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Yas Island apartment sale draws enthusiastic reception in Abu Dhabi

Investors crowded into the breakfast room of the Crowne Plaza hotel to snap up the first residential units for sale on Yas Island yesterday.

While there was a mix of local and expatriate investors for Aldar’s first property sales available for non-UAE nationals on the island, the going appeared slower than the company’s last sale of Al Hadeel units.

The developer did not disclose how many units were available for sale yesterday but said that all of them had been sold.

All 223 off-plan Al Hadeel units, which included studios, apartments, town houses and duplexes, were sold off in the first couple of hours in last month’s event.

Earlier an Aldar spokeswoman said yesterday that the response for the off-plan 540-unit Ansam project was “quite good”.

At 10am – two hours after the sale opened – the number of potential buyers in the halls milling around the juice and croissant stands was about 300, with 75 already having been to the sales counter.

About 2,000 people had registered their interest for the project at Abu Dhabi’s Cityscape exhibition in April and on the developer’s website.

Aldar launched the first phase of Ansam apartments overlooking the Yas Links Golf Course at prices ranging between Dh723,000 for a studio and Dh3 million for a three-bedroom apartment.

The construction of the units is due to start early next year and is expected to be complete in 2017.

The second phase of Ansam will include 1,200 apartments but its release date has not been announced.

Investors can acquire up to five units, but that must be a mix of studios and apartments.

“There is a good market for the right product because there has been a shortage of off-plan sales in investment areas in Abu Dhabi,” said Craig Plumb, the head of research at JLL’s Dubai office.

“Part of the problem with the Abu Dhabi property market is that there are still few investment zones where foreigners can buy and that limits the options.”

Expatriate investors in Abu Dhabi are restricted to nine areas such as Saadiyat Island, Al Raha Beach, Reem Island, Masdar, Lulu Island and Sowwah Island to own 99-year leases, according to the Abu Dhabi 2030 Plan.

Abu Dhabi properties have been relatively cheaper than Dubai’s since late 2012. “Prices will continue to rise in Dubai, therefore encouraging people to see Abu Dhabi as a good value,” Mr Plumb said.

While there are no restrictions on how long an investor needs to wait before reselling units, at least half of the purchase price must be paid to Aldar before they can be resold. The Dubai developer Emaar requires buyers to pay 40 per cent of the home value before resale is permitted.

Aldar’s next announced project is on Nareen Island, where it hopes to sell 140 villa plots to Emiratis. The island is located near the Emirates Palace hotel in Al Bateen.

The company has 23 developments under consideration, including the Alghadeer development near the Dubai 2020 Expo site.

ssahoo@thenational.ae

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