MAXIM HOLDING – PIONEERING
DEVELOPERS AND INVESTORS
Transforming the way you live, work and experience life
through innovative projects, products and services.
For over two decades, Maxim Holding has focused on
different dynamic business ventures as per market needs
as well as the establishment and development of luxury
residential, commercial, entertainment and leisure projects.
As one of Egypt’s first entrepreneurs and avid expert
developers, we aim to contribute to the quality of life by
seizing every potential opportunity in various sectors of the
marketplace across countries, providing exceptional quality
projects, products and services to the community, all whilst
ensuring optimum customer satisfaction and return on
What began in 1980 with the construction of Egypt’s first
high-end fully-finished apartments and luxury residential
buildings has evolved into a holding company that prides
itself in developing an all-encompassing plan for all its
projects, products and services, transforming the way people
live, work and enjoy life.
Our subsidiaries are:
• Maxim Real Estate Investment
Specialized in developing high-end residential towers and communities.
• Maxim Commercial Centre
Aims to bring memorable shopping and leisure experiences to the
market, proudly introducing Maxim Mall, our flagship commercial project.
• Royal Maxim for Tourism
Invests in building luxury hotels to serve our prestigious clients with a
• Maxim Tourism Establishment
Showcases a range of various leisure and entertainment projects such as
mini shopping malls, family entertainment destinations, bowling centers,
restaurants and country clubs.
• Maxim Construction Industry
Our own ready mix concrete plant, an aluminum panels factory and a
cement blocks factory.
• Maxim Media Production
Caters to intellectual and political programs as well as to documentaries
that aim to raise awareness as well as enhance the general cultural
standards of the Egyptian audience.
• Maxim Classics
Focused on finding exquisite, different and unique collectable antiques
such as vintage cars with plans to establish Egypt’s first private vintage
CURRENT REAL ESTATE PROJECTS
Maxim Mall – An exceptional
Located in New Cairo, in front of the American
University of Cairo, Maxim Mall offers a hyper
market, food court, international cafes and
restaurants, a designer court featuring premium
international brands, stores of various activities
and movie theaters as well as the biggest kids
and youth entertainment arcade in Egypt. Retail
spaces range from 40m2 to 300 m2.
sauna, pool, Jacuzzi, steam rooms as well other
SPA facilities. In addition, guests can enjoy
outstanding meeting and conference facilities
and an exquisite selection of restaurants.
Maxim Residence includes 116 stand alone
residential villas and twin houses, a commercial
area and a mosque in addition to landscaped
gardens. The project is spread over a total area of
over 136,000 square meters.
Royal Maxim New Cairo
Built over a total area of nearly 76,000 square
meters, Royal Maxim New Cairo includes 42 stand
alone residential villas set around the exclusive
Situated in a prime location in New Cairo,
the luxurious Kempinski hotel encompasses
over 200 guestrooms, 18 cabanas, 6 executive
suites, 14 suites, 1 wedding suite and two lavish
presidential suites. The hotel also includes
rejuvenating beauty and fitness centers with
Maxim Country Club
Encompassing a total area of over 312,000 square
meters, Maxim Country Club offers 304 stand
alone residential villas, a mall, club house and
an administrative building as well as beautifully
MARCH 2013 I CITYSCAPE I 5
8 Regional news
26 Asia news
40 Europe news
48 Americas news
MIDDLE EAST INSIGHT
14 Jordan – A small country with
18 Iraq – Strengthening the national
22 Morocco – North Africa’s
gateway to Europe
28 Azerbaijan – A country reinvents
32 Malaysia – South East Asia’s
36 Hong Kong – Temporary cooling
for the world’s ‘hottest’ property
6 I CITYSCAPE I MARCH 2013
43 European real estate in times of
crisis – a special feature
50 Argentina – Opportunity despite
54 Sub-Saharan Africa –
A continent on the rise
70 Industry comment: Ryan
Mahoney on the UAE mortgage cap
71 A day in the life of…a retail leasing
72 Movers & Shakers
73 Cityscape Events
60 Architecture: Infinity Tower, Dubai
64 Sustainability: KAPSARC, Riyadh,
68 Retail: Retail real estate in today’s
elcome to our first
of the year. 2013 is
going to be a big year for
Cityscape media. Not only
have we restructured
our format to be more
inclusive this year, but
we are also in the process
of launching our new
online portal which will
act as an exciting addition
to our print and online
versions and keep you
up-to-date with regular industry news, pungent short
stories while offering exciting interactive features.
As it becomes clear how global economic challenges are
reshaping the world’s investment climate and real estate
environment, international investor focus is increasingly
directed to emerging economies due to their immense
growth potential. Hence, we have dedicated this issue’s
cover story to sub-Saharan Africa, a region which has shown
impressive growth since the turn of the millennium. Despite
several inherent challenges, many sub-Saharan countries
display the attributes of stability and global resources
which offer good returns to investors. For our special report,
we have selected the markets of Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya,
Tanzania and Botswana and highlight some of the most
lucrative opportunities these countries have to offer.
Turning to the Middle East, we take a look at Morocco, a
Kingdom where an improved business climate and increased
consumer demand are currently boosting the high-end
real estate market. Further spurred by the government’s
tourism expansion strategy, Morocco’s real estate market is
set for extensive development over the coming years.
In Asia, Malaysia is coming to prominence among real
estate investors, particularly to those from the Middle
Eastern region. Steady real estate price growth, political
stability, pro-business government policies and a well
developed infrastructure all contribute to the emerging
attractiveness of the South East Asian country.
In other global regions, governmental restrictions on
the acquisition of US dollars in Argentina have caused a
slowdown in the country’s traditionally healthy property
market. However, new alternatives with regards to property
purchases are being found which might bring about a
paradigmatic change in the country’s real estate market.
Over the past year and a half, Europe has of course
been in the news constantly, mainly for its inability to find
a way out of the lingering sovereign debt crisis. Logically,
the continent’s real estate markets have been affected by
the economic circumstances. But who has weathered the
storm best, and why? Our special Europe feature on page
43 reveals some interesting insights.
In the retail world, so-called ‘multichannel retailing’ has
become increasingly common and is revolutionising the
way consumers shop. While this has raised concerns over
the future demand and provision of real estate for retail use,
experts say there is no need for concern as multichannel
will complement and not compete with ‘bricks and mortar’
retailing over the next few years.
Last year has without doubt been an exciting year for
Cityscape. With the local real estate market having shown
strong signs of recovery and confidence returning to the
market, we particularly look forward to our next four events.
Cityscape Jeddah will take place from 2-4 March at the
Jeddah Centre for Forums and Events, Saudi Arabia, bringing
together key industry decision makers and real estate
professionals from Saudi Arabia and beyond.
On 28 March, Cityscape Egypt will open its doors for the
second time in the Cairo International Convention Centre.
With a growing local as well as international presence, the 4
day event is expected to be an even greater success than
last year’s show.
Cityscape Abu Dhabi will be held from 16-18 April at the
Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, co-located with
the ecoConstruct Expo 2013, the only event focusing on
sustainable building solutions in the UAE. For details about
all four events, please refer to the show previews towards
the back of this issue.
Thank you for being part of our community.
Project Director Simon Cole
Editor Anna Amin
Design Davis Mathai
Advertising Adam Fox
Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this magazine is correct,
Cityscape cannot be held responsible for any errors or inaccuracies contained within the publication.
All information contained in the magazine is under copyright to Cityscape and cannot be reproduced or
transmitted in any form without first obtaining written permission from the publisher.
Simon Cole Tel: +971 (0) 4407 2640
Adam Fox Tel: +971 (0) 4408 2801
Anna Amin Tel: +971 (0) 4408 2898
Cityscape Media, Informa Exhibitions, P.O. Box 28943, Dubai, UAE
Published by: Nicholas Publishing International FZ LLC
Front cover design: LUCKY YOU! design® www.luckyyou-design.com
DECEMBER 2013 I CITYSCAPE I 7
Jones Lang LaSalle unveils ‘2013 Top Trends for UAE
Real estate investment and advisory firm Jones Lang LaSalle
recently announced its ‘2013 Top Trends for UAE Real Estate’. Being
published for the sixth consecutive year, this keynote research
assesses and forecasts the major trends which could impact and
shape the UAE real estate sector over the next twelve months.
Introducing the report Mr. Alan Robertson, CEO, Jones Lang
LaSalle MENA, said: “With an increase of 65% in the number of
transactions in 2012, the Dubai real estate sector will continue
to shift up a gear in 2013, experiencing a broader based recovery
on the back of continued economic growth. Abu Dhabi remains
18 to 24 months behind Dubai and the market is not expected to
experience an upturn in 2013. The foundations are however being
laid for a recovery from 2014, with a number of major infrastructure
projects scheduled to start later this year.”
He added: “We also expect the real estate in both markets
to benefit from increased economic activity between the UAE
and East Asia, specifically China and South Korea, as well as sub
Saharan Africa and Australia. We also look forward to the Expo
2020 announcement in November. Success will be a significant
boost to the domestic real estate market, hence our continued
support as an official bid supporter.”
In the 2013 report, Jones Lang LaSalle outlines the below key
trends affecting the UAE real estate market this year:
1. Return of confidence to the Dubai market: Factors like the
UAE’s economic growth, increased employment, Dubai’s safe
haven status and improved price/rental performance have led
to continued market confidence. With many real estate project
announcements over the past six months, this increased market
confidence has become more pronounced. The government is
keen to create a more stable market environment as illustrated by
the new mortgage caps from the UAE Central Bank.
2. Funding real estate development in 2013: Funding constraints
will apply a natural brake on the pace of new development. Usual
real estate financing routes such as off plan sales, IPO/bond issues
or bank lending are already challenged. LTV ratio caps might also
act as a deterrent as it will limit availability of mortgage finance
to end users. In 2013, new development funding is likely to come
from overseas cash purchasers and private money from other
3. Increased involvement from East Asia and the Global South:
Increased real estate investment is expected from China and
South Korea due to greater business cooperation with the UAE.
