economy, real estate suffered in the aftermath of the revolution as investor confidence was shaken and projects were placed on hold. Eighteen months on, the overall market sentiment is still marked by caution, however experts believe in Egypt’s strong market fundamentals and predict a bright future for the industry. This special edition of the Cityscape magazine is dedicated to Egypt’s growing real estate market. Our mission is to bring further transparency to the local market and support long term growth for this important economic sector. In this issue, we feature an overview of the current dynamics of the different real estate sectors in Egypt while highlighting their respective investment opportunities. With a large and extremely young population, a growing middle class and increasing consumer demand, retail has emerged without doubt as the country’s most promising sector. More quality retail space will soon enter the market with the opening of Cairo Festival City mid next year and the Mall of Egypt, scheduled to open in 2014, both of which are expected to attract more international brands and retailers into the country. Looking at the residential market, over the past few years there has been a shift of focus from accommodation in central Cairo to gated communities in the capital’s new satellite cities such as New Cairo and 6th of October City. Here, Egypt’s biggest developers are competing for recognition with massive mixed-use projects that are designed to form fully integrated communities with retail, medical, educational and entertainment facilities. Last year’s revolution also brought the issue of a substantial lack of affordable housing to the foreground, as a response to which the Egyptian government has announced the construction of one million affordable homes over the next five years. We also look at the status of the current mortgage law in Egypt as access to home financing is seen as a crucial element in increasing the availability of housing for low to middle income earners. In addition, we investigate how 2011 has affected tourism in the country and illustrate some of the major touristic developments currently underway in both the popular Red Sea region as well as on Egypt’s Mediterranean North Coast, an area which increasingly attracts attention from both local and international travellers. Lastly, we feature a review of the inaugural and highly successful Cityscape Egypt 2012 exhibition, held in association with our partner Next Move in Cairo in February this year, which attracted over 10,000 participants. Looking at the year ahead, we are excited to host this event once again in February 2013 which will bring together regional and international investors, architects and designers, real estate developers, government authorities, key industry stakeholder and private individuals alike. Anna Amin Editor Project Director Simon Cole Editor Anna Amin Design Davis Mathai Advertising Adam Fox Contributors Anna Amin, Simon Cole, Rohan Marwaha Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this magazine is correct, Cityscape cannot be held responsible for any errors or inaccuracies contained within the publication. All information contained in the magazine is under copyright to Cityscape and cannot be reproduced or transmitted in any form without first obtaining written permission from the publisher. Partnership Enquiries: Advertising Enquiries: Editorial Enquiries: Simon Cole Tel: +971 (0) 4407 2640 Adam Fox Tel: +971 (0) 4407 2801 Anna Amin Tel: +971 (0) 4408 2898 Email: email@example.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Email: email@example.com Cityscape Media, Informa Exhibitions, P.O. Box 28943, Dubai, UAE AUGUST 2012 I CITYSCAPE I 9
CONTENTS 9 Editor’s letter 52 LATEST NEWS Regional 12 • Dubai property market turns the corner 13 • Abu Dhabi tenants choose quality • Qatari Diar builds leisure projects in Oman 14 • Elaf Group opens new hotels in KSA • Transparency up in Lebanese market 15 • Drake & Skull win Oman projects • Alpha1 Estates and Cotton & Company to share expertise in MENA markets 16 • Saudi mortgage law to aid housing • UAE in top 5 countries for rental return INTERNATIONAL 18 • Broadway Malyan’s new Brazilian city • Poland’s investment market looking positive 54 34 38 ASIA 24 • Fast growth for Ahmedabad • Bangkok office rents up 5% Retail on the rise Strong market fundamentals coupled with the development of more quality retail space make Egypt one of the region’s most promising retail opportunities. 34 North Coast With major large scale developments underway, Egypt’s Mediterranean coast is receiving increased interest from both Egyptians as well as international travellers. 20 • Eurozone crisis impacts commercial property • Christchurch’s private property rents soar 22 • London going global since 1973 6th of October & Sheikh Zayed City West of Cairo is a vibrant mix of different residential type compounds, businesses, universities and some of Egypt’s largest shopping malls. 54 30 A million homes are not enough Egypt currently faces a substantial shortage of affordable housing units. Government and developers are looking for solutions. 58 CityLight Alexandria Home to Alexandria’s largest mall, CityLight will be the first integrated urban development project of its kind in Egypt’s second largest city. 59 40 25 • Luxury fashion dominates Singapore retail scene EGYPT INSIGHT 26 40 26 Investing in Egypt Showing healthy signs of recovery, the real estate market offers highly attractive long- term investment opportunities. 30 From dust to dawn Tourist arrivals to Egypt are increasing while the government is undertaking several steps to boost the tourism sector. 10 I CITYSCAPE I AUGUST 2012 Home sweet home? Despite attempts to revise the current mortgage law, Egypt still has a long way to go before its home financing market can fully take off. 44 Return of foreign investors crucial In an effort to revive Egypt’s economy, the government is implementing several reforms to attract FDI into the country. 49 Rising from the desert On Cairo’s eastern outskirts, New Cairo is a planned urban settlement providing a new residence for the people and businesses of Egypt’s capital city. 59 Revolution in Egypt’s home design scene The country’s first online furniture portal allows users to view the best the world of home design has to offer from the comfort of the couch. EVENTS 62 Cityscape Egypt 2012 A review of the inaugural event 63 Cityscape Egypt 2013 A preview to Egypt’s largest real estate investment and development event REGULAR 64 In the next edition A snapshot of our October edition’s editorial highlights
