Renters and those forced to crowd out their parents' houses have become proud homeowners as the municipality handed over the keys to villas in a new community.
Keys to 1,000 villas given out to Emirati families
ABU DHABI // Renters and those forced to crowd out their parents' houses became proud homeowners yesterday as the municipality handed over the keys to 1,000 villas in a new community.
The three, four and five-bedroom villas were the second batch of new homes released as part of the Al Falah family housing project for nationals, on the outskirts of the city.
The project comprises 4,857 villas on a total of about 1,250 hectares. The first 1,000 villas were released in August.
Many of the new owners gathered at the municipality yesterday to receive the keys to their new homes. Keys were delivered to the homes of disabled recipients.
The new residents of Abu Dhabi's newest neighbourhood had waited between a year and a decade to receive a government home, supplied free of charge to citizens.
Nassir Al Ghanim, a retiree with a family of four, said he first submitted his housing request 10 years ago but it was delayed when a project in Al Wathba was cancelled.
"Now I'll move to our own home by January as my contract with this place expires on February 2013," he said. "I pay Dh84,000 annual rent for a three-bedroom apartment in the city."
Particularly grateful was Yousuf Al Hosni - who has a family of 11.
"I pay a huge amount of Dh140,000 a year on rent," said Mr Al Hosni. "Now I'll be able to save this money for a better future for my family."
Salem Al Junaibi, who lives in his parent's house in Al Bahia, said his family of four would be moving into the new villa soon.
"My children have already started visiting the new house to fix their decorations and plans," Mr Al Junaibi said.
Ali Al Hajery, who was given a five-bedroom villa, said: "It's very joyful moment for me and my family today, and soon we are going to move in. We thank Allah and the Rulers for their generosity."
The project is split into five residential districts, with each featuring mosques, schools and shops.
The Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan mosque, with capacity for 2,000 worshippers, is ready for use.
The finished project will include a mall, hospital and office space.
The project was ordered by President Sheikh Khalifa and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
The Lands and Houses Distribution Committee is responsible for allocating properties.
"This grant is a testament to the commitment of the wise leadership to providing decent living for Emirati families, who always remain the core of attention and care of our wise leadership," said Owaidah Al Qubaisi, acting executive director of municipal services at the municipality.
The new owners will not be allowed to rent out the houses to tenants, but nothing was further from their minds anyway.
"There is no question of renting these villas out to other residents," said a new owner. "We have been in great need of our own home to live a happy life and secure the future of our children."