Chinese involvement is particularly pronounced in the retail sector
and is likely to continue in 2013 along with possible investments
in the hotel and tourism sectors. There is also increasing interest
from Sub Saharan Africa, particularly from oil rich countries like
Angola and Nigeria.
8 I CITYSCAPE I MARCH 2013
4. Increased choice as supply levels remain significant:
Buyers and tenants will have a multitude of choices in some
sectors in 2013, with significant levels of new supply acting as
a constraint on the overall performance of the UAE real estate
sector, possibly offsetting the positive impact of improved
5. Operational and financial management: In 2013, there will be
greater awareness of the importance of both the operational and
financial aspects of property management. Operational issues
are getting increased attention due to various factors like health/
safety considerations, demanding occupiers, stringent legislations
and adoption of best practices. On the other hand, financial issues
are also becoming increasingly important as more focus is given
towards greater transparency of operating costs. Best value
approaches are likely to be more widely applied, rather than lowest
6. Sustainability: With continued progress in 2012, sustainability
is expected to move into even greater focus in 2013. With Masdar
and Estidama regulations, Abu Dhabi will continue to take the lead.
Most sustainability initiatives in 2013 are likely to be micro and small
scale as there is a general reluctance among owners to accept
green leases. Evidence from overseas suggests sustainability is
unlikely to be fully embraced until either government regulations
force change or there is shift in local market perceptions about the
financial viability of green buildings.
7. Government initiatives: The government will remain a major
player influencing the UAE real estate market in 2013. Initiatives
such as the UAE Central Bank mortgage cap, approval of the
Dubai Urban Planning Framework and consolidation of real estate
players in Abu Dhabi will better regulate or tighten control on
market conditions. While initiatives such as regulation on housing
allowances for Abu Dhabi government employees, announcement
of major government back projects and AED 330 billion stimulus
package in Abu Dhabi will stimulate demand and market
Craig Plumb, Head of Research, Jones Lang LaSalle MENA
commented: “2013 will see an increase in confidence and sentiment
in the Dubai market generally. The market will experience a broader
based recovery, with all sectors seeing some pockets of rental
growth in 2013. Rents for selected prime office buildings are likely
to increase for the first time since 2008, but this will not be true of
all office properties in every location.
Further analysis suggests that Dubai has passed through the
peak of its construction cycle so increased demand will continue
to reduce over supply. A number of major projects have been
announced in Dubai recently but these will take some time to come
to fruition. In the meantime we would urge cautious optimism.
Good projects with secure funding and tenant commitments will
succeed, but we must avoid the over exuberance and oversupply
seen before the global financial crisis.”
He concluded: “The relationship between landlords and tenants
will continue to mature with the market seeing increased
transparency in terms of operating costs and service charges.
Both Dubai and Abu Dhabi Governments are also introducing
initiates to better regulate or control market fluctuations which we
generally welcome. Sustainability, property management, liquidity
and reduction in the oversupply of inappropriate buildings will
continue to drive and dominate the 2013 agenda.”
African property markets poised for
Demand for high quality commercial and
residential property continues to grow
across Africa on the back of the continent’s
sustained strong economic growth and
rising wealth, according to Knight Frank’s
newly released Africa Report 2013.
Africa is in the midst of a period of dynamic
economic expansion, having averaged GDP
growth of more than 5% per annum over the
last decade. This strong growth is expected
to continue and is creating wealthier
populations, particularly in the largest and
most rapidly growing urban centres. Africa’s
‘mega-cities’ such as Lagos, Nairobi, Accra,
Lusaka and Dar es Salaam are increasingly
becoming the drivers of its economic
growth and, as a result, are attracting
growing interest from occupiers, developers
In the retail sector, the increasing wealth
and sophistication of African consumers
is leading to rising demand for modern
retail formats and western-style shopping
centres. Countries such as Zambia, Ghana,
Kenya and Nigeria have seen a wave of retail
construction activity in recent years which
has delivered the first generation of modern
shopping malls to many major cities. The
construction of further, and larger, shopping
centres can be expected, as developers
seek to meet the demand for high quality
retail space from increased numbers of
international retailers entering Sub-Saharan
markets and major South African chains
pursuing expansion plans elsewhere in the
In the office sector, many key African
cities have severe shortages of high quality
space built to the specifications expected
by international companies. This scarcity
of supply has led to extremely high rents
in some cities, particularly where there
is strong demand for office space from
international occupiers from the oil and
gas sector. Indeed, prime office rents in
Luanda and Lagos are amongst the highest
in the world. In Luanda, recent construction
completions have eased some of the
pressure on the market and rents have
become more affordable over the last twelve
months but, even so, at USD 150 per sqm per
month, prime rents remain well above the
levels seen in leading global office markets
such as London, New York and Hong Kong.
Oil companies and the banking sector are
established sources of demand for office
space in Africa, but it is also noteworthy that
African economies are diversifying and non-
traditional sectors are emerging. The growth
of mobile technology in Africa has been a
particularly prominent phenomenon over
the last decade. Africa’s technology boom
is generating new sources of office market
demand and the continent is now home to
a number of growing technology clusters,
such as ‘Silicon Savannah’ in Nairobi and
‘Silicon Lagoon’ in Lagos.
In the residential sector, the need for
greater volumes of good quality housing
is reflected in a number of ambitious new
suburbs that are either under construction
or planned by private property developers
on the outskirts of existing large cities.
Examples include the Eko Atlantic scheme
on Victoria Island in Lagos, Tatu City in
Nairobi and La Cité du Fleuve in Kinshasa.
While all of these projects remain at very
early stages, they may herald a wave of
new large scale urban developments across
Africa. The demand from offshore buyers for
high quality residential accommodation has
continued to increase in countries including
Morocco, Kenya and South Africa.
Commercial Research, said: “Africa’s
impressive economic progress is generating
a growing need for the construction of
good quality property in major cities across
the continent. The rising wealth of Africa’s
middle class is leading to demand for
increasingly sophisticated retail formats
and better quality residential property.
Meanwhile, as overseas companies seek to
expand into Africa’s growing markets, and as
African-based companies grow themselves,
there is a need for investment in the
construction of high quality office buildings,
which are currently in short supply in many
Peter Welborn, Head of Africa, commented:
“Property investors and developers looking
for emerging market opportunities are
increasing external investment in Africa,
particularly as the growth markets of the
last decade such as Asia Pacific and Central
& Eastern Europe mature and the level of
returns they offer begins to diminish. Many
African countries remain challenging places
in which to do business, but for those able
to steer their way through African property
markets, there is the promise of high returns
and significant growth potential. Knight
Frank continues to help investors navigate
the rapids in over 40 of the continent’s most
MARCH 2013 I CITYSCAPE I 9
Anantara set to launch in Dubai on the Palm in partnership
with Seven Tides
Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, a leading developer and
operator of luxury hotels, resorts and spas, has announced the
expansion of its presence in the United Arab Emirates with the
launch of its first hotel in Dubai. The Anantara Dubai Palm Jumeirah
Resort & Spa is a five star resort on the crescent of Dubai’s iconic
Palm Jumeirah, and will open in September 2013.
Partnering with Dubai-based owning company Seven Tides, the
progressive hospitality and real estate developer, the luxurious
new property is designed to reflect the brand’s Asian heritage and
will bring Anantara’s experience and discovery-lead hospitality to
the vibrant and continually expanding Dubai market.
Set amidst lush landscaping, the new resort and spa will offer a
total of 293 guest rooms and suites clustered in units of four to
eight to maximise privacy, with 130 guest rooms featuring direct
access to 11,000 square metres of lagoon pools. The 12 Beach Villas,
18 Over Water Villas and three highly exclusive Royal Beach Villas
give the resort an indulgent and exotic feel. Facilities will include a
private beach, three natural lagoons, water sports, a shoreline infinity
pool, an Anantara Spa sanctuary with 12 treatment rooms, a fitness
studio and two tennis courts. An elaborate entertainment area will be
accompanied by meeting rooms with state-of-the-art audiovisual
equipment. A ballroom accommodating 300 people and the private
beach will provide inspirational venues for events and weddings.
Six themed restaurants and bars include an all-day dining
restaurant serving classic Middle Eastern and international
cuisine, an Australian inspired grill, an Asian themed specialty
restaurant, a beachfront Mediterranean restaurant, a lobby lounge
with a dedicated shisha deck, and poolside refreshments. For the
ultimate in tailored private dining, Anantara’s signature ‘Dining by
Design’ concept will invite guests to dine in a dream setting with a
private chef and butler.
When it opens, Anantara Dubai Palm Jumeirah Resort & Spa will
be a great complement to Anantara’s three existing properties
in Abu Dhabi – Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, which
is positioned in the world’s largest uninterrupted sand desert,
Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara, located on Sir Bani Yas
Island, and Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa in Abu Dhabi City. The
new resort promotes the brand’s distinctive reputation for luxury
discovery in the region, and also creates a landmark presence with
such a strategic base in Dubai.
William E. Heinecke, Chairman and CEO of Minor International,
the owning company of Anantara, commented: “We are excited
to announce our first Anantara property in Dubai which is a
significant milestone for Minor. This new resort strengthens our
footprint in the key strategic market of the UAE and I am confident
it will greatly contribute to our success there.”
Cluttons in the Middle East reports optimistic signs of
growth in the Abu Dhabi residential market
According to a recently issued report by Cluttons, certain areas of
Abu Dhabi are defying the overall trend of declining rent prices and
performing at an encouraging level.
Areas which have benefited from the recent development
of good quality residential communities, such as Raha Beach,
Raha Gardens, Al Reem Island, Saadiyat and Al Reef, have all
demonstrated rental price increases over the last six months
which appear set to continue throughout 2013.
