How is the current period of low oil prices impacting the real estate market?
The fundamentals of the Abu Dhabi property market remain strong, with steady population growth translating into increasing demand for high quality housing. This is a result of the government’s continuing success in its economic diversification strategy, which has led to the significant growth of non-oil sectors such as finance, education, tourism and healthcare over the past few years. Because of the expansion of the economy, people continue to choose to come and work in Abu Dhabi, and this continues to create significant real demand for high quality residential, retail and commercial property, driving prices higher. We expect this growth to continue over the long-term.
Are you re-evaluating any of your current projects based on the current situation?
Aldar is always assessing the Abu Dhabi property market to ensure that the properties we deliver to consumers are in line with market demand. We have found that Abu Dhabi continues to see strong demand for high-quality residential developments built with the infrastructure and amenities that have come to signify community living. All of the residential developments that we have brought to market this year, Meera at Shams Abu Dhabi and West Yas and Mayan on Yas Island, are infrastructure-enabled, modern homes that meet this demand. Added to this, they significantly add to the global appeal of Shams Abu Dhabi and Yas Island, two of Abu Dhabi’s most iconic destinations, enhancing the Emirate’s global appeal as a property investment hub.
Do you expect a rental cap to be reintroduced and would you welcome it?
Following the removal of the rent cap in 2013, we have seen property prices stabilise following a period of steady growth. Prices are now growing at a sustainable rate, and this is thanks to the foresight of policy makers who have taken the right steps to control speculation and encourage a healthy market.
Is Aldar focussing more on the middle income or affordable segments?
We launched Meera at Shams Abu Dhabi to fill the market gap for mid-income homes in Abu Dhabi. We feel that this is a growing market that is under-serviced, and are pleased to deliver affordable homes to the Abu Dhabi population. However, we still feel that there is value to be found in the upper-income segments, which is why we have launched West Yas and Mayan on Yas Island. These developments will enable more Emiratis and expatriates to own a home on Yas Island next to some of Abu Dhabi’s most iconic attractions.
How many other projects do you expect to launch this year?
This year Aldar launched three new residential developments to meet market demand. West Yas, Mayan and Meera will bring 2,000 new high-quality homes to Abu Dhabi, across various market segments. Over the next 4 to 5 years, Aldar will launch up to 5,300 further units across existing destinations. These properties will help us to deliver on our strategy to monetise our land bank and offer more value to our shareholders.