A Dubai developer’s recipe for affordable housing
Sailesh Israni shares his formula for a budget-friendly residential project
Sun and Sand Developers Group recently handed over Sunbeam, a low-rise residential compound in Dubai Industrial Park, with prices that are currently among the lowest in Dubai for one- and two-bedroom apartments. The one-bedders, at around 540 sq ft, had been launched with an off-plan price of Dh395,000, while two-bedders were priced at Dh525,000. They are now priced at Dh425,000 and Dh565, 000 respectively.
With the lessons learned from his affordable housing “prototype”, Sailesh Israni, managing director, outlines three areas that help developers bring down prices, while keeping the houses fully functional: innovation, location and a versatile payment plan.
“In design, you need to come up with the maximum utilisable area and then you reduce on wastages in your apartment design,” he says. “Our one-bedroom apartment may only be 550 sq ft and it seems like it is a studio, but utility wise it has a living space, dining space, closed kitchen, master bedroom with attached toilet and a powder toilet. The living room also converts into a bedroom with the use of sofas that convert into a bed.”
To keep maintenance costs low, Sunbeam has minimal common areas and uses sustainable energy sources such as solar-powered external lighting, solar water
He adds it’s important to build in an community with ongoing development. “Any place that is developing, you need to give it a couple of years. [In this location] you have a Metro coming up next door because of the World Expo 2020. The new airport is located nearby. A lot of development is going to happen this side in a couple of years.”
For its projects, the company adopts the “classical” payment plan wherein buyers pay 25 per cent during construction, and the rest through bank mortgage when the project is complete, noting that bank financing comes “cheaper than developer finance”.
While his company does not offer post-payment plans, which many other developers now flaunt, Israni says the company shows flexibility in accommodating each buyer’s needs and financial limitations. He says this means being open to sit down with customers to find solutions to financial hurdles.
He adds: “We do not believe in post-completion payment plans. I’d much rather tie up with banks. Lending is the responsibility of the banks.”
For any industrial area, Israni says real estate serves as an umbrella industry that caters to the housing needs of the workforce. “It’s important to build in an area where there is a set of industries, where there is housing demand and people prefer to stay close to work,” he says in explaining Sunbeam’s location in an industrial area.
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