The increases are linked to general market demand. This is being
driven by an influx of people moving to Abu Dhabi from both Dubai
and outside the region, as well as relocating within the city from
older buildings, which lack equivalent facilities to the modern
developments. The general standard of living and quality of build
has improved in Abu Dhabi, which has also encouraged movement
within the marketplace.
The recent decree that all government employees, as well as those
who work for government-affiliated companies, must live within
Abu Dhabi has helped fuel residential property demand. The Dubai
to Abu Dhabi migration is expected to continue throughout 2013 as
existing leases in Dubai expire. Indications are that tenants working
across various sectors including the airline, construction, energy
and professional services industries are moving to Abu Dhabi.
Average rents in Abu Dhabi have also become more affordable
whilst Dubai rents have begun to rise, bringing the most soughtafter areas of both cities closer together. For example, the
10 I CITYSCAPE I MARCH 2013
average rent of a two bedroom apartment in Dubai Marina is AED
125,000 (USD 34,000) per annum, while the average two bedroom
apartment rent in Al Reem, Raha Beach and Saadiyat range from
AED 105,000 – 145,000, dependent on quality. This has helped to
encourage people to relocate to the capital.
Recent announcements on future developments, investment
into infrastructure and real estate, and the Sorouh/Aldar merger
have also helped bring confidence to the marketplace. There are
many positive signs that, as long as Abu Dhabi continues to offer
enough jobs and improved lifestyle, people will continue moving to
Whilst further stock is expected to be brought to the market
throughout 2013, Cluttons believes that high quality developments
with good facilities will continue to be in high demand and
experience rental increases.
The average two bed rent in older buildings on the island is
currently AED 95,000 per annum, a 10% decrease over the past
12 months. The increased supply of new apartments is expected
to put downward pressure on rents across the island as people
choose to relocate to newer buildings.
Landlords in older buildings will be forced to further lower rents as
vacancy increases, in order to secure a return on their investment.
The redevelopment of older buildings will also be crucial to protect
rents and reduce vacancy levels, if they are to compete with new
stock entering the marketplace.
Emaar Properties signs USD 500 million financing facility
to develop ‘Emaar Square’ in Turkey
Global property developer Emaar Properties PJSC has signed a
new financing facility amounting to USD 500 million (approximately
AED 1.835 billion) with a consortium of banks including Standard
Chartered Bank, Emirates NBD Capital Limited and HSBC Bank PLC.
Underlining the financial strength and commitment of the
company to undertake large scale projects, the new financing
facility will be used for the development of Emaar Square, the
second mixed-use development by Emaar in Turkey. The facility
will be repaid in seven years.
Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties PJSC, said:
“Having recorded strong financial performance in 2012, Emaar is
focused on the on-schedule completion of our master-planned
projects in key emerging markets and in Dubai. The new financing
facility highlights Emaar’s ability to raise long-term finance and
reiterates the strong market confidence in our development
competencies and our ability to successfully deliver projects.”
He added: “With the current positive growth outlook of Emaar
in all its key markets, we are exploring new opportunities to
strengthen our project portfolio and create long term value for our
stakeholders. Turkey is one of our key markets, where we have
successfully handed over homes in the first phase of our first
integrated community, Tuscan Valley, and we are now developing
Emaar Square in Istanbul that will further contribute to the
country’s socioeconomic growth.”
Emaar Square spans 73,000 square metres and offers luxury
living in a stunning new urban neighbourhood. The development
comprises over 1,000 luxury homes, a 180-room five star hotel, a
wide range of leisure facilities, offices, and a world class shopping
mall, the largest in Turkey. The Emaar Square Shopping Mall, a
trophy asset within the development, will offer city dwellers a
world class shopping and leisure destination.
Located in Büyükçekmece, Tuscan Valley introduced the concept
of master planned communities to Istanbul, featuring villas, and
the Tuscan Shopping Arcade, with 25 stores and approximately
3,700 square metres of rentable commercial space.
Jordan property makes modest gains in 2012
Rental rates in Jordan were mostly unchanged year-on-year
during 2012, compared with 2011, according to the recently released
Q4 2012 report by property management company Asteco.
During 2012, apartment rental rates for one and two bedroom
apartments remained unchanged whereas increased demand for
three-bedroom units in areas such as Abdoun, Um-Othainah, AlRabiah, Der Ghabar and 4th Circle resulted in an average increase of
2%. 4th Circle remained the most sought after area, with a threebedroom apartment costing JOD 16,500 (USD 23,300) per annum.
“The demand was predominantly coming from local residents
as well as some expatriates looking for medium to large sized
apartments in the range of 250 to 350 square metres,” said
Hussein Safadi, General Manager, Asteco.
The government announced a new policy for energy sources
including gas, solar, oil and electricity which caused increases in
sectors such as transportation, construction and raw materials.
This had a direct effect on developers who were forced to review
their pricing strategy which in turn resulted in apartment sales
prices to increase by 10 and 11% in areas such as Der Ghabar and
4th Circle, while the rest of the market gained 5 to 7% on average,
year-on-year to the end of 2012.
Average sales prices per square metre in Abdoun and 4th Circle
were the most expensive at JOD 1,100, while Al-Rabiah remained
the most economic at JOD 850 per square metre.
Low demand coupled with increasing supply has resulted in
decreasing average office rental rates of 3% compared to the
previous quarter. Although there is some interest from local
companies the annual average rate of decline in most areas ranged
between 2 and 5%. The exceptions were Um-Othainah which saw
average rental prices go up by 2% and Medina Monawarah where
rents slipped 11% during 2012.
A stagnant office sales market has resulted in no change for
sales prices, with the exception of Wadi Saqrah which witnessed
an average sales price increase of 3% during 2012.
MARCH 2013 I CITYSCAPE I 11
Welcome to Aqaba
Aqaba is a fusion of history, nature, and city life surrounded by
picturesque mountains and blue sea.
Enjoying year-round sunshine, Aqaba invites you to relax on
its beaches, partake in the exhilaration of its water sports and
to explore the coral reefs of the Red Sea with its stunningly
colourful marine life.
Around its quiet streets and between its modern structures,
Aqaba holds special monuments with a rich history dating back
to the Iron Age, continuing across ancient civilizations, from the
Edomites, Nabateans, Romans and Byzantines to Muslims.
A blend of cultures and traditions and a long history as a
trading center are reflected in the warm welcome the city
extends to all visitors.
But that is not all; the striking desert landscape of Wadi Rum
and the Nabatean city of Petra, one of the Seven World
Wonders, are only a short drive away. Aqaba, with its excellent
accommodation and entertainment options, is an ideal hub
from which to explore these sites.
perpetually moving sand dunes are just some of the elements
of Wadi Rum’s splendour.
Get a taste of desert life. Stare at a dazzling panoply of stars
in the desert night, ride a camel through winding canyons,
climb mountains, sand surf on golden dunes or simply marvel at
the stunning landscape in front of you.
Aqaba – Red Sea
Aqaba offers sun-seekers and water sports lovers the perfect
beach holiday and a great deal more. Small and friendly,
Aqaba is easy to get around and has a rich mix of history,
culture, shopping and good food.
It invites its visitors to relax, to take their time to explore, enjoy
its ancient past and modern facilities, its lively night life and
Aqaba’s accommodation ranges from luxury five-star to
simple hotel and camping option, catering to every imaginable
taste and budget.
Archaeological excavations are bringing to light ever more of
Aqaba’s rich history, which can be tracked back as far as the
Iron Age. Traces of the once extensive Byzantine town of Ayla,
built about 400 A.D., still remain.
However, some of Aqaba’s biggest attractions are without
doubt the beautiful coral reefs. Underwater life features some
of the world›s most amazing scenery with a marine ecosystem
of more than 140 species of corals and countless varieties of
brightly coloured fish, some unique to the region.
A forty minute drive takes you to the magical desert
landscape and majestic mountains of Wadi Rum.
Colour-shifting landforms, giant sandstone mountains,
towering plateaus, steep canyons, mushroom rocks and
Petra is to Jordan what the Pyramids are to Egypt – a startling
testament to man’s engineering prowess. Petra, also known as
the Rose City, is a must-see attraction of awe inspiring beauty.
It is by far the most visited site in Jordan, and the only way to
appreciate why is to see it for yourself.
Petra’s history goes back to prehistoric times, but it is most
known for the Nabatean civilization that built it and flourished
in its rock-cleft alleys around 500 BC. Nabateans, an ancient
Arab people, established Petra as their capital around the 6th
century BC. Petra soon became a center for spice, silk, and
incense trades, controlling the routes that ran from southern
Arabia on to Palmyra in the Syrian Desert. Today, Nabatean
monuments reflect a cultural and artistic diversity that is owed
to the times when Petra was an international trading hub.
ASEZA’s vision for Aqaba as a
prime tourist destination
Since the establishment of Aqaba Economic Zone (ASEZ) in
2001, there has been strong emphasis on realising Aqaba’s
international tourism potential. To facilitate this, 50% of planned
investments have been geared towards tourism.
ASEZ currently has several major tourism related real estate
projects under construction which will add more than 5,000
hotels rooms as well as new tourism services such as golf
courses, premium entertainment and MICE facilities to the zone.
Between 2005 and 2012, Aqaba has shown steady growth
in overnight visitor numbers. It has achieved this by focusing
its marketing on specific markets with charter tourism and
cruise ships potentials. As a direct result, Aqaba received 1,100
charter flights for the year 2012 and 156 cruise ships since the
last quarter of 2012 to date.
Bed nights increased from 820 thousand nights in 2008 and
reached more than 1 million in 2012. At the same time, the
number of tourist arrivals to Aqaba increased significantly,
both from the MENA region and further afield, mainly from
Scandinavia, UK, USA, France, Belgium, Holland Italy and Russia.
