Abu Dhabi Residential Market Witnesses Uptick In Rental And Sales Prices In Q2 2015

Apartment rental rates for prime buildings are on the increase in Abu Dhabi according to the latest Asteco market report, following a slow start to the year.

In its Q2 2015 Abu Dhabi report, the Middle East’s largest independent full service real estate company reported a 6% rise in the last quarter; with the first six months of 2015 recording positive overall market dynamics for the sector.

The majority of prime, high and mid-quality developments increased by 4% to 6% upon contract renewal; whereas new leases were, on average, 8% higher than in Q1 2015.

Some of Abu Dhabi’s most popular prime developments, such as the Eastern Mangroves and St Regis Residences by TDIC, recorded rent renewal increases of 12% and 10% respectively, with long prospective tenant waiting lists, indicating the continued lack of prime quality supply in the Capital. 
However, prime apartment buildings located on the Corniche recorded little or no increase in Q2, with rental rates already at a premium.

“This turnaround of events is attributable to the gradual stabilisation of sales prices over the last six months, allowing for strengthened yields and positive long term prospects for landlords,” said Jerry Oates, General Manager, Asteco Abu Dhabi.


Sales prices for apartments and villas remained steady, continuing the trend of the last 12 months, although year-on-year figures showed average positive growth of 4% in apartment sales prices.

Rental demand for quality villa stock in high-end developments also augurs well for potential investors with continued optimum occupancy rates for what stock there is available, with Asteco predicting an increase in rental rates over the next few months in the absence of any major handover of new villa stock before 2017.

A number of high profile launches did however take place during Q2, predominantly located on Reem, Yas and Saadiyat Islands, including Aldar’s West Yas and Mayan on Yas Island; with Reem welcoming New Horizon, by Tamouh; Meera from Aldar; and Aabar’s The Kite. Saadiyat Island also saw some new launches such as Bloom Properties’ Park Views, which achieved sales rates between AED 1,750 – 1,850 per square foot.

“These launches will add in excess of 3,600 new apartment units to the market from 2018, in addition to the 1,800 units announced during 2014, bringing much needed new supply to Abu Dhabi’s market. This is also a strong indication that developers are optimistic about market prospects, and both buyers and tenants will ultimately benefit from more choice,” said Oates.

Demand for high-end villas has also been positive in Q2, with Asteco highlighting the successful launch of TDIC’s Jawaher Al Saadiyat and Hidd Al Saadiyat developments, priced at AED5.7 million to AED25 million and from AED7.5 million to AED38 million, respectively.

Emirati investors jumped to invest in the first phase of Aldar’s master-planned Al Merief project in Khalifa City and Nareel Island located on the north-western corner of Abu Dhabi Island, with plot sales reserved for UAE nationals.

The recent issuance of a decree by HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, aimed at regulating and improving transparency in the local real estate sector will further boost market confidence and act as a catalyst for increased investor demand.

“This as-yet-unenacted legislation will effectively protect investor interests in uncompleted projects, as it requires that brokers and developers be fully licensed. When it comes into effect it will further cement the reputation of the emirate as a credible long term investment haven,” noted Oates.

While residential is showing strong growth potential, office rental rates remained stable in Q2 2015 due to significant availability in key locations across the city, including new prime supply, which has put pressure on rates of lower quality space in particular. However, Asteco notes that slow but steady growth continues to be recorded for prime office space, with a 7% increase recorded over the last six months.

With Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM), the new international financial centre on Al Maryah Island, beginning to accept license applications from mid-June for existing non-financial services tenants that have either a Private Limited or a Branch Office legal structure, which marks the first phase of the formal establishment of the Al Maryah Free Zone,” said Oates.

“This has meant that the previously delayed leasing of the two other ADGM buildings has now been resumed. The handover of the Al Hilal Bank office building is also anticipated within the next few months, bringing imminent new prime Grade A supply to the capital,” he added.

However, the unveiling of one of the first strata-owned office spaces, with the recent handover of ADDAX Tower, had negative impact on rental rates, which, says Asteco, is due to the fact that rental rates are likely to differ between owners, with initial asking rates ranging from AED 1,150 – 1,350 per square metre.

