Amongst first developers in the Kingdom to obtain license under new real estate laws
Continuing with a very positive momentum from 2010, Saudi Arabia’s bustling real estate sector has achieved another landmark. The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Commerce and Industry has introduced new world class laws to advance the off-plan real estate market, by making it more transparent and accessible, as well as offering additional protection and services to investors and customers. The new regulatory frameworks, including escrow accounts and a real estate register, have been initiated to ensure that further growth of the real estate market is sustainable and viable. DAMAC Properties, one of the largest private developers in the Middle East, is amongst the first to be granted an official license to develop and sell properties off-plan under the jurisdiction of the Kingdom’s new real estate law. Ziad El Chaar, Managing Director of DAMAC Properties said: “DAMAC Properties has been certified under the new register of qualified real estate developers and has established escrow accounts for its off-plan sales. We welcome and praise these measures as they aim to provide greater confidence to investors and bring further transparency to the sector’’. DAMAC Properties has been present in the Saudi market for five years, and is currently constructing, Al Jawharah, the luxury residential tower on the Jeddah Corniche. El Chaar elaborated: Al Jawharah is now fully regularised with the newly introduced laws and there is a lot of local interest in this project. We are now again actively marketing and selling units in this development”. Construction of Al Jawharah Tower is being carried out by Gulf Technical Construction, a subsidiary of Drake & Scull. Construction is well underway at this multi-storey tower offering five bedroom penthouses as well as 1,2,3 and 4 bedroom apartments. Enabling works are complete and soon customers will see the tower raising up from the site overlooking the Jeddah Corniche. The Saudi license is a launch pad for DAMAC Properties’ expansion plans in the Kingdom. El Chaar commented; “Saudi Arabia is an extremely attractive market for us, and we are looking at ways to expand our investments in KSA in view of its importance to the region. We are also eagerly awaiting the issuance of the mortgage law, which will play an active role in stimulating local and foreign investment in Saudi Arabia’s real estate market.” DAMAC Properties will be delivering eight major projects in Dubai over the next 12 months, and currently has more than 12,000 units at various stages of construction across the MENA region. In the last 12 months DAMAC has awarded new contracts to the value of $1billion including 15 main contracts in Dubai, two main contracts in Abu Dhabi and one main contract in KSA. In Egypt, DAMAC has awarded the main construction contract for the first phase of its exclusive shopping mall project ‘Park Avenue’ at New Cairo. One of the biggest high-end retail destinations in the Middle East, this project includes the Park Avenue Shopping district, 595 luxury villas at Hyde Park and Centre Ville apartments all overlooking a lush central park. DAMAC Properties’ core focus for 2011 will be construction and delivery of its projects across the MENA region, with a strong emphasis on satisfying customers.