Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 7 December 2019

Aldar bullish on 2020 as government policies boost property market

New lending caps and other rule changes positive for the real estate sector, a top executive says

Aldar Properties sees good growth in 2020 as the government introduces new measures to boost the property sector, Maan Al Awlaqi, its executive director of commercial said on Monday.  Victor Besa / The National 
Aldar Properties sees good growth in 2020 as the government introduces new measures to boost the property sector, Maan Al Awlaqi, its executive director of commercial said on Monday.  Victor Besa / The National 

Aldar Properties, the biggest listed developer in Abu Dhabi is bullish in terms of the market outlook next year as a result of new government measures introduced that will boost the property sector, a top company official said.

“Freehold law is definitely boosting sentiment in the real estate sector ... and will help our confidence with our real estate customers who come to invest,” Maan Al Awlaqi, executive director of commercial at Aldar Properties told The National on the sidelines of cityscape business breakfast event in Abu Dhabi.

The introduction of a freehold law as well as proposed plans by the UAE central bank to ease rules regarding the cap on lending to the real estate sector will boost the investment climate for real estate, he argued, as would the new personal insolvency law.

Although the latter does not decriminalise bounced cheques, it does mean investors who can no longer afford to make payments can seek a court-approved payment plan to restructure debts which will place any criminal cases against them on hold.

The UAE Central Bank currently allows banks to lend as much as 20 per cent of their total deposits to the property sector with the cap being raised to a still undecided level, Mubarak Rashid Al Mansouri, the regulator's governor recently said. Under proposed changes, lenders would be allowed to exceed the 20 per cent cap, but they would have to incur a capital charge.

“Obviously, liquidity coming from banks, the more there is, the more it helps. Liquidity is key for any segment of the economy. It is an incredible positive driver,” Mr Al Awlaqi said.

When asked whether Aldar Properties is going to start new projects this year or in the coming months, he said, “we have all segments designed, shelf-ready as and when we think we should launch a project, we do so within a very quick turnaround”.

The company is already providing plenty of supply to the market with new projects, he said.

“We launched Dh5 billion mega projects this year with Reeman, Lea. The fact that they are selling out shows that we are measuring supply properly and providing supply where the pent-up demand is,” Mr Al Awlaqi said.

Plot sales at Saadiyat Island, which the company launched earlier this year, are going well with a lot of interest from UAE nationals and other Arab investors, he said.

“A lot of UAE nationals, a lot of Arab expats, are seeing it as an investment vehicle, where they buy a plot and build villas on them and ... rent them out,” he said, without specifying the number of plots sold to investors.

The project, named Saadiyat Reserve, has 306 infrastructure-enabled land plots available for sale to all nationalities. The project's launch follows three earlier successful land plot sales, at Alreeman, Alreeman II and Lea, which generated sales of Dh2.4bn for the company.

Aldar Properties reported a 7 per cent rise in its third-quarter revenues to 1.6bn, with quarterly off-plan development sales reaching Dh1.1bn. The company is on track to achieve Dh4bn in off-plan sales and generate Dh1.7bn in net operating income from its asset management business this year.

“We’ve done growth this year," Mr Al Awlaqi said, adding "and we will keep growing.”

Updated: November 25, 2019 08:21 PM

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