Abu Dhabi's TDIC mulls idea of affordable housing for Saadiyat Island

Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development Investment Company (TDIC) on Tuesday said that it is looking to build “affordable” housing on the capital’s upmarket Saadiyat Island as property developers across the country look to build lower cost off-plan units to attract buyers in a soft market.

Speaking on the sidelines of Cityscape Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, the TDIC chief executive Sufian Al Marzooqi said that the developer was conducting a study into the feasibility of building homes at smaller ticket prices in an attempt to tap into demand.

TDIC, the developer of Louvre Abu Dhabi, is marketing two and three-bedroom town houses at its Saadiyat Lagoons project, with prices starting at Dh2.4 million and apartments at Mamsha Al Saadiyat, where one-bedroom apartments were launched in 2014 at nearly Dh3m.

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In pictures: See a gallery of the property projects being showcased at Cityscape Abu Dhabi, 2017

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“We are studying building affordable housing,” Mr Al Marzooqi said.

“We are also reviewing the mid-market. Mid-market is very positive. There is very high demand. I think that’s another area where we need also to tap in. But at the same time we try to integrate into our market.”

The news comes in a Cityscape property exhibition dominated by off-plan property aimed squarely at investors looking to purchase at the lower end of the market.

At the stand of Aldar, Abu Dhabi’s largest listed property developer, a small queue of investors lined up on Tuesday morning to put down deposits on off-plan apartments at prices starting at Dh450,000 at the developer’s The Bridges project on Reem Island.

Bloom Holding too was heavily marketing 689 small off-plan units at its Bloom Towers in Jumeirah Village Circle in Dubai that the company launched at the Cityscape exhibition on Tuesday with prices starting at Dh343,000 for studios and Dh559,000 for one-bedrooms.

“What we have done this time around is that we’re offering two of the three towers for sale and they are exclusively studios and one-bedrooms because we’ve determined from our experience that this is what’s in demand in Dubai – actually this is probably what’s in demand in Abu Dhabi also,” said Sameh Muhtadi, the chief executive of Bloom Holding. “This is what’s in demand these days, luxury is not.”

Mohammed Al Qadi, managing director and chief executive of RAK Properties, said that his company planned to start selling 266 apartments at its Julphar Residences tower on Reem Island in Abu Dhabi this quarter.

“Normally nowadays we go small, we don’t build penthouses, we don’t build so many three-bedroom apartments,” he said. “This is where the demand is.”

Property brokers in Abu Dhabi continue to report falling property sales prices amid continued supply of units and dwindling demand as companies in the capital lay off staff in the wake of recent declines in oil prices.

According to the broker Asteco, apartment sale prices for completed properties fell by an average of 2 per cent in the first three months of the year compared with the fourth quarter of last year and 4 per cent compared with a year earlier.

Broker JLL and dubizzle put the decline at 5 per cent in the first quarter compared with a year-earlier period.

lbarnard@thenational.ae

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