Chinese developer in no rush to launch off-plan sales in Dubai
Oriental Pearls wants to reach key project milestones at its Dh21b development first

A new developer to Dubai, backed by Chinese investors out of Hong Kong, is taking a different sales approach to its first project — a Dh21 billion residential community at Meydan. The developer plans to reach clear project milestones before getting started on off-plan sales.

Put it down to the Chinese way of doing things. “Right now, we are at the 10 per cent mark on the construction side with Phase 1 and confirmed as such by the Dubai Land Department,” said Tariq Jarrar, Vice-President of Sales and Marketing at Oriental Pearls, which is the developer of Royal Pearls. “There are certain project protocols that the Chinese shareholders want to stick to — and that includes not rushing out with the sales. We don’t see this strategy as being a disadvantage in finding buyers.”

All through 2017, developers have stuck to one script — get on with the off-plan sales at the earliest. This way, the developers believe, they get a chance to mop up as many buyers out there. Buyers, by and large, responded and ensuring this was a bumper year for off-plan sales.

Chinese investment firms participating directly in Dubai’s development scene is still very much a rarity. But this is a status that is likely to change dramatically in the coming year or two. Already, the Chinese are emerging as a key buyer demographic in Dubai’s property market. Chinese financial institutions — including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China — had taken up exposures in a loan syndication for Five Holdings (previously known as Skai). (The loans were paid up ahead of schedule.)

If the pace of Chinese investors snapping up Dubai property picks up further, expect more development funds to come through from there. Oriental Pearls’ shareholders built their fortunes in general trading activity. Oriental Pearls expects Chinese buyers to account for about 20 per cent of the project’s sales.

As things stand now, it has not set a firm date to roll out sales. But it will be open to taking in expressions-of-interest, the official added. It picked up the substantial 4.6 million square feet of land 18 months ago. To date, it has committed over Dh1.3 billion.

River Pearls will have 36 buildings and 8,000 apartments when it is completed by 2022. Phase 1 will see 12 buildings and 1,565 units. The developer is working on setting the launch price in consultation with JLL and Knight Frank, the official added. Other developments in the area are going for between Dh1,200-Dh1,550 a square foot.

“We are back to the drawing board to see how we could add more smart-home features to the apartments,” said Jarrar. “Once that’s done, we will be in a better position to set our prices.

But, in the coming days, we should be ready to name the main contractor.” (It is believed that there are three contenders in the fray for the main contractor’s mantle.)

The Meydan area, itself part of the mega development that will be MBR City, has been one of the most active in terms of new launches this year. After starting with premium residential offerings, developers are now putting in place a wider mix into the destination. Azizi recently had back-to-back launches with its massive “Riviera” and “Victoria” projects.

There is quite a sustained level of buying activity happening with MBR City projects, including those coming directly from the master-developer Meydan.

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