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REGIONAL NEWS Dubai residential property market turns the corner Q uality residential developments in Dubai bounced back during Q2 2012 after a stable first quarter, with average rent increases of 6% for apartments and 9% for villas, a recent report by UAE property management company Asteco shows. Sales prices recorded double-digit increases in three developments, with rises of 6-8% elsewhere, Asteco observed. “After three years of declining rates and limited sales activity, the real estate market is on the way to recovery, with established quality communities showing increases in values and higher transaction volumes,” said Elaine Jones, CEO at Asteco. Rental rates for apartments were relatively stable through Q1 with minor declines in low quality/ poorly managed buildings in certain areas. Towards the end of H1 2012 rates in established quality communities achieved average increases of 6%. Apartments in Dubai Marina and Downtown Dubai were the most sought after witnessing a 10% increase, with a two-bedroom apartment fetching between AED 90,000 and AED 120,000 per annum. “Tenants are relocating in search of value-for-money, one- and twobedroom apartments as well as three- and four-bedroom villas are the preferred unit types. In terms of rates, quality well managed developments, will continue to set the pace,” commented Elaine Jones. Leasing rates for villas followed a similar trend, stable throughout Q1 2012 with an average increase of 9% through the latter part of Q2 2012. Mirdiff showed the largest increase with rent for a three-bedroom house increasing to AED 90,000 per annum, a 13% jump from Q1 2012. Doubledigit (11%) growth was also recorded in Arabian Ranches, with a three-bedroom villa now costing AED 140,000 per annum. On the sales front, prices for one-, two- and threebedroom apartments in Downtown Dubai, Dubai Marina, and Palm Jumeirah retained their popularity and witnessed price increases of 9%, 8% and 8% respectively during H1 2012. Apartment prices elsewhere in Dubai remained relatively stable, with apartments in JBR seeing a 12 I CITYSCAPE I AUGUST 2012 3% increase. Sales price increases for villas were dominated by Arabian Ranches (16% price increase), The Springs (14% price increase) and Jumeirah Islands (11% increase). For all other developments in the report, prices increased by 6% to 8% with the exception of Jumeirah Village where prices were stable. Prices per square metre now vary substantially highlighting the contrast in quality, facilities and infrastructure. Villas on Palm Jumeirah are now the most expensive in Dubai at AED 17,200 per square metre, followed by Jumeirah Islands and the Meadows priced at AED 10,750 and AED 10,250 respectively. The lowest prices can be found in Jumeirah Village at AED 5,400 per square metre. “Looking ahead to the 2012 year end, sales prices will continue to rise for quality developments, especially villas. The number of owner-occupiers rose steadily in line with improved financed options offered by banks, which we expect to continue. Further demand will also be evident from overseas buyers escaping economic woes in the Eurozone and political instability in other parts of the region,” said Elaine Jones. It was a different picture for commercial space which, despite an increase in leasing enquiries in H1 2012 as the regional situation improved, creating renewed interest in Dubai as a hub for business, was hampered by oversupply and tenant-dictated contract terms. Rental rates declined 6% to 8% in areas such as Tecom, Bur Dubai and Business Bay. However, rates still vary between AED 2,370 per square metre per annum in DIFC and AED 430 per square metre per annum in Dubai Investment Park. “In terms of commercial sales, 2012 started off with minimal transactions for small units although Asteco has seen some purchases from local and international firms that have been successful in Dubai in the medium term, and sales prices have remained relatively stable as more supply entered the market,” said Jones. Some demand has been seen for 100 to 400 square metre units in Business Bay, JLT and DIFC but investment in the office market is likely to remain flat throughout H2 2012, according to Asteco. Average rates vary between AED 18,300 per square metre in DIFC to AED 5,400 per square metre in Dubai Silicon Oasis l
REGIONAL NEWS New property supply triggers Abu Dhabi tenants’ flight to quality T enants living in Abu Dhabi took full advantage of increased real estate market supply by upgrading from their existing accommodation and maximising their housing allowances as better quality became more affordable through market supply and demand dynamics, according to the H1 2012 report from UAE property management company Asteco. “A total of 7,400 apartments and 1,675 villas were added to the city’s rapidly expanding real estate sector in the first half of the year, triggering a wave of internal movement as existing residents sought to upgrade to better quality and value for money accommodation,” said Elaine Jones, CEO of Asteco. Major new areas of supply include Marina Square and Raha Beach, with a combined 3,638 new homes and a number of landmark developments such as Rihan Heights also coming on stream. The flight to quality has led to clear segmentation, with older areas and buildings that previously commanded high rental rates and occupancies – such as the Tourist Club, Khalifa City A&B and Mussafah - falling out of favour, with rates dropping between 3% and 14% since Q1. Demand for premium quality developments with mixed-use facilities also grew substantially, with a high level of leasing activity for top tier product including Etihad Towers, topping out at AED 150,000 for a onebedroom apartment and St. Regis Residences achieving AED 261,000 for a three-bedroom unit. Pre-leasing activity for Nation Towers was also strong, showing high levels of interest for premium waterfront product. Rates for Nation Towers reached up to AED 100,000 for one bedroom and AED 300,000 for a three-bedroom loft unit. “Tenants are willing to pay for high quality finishes and amenities and this particular trio of developments is representative of the new Abu Dhabi lifestyle, with waterfront living in a mixed-use setting, and the appeal of new community-focused developments,” said Jones. Asteco expects the leasing market to remain extremely active in the second half of the year with demand being driven by continued internal movement filtering through to all sub-sectors of the residential market and leading to further rental adjustments as an additional 7,000 new apartments and 4,560 villas ready for release in the next six months l Qatari Diar to build 3 mixed-use leisure projects in Oman Q atari Diar, the property arm of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, last month signed a memorandum of understanding with Oman’s Ministry of Tourism for the development of three world-class leisure destinations in the sultanate. The memorandum, which outlines Qatari Diar’s investment in Oman’s tourism sector, aims to create three mixed-use developments throughout the sultanate. It also establishes a 70:30 partnership between Qatari Diar and the Ministry of Tourism on the three projects. “We are extremely thrilled with the signing of this [memorandum], which signifies our commitment to investing in the tourism sector of Oman. It is an important country to us, and one full of promise,” said Eng Mohammed bin Ali al Hedfa, CEO of Qatari Diar Group. The Ras Al Hadd development in the Sur district, which forms part of the latest agreement, will feature a five-star hotel and spa, residential villas, apartments, souks, a marina and villa plots, while the second of the three developments will have a five-star luxury resort hotel and spa as well as residential villas and apartments. The third project will bring to life a yacht club and marina, a sports academy, and three boutique hotels. Oman’s Ministry of Tourism has launched several campaigns over the course of the year in an effort to boost travel within the country and to promote Oman as an exclusive luxury destination all-year round. Qatari Diar is currently developing or planning 49 projects in 29 countries around the world and has a worldwide portfolio valued at over $39billion l AUGUST 2012 I CITYSCAPE I 13
