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The Dubai-based private developer Danube Properties said its latest Dh550 million project Elitz has been sold out at the launch, reflecting demand for the affordable segment remains strong in the emirate.
Set to be developed at 36,930 square feet plot of land at Jumeirah Village Circle, the project will have a built-up area of 695,000 square feet. It will deliver 268 studios, 203 one-bedroom apartments, 65 two-bedroom flats, 13 three-bedroom flats and four duplexes. The twin-tower project is connected by a podium complex that houses car parking, community facilities as well as 284 retail units.
The project, planned to be handover in the fourth quarter of 2025, was snapped up by investors, buyers and brokers.
“The real estate market in Dubai has come out of age and has demonstrated resilience by registering growth amid the biggest pandemic in human history, by recording Dh300 billion sales and mortgage transactions last year, which is definitely going to be broken this year to create a new record,” said Rizwan Sajan, founder and chairman of Danube Group.
“For Danube Properties, 2022 is going to be a record year for us when we launched six sold-out projects –consecutively, this reflects the buoyancy in the market and strong investor interest in quality homes,” said Sajan.
“As we close 2022, we look forward to a new year with renewed hope of delivering some more landmark projects while delivering the under-construction projects to take the real estate market to the next level.”
It also introduced home-office solutions in two-bedroom apartments where families can convert a part of the open space into a co-working facility to manage work from home which is becoming the trend following the Covid-19 pandemic. Most companies now allow professionals to work from home which saves time, reduces traffic on the street and increases productivity. Moreover, it offers a better work-life balance.
With a portfolio of 8,779 units and a combined sales value exceeding Dh6.75 billion, the developer has so far delivered 4,556 units with a combined sales value of Dh3.63 billion – more than half of the entire portfolio value.
Rents in Dubai will further rise in 2023, especially in the prime markets where demand is outstripping supply, while the affordable areas are likely to see moderate growth in rental
Rents in the emirate were on a downward trend since 2014 but recovery began after the pandemic, as many foreign workers returned with the recovery in the job market as well as the inflow of high-net-worth individuals to the market.
David Abood, partner at real estate consultancy Core, expects rents to rise across the board in 2023.
“The prime market is anticipated to continue witnessing higher rents as demand for this segment outstrips supply. With most of the upcoming supply handing over in the affordable and mainstream apartment districts, we expect this market segment to see relatively moderate rental increases,” said Abood.
Ayman Youssef, vice-president, Coldwell Banker sees luxury villas in prime locations such as Emirates Hills, and Palm Jumeirah picking up the most in terms of rentals next year.
“The major reason for this is the influx of wealthy migrants from Russia and Ukraine who are a major contributor to the current inflation in the property market and we see this trend indicating an upward in 2023, too. On the other hand, beachfront properties, skyline views and gated communities are also likely to be more in demand and which will subsequently lead to a subsequent rise in rents,” said Youssef.
According to Richard Waind, group managing director at Betterhomes, there are signs that rents are now starting to level out, with increases in the last three months of just under two per cent.
“With under 30,000 new homes to be delivered in 2023 and very few villas or townhouse communities, it is no surprise that well-located homes have experienced the highest rent prices. I expect that scenario to play out through 2023. High renewal rates will exacerbate traditional villa communities' lack of rental stock, putting further upward pressure on rents,” he said.
Rents lower than 2014 level
Despite the increase, real estate industry executives say that rents are still lower than their 2014 peak.
“Rents fell between 2014 and 2021, and while rents have increased across all communities over the last 24 months, rents remain below their 2014 peak. Apartments, in particular, have some way to go back to previous highs. In Dubai Marina, for example, average rents are Dh121,000, nine per cent below their 2014 peak, while JLT and Sports City rents remain 30 per cent and 40 per cent behind, respectively,” said Richard Waind.
Citing another example, he said average rents in Arabian Ranches currently stand at Dh217,000, six per cent below their previous peak seen in 2014.
David Abood says some mid-market districts are still below their 2014 peak values, including villa districts such as Jumeirah Village Circle, The Springs and the Meadows and apartment districts such as Discovery Gardens, Dubai Sports City, Jumeirah Village Circle and JLT.
“When comparing 2014 peak values to 2022, it is important to note that there were over 200,000 fewer units in the market and nearly 1.2 million fewer residents than today. Therefore, the current rental values reflect a much more mature market with robust socio-economic factors underlining the city’s growth.”
Affordable areas in Dubai
Real estate industry executives revealed that there are still many areas in both Old Dubai and New Dubai where rents are below their 2014 peak level.
