Sunday, February 10, 2008

When The Desperate Millionaires Have To Queue!

It was some time ago, when Emaar launched its first project, The Greens Apartment that I heard about hundreds of hopeful buyers had to queue few days before the launching day. They were literally camping out to grab the early units of Middle East's first ever development open for sale to foreigners.

On the morning itself, due to unavailability of mortgage options as the banks were still alien to mortgage concepts for non-nationals, a lot of these expatriates carried cash to pay for the bookings and even total sum of the price. Beyond expectation, every unit offered was sold out in few hours. History breaking feat that was a big headline for few days.

No, it was not a made-up story. I saw it happened back home in Malaysia during the booming days. Speculators, err, investors were and are still there and everywhere, including in Dubai. Most new launches sold within hours and now you can see those for sale advertisements in newspapers.

The bubble wil be heard it loud from sceptics.

The property developers and agents are now also increased in number with new laws gazetted to curb malpractices. Among the actions to safeguard the home buyers from manipulated, conned and cheated by unscrupulous agents and developers, the government established Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) which in turn, introduced escrow account system and other measures like licensing the agents.

Giants like Emaar, Nakheel, Tatweer, Dubai Properties, Damac, Al Qudra, Surouh, Al Dar, Al Reem, RAK Properties, National Properties, to name a few are now established names in property development sector within a short span of time. More projects were and to be launched.

The total development has reached USD trillions and more to come.

For example, with the demand keeps increasing, the current values for apartment units in the Greens are appreciated multiple times over from the original prices and all of these fortunate buyers, if they were not millionaires before, are now millionaires on their own rights.

A villa on the Palm Jumeira in 2002 was sold at AED3 million, about 4,000 units were sold out, and the same villa now already fetching AED12 millions.

Most rich people make their fortunes through property business. The famous one, Trump is also building his real estate business here on the Palm.

And fastforward to today, different time but the same scenario repeated. Who says Dubai's bubble is about to burst anytime? The property market is still alive and kicking, the bubble stays afloat and those doomsayers have to keep shifting the dates, again, now 2010 will be the doomsday. Or is it 2012? 2015?

This time, year 2008, Emaar did it again and again. As reported, supposedly there were all millionaires who were queueing up armed with cheque books and passports to grab apartments on sale.

Hundreds queue all night for Burj Dubai units

More than 300 people spent Friday night queuing up outside Emaar Properties' Burj Dubai sales centre, desperate to grab several new units in the developer's flagship project. In unprecedented scenes, some buyers are thought to have paid nearly 8 million dirhams ($2.18 million) for one bedroom apartments in the Burj itself, and over 2 million dirhams for one bedroom apartments in Downtown Burj Dubai.

Emaar announced on Thursday it would be hosting a sales event for an "exclusive collection" of high-end homes drawn from various residential projects in Downtown Burj Dubai.

Residential projects included The Old Town, The Residences, South Ridge, Burj Dubai Lake Hotel & Serviced Apartments and The Dubai Mall Hotel & Serviced Apartments, some of which are ready to move into immediately.

The units officially went on sale at 9am on Saturday morning. However, by 3am queues had already built up, with many eager buyers bringing blankets, food and drink with them. Many were armed with cheque books and passports, keen to snap up anything they could.

"It got busy very early. The rumours have been going around of units going for 3,000 dirhams per square foot, which is very high but most people still think the price is going to rise a lot more as the Burj Dubai nears completion," said Robert Macnair, branch manager of property consultants Sherwoods.

"Many of these properties have gone up 25% in value within the last three months alone.”Downtown Burj Dubai is being marketed as "a city within a city", and will include 30,000 homes, nine hotels, 6.2 acres of parkland, 19 residential towers, the Dubai Mall, and a 30-acre manmade lake.

The Burj Dubai, the tallest building in the world, will be the centrepiece of the $20 billion development.

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