Some of ASEZ’s tourism projects include:
Covering an area of 3.2 million square metres, Marsa Zayed is
a mega mixed-use project, including a 2 kilometre waterfront
and contains high-rise residential towers, retail, recreational,
entertainment, business and financial districts as well as several
Several marinas will add to the current berthing capacity
which will transform Aqaba into a premier yachting destination;
in addition to a state-of-the-art cruise ship terminal, which will
become one of Jordan›s touristic landmarks and a welcoming
gateway to Aqaba.
The Ayla Oasis development aims to create 17 kilometres of
new coastline by developing a series of man-made lagoons
open to the Gulf of Aqaba. Once completed, Ayla Oasis will
feature a variety of hotels, residential communities, Jordan’s
first international standard golf course and a town centre
encompassing a marina, retail units, cafes, entertainment and
Aseza partners with Turkish Airlines
As part of ASEZA’s continuous efforts to promote Aqaba as
a world class leisure destination, an agreement has been
reached with Turkish Airlines who will begin operating 3
regular weekly flights from Istanbul Ataturk to King Hussein
International Airport from April 2013. The route will link
Aqaba with Turkish Airlines’ extensive flight network of 96
destinations, which is now the 5th largest in the world and
includes more countries than any other global airline.
Saraya Aqaba is located on the western side of the city of
Aqaba and built around a man-made lagoon. The USD 1 billion
development will include five 5-star and 2 boutique hotels,
a variety of residential offerings, a water and sports park in
addition to numerous other entertainment options.
Tala Bay was developed in a distinctive architectural style
that blends Jordanian and regional architecture in a modern
and friendly atmosphere. Another distinguishing feature of this
single community resort is its 2-kilometre private sandy beach
on the Red Sea, which offers wide selection of activities for the
At the heart of Tala Bay is the Marina Town, consisting of villas,
apartments, duplexes, swimming pools, commercial centres,
restaurants and more. Tala Bay also features a private Beach
Club and four international hotels.
Madaen Al Aqaba
Located Yamaniah Heights area in the southern beach of
Aqaba, Madaen Al Aqaba consists of the Seascape Residents
and the Seastar Residents.
Seascape Residents is a group of 74 luxurious villas, nestled
comfortably in a secure residential area between Aqaba’s
magnificent mountain range and the blue waters of the red
Seastar Residents is an exclusive gated community, consisting
of town houses and apartments, most of which enjoy stunning
sea views. The finest amenities include swimming pools, a gym,
spa and a high-end retail area.
I nter nation a l i n t e re st i n J o rd an i s g ro wi n g wi th m an y
G C C inv es to r s t u r n i n g t o t h e Ki n g do m as a pro m i s i n g
ne w real es t a t e m a r k e t , re c o gn i s i n g th e po ten ti al
cap ital gain s t o b e m a d e . F rom th e co as tal to wn o f
Aqa b a to th e c a p i t a l A m m a n , th e Ki n g do m h as s everal
la r ge s cale re a l e st a t e p ro j e c t s u n der devel o pm en t.
ordan’s economy continues to grow
at a steady pace, recording a GDP
increase of 2.6% in the third quarter of
2012, says the Jordanian Department
of Statistics (DOS).
Most sectors have shown positive
growth during Q3 2012, compared with
the third quarter of 2011. According to DOS,
the wholesale and retail industries, as well
as the restaurants and hotel sector have
achieved the highest growth rate by 8.2%
in the third quarter of 2012, compared with
the same period of 2011.
As an emerging market with promising
growth potential, Jordan enjoys the third
freest economy in west Asia and North
Africa, and the 32nd freest worldwide
(2013 Index of Economic Freedom, Wall
Street Journal/Heritage Foundation).
The Kingdom has more free trade
agreements than any other Arab country
which are part of a series of significant
economic reforms implemented by King
Abdullah to attract foreign investment
14 I CITYSCAPE I MARCH 2013
and spur job creation. King Abdullah also
embarked on an aggressive campaign
to turn Jordan into a regional hub for
technology (ICT), as well as a prominent
tourism destination. In 2000, Jordan
became a member of the World Trade
Hussein Safadi, General Manager at
Asteco Jordan, pointed out that over the
last couple of years, Jordan has made
significant efforts to attract foreign
investors, particularly from the GCC region.
“The government has worked very hard
over the last two years to attract GCC
investors into the country’s economy,
particularly into the power and oil
resources sector, which is considered
as the most important challenge to the
country,” he said.
Commenting on the current state of
Jordan’s real estate market, Safadi said:
“On the back of an improving political
situation and good business environment,
we expect this year to be better than 2012.
In addition, some of the major developers
have recently corrected their financial
models and are planning to re-mobilise.
Generally, the Jordanian real estate
market is in a positive mood. Jordan has
also proved to be the most stable country
in the region recently given the surrounded
Tourism is one of the most important
sectors in the Jordanian economy. In 2010,
it is estimated that tourism and services
accounted for approximately 66% of the
country’s GDP, real estate services firm
According to Jones Lang LaSalle, the
Jordanian government is implementing a
new tourism strategy that aims to attract
tourists not just from the GCC but also
from Turkey, Greece and the Scandinavian
countries, as sources indicate that these
segments represent high potential for
Marsa Zayed Cruise -Ship Treminal
Jordan’s tourism sector.
Furthermore, the government has been
aggressively promoting the historical
site of Petra after it was voted one of the
new Seven World Wonders along with
activities of the Dead Sea, enhancing the
branding of the Jordanian territory not just
within the region but also globally.
According to the Jordan Tourism Board,
tourism revenues rose by 22% to USD
3.3 billion in the first six months of 2012
compared to USD 2.7 billion in the same
period of 2011, highlighting the continued
growth of the country.
Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ)
With a mission to create a sound and
attractive business environment in Aqaba
that will provide an operational base
for firms seeking to expand markets, in
2001, the Aqaba Special Economic Zone
(ASEZ) was launched. ASEZ is a dutyfree, low tax multi-sector development
zone encompassing the total Jordanian
coastline of 27 kilometres, the sea ports
of Jordan, an international airport and the
city of Aqaba with its current population of
115,000 people. The zone encompasses an
area of 375 square kilometres and offers
global investment opportunities ranging
from tourism, recreational and professional
services to multi-modal logistics, value
added industries and manufacturing.
With tourism at its centrefold, ASEZ
has currently several large scale real
estate developments under its belt. The
Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority
(ASEZA), the institution responsible for the
management and development of ASEZ,
says no less than 50% of the masterplan’s
investment will take place in the tourism
ASEZA’s vision was to attract USD 6
billion of investments by 2020. By 2008,
ASEZ had already attracted 18 billion of
committed investments, ASEZA said.
Within ASEZ, the Marsa Zayed
development is the Kingdom’s largest
ever tourism and real estate project.
Master developer is Al Maabar Jordan
Investments Company, a subsidiary of
UAE-based Al Maabar which is formed by
Abu Dhabi’s largest real estate developers
and investment vehicles Mubadala, Aldar
Properties, Sorouh Real Estate, Al Qudra
Holding, Reem Investments and Reem
Covering an area of 3.2 million square
metres, Marsa Zayed is a mega mixed-use
project, including a 2 kilometre waterfront
with several marinas and contains highrise residential towers, retail, recreational,
entertainment, business and financial
districts as well as several hotels. Phase 1
is expected to be completed by 2014.
Another mixed-use project within ASEZ
is Saraya Aqaba, located on the western
side of the city of Aqaba and built around
a man-made lagoon. The USD 1 billion
development will include a set of luxury
hotels, a variety of residential offerings
and a waterpark.
MARCH 2013 I CITYSCAPE I 15
“We are optimistic to see more new developments in the
future because Jordan’s economy is distinguished by a healthy
environment and good potentials. ”
The Ayla Oasis development aims to create 17 kilometres of new
coastline by developing a series of man-made lagoons open to the
Gulf of Aqaba. Once completed, Ayla Oasis will feature a variety of
hotels, residential communities, Jordan’s first international standard
golf course and a town centre encompassing a marina, retail units,
cafes, entertainment and recreational facilities. Phase 1 of the
project will be completed in 2014.
Other tourism related projects in ASEZ include Tala Bay, which will
be home to a variety of luxury hotels, various residences, a marina,
golf club and retail outlets.
However, current real estate development is not limited to
Jordan’s Red Sea coast. Amman, the largest city and capital of
Jordan, also regarded as the business capital of the Levant, has
several large scale construction projects underway such as the Al
Abdali Urban Regeneration project, Amman’s new downtown, the
Jordan Gate Towers and Taj Mall.
In December last year, UAE-based property developer DAMAC
Properties has topped out its first development in Jordan. Located
in the heart of Al Abdali, The Heights is a luxury 36-storey
residential tower and will be the highest in the country when it
is delivered later this year. DAMAC is also working alongside The
Heights to deliver two other buildings; The Lofts is already passed
the sixth floor and The Courtyard is past the fifth.
“We have experienced very strong interest from Jordanians,
both in Amman and working abroad, as well as the international
market. Only a very small number of apartments remain and we
expect The Heights to have sold out before the end of the year,”
commented Niall McLoughlin, Senior Vice President of DAMAC
16 I CITYSCAPE I MARCH 2013
DAMAC added that many GCC investors are now turning to
Jordan as a promising new real estate market, recognising the
potential capital gains to be made.
Looking ahead, Asteco believes Jordan’s real estate market is on
the right track to diversify its product further.
“We are optimistic to see more new developments in the
future because Jordan’s economy is distinguished by a healthy
environment and good potentials. Once the mega projects
currently under construction are completed, this will positively
reflected on the Jordanian economy in different sectors and also
help to address the unemployment problem in the country,” Safadi
Fourteen months after the end of the American occupation of Iraq,
the country is in a rebuilding phase with construction having become
a major driver of the local economy. Supported by the stabilisation of
the political situation and an improving security level, the country is a
safe place to invest for the next two decades, the Gover nment says.
