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“Indian citizens currently own 4 per cent of Aldar’s sold units.”

Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, Aldar Properties PJSC is a leading real estate developer in UAE. On a recent trip to India as a part of a real estate delegation from Abu Dhabi, Maan Al Awlaqi, Executive Director Commercial, Aldar Properties PJSC spoke to Manali Jaggi of BW SmartCities about the company’s role in shaping and enhancing the urban fabric of the UAE’s capital city and the strong bond India and UAE share based on their cultural, religious and economic ties.

Q1. The UAE has reached high standards in the real estate industry by constructing state-of-the-art iconic buildings and structures, while the Indian sector is still booming, what kind of collaboration or cooperation would you suggest to help develop the Indian real estate projects in India?

Aldar is the largest listed real estate group in Abu Dhabi by market capitalisation, and one of the region’s most recognised master developers. As the largest landlord in Abu Dhabi, we manage a diverse portfolio of high-quality assets across the retail, residential, office and hospitality sectors including some of the Emirate’s most iconic buildings, while creating communities to cater for Abu Dhabi’s growing population. 

As such, we are focused on our home market of Abu Dhabi where we aim to deliver desirable destinations for residents and visitors to Abu Dhabi. And while we are not currently specifically examining opportunities to cooperate in locations outside of the UAE, our diverse collection of developments offers boundless opportunities for investors, including those in India, to invest in the UAE. 

Q2. Tell us more about some of Aldar’s noted projects and the USP of these projects?

Aldar currently has eight residential developments under construction, which are scheduled to be handed over to owners from Q1 2018 to 2020. We have established a reputation for creating destinations that shape the skyline of Abu Dhabi and set a new standard for real estate in the country.  In 2017, Aldar demonstrated how it is responding to untapped demand for high quality, mid-income residential developments with the launch of The Bridges and Water’s Edge. Launched at the CityScape Abu Dhabi real estate conference in April, The Bridges is a 1,272 unit, AED 1.3 billion development in a prime investment zone close to Abu Dhabi’s business and cultural districts. Similarly, Water’s Edge, launched at Cityscape Global in September, offers a mid-income, waterfront development and is the latest chapter in the Yas Island story. Both of these developments are expected to be complete in 2020. 

Q3. What kind of investments have Indian investors made in Aldar’s developmental projects?

India and the UAE enjoy strong bonds of friendship based on age-old cultural, religious and economic ties between the two nations. Abu Dhabi is increasingly a hot destination with Indian investors for a number of reasons including the attractive return on investments, tax-free environment, proximity to India and transparency. In addition, Indians appreciate the multicultural atmosphere, quality of living and diversity of communities. In fact, Indian citizens currently own 4 per cent of Aldar’s sold units.

Q4. From an investor’s point of view, is the right time to enter the real estate market in UAE?

Absolutely. The opportunity to enter Abu Dhabi’s residential market, for both home owners and investors, remains solid, reflecting the strong underlying economic fundamentals of Abu Dhabi. With one of the highest GDP per capita levels in the world estimated at US$75,000 per person, a growing population that has increased by 70 per cent between 2008 and 2015, rapid urbanisation and its growing reputation as a leisure, entertainment and cultural hub, Abu Dhabi looks set to continue its transformation as an international, thriving capital city.  There is demand for high quality homes, offices and leisure destinations, and this is supported by the performance of Aldar’s current developments in the market, which still outperform the wider Abu Dhabi market. 

Recent surveys also suggest that consumer demand for property across the whole Gulf region will remain strong. The response to our sales events for Mayan, Meera, West Yas, Waters Edge, Bridges and Yas Acres confirms this view, and demonstrates the diversity of demand we are seeing from not just the GCC, but Asia and Europe. 

Q5. Your outlook for the real estate sector in this year?

We are confident in the strong long-term fundamentals of the Abu Dhabi property market. The leadership of Abu Dhabi has put in place a sound platform for growth in 2018 and combined with our own long-term commitment to quality and growth, we take a positive view on its future. We continue to see demand for high quality homes in desirable destinations, demonstrated by over AED 3.5 billion in off-plan sales in 2017.