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Dubai developers reach out to cryptocurrency investors

A handful of developers and landlords in Dubai are going down the cryptocurrency route in accepting Bitcoin as a mode of payment from investors/tenants. What's more, a few are even offering discounts in project costs for buyers paying with cryptocurrency. Clearly, in a subdued sales market, industry players are thinking out of the box to target crypto investors and help divest their wealth into tangible assets.

The volatility displayed by Bitcoin at the start of the year when it soared to $20,000 and currently trading above $11,000 can be a dampener for anyone looking to close a property deal in that currency.

The UAE Central Bank has issued warnings against trading of any digital currency as it hasn't given any licences for such currencies. As per sub-section D.7.3 Provisions for Virtual Currencies of the Regulatory Framework for Stored Values and Electronic Payment Systems published January 1, 2017: "All virtual currencies [and any transactions thereof] are prohibited". This is probably due to the speculative nature of this medium of exchange.

Dubai became one of the first cities in the world where residential real estate could be bought and sold in Bitcoin or similar digital currencies when Aston Plaza and Residences in Dubai Science Park announced that its off-plan units could be purchased using digital currencies in September 2017.

Recently, Samana Developers, a Dubai-based developer, offered a 7 per cent discount to buyers of homes in its maiden project who want to make payments through cryptocurrency. MAG Lifestyle Development also said it is ready to accept payments in Shariah-compliant cryptocurrencies, including OneGram (backed by a gram of gold). The developer also announced in December 2017 a 5 per cent discount for digital buyers in any of its 8 current real estate projects.

The Star Business Centre, which operates and leases fitted out offices, confirmed in January that it would accept cryptocurrencies as a mode of payment for services rendered. Its tenants can pay rents and service charges by using digital currency along with the traditional payment systems.

Source: Khaleej Times

Pakistan chases more UAE real estate investors

A three-day Pakistan-UAE Property Show will be held in Islamabad from April 26-28 to promote investment opportunities in the real estate and construction industry of the country.

The show is structured to provide information and identify investment opportunities between Pakistan and the UAE, a statement said.

The announcement comes as Pakistanis real estate investors spent AED5 billion ($1.36 billion) in the Dubai property market last year, according to recent figures released by Dubai Land Department.

The show will be held under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, member of the ruling family of Dubai, Sheikh Abdullah Al Sharqi, a Fujairah royal and Louai Mohamed Ali, Goodwill Ambassador of United Nations in the UAE.

Source: Arabian Business

VAT launch has 'no impact' on Dubai office market so far

Office rents in Dubai have continued to moderate during early 2018 as occupiers "rightsize" to suit their business needs, against the backdrop of rising inflation and global economic factors, according to a new report.

Cluttons said that while the level of office market activity remains mixed throughout Dubai, its Spring Office Market Bulletin indicates growing maturing and a healthy outlook for the sector.

It also noted that the introduction of VAT has not had any real impact on landlord behaviour so far since its launch in the UAE on January 1.

The report showed that headline rents in the city’s top tier free zones have remained largely steady, bar one or two low quality buildings.

Away from prime Grade A buildings, which remain well let and in high demand, landlords are demonstrating greater flexibility and are largely receptive to rent reductions at renewal, Cluttons said.

Faisal Durrani, head of research at Cluttons said: “Global economic factors continue to have a direct impact on the real estate market in the UAE. In the office market, upper limit headline rents have been affected, with occupiers either sitting tight, regearing leases, or continuing to consolidate operations."

Just five of 24 submarkets registered minor downward adjustments during the final quarter of last year, with the weakness persisting into 2018, he said, adding: "It is our view that this will continue for the remainder of the year with rents set to fall AED5-20 per sq ft. However, core free zones are likely to buck this trend, with rents holding steady.”

Source: Arabian Business