Abu Dhabi’s Aldar Properties eyes new acquisitions

Late last year the developer bought an office tower for $179m



Abu Dhabi-based developer Aldar Properties plans more acquisitions as it sees opportunities in a slowing property market, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

Late last year the Aldar bought an office tower in the emirate for Dhs658m ($179m).

Read: Abu Dhabi’s Aldar acquires office tower for $179m

Values and rentals have been falling in Abu Dhabi’s property market due to a slowing economy in the last two years.

“We are seeing ample opportunities of new acquisitions in these market conditions in Abu Dhabi and elsewhere,” Talal al- Dhiyebi told Reuters at Cityscape Abu Dhabi, the property show.

Aldar will continue to invest in new projects as well as acquisitions, he said.

Last month, Emaar Properties and Aldar signed a joint venture agreement to develop local and international projects worth as much as Dhs30bn ($8.2bn).

Read: Dubai’s Emaar enters $8.2bn partnership with Abu Dhabi’s Aldar

Aldar also expects to attract more retail and institutional investors after it recently increased foreign ownership in its stock to 49 per cent from 40 per cent.

Read: Abu Dhabi’s Aldar confirms increase to foreign ownership limit

“There’s been wide international demand from Europe, the US,” he said.

Aldar is also focusing on affordable housing, which is under-serviced, he said. “The bubble has gone out of pushing prices artificially. Today we have real investors, real demand and end-users,” he said.

Still, both the residential and commercial office market continue to see deflationary pressures due to weak demand and a cautious approach by many occupiers, two property consultants said on Tuesday.

Average residential sale prices in the first quarter were down by 1 to 5 per cent from a year earlier as secondary market transactions were hit by suppressed investor sentiment, consultancy CBRE said in a report.

Read: Abu Dhabi property slump continues in Q1 2018

Rentals in Abu Dhabi were down by around 10 per cent, it said. “Both commercial and residential leasing markets are expected to follow similar downward trajectories as the previous year, as new supply places further pressures on rentals and occupancy rates,” said CBRE.

Consultancy JLL also said the residential sector continued to soften in first quarter due to subdued demand and increased supply.