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Al Barari sells 75% of luxury Ashjar apartments despite Dubai slowdown

The real estate sector in Dubai may have softened through 2015 but the developer of Dubai’s Al Barari is claiming to have bucked the trend.

Al Barari’s Ashjar apartments are 75 per cent sold out with completion of the full development not expected until December 2017.

Ashjar means trees in Arabic as 80 per cent of the current 18.42 million square foot Al Barari development is made up of green space, themed gardens, and freshwater streams. The off-plan sales would seem to go against the current market conditions. Nearly a third of all the homes expected to be completed in Dubai this year are sitting empty, brokers say.

Poor market conditions and construction delays have been blamed for the situation as brokers slashed their estimates for completions.

According to the property broker CBRE, about 6,000 homes in areas such as Sports City and Dubailand have been largely completed but have not yet been handed over to buyers.

“While we would love to have seen all our off plan units sold, 75 per cent is a great number,” said Martyn Crook, Al Barari’s chief executive of Asset Management. ”Only 52 of the 203 homes remain available for purchase. We havn’t compromised on price, we have been selling off plan at Dh1,720-1,750 per sq ft and the one bedroom is a minimum of 2,000 sq ft, 3 bed - 4,000 sq ft.

“The market isn’t like 2007, now buyers want to see a development that is established and finished to the original specifications. We have a further five-year development plan that we will adhere to and are still confident in the UAE market.”

With the Ashjar development announced in May 2014, the apartments have averaged about four to five sales per month.

According to the property data company Reidin, the number of property sales in some parts of the city has fallen by more than 45 per cent since the most recent peak in 2013. Earlier this month the property broker Cluttons said that the Dubai market was likely to continue to soften with a revival in its fortunes unlikely to take place until at least the end of next year.

“Al Barari has done what a lot of developers have done, by broadening their market,” said Craig Plumb, head of research at property consultants JLL. “There are not a huge amount of buyers for massive upmarket villas whereas apartments in established, verdant, areas are an easier sell. The 75 per cent sold is a respectable amount but it is a reflection on the market right now – there are still buyers out there but money goes where it’s safe, therefore reputation and reliability is very important.”

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