Emaar brings 'mini-Dubai' to London's Harrods

Emaar Properties has brought a taste of Dubai to one the world’s most famous department stores as it attempts to attract foreign investors amid the property slowdown in the emirate.

The Dubai developer, builder of the Burj Khalifa, is launching and exhibiting its latest project at Harrods in London until mid-August.

Visitors can experience interactive video displays, and view large scale models of Dubai Creek Harbour, Dubai Hills Estate and The Opera District.

The models include The Tower, which is expected to be taller than Burj Khalifa – currently the world’s highest – when completed in Dubai Creek Harbour.

Emaar and Harrods estimates that a window display on the ground floor is passed by 75,000 pedestrians per day.

A report released yesterday by Cluttons said that sale prices in Dubai fell by 2.2 per cent in the first three months of 2016, the steepest quarterly drop for five years.

Prices were 4.4 per cent lower year-on-year, with the biggest price declines for high-end villas, while premium apartment sale prices had held up in comparison but transactions had slowed.

JLL said last week that it expected prices to bottom out over the summer and a recovery in the second half of the year, but uncertainty remains with oil prices remaining in the $40 bracket.

It reported a 10 per cent year-on-year decline in house prices in the first quarter of 2016, which it blamed on the strong dollar (to which the dirham is pegged) and lower oil prices.

Simon Barry, head of new residential developments at Harrods Estates, said that the store’s clients will be extremely interested in what Emaar has to offer.

“Dubai offers one of the most compelling opportunities to invest in property in the world at present,” he said. “Just as London is the financial capital of the European time-zone, so Dubai is the financial capital of the Middle East time-zone.

“The Dubai property market is now stable, benefitting from huge inward investment from both the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent, and its economy is anticipated to grow strongly leading up to the Dubai World Expo in 2020, despite last year’s downturn in oil prices.”

One-bedroom apartments measuring 707 sq ft at Dubai Creek Harbour start at £184,135 (Dh986,311), a cost that equates to £260 per sq ft. Harrods Estates said that prime Central London equivalent values are £2,000 per sq ft.

Dubai Land Department figures for the first three months of 2016 show transactions worth Dh55bn were completed, which is a 14 per cent drop on the Dh64bn registered in the same period last year.

However, the volume of transactions completed was said to be 14 per cent higher at 12,568 as more affordable homes have come on to the market.

Emaar chairman Mohamed Alabbar revealed last week that the company had “severely cut costs” due to challenging market conditions, but was “pleasantly surprised” by sales activity.

Emaar Properties’ net profit in the fourth quarter of 2015 of $1.03bn was 1 per cent lower than in 2014, despite a 58 per cent uplift in sales to Dh3.8bn.


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