Dubai buyers favor built homes over off-plan

Dubai buyers favor built homes over off-plan
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January started the 2021 Dubai real estate market off a positive footing, with Property Finder reporting 3,300 transactions worth AED 6.74 billion ($1.84 billion). (AFP)
Dubai buyers favor built homes over off-plan
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January started the 2021 Dubai real estate market off a positive footing. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 12 February 2021

Dubai buyers favor built homes over off-plan

Dubai buyers favor built homes over off-plan
  • Pandemic, lack of new launches spur growth in secondary market

DUBAI: Dubai real estate buyers are increasingly moving away from off-plan properties in favor of completed or second-hand homes, according to figures from online platform Property Finder.

January started the 2021 Dubai real estate market off a positive footing, with Property Finder reporting 3,300 transactions worth AED 6.74 billion ($1.84 billion), a 15.5 percent increase in terms of volume and 37 percent increase in value, compared with January 2020.

One of the interesting trends highlighted was the fact that 72 percent of all transactions in January 2021 were for secondary or ready properties, with the reminding 28 percent being for off-plan properties.

The secondary market registered 2,373 transactions in January, the highest number in a single month since March 2014, the data showed.

In 2017, off-plan property sales made up 61 percent of transactions.

“When the pandemic started, we saw many trends shift, and one of them was to secondary/ready homes,” Lynnette Abad, director of research and data at Property Finder, told Arab News.

“People wanted to move to a ready property immediately and not wait for construction of an off-plan property to be completed,” she said.

“Consumers were moving to larger homes, shifting from apartments to villa/townhouses in search for more outside space and they wanted it immediately, due to the fact that their home all of the sudden became their office, their children’s school and their place of leisure.”

Abad said the lack of new project launches in 2020 also led to the decline in off-plan sales.

“Prices in the secondary/ready market were attractive and rivalling off-plan stock. Buyers have always been apprehensive about off-plan units, and that is not something new,” she said.

Property Finder found that 11.5 percent of sales in January were for villas or townhouses in Naad Al-Sheeba, followed by Dubailand (11.4 percent), Meydan (7.5 percent), Dubai Hills Estate (6 percent) and Tilal Al-Ghaf (4.8 percent).

For apartments, 12.4 percent of sales last month took place in Business Bay followed by Dubai Marina (9.7 percent), Jumeirah Village Circle (9.3 percent), Downtown Dubai (5.6 percent) and Palm Jumeirah (5.4 percent).


Bitcoin slips on profit-taking but on track for biggest gain in 8 months

Bitcoin slips on profit-taking but on track for biggest gain in 8 months
Updated 5 sec ago

Bitcoin slips on profit-taking but on track for biggest gain in 8 months

Bitcoin slips on profit-taking but on track for biggest gain in 8 months

LONDON: Bitcoin fell on Wednesday to its lowest level in 1-1/2 weeks, taking losses since hitting a record high last week to around 12 percent — though the digital currency is still on track for its best month since February.

Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, fell as much as 3.7 percent to $58,100, its lowest since Oct. 15. It has lost 12.1 percent since it hit an all-time high of $67,016 on Oct. 20.

By 1413 GMT, bitcoin was trading down 2.3 percent at $58,965. Smaller coins such as ethereum and ripple which tend to move in tandem with bitcoin also fell between 3.5-7 percent.

Bitcoin’s losses were down to traders taking profit from its recent rally, said Tony Sycamore, analyst at City Index. The digital currency has notched up gains of almost 35 percent so far this month, which if maintained would be its best performance in eight months.

Bitcoin is facing “a short-term downtrend,” said Du Jun, co-founder of major crypto exchange operator Huobi Group, adding that further falls may be limited given relatively low trading volumes.


Oil drops more than 1% as US stockpiles rise sharply

Oil drops more than 1% as US stockpiles rise sharply
Updated 3 min 45 sec ago

Oil drops more than 1% as US stockpiles rise sharply

Oil drops more than 1% as US stockpiles rise sharply

NEW YORK: Oil prices fell on Wednesday after US crude oil stockpiles rose more than expected, even as fuel inventories dropped and tanks at the nation’s largest storage hub emptied further.