For more details, please visit www.asteco.com

Godiva Opens In Al Ain Mall

“Al Ain chocolate lovers frequently visited our cafés and stores in Abu Dhabi. And, there was a popular opinion that we needed to open shop in the Oasis city. We always listen to our customers and took a step towards opening at Al Ain Mall, which is a one-stop shopping and dining destination,” explained Manoj Loya, GODIVA’S regional general manager for Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

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GODIVA currently has 18 outlets in the UAE and Saudi Arabia that comprise of stores and cafes.

In the Middle East, the company is also present in Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar.  “We will open another store in Dubai before the end of 2015, whereas we plan to open three-four new stores in the UAE in 2016”, added Loya.

Louvre Abu Dhabi Exhibition

Louvre Abu Dhabi has announced an exhibition of its newest procurements at Manarat Al Saadiyat an existing exhibition space on the island that previously featured the Seeing Through Light exhibition. This will be the summer highlight for art lovers across the UAE and also a sneak peek into the artistic conquests of the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

There are two shows in the exhibition. The first that opens during Ramadan is Louvre Abu Dhabi Stories: Al Qalam. It focuses on the art of the written word, featuring art pieces that include a bifold from the Quran itself in the Kulfic script of the late 19th century, as well as Indian miniature paintings depicting calligraphy, and French manuscripts of Dictes and Philosophers’ sayings. The focus on the written word highlights the scholarly traditions of ancient societies and the transfer of knowledge between different cultures.

The second show is the Louvre Abu Dhabi Stories: Immortal Figures and it presents sculptures from around the world. Some of the key works are: wooden Uli statue from New Ireland in Papua New Guinea (18-19th century), Nepalese religious Buddhist figure—Maitreya—dated back to the 12th century, and an Italian terracotta bust of Saint Peter Martyr carved by a 15th century Renaissance sculptor. There will also be mummy portraits from Ancient Egypt in both sections of the exhibition reflection Egyptian cultural traditions of mummification.

Louvre Abu Dhabi Stories: Al Qalam will run from June 21 to July 25

Louvre Abu Dhabi Stories: Immortal Figures will run from July 28 to August 30

Ramadan hours are 9am to 2pm and 8.30pm to 11.30pm.

After Ramadan, the exhibitions will be open from 9am to 8pm.

Public programs and workshops will be held to coincide with the display. Full details will be available soon at louvreabudhabi.ae

Bon Jovi Live

Global rock superstars Bon Jovi will perform to UAE music fans at the du Arena, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi on the 1st of October 2015.

Bon Jovi’s popularity has only grown greater as more and more people experience their thrilling stadium rock performances. The Bon Jovi Live show at the du Arena in October is sure to set another live music benchmark for the Middle East.

Village Doors: 6pm
Early Entry: 7pm
Venue Doors: 7:30pm

Suites of 15 Guests: AED 30,000

Private Suite on elevated platform
For more information on Suites please contact tickets@thinkflash.ae

Platinum Table of 12 Guests (21+ only): AED 15,000
For Table Bookings please contact tickets@thinkflash.ae

Platinum Table of 6 Guests (21+ only): AED 7,500
For Table Bookings please contact tickets@thinkflash.ae

An elevated platform with dedicated bar service and access to the Golden Circle.

Golden Circle Early Entry: AED 995
Closest area to the stage (standing).
Access to the venue before standard ticket holders.

Golden Circle: AED 895
Closest area to the stage (standing).

VIP Platform (21+ only): AED 695
Elevated VIP Platform (standing) with dedicated bar service.

General Admission Early Entry: AED 495
Directly behind the Golden Circle area (standing).
Access to the venue before standard ticket holders.

