It will create 2,000 homes in what the biggest launch by a private developer this year

Dubai: Danube Properties is putting the final touches to Dh1.5 billion residential community project — its biggest to date — in Dubai where unit prices start from Dh290,000 and a three-bedroom could be had for Dh1.2 million.

The project will be in Dubailand and feature more than 2,000 homes. Targeted completion is in 2022-23.

The plan is to launch the project “before the year is out”, and if so, this would be the biggest one by a private developer this year, a period when developers have been hesitant about off-plan launches fearing this would create an imbalance in demand and supply.

In fact, there is a debate raging among leading developers in the city, with one side insisting there should be a freeze on all new launches for 12 months or more, while the other side reckons it should be business as usual and leave it for property buyers/investors to decide.

But Danube is not about to be distracted by the talk going on outside. “We would love to launch the project this year itself,” said Atif Rahman, Director and Partner at Danube Properties. “Yes, the clock’s ticking away towards year-end, but we are nearly through with the pre-launch formalities. I would say we are at the 85 per cent mark.

“For the land, we go through the approval process while we are still negotiating with the master-developer. We don’t want to finalise the land without negotiating the DCRs (Development Control Regulations). It saves us a lot of time subsequently.

“If not, I would acquire the land but use buyers’ time to seek all the approvals. That’s what we don’t want to do. It has helped us maintain one of the fastest delivery-to-launch cycles.”

Boosted by handovers

There are reasons for Rahman’s relative confidence. Danube’s profile received a boost by the handover of the Glitz, its low-rise cluster in Studio City, where occupancy is at more than 90 per cent.

This reinforces a message that the developer had been pushing right through with its previous launches — launch at prices the market considers affordable.

A Dh290,000 price tag for a studio is on par with current market rates, and Danube is backing that with its usual 1 per cent monthly payments.

The 1 per cent strategy has been used by other developers as well, which assures them consistency in payments.

And this way, they do not have to resort to extended payment plans like most developers have done in the last two years.

“If we are not able to create a “smarter” project with every launch, then we are not doing justice to the consumer,” said Rahman. “What they want is something updated, something with greater value-for-money.

Some local developers have also held back sales until the project has gone past the 60-70 per cent stage of build-up. They believe buyers are more receptive these days to ready or near-ready offers.

Does Danube intend to do a similar delay-the-sales strategy? “Why should we? We have done well sticking to what we have done in the past — that is, sales right along with the launch,” he added.

Get it right

But the fears of an oversupply of newly built homes in Dubai persist. More, if developers are not able to find enough takers for these units. This is why some developers, both publicly and in private, have spoken about a freeze on all new launches.

“They may have their reasons,” said Rahman. “But we had the launch of Waves recently and we managed to sell more than 90 per cent in relatively quick time.

“If I am creating new supply, it’s my responsibility to make sure it cane be backed up with demand. I remain quite confident that we will continue to get those sales.”

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