A slice of Italy in Dubai

Developer gung-ho about demand for hotel apartments in JVC

Up-and-coming communities in Dubai such as Al Furjan, Dubai Sports City and Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC) are turning into hubs for serviced apartments. Proximity to the Expo 2020 site and fast-developing infrastructure are attracting value-conscious investors who are promised healthy returns in the range of nine to 10 per cent. While end-users can capitalise on the services provided by hotel operators, second home buyers can use the property as a holiday home for a certain period during the year. It’s clearly a win-win strategy.

All you need to do is watch out for the developer’s credibility. We spoke to the developer of two upcoming hotel apartment projects in JVC and who has already delivered a residential project in Dubai Sports City. Arthur & Hardman is the development arm of Reign Holdings which has delivered 50 projects across the UK, Bulgaria, the UAE and India. The company has a fund with a buying power of $1 billion which invests in sectors such as healthcare, recruitment and property investment and development.

The firm recently delivered 400 furnished apartments in Sports City, called Roma Giovanni Boutique Suites. The project was fully sold out. It has now launched sales for 124 fully furnished hotel apartments in Milano Giovanni Boutique Suites in JVC.

The units in Milano will be managed by a 4-star hotel operator. “We are talking to a few hotel operators, one from the Far East. We are looking at a 10-year management contract,” says Samir Salya, chairman of Reign Holdings.

He claims a fair bit of units have already been sold, with the company already receiving 25 per cent sales commitments. While interest has mostly come from UAE citizens and Europe, Reign Holdings intends to tap its client base in the Far East as well. “Previously, we have had a lot of Russian, Indian and European clients,” informs Salya.

How much it will cost?
Prices at the Dh125 million project start from Dh499,000 for a studio and go up to Dh1.3 million for a 2-bed hotel apartment.

Buyers can either purchase the unit as an end-user (or rent it out) or hand it over to the hotel operator. It will go to a rental pool and the income will be divided among owners based on their volpppunit’s area. The owner will have a certain amount of days allocated where s/he can stay in the apartment.

So, what is the rationale behind buying a hotel apartment in place of a residential unit? “A lot of people buy holiday homes in Dubai. If an apartment is not used for a significant period of time, with the owner only coming down to Dubai for a holiday, they might have some issues such as the chiller system not working, etc. We wanted to remove such glitches and also offer them all services provided by a hotel,” explains Salya.
Milano is likely to have a spa. Confirmed facilities include a cafe, swimming pool, 24-hour concierge, gym, retail and four floors of parking.

The property has already hit the 30 per cent construction mark. “We are fully self-funded. We wanted to remove the teething problems on site first. It gives confidence to the buyers,” he adds.

Payment plan
The project is expected to be handed over in June 2018 and has an attractive payment plan of 50 per cent until completion and 50 per cent at handover.

Reign Holdings has land bank worth about $150 million in Dubai. It will soon announce another hotel apartment project called Naples by Giovanni Boutique Suites in JVC.

“In 24 months, we aim to have 10 buildings in Dubai,” adds Salya. The firm also has projects in the design stage in Meydan, Dubai World Central, Dubai Marina and Business Bay. It also has plots on the Palm Jumeirah and on The World, which will, however, not see development soon until the infrastructure is ready.

Salya has a bit of advice for investors still waiting on the sidelines waiting for the market to bottom out. “The rental market is very strong in certain niche regions on the outskirts of Dubai such as Dubai Sports City, JVC, Discovery Gardens and International City with yields between nine to 10 per cent. This is more attractive than earning rents from any blue-chip property or residential property in Europe. However, Dubai is becoming extremely expensive for new expats to reside in than it was 10 to 15 years ago. Hence, new expats are looking for units just off the fringes of the city,” he explains.

He believes that prices have bottomed out in the outlying communities, offering good scope for capital appreciation, whereas the inner city is still expensive.

“The market’s been tested in Sports City. We are predicting between nine to 10 per cent yields for hotel apartments in JVC. And this is a conservative estimate,” Salya says, adding: “We are very positive that the market up until 2020 will keep growing.”

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