REAL ES­TATE

Real es­tate de­vel­op­ers are in­creas­ingly fo­cus­ing on In­te­grated Tourism Com­plex (ITC) projects

Oman - A Nation on the Move - - Contents -

The Sul­tanate’s prop­erty mar­ket is show­ing signs of re­cov­ery, largely due to im­prov­ing eco­nomic con­di­tions and ris­ing crude oil prices. The av­er­age value of real es­tate traded in Oman rose by 14 per cent to RO37,854 in Q1 2018, from a year ear­lier, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Hous­ing. De­mand is now on the up­swing. In Q1 2018, the to­tal value of prop­erty traded in Oman in­creased 6.5 per cent y-o-y to RO776.3 mil­lion in com­par­i­son with the 61 per cent de­cline seen in 2017, based on fig­ures from the Na­tional Cen­tre for Sta­tis­tics and In­for­ma­tion (NCSI). Buoyed by higher oil prices, Oman’s econ­omy is re­cov­er­ing well from the lows of 2016 and is pro­jected to grow by 3.6 per cent in 2018, ac­cord­ing to the in­ter­na­tional real es­tate con­sul­tancy Clut­tons. If sus­tained in the longer term, this eco­nomic growth is ex­pected to have pos­i­tive im­pacts across the prop­erty mar­ket, Clut­tons said in a re­port. Clut­tons’ Mus­cat Spring 2018 Prop­erty Mar­ket Out­look re­port in­di­cated the gov­ern­ment’s strong push to boost over­all eco­nomic growth has re­sulted in a num­ber of very en­cour­ag­ing devel­op­ments for

the prop­erty mar­ket, such as the muchan­tic­i­pated de­ci­sion to al­low the cre­ation of a real es­tate in­vest­ment fund (REIF). This will pave the way for in­vest­ments in large-scale real es­tate projects at sig­nif­i­cantly lower price points and with far greater liq­uid­ity, in com­par­i­son to more tra­di­tional real es­tate in­vest­ment, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. Clut­tons ex­pects de­mand, in the short to medium term, to be im­pacted by the Min­istry of Man­power’s de­ci­sion to tem­po­rar­ily ban the is­suance of work per­mits in key sec­tors.

Real es­tate de­vel­op­ers mean­while are in­creas­ingly fo­cus­ing on In­te­grated Tourism Com­plex (ITC) projects, which of­fer sev­eral thou­sand homes for for­eign­ers. Ac­cord­ing to an es­ti­mate, more than 5,000 new homes will be avail­able for ex­pats to buy across Oman un­der an am­bi­tious five ITCS. As per the rule, non-oma­nis can only buy prop­erty within In­te­grated Tourism Com­plexes but the gov­ern­ment is push­ing to cre­ate more, as part of its move away from de­pen­dence on oil and gas. These projects in­clude Di­yar Ras Al Hadd Re­sort, Omag­ine Project, Quriyat In­te­grated Project, Naseem Al Sabaah Project and Al Nakheel Project.

The to­tal in­vest­ment re­quired for the new tourism projects through the Omani Tourism Strat­egy ( 2016-2040) is be­tween RO936 mil­lion and RO18 bil­lion of which 88 per cent of these in­vest­ments are through the pri­vate sec­tor and have been ap­proved, while oth­ers are in the de­vel­op­ment stages. The ex­ist­ing ITC projects in­clude Al Mouj, Barr Al Jis­sah, Mus­cat Hills Golf and Coun­try Club, Al Sif­fah Re­sort, Saraya Ban­dar Jis­sah Mus­cat Bay and Salalah Beach Re­sort.

De­vel­oped by Om­ran and Saraya Hold­ing Oman, the first phase of Mus­cat Bay con­sists of 260 res­i­den­tial units in three res­i­den­tial zones. How­ever, in the sec­ond phase, an­other 200 houses will be added to the whole de­vel­op­ment, tak­ing it to 460 hous­ing units. The first phase in­cludes twin vil­las and de­tached vil­las in the is­land la­goon area that have two-be­d­room and large and small one- be­d­room apart­ments. The one-be­d­room apart­ments and smaller two-be­d­room apart­ments are for in­vestors, while the larger two-be­d­room apart­ments, which span an area of over 200 square me­ters, are for clients for their own use.