18 I CITYSCAPE I MARCH 2013
“There is no doubt that the Iraqi
real estate market is tempting
and developing dramatically, it
has been expanded and grown
in the last 4 years on the base
of a sense of stability, both
politically and economically.
The achievement in the security
situation that was made in
the past few years helped the
market to attract local and
international investors to launch
major projects in the country.”
early nine years after the start of the Second Gulf War
in Iraq, the U.S. military ended its operations there in
mid-December 2011. Over recent years, the country has
been working hard to regain stability and boost the local
economy. According to the World Bank, an improving security
environment and foreign investment into Iraq are helping to spur
economic activity, particularly in the energy, construction, and
retail sectors. As the country is in a rebuilding phase in the wake
of the U.S. occupation, construction is now a major driver of the
Still, Iraq’s largely state-run economy is dominated by the oil
sector, which provides more than 90% of government revenue.
For 2013, the World Bank has forecast a GDP growth rate of 12
percent, the highest in the region.
On the back of increasing oil production, GDP is expected to
further grow over the next few years. When visiting Cityscape
Global in Dubai in October last year, Muhammed Al Darraji, Iraqi
Minister of Construction and Housing, said that Iraqi oil production
is projected to more than double its share of global production by
According to UN-HABITAT, the United Nations agency for
human settlements, the Iraqi housing sector suffers from
major deficiencies including widespread housing shortages,
particularly in urban areas where over 70 percent of the population
lives. Furthermore, acute infrastructure problems alongside
deteriorating housing conditions have created the slum-like
conditions experienced by nearly 58% of urban residents, says
There is currently a shortfall of 2 million housing units for Iraq’s
population, says the Housing Minister.
In an effort to address these issues, in 2011, the Iraqi Government
implemented the Iraq National Housing Policy, which outlines
objectives for building new homes, offers opportunities to
international developers over the coming years and covers areas
such as land management, housing production, housing finance,
infrastructure for housing, housing management & maintenance,
housing construction materials and informal housing.
At the end of last year, the government had 60,000 housing units
under construction and is set to launch twelve further housing
projects this year, Al Darraji stated.
The lack of available housing offers great opportunities to
investors while more stable economic conditions and an improving
security level are having a positive effect on the real estate market,
Ahmad Al-Emara, Operations Manager at Sama Al-Iraq
Investment, an Iraqi investment company focusing on real estate,
banking and construction, commented:
“There is no doubt that the Iraqi real estate market is tempting
and developing dramatically, it has been expanded and grown in
the last 4 years on the base of a sense of stability, both politically
The achievement in the security situation that was made in the
past few years helped the market to attract local and international
investors to launch major projects in the country.”
Demonstrating their confidence in the Iraqi real estate market,
Dubai-based global property developer Emaar Properties has
signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Iraqi Ministry
MARCH 2013 I CITYSCAPE I 19
“I do expect that the country
will become a more and more
vital environment for [attracting
major] projects which Iraq hasn’t
seen for three decades now,
based on the increase of the
national income of Iraq and the
high demand in the market.”
of Construction & Housing during Cityscape Global last year, to
jointly develop residential, commercial and tourism development
projects in Iraq.
Ahmad Al Matrooshi, Managing Director of Emaar Properties,
said the company will develop housing and commercial projects in
Iraq to help address the growing demand for housing, office space
and retail real estate in the country.
“These in turn will meet the goals of the Iraqi National
Development Plan to create new jobs and strengthen ancillary
industries. Iraq is one of the promising emerging markets in
the Middle East region, and our partnership with the Ministry
of Construction & Housing complements our strategic goal to
expand to key international markets,” Al Matrooshi said.
The joint projects to be developed by the Ministry and Emaar will
be decided in due course based on the National Development Goal
With the economy projected to grow at 12 per cent this year,
the Ministry has great confidence in Iraq as a strong investment
platform for projects in several key sectors including housing and
While sharing this view, Al-Emara pointed out that current
development should be accompanied by legislative changes
that organise and facilitate the work of local and international
companies in Iraq.
“We still need more packages of laws and governmental services
that enable developers to start bigger, more sophisticated projects
with international partners to face the demand in different sectors.
20 I CITYSCAPE I MARCH 2013
[We also need] a healthier banking system and above of all that
corruption inside the state departments [ceases],” he said.
Al-Emara also identified the absence of new technologies and
facilities alongside with an outdated banking system as major
challenges that hinder the inflow of additional foreign direct
investment and thus impede on Iraq’s growth.
“I can add one more challenge which is the difficulties that
companies face in attracting professional and qualified human
resources from outside Iraq,” he added.
According to the World Bank, other obstacles Iraq faces include a
tenuous political system and concerns about security and societal
stability, an outdated infrastructure and high unemployment.
“Unemployment remains a problem throughout the country.
Encouraging private enterprise through deregulation would make
it easier for both Iraqi citizens and foreign investors to start new
businesses,” the World Bank stated.
Analysts say that if Iraq can overcome these challenges, it looms
as one of the region’s most vibrant construction markets in the
Prospects for the future
Given the government’s efforts to boost the country’s real estate
sector and the fact that an increasing number of international
developers are looking to launch projects in the country, Al-Emara is
positive about the further development of Iraq’s real estate market.
“I do expect that the country will become a more and more vital
environment for [attracting major] projects which Iraq hasn’t seen
for three decades now, based on the increase of the national
income of Iraq and the high demand in the market,” he concluded l
Developments for the Future
In a time marked by shifting political and economic
circumstances, investors and project owners face several
challenges, both on a regional as well as on a global level.
Orascom Development and Management (ODM), a subsidiary
of the industry leader Orascom Development Holding AG
(ODH), was created to carry the burden of responsibility
towards the real estate development industry through
transferring ODH’s 20 years of knowledge and experience as
reliable investors. The desire to maintain a highly competitive
par within this demanding industry has made it imperative
for ODM to extend its
As Orascom Development
Holding AG’s extended
arm in development and
primary purpose is to
comprehensively manage real
estate development projects
across the globe on behalf of
credible investors in order to
accomplish successful business
ODM’s models provide various
services and real estate
solutions that accommodate
different project types. The
business model is based on
a close analysis and study of
each and every project on
file; the goal is to determine
a proper business plan that
will effectively and quickly
achieve success. Upon this study, ODM exposes the project
or the investor to the needed field of expertise inherited
from Orascom Development Holding AG. Thus it opens the
gate for our business partners to access a diversified resource
of international expertise, qualifications, and best practices
around the globe. This ultimately ensures an unquestionable
added business value.
ODM follows an explicit, very well defined workflow process
that is only determined once the project in hand is fully
examined. Every step in the process holds enough flexibility
to accommodate various types of projects as well as different
clients’ requirements. This may include different segments
such as hospitality, residential, commercial and administrative
among others as well as various end consumer categories.
The overall flexibility of the business model permits
cooperation in projects that require specific elements out of
the whole business model chain. In other words, Orascom
Development & Management acts not only as developing
masters but also as professional consultants in all aspects
related to real estate development and building living
This business model has proven successful over the past
few years in Makadi, a project located in the heart of Makadi
Bay, 28 kilometers from Hurghada on the Red Sea. Makadi
is a leading integrated, self-sustained, gated community,
designed throughout phases
over a total area of 3,750,000
square metres. 80% of the land
is to be developed as vast green
areas. Developed by ODM and
owned by Roaya for Tourist
and Real Estate Development,
Makadi‘s mission is to provide
its residents a real opportunity
to own a luxurious house with
affordable prices and to create
a marvelous community and
atmosphere for every member
of the family to enjoy all year
long. While multiple projects
are in the pipeline, the ODM
business model prides itself with
another success story: Sawari,
the coming destination at Sahl
Hasheesh, Red Sea, owned by
Egyptian Resorts Company.
ODM welcomes investors and
businesses to benefit from
its solid commitment, distinguished pool of talents and
accumulated experience driven from ODH. Whether it is a
new project or one that is being halted to financial, technical,
and/or operational difficulties, working hand in hand with
ODM will significantly enhance the project’s state and
subsequently yield a rewarded return on investment.
For more information about ODM visit our website:
or call 02-24616199, +2-01281669935 , +2-01223326443
In the wake of the global financial crisis and political turmoil that has
shaken the Arab region since 2011, Morocco’s real estate market is
holding up well. An improved business climate and increased consumer
demand for high-end real estate are boosting the market while the
government pursues an aggressive tourism expansion strategy.
Bab al Bahar, Rabat
22 I CITYSCAPE I MARCH 2013
Bab al Bahar, Rabat
n spite of the uncertainties raised by the Arab Spring, Morocco
showed resilient growth over the last two years, a trend
expected to continue in 2013.
According to Jones Lang LaSalle, Morocco’s strengths lie in
several facts which include its strategic geographical location not
far from Europe, its young and relatively diversely well trained
population and its strong GDP and economic growth with a
population that has access to financing. Morocco also has strong
banking and finance services less exposed to financial risks, the
Additionally, the country has a well-developed communication
network and improving transport connections such as ONCF’s
(Organisation National des Chemins de Fers) projects that improve
train stations and permit the use of high speed trains, a first for
The Moroccan Government is also encouraging FDI through
incentives such as a modified company taxation system
(exemption for VAT and corporate tax for 5 years or more) in
specific areas of Morocco for different economy sectors, JLL says.
In the wake of the global financial crisis and political turmoil
that has shaken the Arab region since 2011, Morocco’s real estate
market is holding up relatively well.
“Morocco’s real estate market is slowly recovering and
government initiatives to attract foreign direct investments (FDI)
to grow its tourism sector, combined with an improved business
climate and increased consumer demand for high-end real estate
are setting a fairly positive mood within the Moroccan real estate
market,” commented Yousef Al Nowais, Managing Director of AL
Maabar, a UAE-based developer who is currently constructing of
a major mixed-use development in Rabat.