REGIONAL NEWS ELAF GROUP OPENS TWO NEW HOTELS IN KSA TO ADDRESS HIGH DEMAND FOR ROOMS DURING PEAK PILGRIMAGE SEASON T he Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s accommodation and hospitality sector is reportedly witnessing significant growth with occupancy rates already seeing a 130 per cent increase. Industry experts have revealed that the numbers are expected to rise as both the Hajj and Ummrah seasons are fast approaching. In addition, the sector’s vibrant growth can be widely attributed to the healthy competition posed by leading international hotels present in the Kingdom, who have all expressed readiness in welcoming tourists visiting the country, particularly those going on holy pilgrimage to Makkah and Madina. The expected influx of more tourists and visitors are complemented by the high numbers of confirmed bookings that were made through electronic services. Aiming to meet the demand for more rooms, the Elaf Group of Companies, has revealed the opening of the ‘Al Bustan’ and the ‘Al Nakheel,’ the company’s two new hotels, consisting of a total of 279 rooms, located in Al Madina Al Munawara. Ziyad Bin Mahfouz, President of Elaf Group of Companies, said: “The opening of these two new hotels could not have come at a better time as these new facilities are expected to help address the demand for more hotel rooms in Al Madina, especially now that the peak season for pilgrimage is fast approaching. In addition, the strategic locations of both the ‘Al Bustan’ and the ‘Al Nakheel,’ combined with their distinctive features and offerings, will help cater to the various needs of those visiting Al Madina. The launching of these new hotels also complements the government’s continuing initiative to promote tourism diversification and parallel development across all levels, including tourism for religious purposes ” l Lebanese real estate market shows increased transparency L ebanon’s real estate sector has registered more progress in terms of transparency than any other MENA country, the recently released 2012 Global Transparency Index report by Jones Lang LaSalle showed. According to the report, Lebanon scored 3.75, ranking 66th worldwide and fifth regionally. The index, which is issued every two years, measures national real estate transparency across the globe and is used to compare and contrast transparency conditions across markets. In 2010, Lebanon had also ranked in the 66th place but was in 10th place among 15 regional markets included in the survey with a score of 3.78. The report highlighted that Lebanon made the ninth highest progress in the world, classifying it as ‘semitransparent’ up from the ‘low-transparency’ category it had occupied in 2010. According to JLL, the Lebanese real estate market has experienced a very strong run in the last few years, causing 14 I CITYSCAPE I AUGUST 2012 massive increases in land value in Beirut. “As a result, the market is gaining more structure and attracting attention from more institutional players,” the global real estate services firm said. The report said the Central Bank of Lebanon played an important role in improving Lebanon’s ranking after it recognised the importance of the real estate sector to the overall economy by imposing more rigorous regulations on real estate lending. “The newly formed Real Estate Association of Lebanon (REAL) is implementing other improvements in transparency by better regulating the previously chaotic brokerage industry,” the report said. However, despite an improvement in transparency, Lebanon’s real estate sector remains challenged by political instability and tensions, which have racked Lebanon for the past 30 years, the report added. Overall, “the pace of improvement in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has been slower than in other regions since 2010. Dubai remains the region’s most transparent market, but the most significant progress has been in Lebanon, where the market is gaining transparency and attracting more institutional players,” the report concluded l
REGIONAL NEWS Multiple Project Wins for Drake & Scull in Oman D rake & Scull International PJSC (DSI), a regional market leader in the integrated design, engineering and construction disciplines of Civil Contracting, Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP), Water and Power, Rail and Oil and Gas has been awarded in Oman a series of MEP Contracts across several sectors collectively worth AED 96 million. Under the terms of the contracts, DSI will oversee the complete MEP works – including design, supply, installation, testing and commissioning. In 2012, Oman has set forth significant plans to upgrade its housing and infrastructure over the next 10 years, turning it into the region’s most promising construction markets. The sultanate’s construction sector on the whole is expected to be worth USD 3.8 billion in 2012 and has the potential to grow to USD 5.4 billion by 2016. The industry shows particular potential in energy and utilities – two areas where DSI is currently expanding its presence at the international level. “The future developments in Oman represent an ideal opportunity for DSI to use its proven engineering technologies and regional experience – particularly in the MEP and Water and Power domains – to help expedite the growth of Oman’s construction industry. Our latest set of contracts reflects our ability to serve multiple sectors and we are eyeing more ventures as Oman rolls out its development plans for the coming years,” said Khaldoun Tabari, CEO of Drake & Scull International. Drake & Scull International has been fortifying its presence in key GCC markets while further extending its operational reach into Africa and Asia. DSI also plans to engage in more work for railway and oil and gas developments l Khaldoun Tabari, CEO Drake & Skull Alpha1Estates signs MoU with Cotton & Company G lobal real estate advisory firm Alpha1Estates International said last month, during the holy month of Ramadan, that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with leading US real estate advisory firm Cotton & Company to share expertise and experience in their respective markets. Alpha1Estates was the first company to market Saudi Arabian real estate globally, launching the US $2 billion Abraj al-Bait project in Makkah – the largest building in the world. “Alpha1Estates International and Cotton & Company have signed the MoU with the purpose of entering new and exciting markets as well