Emaar Properties, the largest developer in the UAE, has released a second portfolio of properties under its rent-to-own scheme that was launched last November. Customers can lease the residences in Downtown Burj Dubai for one year, then have the choice of buying the property or renewing the lease. Due to the market slowdown, buyers have become scarce and developers are finding ways to keep cash flowing in. Prices in Burj Dubai Downtown have fallen by up to 50 per cent in some areas, compared with the market's peak last year. "What is really interesting this time is that 100 per cent of the first year's rent gets absorbed if you want to buy after a year," said Vineet Kumar, the head of sales at the property consultancy Asteco. "You have the first right to buy after a year. But even if you renew it for a second or third year, they will be taking 50 per cent of the rent toward the purchase price." The residences are in The Old Town, Old Town Island, South Ridge and The Residences, but the number of units may be limited. "Last time I don't think it was much more than around 40 units," Mr Kumar said. "A lot of people want to buy but they want to see how the market is. I think this is a perfect opportunity." Mr Kumar said the developer might have waited six months to launch a new set of units because it was waiting for local attractions to open. "Dubai Mall with its 1,200 retail stores was launched in November but the Dubai fountain and many other things had been recently inaugurated," he said. "Emaar did their homework properly and now they are coming back and saying we present the offer again." Emaar declined to comment. firstname.lastname@example.org
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