David Abood of Core says the established districts of Bur Dubai, Deira and freehold districts including International City, Liwan, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Discovery Gardens, and Dubai Sports City are amongst the most affordable apartment districts in the emirate.
Ayman Youssef added that some of the most affordable areas in Dubai are International City, Dubai Silicon Oasis, IMPZ, and Town Square.
Question: I recently arrived in the UAE for the first time on an employment visa. I want to know whether the company pays for the health insurance of employees or if I’ve to contribute to my health insurance. Please guide.
Response: Mandatory health insurance is a subject of discretion for the competent authorities at each Emirate of the UAE, as of now. Since you have not mentioned the name of the emirate where you are employed, we assume that you are employed in either Abu Dhabi or Dubai.
In Abu Dhabi
In the emirate of Abu Dhabi, the Law No (23) of 2005 Concerning Health Insurance in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the Implementing Regulation (the “ADHIL”) makes it mandatory for employers to provide health insurance coverage to all their employees and respective family members as well. This is in accordance with Article 5 of the ADHIL which reads as follows:
The employer shall undertake to provide health insurance coverage for all its employees/ workers and their family members including an employee's/ worker's wife and three children under 18 years of age. Every sponsor shall undertake to provide insurance coverage for those sponsored by it who are not covered by the employer. A non-UAE national may not obtain a residence permit or renewal thereof, nor may he be employed, unless after enrollment into the health insurance scheme.
In the emirate of Dubai, Law No 11 of 2013 Concerning Health Insurance in the Emirate of Dubai, which is also called the Dubai Health Insurance Law No 11 of 2013 (DHIL) is the chief legislation governing mandatory health insurance. By the provisions of Article 11 of the DHIL, the ‘sponsors’ of visas are obliged to provide health insurance coverage for the persons sponsored. The full provisions of Article 11 read as follows:
The sponsor shall be obliged of the following:
• Cover the persons sponsored thereby if they have not been covered by the employer thereof.
• Bear the cost of such health insurance coverage rather than making the beneficiaries bear such costs.
• Verify that the health insurance of the persons sponsored thereby is valid for the length of their residence or visiting period.
• Bear the health services and medical intervention costs in emergencies for any of the persons sponsored thereby if any of them has no health insurance in accordance with the provisions of this Law.
• Give the persons sponsored thereby the health insurance card.
• Provide the health insurance policy upon the residence or visiting issuance or renewal of the persons sponsored thereby.
• Any other obligations specified by the Authority pursuant to the resolutions issued thereby in such concern.
Pursuant to your query, if you are employed in Abu Dhabi or Dubai, the employer or sponsor (as applicable) shall be obliged to obtain health insurance coverage for you, without any monetary contribution from you or deduction from your salary.
Local authorities in Abu Dhabi have introduced a list of 18 violations regarding occupancy in residential areas, which are punishable by fines ranging from Dh5,000 to Dh1 million.
The list of penalties – a copy of which Khaleej Times has seen — serves as a warning note for individuals who are illegally subletting apartments and villas, sharing them with more than one family, and exceeding the number of people allowed to live in them.
This guide, issued by the Department of Municipalities and Transport as part of an awareness campaign titled ‘Your home, your responsibility’, aims to tackle overcrowding in residential neighbourhoods.
Starting in the first quarter of 2023, the department will be carrying out inspections, and fines will be issued if a violation is found. The amount will be doubled for a repeat violation after a year of being fined for it.
Here’s the list according to Law No. 8 of 2019 concerning the ‘Regulation of Occupancy of Properties and Residential Units’. Fines for repeated violations are mentioned in brackets.