as sharing their world-class experience and expertise to best serve their distinguished clients,” said Mr Malik Al-Alawi, Chairman of Alpha1Estates International. The MoU was signed between Mr al-Alawi and Mr Stephann Cotton, Founder and President of Cotton & Company and Laurie Andrews, Chief Operating Officer. The collaboration will allow the two companies to jointly share their vast expertise with clients in the rapidly maturing real estate markets of the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region (MENASA) as well as allow for greater real estate investments between the MENASA region, represented by Alpha1Estates, and the Americas, where Cotton & Company predominates. “With today’s technology, a global market has opened for real estate throughout the world,” said Stephann Cotton. “Digital marketing strategies provide innovative solutions for reaching the international sector, and we are on the forefront of utilising these new mediums to sell residential real estate.” Alpha1Estates was recently recognised for its achievements in the real estate sector in the Middle East, with global television channel Al-Jazeera referring to it as a “globally-recognised brand”. In January this year, the company stated that new real estate, regulatory, immigration, business and finance legislation was required for the real estate sector in Saudi Arabia to reach its full potential. The Government of Saudi Arabia on July 2 announced it had approved a mortgage law in the Kingdom, one of the five key recommendations made by Alpha1Estates l AUGUST 2012 I CITYSCAPE I 15
REGIONAL NEWS Saudi Mortgage Law Will Aid Housing, Stability and Banks T he recently announced introduction of the mortgage law in Saudi Arabia will improve the housing supply and social stability as well as provide diversification of the banking sector, says global rating agency Fitch Ratings. However these benefits will not be instant because banks will approach the new market with caution. Saudi Arabia will issue regulations and licenses for mortgages based on the Islamic lease financing model this month. Mortgage demand is expected to be strong because a growing young population has faced rising rents over the last four years. This has led to a drop in living standards among the lower-income population. To date, mortgage lending is a mere 2% of GDP and home ownership is only 30% of the population. The jump in demand to buy houses now that mortgages will be available may trigger house-price inflation. The rise in house prices will be tempered by planned property developments that will help meet demand. Tight regulation on mortgages as well as a cautious approach by the banks will also help to dampen price rises. The government is already undertaking an extensive house building programme. Fitch expects private-sector property development to increase now that there will be financing available for young Saudis. The government’s Real Estate Development Fund offers subsidised mortgages to purchasers of affordable housing. What’s more, tight credit limits for personal loans by the Saudi Arabia Monetary Agency show the regulator is unlikely to allow a housing boom to get out of control. Rules for personal loans - including credit cards - cap total monthly payments at one-third of net monthly income. Loan maturities cannot exceed five years. Most banks are also likely to be cautious in their approach to mortgages because it is unclear exactly how the foreclosure process will work. Furthermore, they are funded through short-term deposits, which limit the amount of long-term lending they will want to undertake. Nonetheless, some banks have already built up their presence in the housing loan market over the last 18 months. The funding mismatch is not an immediate problem because short-term deposits tend to stay at banks for long periods. But banks are likely to search out longer term funding before building up large mortgage portfolios. The new regulation allows for the development of a securitisation market, which could provide much of the financing - if it takes off. (Fitch Ratings) l The UAE in ‘Top 5’ Countries for Rental Returns D ubai luxury developer DAMAC Properties has welcomed a report by Global Property Guide which has revealed that the UAE is among the top 5 countries in the MENA region in terms of rental yields. The study compared the rental yields of apartments, all about 120sqm in size, across various countries. With gross rental yields of 6.89% per annum, the UAE ranks slightly behind Jordan, but is ahead of Egypt, Morocco and Lebanon. “The UAE has higher rental returns than some of the most popular locations for property investment in the world. With yields at 6.89%, the UAE offers much higher rental returns than for example the UK and more than double the rental yield of Hong Kong” said Niall Mc Loughlin, Senior Vice President of DAMAC Properties. Another important factor for investors to consider is the favorable tax environment in the UAE. Rental income is tax free, and there are no capital gains taxes levied on the sale of properties. “The property market in the UAE is changing remarkably; three years ago it was dominated by investors pursuing capital growth, and now that prices have stabilised, it’s characterised by investors seeking continually high rental yields. While the returns aren’t as lucrative, they are still relatively high and most importantly they are consistent,” commented Mc Loughlin. According to the research, Jordan offers the highest rental returns in the MENA region, with gross yields of 10%. While gross yields in the UAE are slightly lower, they are still the second highest in the Arab world. “Rental yields are extraordinarily high in the UAE, compared to most other countries around the world. Now that prices have stabilised in premium locations, the high yields make investing in the UAE property market an attractive proposition for any global investor,” said Mc Loughlin. The positive sentiment is shared by real estate advisory firm Cluttons, which predicts good quality, well-established developments will continue to do well at the expense of newer residential areas. The firm also anticipates the residential market will continue to gain from increasingly available 16 I CITYSCAPE I AUGUST 2012 Niall Mc Loughlin, Senior Vice President, DAMAC mortgage finance options at competitive rates. DAMAC Properties is experiencing the strongest demand in three years across its range of premium developments at Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai and the DIFC. There is a strong flight to quality in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as existing residents seek to upgrade and new buyers aim to take advantage of market conditions which currently offer extraordinary value for money l