The bigger-than-expected rise in US crude stocks gave some investors an impetus to unload long positions after strong gains in recent weeks brought both the Brent and US crude benchmarks to multiyear highs.

Brent oil futures were down $1.89, or 2.2 percent, to $84.51 a barrel as of 1:02 p.m. EDT (1702 GMT), after ending at a seven-year high on Tuesday. US West Texas Intermediate crude lost $1.97, or 2.3 percent, to $82.68 a barrel.

Both benchmarks closed on Friday with a seventh straight weekly gain as major producers hold back supply and demand rebounds after the easing of pandemic restrictions.

Crude oil inventories rose by 4.3 million barrels last week, according to the US Energy Department, more than the expected 1.9 million-barrel gain. Gasoline stocks dropped by 2 million barrels, bringing them to levels not seen in nearly four years, as US consumers grapple with rising prices to fill their vehicles’ tanks.

Storage tanks at the WTI delivery hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, are more depleted than they have been in the past three years, with prices for longer-dated futures contracts pointing to supplies staying at those levels for months.

The selling on Wednesday was more pronounced in Brent, continuing a narrowing in the discount between WTI and the international benchmark as inventories at the Cushing hub have dropped sharply.

“The market continues to deplete Cushing crude oil inventories and that is impacting the Brent-WTI spread and ultimately we're going to see crude oil diverted from the Permian up to Cushing rather than going to the Gulf Coast,” said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston.

However, a patchy recovery around the world from the worst health crisis in 100 years, has often led to doubts over the sustainability of oil prices.

“(Some) countries are falling into an autumn COVID-19 case spike,” said Louise Dickson, senior oil markets analyst at Rystad Energy, “which poses downside risk for oil demand growth in the very near-term and could provide a soft pressure on oil prices.”


Petrochemical shares lead TASI decline by 0.33%: Market wrap

Petrochemical shares lead TASI decline by 0.33%: Market wrap
Updated 48 min 26 sec ago

Petrochemical shares lead TASI decline by 0.33%: Market wrap

Petrochemical shares lead TASI decline by 0.33%: Market wrap

RIYADH: Falling petrochemical shares saw the Tadawul All-Share Index finish down by 39 points on Wednesday, or 0.33 percent, closing at 11,807 points.

The market's decline was led by SABIC, which fell by 1.2 percent. 170 company shares in total were down, led by Petro Rabigh, after it fell to the minimum. This coincided with the company's announcement of profits of SR221 million.

174.4 million of shares changed hands in 298.000 deals, with heavy trading in Saudi Aramco, AlRajhi Bank, National Industrialization Co. 27 company shares rose during today's session, led by Banque Saudi Fransi, and Herfy's share, which rose by 2.8 percent.

Atheeb Telecom recorded its lowest close since last February, after the stock fell today by 9.1 percent. Also, Riyad Bank's profits increased to SR4408 million or 15 percent by the end of September. Saudi Aramco recorded a gain of 0.8 percent, which is the highest closing since December 2019. 

Arab Sea recorded the highest closing since its debut at SR171 amid trading of about 540,000 shares. Among the other risers, Banque Saudi Fransi's shares were up by 4 percent after it announced profits in the third quarter grew 172 percent to reach SR907 million.

The parallel market index Nomu ended the day down 39.01 points, or 0.16 percent. It closed at 23,912.22 points, after 1,114 trades.


UK’s more positive growth forecast ; US to introduce a 'billionaires tax:' Economic wrap

UK’s more positive growth forecast ; US to introduce a 'billionaires tax:' Economic wrap
Updated 50 min 33 sec ago

UK’s more positive growth forecast ; US to introduce a 'billionaires tax:' Economic wrap

UK’s more positive growth forecast ; US to introduce a 'billionaires tax:' Economic wrap

RIYADH: Britain’s economy is expected to grow by 6.5 percent in 2021, the country’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said in his Budget speech to parliament on Wednesday. This is a considerable revision from March’s forecast of 4 percent.