General Admission: AED 395

Louvre Abu Dhabi Stories

Continuing the display of its collection to the public ahead of opening, Louvre Abu Dhabi will show the latest additions in Louvre Abu Dhabi Stories. Taking place at Manarat Al Saadiyat from 21 June to 30 August 2015. The showcase of the new acquisitions will be divided into two displays Louvre Abu Dhabi Stories: Al Qalam (21 June – 25 July 2015) and Louvre Abu Dhabi Stories: Immortal Figures (28 July – 30 August 2015). Both presentations will include the important Fayoum portrait, a fine example of an Egyptian funerary painting that would traditionally have been placed on the face of a mummified body.

The first display, Louvre Abu Dhabi Stories: Al Qalam, will run from 21 June to 25 July 2015 and will explore the art of the written word, featuring a broad selection of textual artworks including a Qur’an bifolio, miniatures, and a manuscript. The second display, Louvre Abu Dhabi Stories: Immortal Figures, will run from 28 July to 30 August 2015 and is a celebration of sculptures from across the globe.  This selection will include a wooden carving Uli statue from New Ireland, a Nepalese gilt copper figure of Maitreya, and an Italian bust of Saint Peter Martyr. The selected artworks that will be shown during the two displays were acquired in 2014 as part of the ongoing acquisitions for Louvre Abu Dhabi.

louvre abu

Dr. Celine Pouyat, Senior Project Manager, Louvre Abu Dhabi, said: “The objects on display exemplify how artworks created by different civilisations can complement one another in their composition, style and representation. Together, these artistic creations can be considered as a harmonised symphony.”

Hissa Al Dhaheri, Programmes Manager, Louvre Abu Dhabi said: “Supported by an interactive public programme developed to engage communities of all backgrounds, interests and age, Louvre Abu Dhabi continues to  showcase its growing collection to local and international audiences. This display will give the public the opportunity to view the museum’s growing permanent collection ahead of its opening, broadening awareness of both the museum’s curatorial identity and narrative.”

Louvre Abu Dhabi’s permanent collection comprises more than 500 artworks which will be complemented by approximately 300 loans from major French institutions in its opening year. The museum will adopt a unique curatorial trail that moves away from the traditional compartmentalisation of artworks and artefacts by their geographical origins or traditional chronologies of art history; instead, works from different cultures and civilisations will be shown side by side to highlight the similarities and differences in how common themes are explored.

Opening timings of Manarat Al Saadiyat during Ramadan will be from 09:00 to 14:00 and 20:30 to 23:30 and from 9:00 to 20:00 after Ramadan. Public programmes and workshops will coincide with the display. Full details will be available soon at www.louvreabudhabi.ae

Abu Dhabi International Airport Sees 15.5% Increase In Traffic For April 2015

Abu Dhabi Airports today announced that passenger traffic at Abu Dhabi International Airport increased by 15.5% in April 2015 as compared to April 2014.

The airport’s passenger statistics showed that 1,871,337 passengers used the airport during the month, growing from 1,620,324 in April 2014. Aircraft movements increased to 14,211 in April 2015, recording 14.4% growth when compared with 12,420 movements logged in April 2014.

Cargo handling activity rose to 71,650 tonnes representing a 19.3% increase when compared to 60,059 tonnes in April 2014.

Commenting on the latest passenger figures, Eng. Ahmad Al Haddabi, Chief Operations Officer at Abu Dhabi Airports, said: Abu Dhabi International Airport continues to maintain double-digit growth in passenger traffic, aircraft movement and cargo activity every month, making the airport one of the fastest growing aviation hubs in the world. Key drivers for passenger traffic growth last month include: increased activity by Etihad Airways new partner airlines namely Air Berlin, Jet Airways and Air Seychelles to cater for high demand during the holiday season; addition of 4 new routes (Madrid, Poona, Vince and Entebbe in Uganda) by Etihad Airways and Alitalia and increase in the number of flights to Jeddah for the Omrah season presented by Saudi Airline.

The addition of two new routes at the end of March: South African Airways launching inaugural route to Johannesburg and Alitalia adding Milan and Venice as new destinations also had a positive impact.

We continue to focus on ensuring that the passenger’s journey begins and ends as smoothly and comfortably as possible through striving towards delivering optimum services and facilities Al Haddabi added.