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For us, the agent is the most important figure within our organisation and we build and invest in our agents’ career paths with second to none real estate education and training programs. RE/MAX agents function as independent business owners making our network built on entrepreneurs rather than on managers and staff. Our philosophy is to offer the best possible service in the industry to help buyers and sellers make the right decision with regards to one of the most important decisions in life. We also plan to expand rapidly over the next 5 years in Egypt to have presence in Cairo, Alexandria, North Coast, Delta, Sinai, Red Sea and in Upper Egypt. What was the driver behind launching RE/MAX in Egypt and how does it impact on the local market? What are the benefits of RE/MAX’s franchise opportunities? 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RE/MAX Egypt’s expansion revolves around franchised offices to qualified entrepreneurs and investors. We provide and support our franchisee network with: • The power of the world’s No. 1 brand in the real estate industry • RE/MAX University, offering the best real estate in-class and online training programs for both owners and agents • Agents recruitment and retention support programs • RE/MAX technology; the “iConnect” system which routes thousands of leads from REMAX.COM.EG straight to offices and agents. The RE/ MAX intranet site and REMAX.COM.EG offer countless marketing tools for agents and offices, allowing direct referrals between nearly 90,000 affiliates in more than 85 countries. All properties are displayed on REMAX.COM.EG and on GLOBAL.REMAX.COM, which are translated into over 32 languages and more than 30 currencies • Global network offering limitless business opportunities and global referrals • RE/MAX international conferences and conventions; exposure to worldwide markets and exchange of international experiences Each office is independently owned and operated Head office: 22 Kamal Eldin Hussein Street, Sheraton Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt, Tel.: +202 22692004, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 6th of October: RE/MAX Ventures West: Arkan Center-Suite 142 Sheikh Zayed 2 6th October District, Giza, Egypt. Tel.: +201001881166 Heliopolis: RE/MAX Almohager: # 12, El-Shaheid Mohamed Abd El-Hady St., Ard Al-Golf, Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt. Tel.:(+202) 24183424, (+202)22907186 New Cairo City: RE/MAX Almohager: Villa # 141, 90Th. St., New Cairo City, Egypt. Tel.: (+202) 26178741 Ain Sokhna: RE/MAX Almohager: Stella De Mari, Negma Mall.Tel.: +201000960062 AUGUST 2012 I CITYSCAPE I 17
INTERNATIONAL NEWS Broadway Malyan’s vision for new Brazilian city launched by Moura Dubeux T he masterplan vision for Convida Suape, a new city in north eastern Brazil, designed by global architecture, urbanism and design practice Broadway Malyan, has been officially launched by the practice’s client, Moura Dubeux Engineering and Cone S/A earlier this year. Convida Suape is a sustainable urban extension of the city of Cabo de Santo Agostinho near Recife, the capital city of the State of Pernambuco, and will result in the transformation of a 470 hectare area to accommodate up to 100,000 inhabitants. The practice’s design was delivered by an integrated team of masterplanners, urban designers, architects, landscape architects and branding specialists based in its São Paulo, Lisbon and London offices. The development promotes a compact urban model for walkability and sustainable access to learning, healthcare and employment. It features green buildings and new building typologies with integrated utility provision, will enhance the natural landscape and river corridors, and includes a substantial on-going habitat-restoration programme. The city will be built in four phases with ten distinct neighbourhoods providing 25,000 new homes set in 154 hectares of open space, as well as substantial provision for new businesses, health, education and leisure activities. “Convida Suape will set a benchmark for strategic urban development and city expansion projects in north eastern Brazil, now one of the fastest growth areas in the world. The launch is testament to the integrated work of our world-class team of design experts delivering on our client’s ambitions in partnership with its stakeholders,” said Practice Director Margarida Caldeira. Since the practice opened its São Paulo office in 2011 it has secured a series of projects in South America, including masterplanning and major mixeduse projects in Brazil for clients such as Moura Dubeux which it is supporting on several schemes, and it is now actively targeting countries including Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Mexico l Positive Outlook for Poland’s investment market I n the first quarter of 2012, the level of activity in Poland’s real estate market confirmed strong interest by foreign investors, the Q1 2012 Poland Investment market report by Savills showed. The total volume of commercial property investment transactions exceeded $880 million in the first quarter of 2012, reflecting a 21% growth quarter-on-quarter and a 9% growth year-on-year, the report said. Retail properties dominated in Q1 2012, accounting for approximately 80% of total investment volume. “Recent investment activity in the retail sector confirms that investors are still interested in prime retail assets in both major regional and smaller cities across the whole country. Key investment criteria include central location with good car accessibility and significant pedestrian flow as well as good covenant strength comprising a mix of well known international and domestic retailers,” the report said. According to Savills, rising employment and strong consumer confidence are the main drivers for retail sales’ growth, which is supportive for both 18 I CITYSCAPE I AUGUST 2012 the retail and warehousing markets. The largest investment transaction in the retail sector in Q1 2012 was the sale of ING’s share in the holding company which owned a 77% stake in Zlote Tarasy. Zlote Tarasy is a mixed-use complex comprising 66,200 square metres of retail and 47,300 square metres of office space. According to the report, activity in the commercial market is highly dominated by foreign investors, with Austrian, German and US investors having been the most active in Q1 2012. “There is also stable interest from investors in the industrial market and we expect even more activity in this sector in 2012 as a result of an improving occupational market,” Savills said. With regards to Poland’s future outlook, Savills commented: “Investment sentiment is expected to remain positive, supported by higher GDP growth than in most European countries, rising employment and increasing retail sales.” l
