Indians choosing Dubai for investment in realty sector

pnc-menon-chairmanExclusive Interview with PNC Menon, Founder and Chairman, Sobha Group.

Q. Tell us something about the ongoing projects of Sobha in Dubai ?

Sobha Hartland – The resort-style luxury housing project, encompasses 8 million square feet of freehold community in Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City. Its close proximity to Dubai’s top attractions makes it a sought-after project. Sobha Hartland, surrounded by 2.4 million square feet of greenery and set along the Dubai Water Canal, enjoys the unique advantage of prime location backed by over 40 years of expertise Recently announced the release of new freehold apartments at Sobha Hartland Greens, which are luxurious and exclusive eight storey apartment buildings located on the Dubai Water Canal.

These new freehold apartments are very attractively priced with exceptional payment plans for both the end-users & Investors. Completion of the first 2 apartment buildings is expected December 2017.

 Also, Sobha Group is inviting expressions of interest for its forthcoming Townhouse community in Hartland Estates at Sobha Hartland. With special focus on lavish space and privacy, the Townhouses at Sobha Hartland will be spread across three floors and each unit will be of 3300 square feet. Phase 1 of the Townhouses will comprise of 27 units.

 With Hartland Greens, waterfront villas, and now Hartland Estates – Town House community, Sobha Group continues to set a benchmark in offering world-class bespoke living experience. Sobha Group has just been recognized by as one of the Top Real Estate Companies in the Arab world for 2016 by Forbes Middle East.

 At Sobha Hartland, residents will have access to wide selection of world-class amenities like two international schools, nurseries, malls, cafes, tennis courts, yoga centre, swimming pool, clubhouses and spas, mosques, and healthcare facilities. Moreover, the project is just three kilometers away from Dubai’s top attractions

 District One project – It is a Dh25 billion project near Meydan Racecourse, which is being built by the Meydan Sobha joint venture and spans a 1,100-acre site. It comprises of more than 700 villas in phases one and two. Third phase of the project has also been launched earlier this year and will contain 217 four, five and six-bedroom villas and will be delivered by the end of 2018

 Q. Also, give us a sense of your past projects (completed). How many of these are commercial and residential?

  • 111 completed real estate projects worldwide, including in Middle East, India, Brunei, and France
  • 378 completed contractual projects across Middle East, India and other countries
  • 23 million sq. ft. of residential projects delivered across India and Middle East
  • 41 million sq. ft. of commercial projects delivered across India and Middle East
  • $12 billion worth of UAE mixed use urban community projects underway including Sobha Hartland and Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City District One
  • Currently, 71 ongoing residential and contractual projects. The aggregate developable area is 101 million square feet

Q. What kind of projects would Sobha focus on going forward—commercial or residential projects?


 Q. What are the plans to invest in the next 2 years?

Sobha Group in addition to the current two large scale developments of Sobha Hartland and District One, is planning to develop two large scale developments with a combined land area of 10 million square meters in UAE.

Q. Revenue expected from Dubai realty market in the next 2 years?

 The real estate transactions have shown a positive growth trend compared to last year as per the Dubai Land department statistics. The real estate business is expected to carry the growth momentum into the last quarter of 2016. Sobha Group has also seen increase in sales compared to the last year.

Q. Way forward business plans of the company for Dubai?

Sobha Group in addition to the current two large scale developments of Sobha Hartland and District One, is planning to develop two large scale developments with a combined land area of 10 million square meters in UAE

Q. Have you noticed any shift in ‘Indians choosing Dubai for investment in realty sector’ in the past few years?

Dubai is a commercial capital for three billion people out of the Indian subcontinent, Africa and the Middle East — roughly 40 per cent of the [global] population. None of the geographies mentioned have been able to create a city like this, which is vibrant, well connected, safe and beautiful. The creation of the city has been a very important part of the success of the real estate business in Dubai. Dubai is the most sustainable real estate city in the Middle East. It is a cosmopolitan city, with beautiful weather five to six months [in a year]. According to Dubai land department (DLD)’s report, the total value of foreign investment in the Dubai real estate market for the first half of 2016 amounted to more than Arab Emirates Dirham 57 billion from 26,000 investors. Of which Indians ranked the highest value foreign investors in the UAE’s most developed city, conducting AED 7 billion worth of property transactions from 3,656 transactions.

Dubai is one of the most popular destinations for Indians, not just for vacationing and shopping, but for the overall aspirational lifestyle it offers. Over the years, Dubai has also emerged as a strong business hub offering various investment incentives and tax-free policies. To top it, the number of Dubai expatriate residents now stands at 2 million, which forms a formidable part of the workface here.

All these factors, coupled with the fact that Dubai is just few hours away by air from India, makes it easy to understand why Indians are flocking to Dubai to invest in property. Dubai has always been under the spotlight for Indians looking to invest in global property markets. However, in recent years, this trend has seen a steep upsurge due to exponentially increasing property prices in India.

Today, a 96 sq mt plot of land can be bought in Mumbai by investing $1 million vis-à-vis a 145 sq mt size parcel of land being available for the same cost in Dubai. Additionally, after relaxation of previous rules by the Reserve Bank of India, Indians are allowed to send up to $250,000 per person overseas to buy property.

Another important aspect of property investment is the rental returns. According to various reports, the rental returns from apartments in Dubai are on an average 8 per cent, depending on the precise location. What adds to making property investment in Dubai lucrative is the fact that the city does not levy any taxes on income generated from rentals. Similarly, it does not levy any capital gain tax in case of a sale of a property

 Q. Tell us something about your ongoing India projects.

In India, currently we have ongoing projects in 25 cities and 13 states. Infosys, Wipro, Taj Group, Dell, HP, Timken, Biocon, Institute of Public Enterprises (IPE), Bosch, Hotel Leela Ventures are among prestigious clients. Residential and contractual projects covering 49.27 million square feet are in progress.

 Q. Is 2016 an ideal year to invest in Dubai?

 2016 will be a great time to invest in Dubai’s property market. Dubai property market continues to mature and stabilize as a result of strategically implemented government regulations, including the increased property registration fees and mortgage caps, so 2016 will be the perfect time to invest. Property investments have been a mix of both apartments and villas. Real estate transactions for the first half of 2016 have been AED 57 billion. The 26,000 investors comprised of 149 nationalities, majority being GCC nationals.

 Top localities Indian investors are preferring to invest or purchase in Dubai include Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai, Palm Jumeirah and Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai Sports City, Business Bay and Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City. And at one of these popular areas, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City, Sobha has launched ‘Sobha Hartland’—an eight million sq ft project that comprises contemporary L-shaped villas with an option of 12 floor-plans, semi-detached villas, townhouses, plots and modern high rise apartments.

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