In April 2015, the top five routes from Abu Dhabi International Airport were London Heathrow, Bangkok, Manila, Doha and Bombay.  The top five routes accounted for 16% of all traffic last month.

Renewable Energy Made Another Appearance In The UAE's Radar

Renewable energy made another appearance in the UAE’s radar last night when the International Renewable Energy Agency or IRENA, inaugurated its global headquarters in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi.

IRENA is an intergovernmental organization that aids countries intending to adopt a future of sustainable energy – like the UAE. IRENA acts like a resource for all countries in the region to find financial, and technological knowledge on renewable energy.

Typical of major oil producing countries, the UAE has been a little late to the renewable energy party. Nonetheless, this action, taken in response to the severe energy challenges projected for the future, is much more than symbolic. The establishment is the first of it’s kind in the Middle East region and over 160 countries are legal members or applicants for membership.

The inauguration of IRENA is a major milestone in UAE’s journey towards renewable energy and has been a strong reinforcement of the country’s status as a leader in the field of green energy advancement. The process began seven years ago when the country placed a bid to IRENA in Abu Dhabi and then the UAE was able to beat Germany as well as Austria for the hosting rights.

The structure, that took five years to complete, is the most sustainably operated office building in the UAE setting a leading example for other establishments. It will house over 200 employees from all over the world – a number that is rapidly increasing. Starting with just 68 people in the initial stages, the organization that has seen substantial growth in the past four years led by Adnan Amin, Director-General of IRENA.

IRENA having its global headquarters in the UAE is a bold and daring move by an oil-rich Middle Eastern nation and therefore, is a testament to the country’s deep-rooted commitment to sustainability and a green future.


Beat The Heat This Summer With Amazing Offers On Experiences From Yas Marina Circuit

If you’re looking for fun and excitement during the long summer months then look no further with fantastic summer offers on a selection of Yas Marina Circuit’s thrilling experiences. The circuit is open for business, whatever the weather!
The details and prices are below for information:
Tour for 2 (buy one Venue Tour and receive the second one free!)
You and a partner can see what Yas Marina Circuit has to offer in our grand tour of this state-of-the-art facility. Explore one of the world’s most advanced Formula 1® circuits from the inside out. On a guided Venue Tour of Yas Marina Circuit, you will get to immerse yourself in a world usually seen only by race drivers and their teams.
Price: AED120
Offer valid from: 1stJune ­ 31stAugust 2015
Offer redeemable from: 1st June ­ 30th September 2015
Drift2 (buy one Taxi Drift experience and get one free)
Want to feel the excitement of drifting without being behind the wheel? Look no further, guaranteed to be the most memorable taxi ride ever! For limited time only, buy one Drift Taxi and receive the second one free!
Price: AED450
Offer valid from: 1st June ­ 31st August 2015
Offer redeemable from: 1st June ­ 30thSeptember 2015
Need for Speed (buy 1 Radical SST passenger experience and receive free entry into Ferrari World)
You don’t have to be behind the wheel to get a taste of the track. Let a professional racing driver take you for an incredible ride in the Yas Radical SST. Also, enjoy a once in a lifetime ride on the world’s fastest roller coaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.
Price: AED460
Offer valid from: 1st June ­ 31st August 2015
Offer redeemable from: 1st June ­ 30th September 2015
Splash & Sprint (buy one Drift Sprint experience and receive a day pass to Yas Waterworld)
It is a sprint to the finish line while going head to head against another driver in a series of drifting challenges on our VDA course.  Our specially designed course will test your drifting prowess and prove how good you really are. After all that excitement go and cool off in Yas Waterworld.
Price: AED540
Offer valid from: 1st June ­ 31st August 2015
Offer redeemable from: 1st June ­ 30th September 2015

Three Cities In Four Days As Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Industry Heads To The USA

Abu Dhabi’s tourism industry is embarking on a four-day, three-city roadshow in North America next week as it looks to build on increasing inbound tourism from the continent.

Led by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), a five-strong delegation of the emirate’s tourism stakeholders will join the roadshow from June 1 – 4 starting in the US capital of Washington D.C., before heading to Chicago, Illinois on June 3rd and then ending the tour in Dallas, Texas on June 4th.