1. Occupancy of real estate and residential units or public housing other than for the purpose for which it was intended: Dh50,000 (Dh100,000)
2. Leasing public housing or unauthorised appurtenances: Dh50,000 (Dh100,000)
3. Occupancy of real estate and residential units or public housing before the issuance of the occupancy certificate or a temporary occupancy certificate: Dh12,500 (Dh25,000)
4. Occupancy of real estate and residential units or public housing after the occupancy certificate has expired: Dh5,000 (Dh10,000)
5. Occupancy of real estate and residential units or public housing after the cancellation of the occupancy certificate: Dh25,000 (Dh50,000)
6. Occupying or renting real estate, residential units, or public housing after the demolition permit, in whole or in part, has been issued: Dh500,000 (Dh1,000,000)
7. Occupying or renting real estate and residential units or public housing after the issuance of a decision by the competent authority to demolish it in whole or in part: Dh500,000 (Dh1,000,000)
8. Leasing real estate and residential units or public housing in residential areas for unauthorised categories: Dh50,000 (Dh100,000)
9. Leasing real estate and residential units as a group housing: Dh100,000 (Dh200,000)
10. Occupying real estate and residential units in a way that exceeds the number of people allowed to: Dh50,000 (Dh100,000)
11. Violating security, safety and public health procedures for residential units in terms of ventilation, air conditioning, hygiene, and public health requirements: Dh25,000 (Dh50,000)
12. Occupying real estate in a manner that violates public norms or morals prevalent in the state: Dh25,000 (50,000)
13. Occupying or subleasing real estate and residential units or public housing: Dh25,000 (Dh50,000)
14. More than one family in a residential unit: Dh12,500 (Dh25,000)
15. Family living with bachelors or people who are not related by blood or marriage in the same housing unit: Dh25,000 (Dh50,000)
16. Renting buildings built on farms and ranches to workers or bachelors: Dh50,000 (Dh100,000)
17. Occupying the buildings built on farms and estates by corporate or bachelor workers: Dh25,000 (Dh50,000)
18. Obstructing the work of authorised persons, interfering with them, preventing them from performing their duties in controlling acts committed in violation of the provisions of the law or its executive regulations or the decisions issued of their implementation: Dh50,000 (Dh100,000)
The day will be partly cloudy to cloudy at times, the National Centre of Meteorology has said.
Clouds will form over some Eastern areas and the sea with a probability of rainfall.
Light to moderate winds will blow, fresh at times, especially over the sea, causing blowing dust during the day.
Temperatures in the country could be as high as 29ºC. Mercury is set to rise to 28ºC in Abu Dhabi and in Dubai.
However, temperatures could be as low as 17ºC in Abu Dhabi and 19ºC in Dubai and 9ºC in mountainous regions.
Humidity levels will range from 25 to 70 per cent in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It will be humid by night and Saturday morning over some internal areas.
Conditions at sea will be moderate to rough at times in the Arabian Gulf and slight in the Oman sea.
UAE's New Year celebrations are always a spectacle with breathtaking fireworks, drone shows and entertainment. This year, Abu Dhabi will attempt to break three Guinness World Records as part of Sheikh Zayed Festival's NYE celebrations.
The Organising Committee of the Sheikh Zayed Festival, which is currently taking place at Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi, has lined up a series of world-class folkloric and entertainment events and performances as part of its New Year celebrations.
The 40-minute fireworks show will attempt to break three records in quantity, time and formation. A giant drone show, using more than 3,000 unmanned aerial vehicles, will also light up the skies of Al Wathba.
This will be the world's first show of its kind and magnitude. There will be plenty of entertainment for children, including theatre shows, circus performances, games at Funfair City, and other activities.
The festival features more than 60 gastronomic selections spread across numerous areas, including “Egrab” food trucks, which means “Come closer” in Emirati dialect, kiosks, pavilion restaurants, Souk Al Wathba restaurants and the Art District restaurants, with a vast selection of food and beverages choices from all over the world.
Until March 18, 2023, the Sheikh Zayed Festival will welcome visitors daily from 4 pm until 12 am, both weekdays and on weekends. The cultural event features thousands of local, international and folkloric performances, and activities, curated to create a one-of-a-kind joyful destination for all members of the family.
12-minute fireworks in RAK
Ras Al Khaimah will welcome New Year 2023 with a dazzling musical firework display that will aim to create new world records. Featuring pyro drones, nano lights, colours and shapes choreographed to electronic beats, the event will see a 12-minute fireworks display that will light up the night sky.
Covering a 4.7km stretch along the waterfront between Al Marjan Island and Al Hamra Village, visitors are in for a jaw-dropping pyro-musical, that is set to break new records once again.
Young mother Dina had come from Germany to Dubai with her 10-month-old baby boy to go on the cruise ship, AIDAcosma, that is docked in the city. Dina was accompanied by her mother and sister - the family was on a ‘girls trip’. “Every year we do a trip just the three of us but this is the first time we are holidaying with a baby,” she said. “Tomorrow, my sister and I will go for a desert safari while my mother babysits.”
Dina and her family are part of the hundreds of thousands of people who are coming to the city to go on a cruise. With 46 ship calls, the Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal (DHCT) is at the forefront of scripting a spectacular comeback of cruise tourism in the region as well as globally.