According to Al Nowais, continued economic growth, combined
with the ease of doing business in a country filled with a rich
culture and attractive duty free system, increasingly draws foreign
investors, developers and operators to Morocco’s real estate
market, especially to the tourism related sector.
“Real estate and tourism go hand in hand in Morocco as the
tourism sector is the second largest contributor to the country’s
overall GDP. The increased attractiveness of Moroccan real estate
as an investment is further supported by the government’s Vision
2020, which aims to double the country’s tourism sector, making
Morocco one of the world’s top 20 tourism destinations in order
to draw 20 million annual visitors to the country by 2020, while
elevating the market positioning of its tourist market as a worldclass destination that features internationally recognised brands,”
Al Nowais further commented.
The positive mood is also reflected in the country’s housing
market which has seen residential property prices rise by 1%
during the year to Q2 2012, according to the real estate price
indexes (REPI) constructed by Bank Al-Maghrib and the National
Land Registry Office.
Gross rental yields in Morocco remain attractive based on a late
2011 report by real estate investment site Global Property Guide’s
report. In Casablanca, apartments had an average yield of 7.7%,
higher than the previous year’s 7.3% while apartments’ gross
rental yields ranged from 6.8% to 8.6%.
Bab al Bahar
Developed by Bab Al Bahr Development Company (BBDC), a joint
venture between the UAE’s Al Maabar International Investment
and Morocco’s Bouregreg Agency, Bab Al Bahr is major mixed-use
development in Morocco’s capital Rabat, consisting of residential
complexes, hotels, leisure areas, office spaces, shops and art
Said to compare to the likes of the Solidere project in Lebanon,
Bab al Bahar is anticipated to set a new benchmark for the
country’s mixed-use developments as it is expected to become
the trendiest new downtown of Morocco.
“Bab Al Bahr was designed with the vision of building an
MARCH 2013 I CITYSCAPE I 23
Bab al Bahar, Rabat
integrated city that combines innovatively designed residential,
commercial, hospitality and retail properties with the rich culture
and history of Arabian-Andalusian architecture in the heart of the
country’s capital,” Al Maabar’s MD commented.
“Strategically located where the Atlantic Ocean meets the
Bouregreg River, Bab Al Bahr not only joins the two ancient
cities of Rabat and Salé paying homage to historical heritage and
contemporary glamour, but will also serve as the connecting
ground for the residents, businesses and visitors of the new
community that is continuing to flourish each day, bringing about
the Renaissance or revival of Rabat,” Al Nowais further said.
The project spreads across 292,200 square meters, has a builtup area of 512,00 square metres and includes seven districts
– Jewel, Cultural, Salé Wall, Arts, Service, Marina and Riverfront
Districts – all built around the Central District that houses a library,
office, residential buildings and a public park.
Morocco’s first tramway runs through the development which
also showcases museums, art galleries, boutiques and the future
Rabat Grand Theatre, which is being designed by Zaha Hadid,
the internationally acclaimed London-based Iraqi architect who
designed The Aquatic Centre to host the London Olympics 2012
and Dubai Opera House.
Bab al Bahr is expected to be completed by 2016.
Demand for top-end holiday accommodation rises
With Bab al Bahr, BBDC is introducing a new luxury lifestyle to
Morocco; the development will contain the country’s first Rotana
hotel. Recently, there seems to be an increasing demand for highend properties in Morocco, both tourism and residential related.
“Through our collaborative efforts with the Moroccan
government, we are seeing increasing demand for high-end
holiday accommodations in Rabat. Tourism has clearly been
24 I CITYSCAPE I MARCH 2013
designated as a national priority with the launch of Vision 2020 as
Morocco strives to make its tourism sector a model of long-term
sustainability,” Al Nowais said.
Al Maabar’s manager also mentioned that the increased demand
for prestigious properties is a growing trend in Morocco, supported
by the rapid sales of the company’s Marina and Riverfront properties.
“The Bab Al Bahr properties are attracting high-net worth
individuals from Morocco as well as from across the Middle East
and Africa who are seeking second homes and we are confident
that demand for high-end holiday accommodations in Rabat
will only continue to grow in the upcoming years as this port
city has historically been a world-class cultural destination,” he
However, it is not just Morocco’s tourism and prime residential
sector that currently offers attractive opportunities to investors.
According to Knight Frank’s 2011 Africa Report, Morocco’s retail
market remains significantly undersupplied given the recent rise
in consumer spending, thus offering numerous opportunities to
investors looking to tap into the country’s promising retail potential.
“One of the more dynamic real estate markets in the MENA
region, Morocco has been experiencing a surge of activity in both
the real estate and retail real estate industries. The emergence of
a middle class favours the development of modern retail markets
such as the Morocco Mall, Mega Mall and Rabat Centre,” Al Nowais
Opened in early December last year, the Morocco Mall, built on a 2
hectare site, is one of the largest shopping centres in North Africa
and has over 280 retail stores. According to JLL, the successful
opening generated over 1 million of visitors in 2 weeks and created
jobs for around 6,000 people l
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India real estate forecast for 2013
Anuj Puri, Chairman & Country Head of Jones Lang LaSalle India, shares his view on Indian real estate for 2013.
THE ECONOMY IN 2013
India’s GDP was revised downward consistently in the last
three quarters of 2012. In 2013, this trend will prevail – though
the quantum of revision will be lower. The country’s economic
environment will certainly improve in 2013, with a corresponding
(though lagging) gain in momentum for real estate. The most
tangible benefits of economic improvements on the Indian real
estate space will be seen in the second half of 2013.
The average inflation rate (based on the wholesale price index, or
WPI) moderated to 7.4% in Q3 2012. This can be seen as sensibly
low when compared with the average CPI, which remained at 10.2%.
As a result of the slight moderation in WPI inflation, the Reserve
Bank of India started softening its cash reserve ratio to improve the
credit situation. Further easing of liquidity with the prime objective
of reviving the GDP is expected in the first half of 2013.
RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE IN 2013
Residential property prices have breached affordability limits in
cities like Mumbai. Nevertheless, developers will have to factor in
the ground realities of the business while debating the lowering of
prices to catalyse sales in 2013. Obtaining the 57-odd permissions
to begin construction of a project can take as much as two years.
During this time, the cost of acquisition or even just holding
the land for a project rises. Builders are already beset with the
increased costs of license costs and cost of construction.
However, it became evident in 2012 that homes are not selling
at the current price points, and developers do need to re-calibrate
their bottom lines while still remaining viable as businesses. It is
extremely doubtful that the previously offered freebies and other
such incentives will prove to be much of a booster in the current
environment. Since the only way to catalyse healthier sales at this
point is offering buyers tangible financial relief, we are likely to see
drastic trimming of frills in projects to make them more marketable
from a pricing point of view, and innovative payment schemes.
Developers will also offer buyers attractive pre-launch benefits in
a bid to accelerate sales momentum in the initial months following
a launch. Developers with large-scale projects with a greater
share of unsold inventory will be under greater pressure to offer
discounts than those with smaller projects and limited inventories.
Although most of the cities of India will see an increase in
residential launches in 2013, the southern cities of Bangalore
and Chennai will witness a decline in launches as compared to
2012 YTD. It is important to note that these two cities recorded a
historical high in terms of the number of launches during 2012.
To illustrate - Pune has recorded an average of close to 6,000
units per quarter over the past three years (2010–2012 YTD). This
is more than twice the average quarterly launches recorded during
the period 2007-2009. As a market that has grown too fast in such
a short time, launches in Pune will be moderate in the near term.
COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE IN 2013
The fact that the major cities of Mumbai, NCR-Delhi, Bangalore
and Chennai saw 72.5% of the total commercial space absorption
in 2012 is a telling one, and indicates the forward path. These cities
will grab the lion’s share of contribution in total commercial space
absorption in 2013, certainly within the range of 74-76%.
In terms of commercial real estate investment potential, Mumbai,
Bangalore and Delhi NCR will continue to be of highest interest to
26 I CITYSCAPE I MARCH 2013
big ticket investors focused on real estate in 2013. We also expect
investor-driven demand to remain upbeat in Chennai, Hyderabad
and Pune. Mumbai will see the highest share of commercial
corporate property transactions from companies focused on their
own occupancy needs. The Delhi NCR region will be more popular
with high net-worth and institutional investors.
We expect 2013 to bring a larger-than-usual number of NRI
investors into the commercial space arena. This is because NRIs
are currently enthused by the prevailing exchange rate benefits
and the fact that commercial real estate capital values are still 1525% under their 2007-08 peak levels.
RETAIL REAL ESTATE IN 2013
In 2013, new organised retail project completions will increase
significantly (by 109% y-o-y). Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and
Pune will be among the major contributors to this increase, with a
53% share of the country’s overall mall supply for 2013. The primary
reason is that a sizable amount of supply that was expected
to reach completion in 2012 has been being pushed to 2013.
Altogether, India’s major cities like Mumbai, NCR-Delhi, Bangalore,
Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad and Kolkata will see the addition of
close to 9.5 million square feet of mall space in 2013. Mumbai, NCRDelhi, Bangalore and Chennai will together contribute 70% of the
total retail space absorption. Other cities like Pune, Hyderabad and
Kolkata will account for the remaining 30%.
The Government’s nod to FDI in multi-brand retail will be a major
driving factor for increased activity in 2013. Since the policy opens
the portals to major MNC retail brands in India, the organised
retail sector will see a major transformation in terms of its overall
contribution in the mid-term. This, in turn, will positively impact
the absorption of retail space over the next 12–24 months. The
absorption is forecast to touch 6.8 million square feet and 7.1 million
square feet in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
That said, the benefits of the much-awaited FDI decision will not
become fully evident in 2013, as it will take mall developers at least
two years to incorporate the design elements and dimensions
required to meet global standards. Mall developers are expecting
a massive increase in demand for their projects in 2013; however,
those whose shopping centres do not meet the requirements
of international brands in terms of location, overall size, design,
professionally managed operations will fail to see any action.