As for 2022, the economy is predicted to expand by a slightly lower 6 percent, the Chancellor added. 

The country’s inflation rate is also expected to average at 4 percent for the next year, up from the current 3.1 percent. This is driven by rising energy costs and supply shortfalls.

Moreover, Sunak announced that around £6 billion ($8.2 billion) will be delivered to the National Health Service as it struggles with the mounting number of Covid-19 patients in the country.

Germany’s economy forecasts

Meanwhile, Germany's economic growth forecast was sharply cut to 2.6 percent for 2021, down from April’s prediction of 3.5 percent, the German government said. 

This was mainly driven by distortions in the supply chain as well as hikes in energy prices.

However, the forecast for next year was favorably altered to 4.1 percent up from the former expectation of 3.6 percent, the government added.

The economy ministry also said in a statement that inflation is forecast to reach 3 percent in 2021 but will taper off in the coming years. This will be the highest level since 1993. Inflationary pressures in global energy prices and supply disruptions contributed to the rise in consumer prices.

Price inflation is expected to be 2.2 percent in 2022 and 1.7 percent in 2023.

US Senate introduces 'billionaires tax'

American billionaires are set to pay taxes on unrealized gains from their assets in order to finance Joe Biden’s social policy and climate change legislation, according to the top Senate Democrat for tax policy. 

The legislation is expected to cost about $1.5-2 trillion.

The so-called “billionaires tax” is a part of a wider plan that also includes an anticipated 15 percent minimum corporate tax rate on the country’s most profitable companies.

Canada’s interest rate decision

Canada’s central bank held its interest rate at 0.25 percent. This comes at a time when the country grapples with the highest inflation rate since February 2003. The annual rise in consumer prices sat at 4.4 percent in September.

Morocco enters the global debt market

To provide around 20 percent of Morocco’s financing needs in its 2022 budget, its government plans to enter the global debt markets, Asharq reported citing Morocco’s Minister of Economy and Finance.

Based on the 2022 pre-budget statement, the country needs around MAD105 billion ($11.6 billion) in financing. It also needs to petition the parliament in order to increase the government's external debt ceiling to MAD40 billion ($4.4 billion).

Meanwhile, the pre-budget statement also expects a rise in total public spending by 9 percent to reach MAD519 billion ($57.2 billion). Additionally, the budget deficit is predicted to slip next year to 5.9 percent of GDP from the 6.2 percent expected for this year, the government said last week.

Mexico’s trade deficit

The trade deficit in Mexico was $2.4 billion in September, falling from a surplus of $4.4 billion in the same month from last year, according to the country’s official statistics agency.

Imports to the country leaped by 29.1 percent to $44.1 billion, driven by purchases of intermediate goods and consumer goods which grew by 28.6 percent and 35.9 percent respectively.

This was accompanied by a lower growth in exports which rose by 8.2 percent only to reach $41.7 billion. The increase was largely accounted for by a 5.9 percent jump in non-oil exports as well as a 6.1 percent rise in exports of manufactured products.

Brazil’s unemployment

Brazil's unemployment rate fell to 13.2 percent in the three months ending in August, down from 13.7 percent in May-July, official data revealed. This is the lowest unemployment level since May 2020.

In addition, the country’s participation rate rose to 58.6 percent.


ACWA Power-led consortium closes financing $12 billion Jazan IGCC project

ACWA Power-led consortium closes financing $12 billion Jazan IGCC project
Updated 27 October 2021

ACWA Power-led consortium closes financing $12 billion Jazan IGCC project

ACWA Power-led consortium closes financing $12 billion Jazan IGCC project

RIYADH: PIF-owned ACWA Power, today announced the financial close and completion of the acquisition of the first group of assets for the Jazan integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) project.

The JV will complete the commissioning and testing and commence operating, and maintaining the plant to supply power, steam, hydrogen, and other utilities for Aramco’s Jazan refinery, under a 25-year contract with Aramco, it said in a statement.