Even as Sharjah’s popularity continues to grow among international real estate buyers and investors, experts say that they remain committed to catering to the needs of interested parties closer to home.
“The beauty of Sharjah is that it has its own very loyal set of residents,” said Shadi Al Azzeh, project head of Al Zahia Communities at Majid Al Futtaim Properties. “Al Zahia focuses very keenly on community lifestyle living, which residents are very much looking for when buying a home. You have to ensure that you are creating a sense of belonging. Sharjah has a market for quality lifestyle living, and there is a lot of good faith and trust in the emirate’s real estate market.”
At its completion in 2023, Al Zahia will be home to 12,000 residents living across its 2,300 villa and apartment units. The project boasts seven neighbourhoods, each with a park at their center. “The entire residential part of the project adds Dh5.5 billion to Sharjah’s economy. We have already handed over 800 units to our customers consisting of 500 villas and 300 apartments. Construction is already underway on the Dh2.6 billion City Centre Al Zahia, which is going to be the biggest City Centre in the Northern Emirates once it is completed,” said Al Azzeh.
Sales, he said, are going very well, with investors and home buyers eager to be part of a gated community which offers a wealth of facilities. “Prices vary according to the location that investors end up selecting, but we pride ourselves on extremely competitive pricing for a luxury product. As soon as the announcement regarding foreign ownership in Sharjah’s real estate sector was made, we saw a surge in interest and sales. There is a fairly sizable population of residents in the emirate that are non-Arab, and who have been living there for a very long time, and they are our customers. The percentage of non-Arab buyers to Arab buyers is always increasing.”
Like Al Azzeh, Edward Attwood, chief communications officer at Arada, the developer of the Dh24 billion Aljada mixed-use development, noted that when the project was first unveiled, there was a specific demand for communities that were well-designed, had all the amenities, and were priced at a very reasonable price point.
“In the two years since we have launched, we have sold just over 2,700 units across our Nasma and Aljada developments,” he said. “The majority of our investors and buyers have been from the UAE, and these include residents who have been living in Sharjah for a very long time and were looking for an opportunity to put down their roots. We also have a lot of interest from the rest of the GCC, with Saudi Arabia leading the category. Lastly, there has also been a lot of interest from Indian and Pakistani investors.”
Attwood agreed that the future would bring a lot more competition to Sharjah’s real estate sector, but this would be a good thing for developers and investors. “More competition pushes us to work harder, come up with more innovative ideas, and deliver our projects faster. Having said that, the last quarter of 2018 was by far our strongest quarter in terms of revenues and sales, and we expect this momentum to carry forward and for the market to remain strong.”