x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Dubai property market gets major lift from Emirates Airline global expansion

Interactive graphic: Developers in Dubai are riding off the back of Emirates Airline's route expansion as new buyers flock to the UAE.

A rendering of the interior of Damac Towers. The developer says the expanding route network of Emirates Airline is helping the property industry expand. Courtesy Damac Properties
A rendering of the interior of Damac Towers. The developer says the expanding route network of Emirates Airline is helping the property industry expand. Courtesy Damac Properties

Property developers in Dubai are riding off the back of Emirates Airline's route expansion to find new buyers.

The number of nationalities flocking to the city to buy Damac Properties' apartments and villas correlates with the Dubai-based airline's routes, the company said.

The developer had buyers from 71 nations and the number increased each time Emirates opened a new route, said Ziad El Chaar at a media lunch to advertise Damac's new Paramount Pictures-branded hotel and apartment scheme.

He said interest came from wealthy buyers looking for holiday homes in Dubai.

Damac added that its core buyers continued to come from India, Russia and the United Kingdom.

"Over the past six months we have been seeing people from South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria buying properties in our schemes," he said.

"And it is very noticeable that each time a new route from Emirates opens we get inquiries from that region."

The rival Dubai-based developer Nakheel said that it already had an international base of buyers and that the new routes "could create further opportunities".

Both Emirates and Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways have been aggressively expanding their route networks over the past few years.

In its annual results published in November, Emirates said it had increased its network to 126 destinations in 74 countries last year, up from 114destinations in 67 countries in 2011. New destinations included Rio de Janiero, Harare and the Zambian capital Lusaka.

Etihad flies to 84 passenger and cargo destinations and added six in the past year.

According to official figures, Dubai welcomed last year 10.1 million visitors - the first time the emirate crossed the 10 million threshold and an increase of 9.3 per cent on the previous year.

On Tuesday, Damac will hold a sales launch for the first 350 flats at its Damac Towers by Paramount at a glitzy event at the Meydan Imax.

The Paramount project will eventually comprise more than 1,400 serviced apartments, a 540-room Paramount branded hotel and 200 more residences serviced by the hotel.

Damac said it hoped to sell the apartments for an average of Dh2,750 per square foot and that construction on the scheme was already 9.7 per cent complete. It added that it had bought the land from Dubai Holding for Dh240 million (US$65.3m) with its own equity and planned to finance the majority of the construction through off-plan sales, although it planned to get bank financing to meet some construction costs.

"We are offering investors the chance to buy into the booming Dubai tourism market," Mr El Chaar said. "We opened registrations yesterday with hardly any advertising or marketing and already we received 250 registrations. People want to be part of this."

lbarnard@thenational.ae