This year, the terminal, located at the intersection of Palm Jumeirah and Bluewaters, is expecting to serve over 300,000 visitors, a four-fold increase from last year’s 70,000 tourists.
“For a city like Dubai, the cruise industry plays a crucial role in the overall tourism strategy,” said Abdulla Binhabtoor, Chief Portfolio Management Officer, Shamal Holdings, owner and curator of Dubai Harbour.
“The cruise industry supports the national economy through significant passenger spending across multiple verticals, including leisure attractions, food and beverage, and entertainment, contributing to job creation and sector growth.”
Khaleej Times went behind the scenes at DHCT to check out what goes into running the operation that welcomes, on an average, 21,000 people every weekend.
Arrival of a ship
Inaugurated in November 2021, the DHCT is the largest standalone cruise terminal in the eastern hemisphere. It has been steadily expanding in its capacity, with the terminal now ready to host massive ships that can accommodate up to 5,500 passengers.
On an average day, the terminal has around 120 staff members on ground for a ship’s arrival. While team KT was visiting, the ship AIDAcosma arrived at the terminal.
With a capacity of 5,500 passengers, the liner has an impressive 20 passenger decks and 2,600 state rooms. There are 17 restaurants, a fun park with water slides, a spa, a theatrium, a gym, a disco and a club for youngsters in the ship that has become a firm favourite among couples and families with children.
With two ships homeporting – Costa Toscana and AIDAcosma – Abdulla says there comes an additional set of challenges. “We usually receive around 10-20 food containers per week, meaning we have to ensure the seamless movement of those on and off the ship,” he said. The team at DHCT also handle 35,000 pieces of luggage during an average weekend.
Once the ship arrives, the quiet terminal is a flung into a flurry of activity that sees border control, airlines and immigration working alongside the DHCT to ensure a seamless travel experience.
Visitors can get through security, customs and immigration before heading off to explore the city. A wide array of tour operators and tourist buses are stationed outside the terminal to whisk away those who arrive to their location of choice.
“Most of the younger tourists prefer the modern attractions like Dubai Mall or Burj Khalifa,” said a tourist operator on the ground.
“The older visitors like to go to the Deira Souk or the Shindagha area to learn more about the history and culture of the city.”
Christian had arrived from Luxemburg with his wife on the cruise. “I came to Dubai 10 years ago with my parents,” he said.
“We had taken a cruise back then too and I really enjoyed it. So now I am back with my wife to explore the city and maybe recreate some of those memories.”
While job loss can be a stressful time for any individual, under a new Involuntary Loss of Employment Scheme, UAE citizens as well as expats will now be eligible to receive unemployment insurance.
The mandatory scheme that aims to protect employees against the risk of job loss, effective from early 2023, applies to employees of all nationalities in the public and private sectors.
However, in order to be eligible for compensation, the insured must meet the following criteria, according to the official Involuntary Loss of Employment Scheme website:
• There must be a minimum subscription period of 12 consecutive months for the insured in the scheme
• There must be no interruption in the subscription for 3 consecutive months
• The insured must be committed to pay all the insurance premiums due on time
• The insured must prove that the reason of unemployment is not due to resignation
• The insured may not be dismissed for disciplinary reasons under the Labour Relations Law and the Human Resources Law of the federal government, in addition to any applicable legislation
• The insured must submit the claim within 30 days from the date of loss of the work relationship, or the settlement of the labour complaint referred to the judiciary
• The insured worker should not have an existing complaint related to the absence from work
• The insured shall not be entitled for compensation if there has been fraud or deceit involved in his claim, or if the establishment they work for is fictitious
• The loss of employment should not be the result of non-peaceful labour strikes or stoppages, whether they result in harm or not
• The insured must be legally present in the UAE
Additionally, the scheme stipulates that the loss of employment should not be the result of one of the following:
• As a result of war, declared or undeclared, riot, insurrection, armed rebellion, revolution, military or usurping force, invasion, act of a foreign enemy, hostilities, civil war, or civil disorder
• As a result of a discharge of pollutants, a nuclear event, a radioactive, toxic, explosive or other dangerous effect of any explosive nuclear equipment or part of such equipment
• As a direct or indirect result of biological or chemical pollution resulting from or contributing to terrorism
• As a result of a direct action by the government of the United Arab Emirates that led to the expropriation or nationalisation of the employer’s facility, or the confiscation of his money leading to his insolvency
• As a result of the occurrence of force majeure in accordance with the Civil Transactions Law of the United Arab Emirates No. (5) of 1985.