Tourism Development & Investment Company, the master developer behind Saadiyat Island, which includes Abu Dhabi's planned Louvre museum, said yesterday that it had found buyers to reserve 30 planned villas on the first day of sales.
At Cityscape yesterday, the state owned-developer TDIC said that it had sold 30 of the 77 villas it plans to build in the third phase of its Saadiyat Beach Villas scheme.
TDIC said that although the scheme would include 77 villas it had released only 33 of them to the market.
On the sidelines of the conference yesterday, the company's chief development officer, Nabil Al Kendi, told The National that it had found investors to reserve all but three of the villas, which range in price between Dh6 million (US$1.63m) and Dh8m and in size between 449 and 542 square metres.
With the hard-hit Abu Dhabi property market still struggling to recover from the global financial downturn and many investors thousands of dirhams out of pocket from stalled schemes, developers in the capital have launched few off-plan projects since 2009.
"We cannot get 100 per cent. We are trying as much as we can but I think that is the market and we are happy with our sales," Mr Al Kendi said.
Despite the UAE Central Bank proposing mortgage caps for expatriates at 75 per cent and 80 per cent for UAE nationals, TDIC said it was currently offering mortgages of up to 85 per cent on the homes through banks, including Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Mashreq and Standard Chartered.
Mr Al Kendi said that he expected to have a contractor on site within three months and for construction of the four and five-bedroom luxury villas to start during the third quarter of the year.
He said that three months into construction of the long-delayed Dh2.4 billion Louvre museum,work was now running on time and on budget.
More than 30 contractors had bid to work on the second museum, the Zayed National Museum, which went out to tender last month, he said, adding that TDIC executives would be flying to Bilbao to meet the architect Frank Gehry and the Guggenheim Foundation to finalise designs for the third of the Saadiyat mega projects, the Guggenheim.
Contractors will be asked to come forward to bid on the final scheme in June or July.