Sev­eral other projects, which mainly fo­cus on lo­cal peo­ple, are also in dif­fer­ent stages of plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment. An in­te­grated mix-use project in Al Mawaleh - Mazaya Res­i­dence was launched by Al Mazaya Hold­ing – a joint ven­ture of UAE and Kuwait in­vestors. The first phase of the res­i­den­tial-cum-com­mer­cial project will have 120 res­i­den­tial units and 28 shops. Sprawled over a to­tal space of 23,194 square me­tres and di­vided into 12 com­mer­cial-cum-res­i­den­tial plots, the project of­fers res­i­den­tial units, in­clud­ing one-be­d­room, two-be­d­room, and three-be­d­room flats and shops of vary­ing sizes with high-end ameni­ties and land­scaped areas and na­ture. The com­pany will de­velop the project over dif­fer­ent phases, the first of which was an­nounced un­der the name ‘Zone 1.’ The project is strate­gi­cally lo­cated near key shop­ping malls and trade cen­tres in Mus­cat, in­clud­ing City Cen­tre, which is lo­cated only a few minutes away. The ameni­ties of the res­i­den­tial project in­clude swimming pools, health clubs and ten­nis play­grounds. The project stands out as an at­trac­tive op­por­tu­nity for in­vest­ment or hous­ing.

Na­tional Mass Hous­ing’s sec­ond phase of Areej Res­i­den­tial Com­mu­nity has also been launched. Areej Res­i­den­tial Com­mu­nity stretches over 30,000 square me­ters and presents a mile­stone for the real es­tate sec­tor in Oman. One of the main fea­tures of the project is the strate­gic lo­ca­tion which gives the whole project more unique­ness and in­vest­ment value. It is lo­cated near the Ger­man Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy and San­dan In­dus­trial Park and a 15-minute drive from Mus­cat In­ter­na­tional Air­port, 15-minute drive from Mus­cat City Cen­tre and 10-minute drive from Seeb Souq. The ar­chi­tec­tural de­sign of the 69-villa project en­sures com­fort, lux­ury and en­joy­able life for all res­i­dents. It has been de­signed to be the gate­way for through which in­di­vid­u­als will step into a new world of cre­ativ­ity. Each villa stretches over 237 square me­ters and has been equipped with a wide range of fa­cil­i­ties, tech­nolo­gies and in­ter­nal de­sign that pro­vides the high­est level of com­fort and op­ti­mal use of ev­ery cor­ner. The de­liv­ery is ex­pected to be in 2019.

The first ever so­lar en­ergy of­fice in Oman, the Taj of­fice build­ing, was also launched in the early part of 2017. Har­nessed par­tially by the power of the sun, the of­fice is the out­come of the ef­forts of Tee­jan In­vest­ment and De­vel­op­ment. Sup­ported by a va­ri­ety of lat­est cut­ting-edge tech­nolo­gies and high-end spec­i­fi­ca­tions, Taj of­fice build­ing will be equipped with fast in­ter­net con­nec­tions mak­ing it a sta­teof-the-art smart of­fice. The project is over­look­ing the main streets of Mus­cat city and it is a seven-minute drive from Mus­cat In­ter­na­tional Air­port. Stretch­ing over 3,942 square me­ters, the 12-story build­ing can ac­com­mo­date 270 ve­hi­cles.

Op­ti­mis­ing the use of lat­est tech­nolo­gies, Taj is the first of­fice build­ing in Oman to be equipped with a ro­bot to work as a guide for visi­tors. The build­ing is so­lar en­ergy pow­ered and is equipped with smart light­ing and air con­di­tion­ing sys­tems. Mean­while, the Min­istry of Hous­ing has asked real es­tate bro­kers to get a li­cence, which was a long pend­ing re­quest from Oman Real Es­tate As­so­ci­a­tion. The trade body had also asked for es­tab­lish­ing a na­tional-level body for reg­u­lat­ing the real es­tate mar­ket, es­pe­cially prop­erty de­vel­op­ers and real es­tate bro­kers.

The Sul­tanate’s con­struc­tion in­dus­try con­tin­ues to re­main buoy­ant, backed up by the con­struc­tion of new high­ways, de­vel­op­ment and im­ple­men­ta­tion of sev­eral big-ticket projects, ex­pan­sion of the real es­tate sec­tor, and a thriv­ing tourism and leisure mar­ket. In­vest­ment, es­pe­cially in ITCS are steady and see­ing more po­ten­tial. A num­ber of new lux­ury ho­tels are also in the pipe­line. The new trend to­wards mas­ter-planned cities is a pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ment for Oman which of­fer nu­mer­ous tie-ups be­tween pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors.

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