Demand drives mainland China luxury residential prices
and rents up
Luxury residential markets in major Mainland cities performed
well during the fourth quarter of 2012, with both prices and rents
rising steadily, according to Knight Frank’s recently released
Greater China Property Market Report.
Sales volumes in Beijing and Shanghai dropped from the highs of
previous quarters, while developers in Guangzhou and Shanghai
were active in launching new luxury homes.
In Shanghai, luxury prices increased 10.3% quarter-on-quarter,
while growth in luxury monthly rents slowed to 0.2%. Again, luxury
sales are expected to decline in the first quarter of 2013.
Luxury homes in prime areas launched in the second half of 2012
were well favoured by buyers. Due to sustained demand in prime
areas, luxury prices will maintain moderate growth in 2013.
The price of luxury homes in Beijing grew 2.1% quarter-onquarter, while monthly rents also posted steady increases, at 2.5%.
As a result of the overall market recovery during 2012, home
prices could continue to grow moderately with steady investment
returns in 2013, the report says. However, despite an expected
increase in prices, a seasonal drop in sales in the first quarter of
the year is forecast.
Since the second half of 2012, Guangzhou›s luxury property
market has experienced a market upturn in both sales volume and
prices. During the fourth quarter in 2012, luxury residential prices
increased 9.4% compared to Q3, the biggest rise since 2011. The
average luxury residential monthly rent grew a further 0.5% from
the previous quarter, the highest level of the past three years.
Hong Kong retail rent projected to increase 9% in 2013
Improved local consumer sentiment and continuous mainland
Chinese visitors’ spending kept the Hong Kong retail property
buoyant in Q4 2012, according to the recently released Colliers
International Retail Market Research & Forecast Report.
From September to November 2012, Hong Kong Tourism Board’s
statistics showed that there were a total of 12.2 million inbound
visitors which represented a growth of 16.3% year-on-year
(YoY), with 73% of the total coming from mainland China. This
subsequently correlated to Hong Kong’s retail sales growth which
remained vibrant, rising by 9.5% YoY in November 2012.
The report also highlighted that despite the global economic
uncertainties, international retailers continued their expansion
plans, albeit with a more cautious approach. Many new overseas
brands remained keen on securing prime locations in Hong Kong
to set up their flagship stores before continuing with expansion in
China or the greater Asia in long run.
Case in point is the recent announcement of iconic brand
Topshop’s opening in Hong Kong - a much awaited arrival – in
Central. Even amid surging retail rents, the decision by the UK
fashion brand to set shop in Hong Kong is a clear indication of the
international retailer’s belief in Hong Kong’s potential in the long
In Hong Kong, Topshop will partner with LAB Concept, the new
contemporary retail subsidiary of Lane Crawford. The highly
anticipated store will occupy a prestigious corner site within
Asia Standard Tower in Queen’s Road Central. With the expected
opening in May 2013, the store will span two floors, including
ground-floor level, of over 12,000 sq ft in total and enjoys
prominent street frontage with international fashion labels in the
Helen Mak, Senior Director of Retail Services at Colliers
International Hong Kong, who assisted Lane Crawford in securing
this site, said: “Prime retail spaces in Hong Kong with such
spacious size and significant street frontage is highly favoured by
international retailers as they serve as a channel for image building
in the local market as well as amongst visitors from the Asia region
including mainland China who have substantial spending power.”
“Although there has been talks on a slowdown by the world’s
biggest high-end goods consumer, China is still very much a
dominant player when it comes to luxury spending. Hong Kong
is the perfect stepping stone for brands to establish themselves
before venturing further to China,” she said.
With sustained demand from international retailers and the
extreme lack of leasing retail property stock at prime shopping
locations, retail rents continued to increase at the end of 2012.
According to Colliers’ research, the average retail rent of streetlevel-shops on key street segments increased 1.4% quarter-onquarter in Q4 2012, albeit at a milder rate than the previous quarter.
Simon Lo, Executive Director of Research & Advisory, Asia
commented that retail property owners were less aggressive in
their rental demands as the slower retail sales growth throughout
2012 curtailed retailers’ business profits and hindered their ability
to pay soaring rents.
As the Hong Kong government’s restriction measures are in place
in the residential market, a number of investors have changed
to park their money in the commercial sector, which buoyed the
sales activity of retail properties at the end of 2012.
The overall number of investment sales of retail units, which each
valued HKD 10 million (USD 1.3 million) or above, surged by 105%
QoQ in Q4 2012. Lo said that investors focused on second- and
third-tier streets in core shopping areas, or looked for investment
opportunities in non-core districts in Q4 2012, given the limited
stock available for sale in prime shopping locations.
Looking ahead, Hong Kong’s retail market continues to see
further growth potential with the support of the strong tourism
performance, sustained demand from overseas retailers, an
extreme lack of prime retail space, increasing household incoming
and rising inflation. However, the uninspiring global economic
conditions are likely to cause downside impact on the retail market.
Thus, the average retail rent in Hong Kong is projected to increase
9% over the next 12 months, which is milder than the double-digit
growth in 2012.
MARCH 2013 I CITYSCAPE I 27
Baku White City
Ha v ing w itn e ss e d re m a r k a b l e eco n o m i c g ro wth between 2 0 0 6 and
2 008, A z er b a i j a n t o d a y i s p o si ti o n i n g i ts el f as an o u tward l o o ki ng
c ou n tr y, p la c i n g h i g h i m p o r t a n ce o n real es tate devel o pm en t.
28 I CITYSCAPE I MARCH 2013
Baku White City
ith the completion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan
Pipeline in 2005, the region’s second largest
crude oil pipeline that runs from Azerbaijan to
Turkey via Georgia (1,768 kilometres), Azerbaijan
has completed its post-Soviet transition into a major oil based
economy. Between 2006 and 2008, the country witnessed
extremely high economic growth, mainly due to large and growing
oil exports but also because of the growth in other non-export
sectors such as construction, banking and real estate.
Due to reduced oil output, in 2012 Azerbaijan’s economy grew at
a low rate of 3.0% and is forecast to grow at 3.5% in 2013, says the
Asian Development Bank (ADB). However, in the first half of 2012,
growth in services, construction, and agriculture drove the nonoil economy up by 11.3%. Intensive construction in the first half of
2012 helped that subsector soar by 29.5% over the same period
of 2011 (ADB).
According to global architecture and design firm Broadway
Maylan, which has recently opened a permanent base in Baku,
Azerbaijan’s construction sector has increased in size seven fold
over the past decade, with significant increases in new housing
provision, two major roads being built and the reconstruction and
construction of the Black City under the Baku White City project.
Baku White City
Baku White City represents the largest urban development in
the Caucasus region; it is spread over an area of 221 hectares, will
contain up to 18,000 commercial and residential units and will be
able to accommodate about 50,000 people. The masterplan has
been developed by renowned design firm Atkins while Foster +
Partners and F+A Architects are also involved in the project.
The development’s masterplan aims to transform the former
Black City into a brand new, high quality urban quarter, acting as a
catalyst for the regeneration of the city and the wider region (the
Black City is an urban development from the first oil boom and
has played a major role in the oil industry, performing activities of
refining, storage and transportation of ‘black gold’).
The project’s vision for Baku White City is to create a cohesive,
carefully planned sustainable urban environment, offering a high
quality of life for its residents as well as the opportunity to attract
and promote investment, generate jobs and strengthen the city’s
“Architectural diversity, ecological compatibility and a considered
integration of the new development into the existing urban context
of the city were identified as major themes in the forming of the
project concept. The result is a project with fascinating architecture
and investment opportunities that stimulates land restoration
and construction activity, along with creating an attractive
environment and infrastructure,” the project’s Press Service said.
Sustainability is paramount to Baku White City. The buildings,
such as the Baku White City Office, are made using environmentally
MARCH 2013 I CITYSCAPE I 29
friendly materials, while alternative energy solutions are also
“Construction of one of the project’s iconic office buildings
has already begun. Designed by Atkins, Baku White City Office
Building is a landmark, seen as an entrance to the project territory
from the Nobel Avenue, forming a gateway of Baku White City. A
development of international level, Baku White City Office Building
features offices and other commercial areas. A beautiful plaza
is planned in front of the building where the foundation stone of
Baku White City is situated, and which will become a beginning of
a vibrant promenade along the Nobel Avenue,” the Press Service
The 10-storey building occupies a total area of 20,000 square
meters, has 9 high-speed elevators and includes underground and
guest parking for up to 365 cars. At its initial design stage, Baku
White City Office Building became well known among architects on
the international arena and was repeatedly nominated as ‘the Best
Project of the Future’ at various international exhibitions.
Baku White City Office Building is the last in line of five buildings
along the Street in the Green Hill District, which are currently being
developed by local and foreign investors.
Baku White City is oriented towards attracting both local and
foreign investments, and offers various opportunities in the
residential, offices, retail, tourism, education and health sectors.
The construction of high-end residential developments is also
currently advancing in the Azerbaijani capital. Later this year,
Pasha Construction, in conjunction with Broadway Maylan and
Mace International, will deliver the first tower of its Port Baku
Residences scheme, one of the largest developments in the
country. The major mixed-use scheme involves a total built-up
area of 375,000 square metres comprising three 32-floor towers
with 872 high-end residential apartments, three floors of 30,000
square metre commercial retail space and 2,000 car parking
spaces over three levels of basement.
With a vision to design an iconic building that transforms
Baku’s skyline and promotes the city’s historic identity, Azinko
Development has asked HOK to design the Flame Towers, which
are set to become the tallest skyscrapers in the country. Consisting
of Grade A commercial office space as well as residential, hotel and
retail offerings, Flame Towers covers an area of 243,500 square
metres and is expected to be completed shortly.
