Developers try to strike a balance when building family-focused homes

Despite strong competition and a reported drop in the value of larger homes, developers see opportunity in creating more family-focused residences. Indeed, well-built, spacious villas do enjoy some degree of success in the market, says Mario Volpi, chief sales officer of Kensington Exclusive Properties, but he cautions that price remains a key consideration for a large number of buyers.

“Families want to buy or rent [villas]. However, they have been struggling with job losses since the drop in oil prices, so the Dh5 million-Dh10 million bracket isn’t easy considering high deposits and mortgage costs,” says Volpi. “If you speak to agents, some will report good months, others not so good ones. There is demand to a certain point, but I would worry about the prices.”

Dubai’s reputation as an “ideal location for small businesses and start-ups” has also helped drive demand for villas, says Niall McLoughlin, senior vice-president of Damac Properties. “Other compelling reasons to live and work in Dubai include tax-free and competitive incomes, as well as the ability to enjoy a high level of security and personal safely,” says McLoughlin. “For these reasons, we are seeing more and more families opting to live in Dubai, and making it their home for the long term.”

Dubai Properties (DP) says it has also witnessed strong demand for family homes – those with three bedrooms or more. “The demand is also reflected in the high resale transactions in the secondary market,” says Masood Al Awar, chief commercial officer of DP.

Al Awar says the steady influx of new residents is creating opportunities for developers. He says Dubai’s population is expected to grow by up to six per cent over the next two years and reach around three million by 2020.

“This will further fuel the interest and need for large, spacious villas with premium finishes, along with world-class community amenities and facilities,” he says.

What’s on offer

Damac’s villas at Akoya Oxygen, which features a golf course and water park, are among the more affordable off-plan homes in the market. Properties on offer include the Bahya units, which feature three- and four-bedroom homes starting at Dh999,000 payable over five years, and Akoya Play, where three-bedroom villas of around 1,700 sq ft start at just over Dh1 million, going up to Dh1.4 million payable over three and a half years. These properties are expected to be completed by summer 2020. The five-bedroom villas, which rise three floors with a rooftop terrace, start at Dh1.45 million payable over five years.

“Families are now seeking more than just a home and are looking for comfort and convenience,” says McLoughlin.

La Quinta in Villanova in Dubailand has been designed to accommodate larger families, according to its developer, DP. The detached three- to five-bedroom villas range in size from 2,204-3,863 sq ft with prices starting at Dh2.19 million. The homes, which have Mediterranean and Portuguese-inspired designs, will feature two to three shaded car parking spaces. The gated neighbourhood of up to 250 villas will also have walking and biking trails, picnic areas, fountains, basketball courts, a mosque and retail outlets.

The Amaranta neighbourhood, earlier launched also in Villanova, adopts the “cluster homes” concept, similar to the Palmera neighbourhood in Emaar’s Arabian Ranches. “Amaranta villas will be set around an enclosed central courtyard, which will offer a secure environment for families with younger children to play and socialise, while still retaining small private back gardens,” says Lucy Bush, head of Dubai residential sales and leasing at Cluttons. “I believe that the cluster home concept will do well in this market and provide a new offering in starter villas.”

According to Bush, clustering the town houses allowed the developer to save on construction costs and use the land more efficiently. Two-bedroom homes (around 1,545 sq ft) start from Dh1.35 million, three-bedders (1,800-2,000 sq ft) from Dh1.6 million and standalone four-bedders (up to 3,000 sq ft) range from Dh1.8 million to over Dh3 million.

The properties are slated for handover in 2020.

The Quad Homes in Hartland Estates along the Dubai Canal is developer Sobha’s version of family living. The spacious 3,300-sq-ft homes cover three floors and feature a lift and sky roof. The first phase of 27 units is expect to be completed in December next year, with prices starting at around Dh5.2 million. The higher price in part reflects the more central location of the development.

The project also offers water-fronted four- to six-bedroom villas with prices going up to Dh35 million.

Mansions

Some 60 “mansions” will be completed by year end in Jumeirah Hills, located in Umm Suqeim, across the Burj Al Arab. Developed by Dubai Holdings, the residences offer 3,000 sq ft of usable space over four floors and include a rooftop terrace.

The initial outlay to purchase the property totals Dh40 million-Dh48 million, with at least Dh10 million more to customise the home, which could take another year or two. Capital appreciation, however, is guaranteed, says Volpi, who sells the Jumeirah Group-managed properties.

Buyers can choose between seven different designs, including exterior stone cladding, windows, lifts and pergolas. The interior design and landscaping will be done by the buyers, who can also avail of membership at the Burj Al Arab. The residences come in five- and six-bedroom configurations with a minimum plot size of 21,000 sq ft and built-up area close to 25,000 sq ft. Service charges are pegged at Dh3.5 per square foot.

“The demand for these palace-like homes is still there, in particular from GCC families,” says Volpi. “I don’t think you will ever find more than one or two of them on the market at any one time.”

Among the ready properties, projects that offer good value include Emaar’s Reem along Al Qudra road, where three-bedroom town houses of around 2,180 sq ft start at Dh2 million.

Property Weekly: 13 September 17

News Source: Gulf News