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INTERNATIONAL NEWS Eurozone crisis impacts commercial property prime rents and yields A newly released Summer 2012 ‘European Market Indicators’ quarterly report by global real estate consultancy Knight Frank shows that the recent deepening of the crisis in the Eurozone has had a negative impact on prime rents and yields in European commercial property markets. Although values were stable in the majority of European cities during the last quarter, a small number of markets saw rents fall or yields soften. Knight Frank’s weighted average European prime office rent, calculated from the cities covered by the report, declined for the first time in over two years, falling by -0.5% in the three months to June. Prime office rents were revised downwards in Brussels (-6.8%), Barcelona (-5.9%), Milan (-1.0%) and Dublin (-0.6%). Prime rents were largely stable elsewhere, indicating that there has been a pause in the rental growth that has been seen over the last year in cities such as Paris, Warsaw, Stockholm and Moscow. While recent rental increases in these markets have in any case been modest, they now appear to have completely ground to a halt, with landlords and tenants adopting a ‘wait and see’ strategy as events in the Eurozone play out. In the investment market, Knight Frank’s weighted average European prime office yield moved outwards slightly for the second successive quarter, rising by four basis points to 5.62%. This was a result of a 25 bps softening of yields in both Milan and Madrid. Prime office yields remained unchanged in all other markets, but investment market sentiment appears to be weakening and a more widespread correction of prime office yields may follow in the coming quarters. The fading of investor confidence has been reflected in reduced investment volumes in the year-to-date, particularly in southern Europe. Matthew Colbourne, senior international research analyst, said: “The limited rental growth that has been recorded in European office markets over the last twelve months now appears to have almost entirely ended, as businesses cautiously assess the impact of recent developments in the Eurozone. With no quick solution to Europe’s problems in sight, we may be reaching a tipping point when occupier sentiment takes a more decisive turn for the worse and a greater number of markets may see rents start to fall over the rest of the year.” Andrew Sim, head of European investment, commented: “The current uncertainty in the Eurozone is clearly having an impact on investor confidence and transaction volumes, particularly in secondary markets. However, there remains a strong appetite for prime property in the most stable and liquid cities, coming from super high net worth individuals as well as sovereign wealth funds and institutions from the Middle East and Asia. As a result, prime yields for the best property in Europe are holding firm.” l Private property rents soar in Christchurch as demand exceeds supply I n New Zealand’s largest city on the South Island, private property rents are up as demand considerably exceeds supply, figures from the latest price report from Trade Me Property show. Listings of houses for rent in Christchurch are down 34% but demand is up 47%. Rents in Christchurch have increased some 26% in the last 12 months, well above the national average property rental rises of 4%. “The news for prospective Christchurch tenants is still grim,” said Brendon Skipper, head of Trade Me Property. “We’ve seen the number of properties available for rent in these three suburbs plummet more than 40% compared with a year ago and, on the flipside, the properties that do get listed are attracting huge volumes of enquiry,” he said. While shortages of houses to rent in the Auckland rental market have hit the headlines in the past, Trade Me found listings are up 20% while demand 20 I CITYSCAPE I AUGUST 2012 is down 18%. “Autumn has wound down and the winter hibernation period sees tenants hunker down so we often see listing numbers swell and demand taper off,” Skipper said. He pointed out that one surprise is the increase in listings and reduced demand in central Auckland hasn’t led to lower asking rents, with average rents in Auckland city remaining flat. According to Skipper, one reason demand has softened in Auckland is that tenants are looking to become home owners. “Over the quarter, we’ve seen a 16% increase in enquiries from potential buyers compared to the same time in 2011 but they’ll be finding the market challenging too,” he said. “Listings are flat and there’s plenty of healthy competition in Auckland in particular. Of course, that means it’s a good time to list your property if you’re thinking of selling,” he concluded l
AUGUST 2012 I CITYSCAPE I 21
INTERNATIONAL NEWS LONDON: GOING GLOBAL SINCE 1973 L ondon’s influence as a global city has been growing for the past five decades, during which time the area known as ‘prime’ has expanded significantly, driven in large part by international buyers who have remained a constant presence, says international real estate advisor Savills. Key findings of Savills’ ‘World in London’ report: • • • • • • International buyers account for 34% of all sales in prime London, up from 27% in 2007 Two-thirds of new development buyers are international, a reflection of strong overseas marketing campaigns Chinese and Pacific Asian buyers a significant buying group in the new build sector with 31% market share vs 5% in the resales market Western Europeans (particularly French and Italians) have the biggest market share after UK buyers; 15% of resale, 8% of new build sales Eastern European and CIS (ex Soviet Union) are top spenders; average USD 8.9m in resale market, USD 11.3m in new build International buyers outnumber sellers by 2:1, with Russian, French, Italian and Chinese the biggest net investors London, where 35 per cent of residents were born overseas, ranks as one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities and the globalisation of the city’s prime London residential market continues to grow and evolve as its population becomes ever more diverse. The value of prime London residential stock rose by USD 33 billion in the year to the end of June 2012, although at a slower rate than in previous quarters, as international home buyer and safe haven investor confidence in the UK capital continued. Homes – not just safe deposits Latest estimates from Savills research put the net inflow of international cash into prime London at over USD 28 billion since 2007. In the past 18 months international buyers have increased their spending, accounting for 34 per cent of sales in volume terms and 49 per cent by value, up from 24 per cent and 37 per cent respectively in 2007. “There are perceptions that international buyers have turned swathes of prime London into dormitory areas, but our research explodes this myth,” says Yolande Barnes, head of Savills residential research. “The majority of overseas buyers are seeking homes rather than pure investments. Twothirds of international buyers in the resales market live and work in London and are acquiring their primary residence. In prime central London the figure is just under half (46%), in prime south west London 83 per cent and prime north London 79 per cent.” Overseas buyers are especially important to the (relatively small) new development market. They now account for 65 per cent of new build sales 22 I CITYSCAPE I AUGUST 2012 across prime London, rising to 70 per cent in prime central locations and 78 per cent for new build properties over USD 7.8 million. “This buying provides much-needed certainty on funding for new schemes and often supplies new rental stock in all price brackets as 53 per cent of buyers are landlords. In short, this means