Joining TCA Abu Dhabi will be representatives from the UAE’s national airline Etihad Airways, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas; Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi as well as Celebrity Cruises ­ the Royal Caribbean Cruises arm that offers upscale cruise vacations around the world.

Product managers, reservation staff, travel agents, media partners, MICE representatives and industry partners will be invited to the roadshow for presentations highlighting Abu Dhabi’s tourism credentials and offering opportunities for networking with trade partners.

“The United States is our fourth largest international source market, and as such an extremely important target for us for inbound visitors,” said Mubarak Al Nuaimi, Director of Promotions and Overseas Offices, at TCA Abu Dhabi.

“In 2014, 37 percent more visitors from the US arrived in Abu Dhabi than in 2013. There are currently 45 flights a week to Abu Dhabi, operated by our national airline Etihad Airways, from Washington DC, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Dallas/Ft. Worth, with this last route having recently being increased to three flights a week. So there are already excellent air links.


“Last year saw 123,196 guests arrive from the United States, which generated 608,556 guest nights, making American visitors one of our longest stayers with an average length of stay of just under five nights. We would like them to stay longer and discover much more of our emirate, and our US roadshows will showcase our world-class destination with first-class hotels, highly competitive room rates and a rich diversity of cultures and attractions. I’m sure our profile in the US will be raised even with this triple-city event.”

Joining the roadshow will be the multi-award winning  Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, a five-star luxury property featuring a stunning conference centre, observation deck, Talise Spa, private beach and direct access to Abu Dhabi’s luxury shopping destination ­ Avenue at Etihad Towers.

“The USA is an increasingly important market for Jumeirah at Etihad Towers with room nights by US residents increasing by a robust 97% in 2014 compared to that recorded in 2013,” said Stefan Fuchs, General Manager at the hotel. “Not only is the number of room nights of US residents continuing to increase but the total share of US travellers is also increasing.

“We regularly plays hosts to key international conventions and events that attract well-known US individuals and personalities, most recently the IATA World Financial Symposium. In addition our profile in the US was boosted by Jumeirah at Etihad Towers hitting the cinema screen, featuring as it did in the latest Hollywood action film, Fast & Furious – a high octane chase between our landmark towers. The movie even inspired an ultra-high end ‘Fast & Luxurious’ two-night package at the hotel, which includes limousine transfers to and from the hotel, a helicopter tour and the use of a super car for the weekend.

“With Etihad Airways expanding their US direct flight network to Los Angeles and Dallas/Fort Worth we are expecting US demand to continue to increase in the years ahead,” he concluded.

Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas Abu Dhabi, which offers five unique and luxurious properties in the UAE; Eastern Mangroves, Qasr Al Sarab, Royal Pavilion Villas and the Desert Island resorts of Al Yam and Al Sahel, will also be looking to maximise its exposure during the USA trip.

David Garner, Regional Director Sales & Marketing for Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas Abu Dhabi, said: “Abu Dhabi-based American companies are regular clients for our hotels and we have seen an increment in demand, from both business travellers to the Anantara Eastern Mangroves Hotel in the city or for leisure time at the Anantara resorts in the desert, Anantara Qasr al Sarab or on Sir Bani Yas Island.

“All five of our properties are tailored for the International market and with Etihad Airways introducing new routes to Dallas and San Francisco, flights are more flexible, and this has shown an increase in US travellers to UAE. In addition, Anantara Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa is part of the Essentials Abu Dhabi and Premium StopOver programmes with Etihad Airways.”

Celebrity Cruises, a company that offers luxurious cruise excursions from Abu Dhabi and is appearing at a TCA Abu Dhabi Roadshow for the first time, is looking to maximise the company’s exposure during the USA trip.

“The art of outstanding destination delivery is one of our brand pillars here at Celebrity Cruises,” said Frank Medina,  Commercial Director for Celebrity Cruises. “The Abu Dhabi roadshow will allow us to share with our trade partners this new, exciting and exotic itinerary programme which includes various cruise lengths and ports of call.”