There are also separate projects through its JVs with MBR Foundation and Dubai Healthcare City
Dubai: Nshama, the developer specialising in mid-market offerings, will shortly commence the phased release of a further 2,000 homes to build on the 2,000 units it has already launched last year at the Town Square (along Al Qudra Road).
The developer’s median price at the mid-rise community has been around Dh800 a square foot, and of the earlier releases “almost all of its has been sold”, according to its CEO. It was last year that Town Square was launched and has featured five project releases until now.
“We are in a position for new launches... and will do so when we have locked in prices with the contractors,” said Fred Durie. “That should happen as early as next month.”
Apart from those at Town Square, Nshama has other launches that will keep it busy. Imminent is the one that will come about through the earlier announced joint venture with Mohammad Bin Rashid Foundation, which will have price points higher than those at Town Square.
“It’s different land on Al Khaild, it’s more prime and on the Creek,” said Durie. “We are good to go with the project; there’s also a second joint venture (again in a 50:50 split) with Dubai Healthcare City for mid-rise residential properties.
“However, mid-income properties remains our core focus, representing 90-95 per cent (of the portfolio).”
The joint ventures come with other benefits too – it eases any pressure Nshama might have on adding to its land bank beyond Town Square. Both Mohammad Bin Rashid Foundation and Dubai Healthcare City are bringing substantial land that they own into the projects.
Durie does not see any possibility of going in for projects outside of Dubai. “While our business model can work just as well outside, we are not stepping out of Dubai. We have enough land bank here.” He has also categorically ruled out a stock market floatation.
In a soft market where its target buyers might still have difficulties sourcing funds, the developer has plans to make it easier for them. Durie said it is working on a solution and with which it will go to market shortly. In recent weeks, a handful of leading developers have pushed their payments plans where a sizeable number of of the instalment plans need paying two or three years after the handover.
“Our target is for those earning Dh20,000-Dh35,000, which is 40 per cent of the population. There’s a lot of high-end projects already in place and mid-market has tended to be a niche. There are reports that suggest the requirements are for 112,000 units at this price point. What we are building and going to deliver are not cheap, but low-cost homes at a certain quality.”
On whether Nshama might have to change some strategy on account of the market situation, Durie said: “It’s always been up and down... but 2020 is around the corner. And we don’t see the need to change any strategy.
“We have been doing OK in the last few months and what’s more, sold almost all of what we launched last year.”
A lot of local developers wouldn’t mind having that status.
Town Square to boast 600 stores
* The infrastructure related contracts awarded to date at Town Square are valued at Dh2 billion. All of the deep structural works are done with, while on the shallow works, the 30 per cent mark has been reached. In the second quarter, the road structure works will start.
* Town Square encompasses a 750-acre (31 million square feet) area.
* The retail portion will add up to 2.5 million square feet, featuring more than 600 stores and F&B outlets.