As infrastructure plays a crucial part in real estate development,
Azerbaijan is currently building a new terminal at the Heydar Aliyev
International Airport, designed for the annual maintenance of
about three million passengers, tripling the capacity of the airport.
The country is also currently considering of building a 14 kilometre
long bridge over Baku Bay, connecting both sides of Baku’s natural
UAE & Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan is one of Dubai’s largest trade partners. According
to Hamad Buamim, Director General of the Dubai Chamber of
Commerce and Industry, in 2011, Dubai’s non-oil trade with
Azerbaijan was valued at AED 1.62 billion, almost doubling the
trade between the two countries compared to 2010.
30 I CITYSCAPE I MARCH 2013
“We think this significant jump is the result of bilateral relations,
improvements to the ease of doing business in Azerbaijan and
enhanced trade flows between Dubai and Azerbaijan. Trade,
agriculture and food processing, transportation and logistics,
construction and infrastructure, tourism and hospitality, financial
services and information and communication technology are
important sectors for bilateral cooperation,” Buamim said.
During a meeting of the UAE-Azerbaijan Joint Economic
Committee in December last year, the two countries signed
a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a joint
Business Council while discussing the potential for extension of
mutual trade and economic relations.
UAE Minister of Economy, Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori,
“The ties between our businesses and other organisations have
created the ideal foundation for a fruitful commercial and trade
relationship. We are moving together on a path of growth and
prosperity. The UAE is keen to uphold the appropriate institutional
framework to enhance economic ties with Azerbaijan through the
Joint Economic Committee meetings which can help both sides
understand the real requirements of investors.”
Although openness to global trade, recent tax reforms, and some
improvements in regulatory efficiency have aided Azerbaijan’s
transition to a more market-based system, the country faces
several challenges which impede on its economic growth and thus
on the development of a more favourable real estate investment
climate, analysts believe.
According to the 2013 Index of Economic Freedom, published
by the Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Foundation, despite
some improvement, property rights in the country are weak while
the level of corruption continues to be substantial. Government
regulations add to the costs of foreign investment, and monetary
instability adds to uncertainty, the report states.
Analysts say that long-term prospects will depend on world
oil prices, the location of new oil and gas pipelines in the region,
and Azerbaijan›s ability to manage its energy wealth to promote
sustainable growth in non-energy sectors of the economy and
RETAIL IN AZERBAIJAN: A
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY
New to AT Kearney’s Global Retail Development Index
(GRDI) in 2013, Azerbaijan (ranked 17th) has low market
saturation, high fragmentation, and few strong national
players, making it a favourable environment for international
players. Since 2007, the country has had 5 percent yearover-year real GDP growth. Consumer spending remains
moderate, with roughly three-quarters of spending going
to food; credit offerings and improved banking are leaving a
positive impact on the retail sector.
Source: AT Kearney, GRDI 2013
On th e b ack o f s t e a d y re a l e s tate pri ce g ro wth , a wel l devel o ped
i nf r as tr u cture a n d a d y n a m i c bu s i n es s l an ds cape, M al ays i a i s
c urren tly p ro v i n g v e r y a t t r a c t ive to f o rei g n i n ves to rs , es peci al l y
t o th os e fro m t h e M i d d l e E a ster n reg i o n . Bl es s ed wi th s tu n n i n g
natu r al beau t y, t h e c o u n t r y i s s ai d to o ff er pro f i tabl e o ppo rtu n i ti e s,
par ticular ly i n t h e h i g h - e n d t ou ri s m s ecto r.
32 I CITYSCAPE I MARCH 2013
hen Malaysia became member of the Association
of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1967, an
organisation which aims to promote economic
growth, social progress and cultural development
among its members, the country moved away from a
predominantly mining and agricultural-based economy and began
a transition towards a more multi-sector economy.
Consequently, since the 1980s, Malaysia has experienced rapid
industrial growth and was increasingly regarded as a solid industrial
base with high development potential by international firms.
In the late 1990s, Malaysia’s property market was hard hit by
the Asian Financial Crisis that plunged many countries into deep
recession. However, Malaysia’s economy recovered from the crisis
sooner than neighbouring countries and real estate prices have
climbed steadily since then, according to the Malaysian Institute of
Today, the country’s real estate market is in a positive overall
mood, despite global economic concerns and the upcoming
general elections later this year, says Nabeel Hussain, Senior Vice
President at CBRE Malaysia.
In line with strong economic and real estate price growth,
Malaysia’s property market currently proves attractive to
overseas investors, particularly to those from the Middle Eastern
According to property investment company IP Global, Malaysia’s
popularity with Middle Eastern investors has grown exponentially
over the last two decades, due to proximity to the Middle East and
the strong cultural and religious ties with the region. Kuala Lumpur
also happens to be the global centre for Islamic finance, with 78%
of Islamic bonds issued in 2011 underwritten by Malaysian banks,
IP Global says.
“Malaysia offers an attractive combination of a friendly
investment and foreign ownership regime, affordable property
values, high standard of living, pleasant climate, and a diverse racial
and social mix; that it is also predominantly Muslim is an added plus
for Middle East investors,” Hussain of CBRE added.
Masood Al Awar, CEO of UAE-based real estate development
and marketing company Tasweek, commented:
“For starters, Malaysia offers a strategic location right at the
heart of South East Asia. Its market-oriented economy thrives
off pro-business Government policies, political stability, and a well
developed infrastructure. It also has a productive workforce which
is young and educated and is considered the country’s greatest
The dynamic business landscape has transformed Malaysia
into one of the world’s top investment destinations for offshore
manufacturing operations. More than 5,000 foreign companies
from over 40 countries have set up operations in the country, with
a number expanding and diversifying their operations, showing
confidence in Malaysia’s business potential. Overall, Malaysia
offers investors a buoyant business environment that has the
right elements in place to spur growth and profitability.”
Al Awar also added that Malaysia is one of the most
technologically developed countries amongst the ASEAN region’s
industrialising nations, providing an excellent hub for investors to
shape their future.
Demand for high-end properties high
According to the November 2012 Kuala Lumpur market report
by CBRE, out of the nearly 58,189 condominiums and serviced
residences in the capital valued at or above MYR 350 per square
foot (USD 115), about 21% are considered ‘luxury.’
“Demand at the very top end of the market appears to still be
strong, as evidenced by sales at projects such as Banyan Tree
Signatures and St Regis Residences,” Hussain commented.
Newly launched or previewed high-end residential projects
during Q3 2012 included the 335-unit Horizon Residences in Jalan
Tun Razak, priced at USD 490 per square foot, and the 121-unit
Serai in Bansgar, priced at USD 330 per square foot.
As a response to increasing demand for top-end residential
property, Tasweek is currently constructing The Haven Lakeside
Residences, a luxurious condominium development in Ipoh, a
historic city located 200 kilometres north of Kuala Lumpur.
“Ipoh is a peaceful city with good infrastructure and a friendly
community. Its property landscape is underdeveloped though;
the condo lifestyle has not yet taken firm roots, for example.
We wanted to be the first Middle Eastern real estate player to
thoroughly explore this market,” Al Awar said.
The AED 220 million (USD 60 million) urban complex covers
13.8 acres of land with 497 units of luxury housing in addition
to another 10 acres of private virgin land in Ipoh City. The entire
project is expected to be finished this year.
In an effort to diversify the economy and make it less dependent
on exported goods, the Malaysian Government has pushed to
The Havean Lakeside Residences, Ipoh
MARCH 2013 I CITYSCAPE I 33
The Havean Lakeside Residences, Ipoh
“Gulf and Asian countries continue to be drawn to Malaysia’s
superb tourism perks, which include affordable living and
entertainment pricing and other unique features such as rich
music and arts, savoury cuisine, and rainforest climate. Malaysia’s
dramatic landscape framed by rugged mountains, slopes
sweeping down to floodplains alive with forest flora and fauna,
sandy beaches and scenic mangroves is a must see for the intrepid
adventurer. The country has different geographies in 11 states and
2 federal territories that offer diversity and unlimited exploration,”
Al Awar added.
increase tourism to the country. As a result, tourism has become
one of Malaysia’s largest sources of income. Tourist arrivals have
grown steadily over recent years; for 2011, Malaysia recorded 24.7
million tourist arrivals as opposed to just 5.5 million arrivals in 1998
(Tourist Development Corporation of Malaysia).
This scenario demonstrates an excellent base for tourism related
real estate development and investment, Al Awar believes. In
October last year, Tasweek entered into a joint venture with
Casabrina Vacation Villas to develop, own, operate and market the
luxury resort’s properties in the country’s western state of Pahang.
“After the Asian downturn, Malaysia’s real estate industry
focused intensely on steady and firm growth. The country put in
place strong fundamentals and a robust legislative framework to
protect the sector and its investors. [On top of that], Malaysia has
been able to successfully maintain a multi-ethnic, multicultural,
and multilingual society that makes for an excellent tourism
destination,” he commented.
34 I CITYSCAPE I MARCH 2013
Looking to a positive future
According to Paul Preston, Regional Director of IP Global, the
population growth and the government’s investment in the capital
are what make Kuala Lumpur particularly interesting as a property
Throughout last year, the government was committed to
spending USD 500 million on Kuala Lumpur development projects
and is also looking to attract more multinationals to the city.
According to IP Global, Malaysia’s population has increased 34%
since 2000 and the Government aims to bring in 500,000 foreign
white-collar workers to the capital by 2020.
CBRE also sees positive prospects for the Malaysian property
“Most sectors are still primarily driven by domestic demand,
making them less susceptible to fluctuations in foreign demand;
furthermore, Malaysia’s value proposition of a high quality of life,
combined with reasonable operating costs and taxation rates,
safety and security as well as developed educational/medical
systems, make it an attractive location for expatriates,” Hussain
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