that the majority of properties acquired are occupied full time by tenants,” says Barnes. International owners are buying more than they sell The result is that international buyers have become net investors, with international buyers outnumbering international sellers by a factor of nearly two to one. Russians, Italians and French are the top three net investors, while Chinese buyers stand out as a growing group, now the 4th largest net purchasing group but almost entirely concentrated in new build properties. (See report for full nationality listing.) UK buyers were the largest net sellers by volume, with 1.2 UK sellers for every UK buyer in the past 18 months, while Irish, Swedish and North American owners are the top international net sellers. This in part reflects the maturity of these national groups in the London market, and occupiers from these countries are well established and regularly sell as well as buy. “The globalisation of London is not a new phenomenon,” says Yolande Barnes, head of Savills residential research. “We expect the proportion of prime overseas buyers to continue to fluctuate between 25 per cent and 40 per cent according to market, currency and global conditions, but they will without any doubt remain an important market force.” l
AUGUST 2012 I CITYSCAPE I 23
ASIA NEWS Fast Track Growth For Ahmedabad, India A recent report by Jones Lang LaSalle India analyses the evolution of the real estate market of Ahmedabad - the largest city of Gujarat – over the last four years. JLL says its decision to enter the city in 2009 was “based on its unmatched promise as a potential real estate investment destination, which factored in the city’s healthy local demand, as well as its outstanding industrial story.” “The fact is that Ahmedabad has grown tremendously over the past decade, thanks to ultra-progressive policies and intelligent development governance. The city is providing extraordinary and unprecedented returns on the real estate front, and is one of the most exciting investment destinations in India today. With developers and investors from all over the country beating a straight path to Ahmedabad, the move to launch operations in 2009 has been timely and fully vindicated,” said Anuj Puri, Chairman and Country Head, Jones Lang LaSalle India. Office space investments have shown strong growth, with capital values for commercial properties rising by as much as 20-30% in areas such as Prahladnagar, S.G. Highway, Ashram Road and some parts of East Ahmedabad. Approximately 3.5 million square feet of commercial space has come up in the city over the last four years. Another 1.1 million square feet is currently under construction and another 2.5 million square feet will come up in next 2-3 years. The quality and services of the existing office spaces have risen remarkably in recent times too, JLL reports. Residential property appreciation in Ahmedabad has been to the tune of 50% over the last three years. The areas currently commanding the highest demand for residential space are South Bopal, Bodakdev, Vastrapur, Nicol, Nava Naroda and New Ranip. Approximately 16 million square feet of builtup residential space has been built in Ahmedabad over the last four years alone. Another 23 million square feet is currently under construction, and a further 30 million is proposed in various parts of the city. This amounts to approx. 70 million square feet of residential real estate, out of which the western part of the city will account for 47%, followed by 19% in the southern part and 17% each in northern and eastern parts of Ahmedabad. This is a significant supply, and yet residential prices in Ahmedabad market have not softened. This makes Ahmedabad a unique and high-potential market by any standards. The report also observed a rapidly growing demand for office and industrial real estate in the region. JLL says this demand comes from an exciting bouquet of Indian and international players who are eager to open operations in the industrial areas of Sanand and DMIC. “The prime interest drivers for these players continue to be Gujarat’s admirably progressive stance towards infrastructure and investment flow enablement, and its pro-people orientation to real estate growth,” Puri said. “With Sanand as a stellar upcoming industrial area and prospects of Maruti locating its operations near Bechraji, we see a lot of scope for further development. Hero Motocorp Ltd. has also shown interest for setting up a large manufacturing plant near Halol. To top it off, plans for high-speed rail connectivity between Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Pune are now being discussed, along with the Vadodara-Mumbai Expressway. This holds the promise of even faster growth in industrial strength, as well as in all other real estate verticals,” he concluded l Bangkok office market looking positive, with rents up almost 5% year-on-year T he average rental rate of Grade A office space in Bangkok’s central business district in Q1 2012 increased by 4.9% year-on-year, the latest figures from CBRE Thailand show. The highest rents were recorded at the Park Ventures Ecoplex, an office building on Wireless Road, where the asking price was USD 28 per square metre per month. Average Grade A rents rose to USD 23 per square meter month, a rise of 1.6% from last year’s fourth quarter. The total office supply in Bangkok increased to 8.14 million square meters, up by 2% year-on-year. The supply grew by about 32,000 square meters in the quarter, but no new Grade A offices were added in central business district locations. Net 24 I CITYSCAPE I AUGUST 2012 new take up of office space in Bangkok was 35,000 square meters, while the overall occupancy rate improved slightly to 86.1%. “The office market continues to improve steadily, with an increase in the net take up and a higher occupancy rate. Provided there are no major external economic shocks or domestic political events, the outlook for the Bangkok office market is positive,” said Nithipat Tongpun, Executive Director and head of office services at CBRE Thailand. Tongpun also added that due to the little new space being completed in Bangkok this year, tenants who wish to upgrade or expand will have limited choice, especially if they require large spaces. Rents are rising in the highest-quality and best located buildings and it is strongly recommended that tenants plan well in advance of lease expiry dates, he concluded l
