x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Nakheel to sell 942 Dubai townhouses ahead of Dh8bn debt deadline

Nakheel is set to start selling 942 off-plan mid-market townhouses next week as the Dubai developer cautiously ramps up its development programme ahead of an Dh8 billion debt deadline in 2015.

Nakheel is taking orders for the Dh1.7 million-plus properties close to its Dragon Mart outlet mall on the outskirts of Dubai. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Nakheel is taking orders for the Dh1.7 million-plus properties close to its Dragon Mart outlet mall on the outskirts of Dubai. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Nakheel is selling 942 townhouses next week as the Dubai developer ramps up sales ahead of an Dh8 billion debt deadline in 2015.

The company, which was one of the highest-profile losers in the Dubai property crash when its debts helped to trigger the Dubai World crisis in 2009, said that it would be taking orders for the Dh1.7 million-plus properties close to its Dragonmart outlet mall on the outskirts of Dubai from Sunday.

The Warsan Village project located next to International City will also include 250 flats available for lease, a shopping centre of 365 shops as well as a recreation centre and a mosque.

Construction is expected to begin in early 2014 and to be completed 20 months later.

Nakheel is coming under increasing pressure to get more cash into its coffers as the market recovers and the company squares up to refinance an Dh8bn loan that falls due in 2015 while a Dh3.8bn sukuk bond becomes due in 2016.

The state-owned developer, known for the Palm Jumeirah development, put most of its new projects on hold during the property crash as it concentrated on agreeing a $16bn debt restructuring.

The developer said prices in Warsan Village for three-bedroom townhouses covering 2,013 square feet, would start at Dh1.7m or Dh844 per sq ft.

According to the property consultancy Asteco, house prices in Dubai range from Dh799 per sq ft in the Green Community to Dh1,997 per sq ft on the Palm Jumeirah. Although in April Emaar launched 188 townhouses at its Mira scheme in the Reem area of Dubai for prices starting at Dh988,888, that was widely seen as a marketing exercise with most homes in the scheme being sold for much higher prices.

The International City mega scheme, designed in 2004 along the lines of a traditional Arabian carpet, is intended when complete to accommodate more than 60,000 low- and medium-income residents. The design incorporates architectural styles from around the globe.

The partly completed project was hit hard by the global financial downturn, with rents tumbling between 75 and 80 per cent in the area in 2009 and 2010 as middle-income tenants moved to more luxurious accommodation and the area suffered from sewerage flooding and traffic problems.

But with rents in Dubai once again soaring, International City has been quick to benefit. According to Asteco, average rents for flats in the area rose 27 per cent over the year to June – the biggest increase in apartment rents in Dubai this year – as hard-pressed tenants searched for more affordable accommodation.

“Our townhouses are a natural progression for the area and will bring a completely new style of living to this already hugely popular community,” said Nakheel’s chairman, Ali Rashid Lootah. “We anticipate a very healthy response to the launch of the townhomes – and to the residential and retail leasing opportunities on offer at this unique complex.”

The 47.5 hectare Warsan Village will be the latest in a handful of Nakheel projects to be sold off plan this year . These also include 84 townhouses at the developer’s Jumeirah Islands project and more than 200 apartments on the Palm Jumeirah. The company has also been busy building an extension to its Dragonmart mall.

lbarnard@thenational.ae