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IQI Dubai Weekly Recap 16th – 22nd Dec

VAT impact will attract global players to Dubai real estate market

The introduction of Value Added Tax in the UAE from next month will provide major new incentives for institutional investors to enter the Dubai real estate market, according to the head of one of the country’s largest brokerages.

Firas Al Msaddi, CEO of fäm Properties, believes that the new level of transparency in real estate transactions brought about by the introduction of VAT will provide a vital extra incentive to institutional investors.

From Jan. 1, the new 5% VAT Law will be applied to all products and services in the UAE, unless exempted or zero rated by federal law, and Al Msaadi is confident that Dubai real estate will benefit from a more open and clear system in which to invest.

“When you consider the audit related implications of VAT across almost every industry and particularly in real estate, combined with the government initiatives of open source data, the market becomes increasingly attractive to global players,” said Al Msaddi.

“I’ve spoken to numerous fund managers in Geneva, London and other major financial hubs in recent months and they have all indicated that VAT will have a positive impact on the market here and they expect renewed interest in investment opportunities as a result.”

According to the Dubai Land Department, 217 nationalities invested a total of AED151 billion in Dubai’s real estate market between January 2016 and June 2017 and Al Msaddi forecasts a surge of activity from the start of 2018 from sovereign wealth funds, regional asset managers, pension and insurance companies.

“If the new laws help to improve the ethics and integrity around the real estate market in general, that can only be seen as a positive step in my mind, and institutional investors from around the world will take notice of this new system.

Source: Saudi Gazette

Prime Dubai offices cost less than a third of Hong Kong

Premium office space in Dubai is less than a third that charged in Hong Kong, the world’s most expensive market, new research by real estate consultants JLL has revealed.

Offices in Dubai International Financial Centre were ranked the 19th most expensive at $94 per sq ft per year, putting it on a par with Stockholm and Washington DC.

Hong Kong Central ($323) continues to be the world’s most expensive office submarket by a large margin, maintaining a substantial gap in premium office rents in excess of 50 percent over those of either New York’s Midtown or London’s West End.

This is driven by strong demand from firms from mainland China and compounded by ongoing supply shortages, JLL said.

It added that New York’s Midtown ($194) replaces London’s West End ($193) as the world’s second most expensive office market, with rents having moved in opposite directions over the past year.

London has seen a marginal fall in premium rents in 2017, although the decline has been far softer than anticipated and rents are expected to stabilise in 2018.

Testament to the ongoing robust market fundamentals of Greater China, the region accounts for five of the global top 10 most expensive office markets – Hong Kong Central, Beijing Finance St, Beijing CBD, Shenzhen and Shanghai Pudong.

Together with Delhi and Tokyo Marunouchi, Asia Pacific markets make up 7 of the top 10 locations.

Source: Arabian Business

Dubai firm buys ‘iconic’ London skyscraper for $357m

A subsidiary of the Dubai-based Al Gurg Group has bought an “iconic” skyscraper in one of London’s most vibrant neighbourhoods for £266.5 million ($357.1 million).

Great Portland Estate and BP Pension Fund have sold the 20-storey building in Blackfriars Road to Wolfe Asset Management, it has been announced.

The 226,271 sq ft building is let to tenants including UBM, Boodle Hatfield, Ramboll and Lonely Planet Publications.

The sale incorporates Cubitt House, the adjoining retail and residential building, where all 10 apartments have been sold on long leases and the retail unit is let to The Coffeeworks Project.

Abdulla Al Gurg, group general manager of Wolfe Asset Management, said: “The 240 Blackfriars Road building is iconic in its design and an instantly recognisable feature of the London skyline.

“It perfectly fits within our strategy of owning best-in-class commercial buildings in prominent London locations.

“Southbank is regarded as one of London’s most vibrant districts and thriving submarkets, with a unique combination of world-renowned arts and theatre institutions, hotels, luxury residential developments, excellent connectivity and prime real estate.”

Source: Arabian Business

Aldar buys Abu Dhabi’s International Tower for $179m

Aldar Properties said on Wednesday that it has completed the acquisition of International Tower, an office tower located in Capital Gate district of Abu Dhabi for AED658 million ($179.1 million).

International Tower comprises 39,000 sq m of Grade A commercial space and will immediately contribute to Aldar’s net operating income supported by a strong mix of existing tenants and robust occupancy, the developer said in a statement.

Talal Al Dhiyebi, CEO of Aldar Properties, said: “The acquisition of International Tower clearly demonstrates our belief in the strength of Abu Dhabi’s commercial real estate market.

“With a strong mix of existing tenants, this grade A office tower will make an immediate contribution to net operating income, in line with our strategy to grow recurring income from our portfolio of high-quality assets. Supported by our strong balance sheet, we will continue to assess the market for opportunities that will further drive growth of our portfolio.”

Aldar also recently announced it will retain a proportion of the Water’s Edge residential development for its asset management portfolio.

Last month, Aldar Properties reported a third quarter net profit of AED601 million ($163.6 million) on revenue of nearly AED1.4 billion.

The company added in a statement that it saw AED604 million in development sales during the quarter – with total development sales of AED2.4 billion in the nine months to the end of September.

Source: Arabian Business

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