ASIA NEWS Luxury fashion dominates Singapore’s retail scene L uxury and high-street fashion continued to dominate Singapore’s local retail scene, a recent research report by global real estate services provider Savills showed. According to the July 2012 Singapore Retail Sector Briefing, April’s retail sales index (excluding motor vehicles) edged up 2.9% year-on-year. Watch and jewellery, as well as telecommunication apparatus and computer sales were up 3.7% and 9.4% year-on-year respectively, indicating that discretionary spending is still strong, the report said. More international retailers set-up a presence in Singapore with luxury and high-street fashion continuing to dominate the retail scene. Maiden store openings in Q2 2012 included Alexander Wang in the Hilton Singapore, J. Lindeberg in Mandarin Gallery, Tory Burch in Wisma Atria and Vince Camuto in Ngee Ann City. Some, such as Shana and TALL WEiJL, chose Y to launch their first stores in suburban malls, usually in regional centres or locations with an affluent demographic profile, the report added. According to Savills, the central business district (CBD) is fast becoming one of Singapore’s trendiest lifestyle and entertainment hotspots. Its affluent live-in population is estimated to increase from the current 17,000 to 23,300 over the next five years. “Not only has the integrated resort transformed the area into a posh business and residential address, but the injection of a greater live-in population from several residential and hotel projects completed in recent years has been pivotal in breathing life into the CBD after office hours,” the report said. Retail rents in the CBD range from single digits for conservation shophouses to over USD 16 per square foot per month for street-level units in Grade AAA office buildings. “International retailers often view Singapore as an avenue to create brand awareness in Southeast Asia. As long as the Southeast Asian economies sustain their growth momentum, Singapore will remain a key market for international retailers in their global growth strategies,” concluded Alan Cheong, Director of Savills Research in Singapore l Thailand’s land and property tax bill to be redrafted T he long delayed land and property tax bill for Thailand is to be redrafted to take into effect changes since the last general election, a report from global property news service Propertywire shows. Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said that he generally supports the main thrust of the bill but thinks it should not be imposed nationwide. He has suggested that the legislation should apply only to land plots that have been appraised by the Treasury Department since it has so far been able to evaluate land prices for only about six million of 30 million land plots nationwide. It is also proposed that the ceiling on tax rates that are based on appraisal prices will be increased to make the bill flexible. The rates proposed by the previous government were 0.05% on farmland, 0.1% on residential plots and 0.5% for commercial land. Unused land would be subject to a 0.5% rate, with the rate doubling every three years. The ceiling rates are quite low compared with rates imposed by other countries, according to Somchai Sujjapongse, Director General of the Fiscal Policy Office. This does not mean that local governments will adopt maximum rates, but that effective rates would be much lower, he explained. Another change urged by Kittiratt relates to tax allowances. The current draft offers tax breaks for both small and low value land plots but the new draft would offer tax breaks based solely on value. The tax exemption would be given to farmers and residential land owners. Kittiratt also wants a proposal to create a Land Bank scrapped. According to Sujjapongse, the central government should not take local governments revenue. The previous government proposed setting up the Land Bank, which would buy land from people and then redistribute it to landless people, with the funding coming from property taxes. Relevant parties in the real estate industry now have a chance to put forward their views under a consultation process and a public hearing is likely to be held before the proposals are forwarded to Kittiratt. Tax officials and economists have pushed for the changes for many decades without success. Political support for the bill has been weak, as most politicians are large land owners. The previous government’s finance minister, Korn Chatikavanij, got the Cabinet to approve the bill, arguing that Thailand should tax wealth to create a more just system. The current tax system is said to be unfair to wage earners, as their wages are taxed, while the financial assets, land and other wealth of the rich are hardly taxed. The land and property tax would be collected by local governments and is expected to help them get more revenue for community development (Propertywire) l AUGUST 2012 I CITYSCAPE I 25
REAL ESTATE Why invest in real estate in Egypt? Heavily shaken by political turmoil and economic instability that followed the revolution of 2011, Egypt’s once strong real estate market is now showing healthy signs of recovery. Over the long term, the country could emerge as an even more attractive place to do business than before the revolution, experts believe. 26 I CITYSCAPE I AUGUST 2012
REAL ESTATE A year prior to Egypt’s revolution of February 2011 which marked the end of President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule, Cairo was one of the fastest growing real estate markets in the MENA region. According to the April 2011 Jones Lang LaSalle report ‘Revolution and Real Estate: Cairo,’ in 2010, stable economic growth, relatively low debt levels, a young and growing population as well as a favourable geographic location with control of the Suez Canal, solidified interest from real estate occupiers, developers and investors from the MENA region and beyond. In January 2011, the overthrow of Tunisia’s President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali triggered initial street protests in Cairo, sparking Egypt’s 18-day revolution. This had a far-reaching impact on the country’s economy which practically came to a standstill with temporary closure of the banking and financial systems as well as many businesses. Consequently, investor confidence, tourism and foreign direct investment were also affected. Although the revolution affected investor confidence and 2011 demonstrated a period of uncertainty, analysts believe in Egypt’s fundamentals. These include a large, young and fast growing population, a large number of marriages, a diversified economy, shortage of quality real estate and cost advantages over other regional or European countries. Ayman Sami, JLL’s Country Head for Egypt, is optimistic about Egypt’s real estate future: “The Egyptian market fundamentals have not changed. The growth of new households, as illustrated by the large numbers of marriage still taking place, indicates that local demand will remain a strong demand driver supporting real estate growth. Over the long term, Egypt could emerge as an even more attractive place for business than it was before the revolution,” he said. Although Cairo’s real estate market remained characterised by uncertainty during the first quarter of 2012, clarity returned to the market with increased activity in a number of sectors, the Jones Lang LaSalle Cairo Real Estate Market Overview Q1, 2012 found. According to the report, there are several indicators that this year should see a potential improvement in the Cairo real estate market. Some real estate projects will continue towards completion, including Cairo Festival City which is due to deliver its first office phase; Damac is also looking to open its retail and office project opposite Dandy
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