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Spanish group wins Oman power station contract

Spanish construction giant Tecnicas Reunidas said its engineering consultancy unit has been awarded a detailed design contract by Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) for its Saih Rawl combined cycle power station project.

TR Engineering Consultancy (TRE) is a specialist in providing development concepts and technical solutions to the world's oil and gas and energy industries.

The PDO move comes as part of its plan to convert the existing open cycle power plant at Saih Rawl to closed cycle by installing an HRSG (heat recovery steam generator), an STG (steam turbine generator) and other associated auxiliaries and utilities.

As per the deal, TRE will provide the detail engineering services for the project. The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of the project has been awarded to Bahwan Engineering Company.- TradeArabia News Service

Novo Nordisk launches new basal insulin in Oman

Tresiba is a once-daily basal insulin for people with diabetes that successfully achieves equivalent reductions in blood glucose levels, with a lower risk of nocturnal hypoglycemia versus insulin glargine1,2.

The new product also allows for flexibility in day-to-day dosing time, when needed without compromising efficacy or risk of hypoglycemia3-5, said the Danish company in a statement.

One of the key challenges with insulin therapy is the risk of hypoglycemia, when blood glucose levels fall to lower than normal levels, causing unpleasant symptoms, such as dizziness and confusion, unconsciousness and sometimes leads to death6,7.

Research shows that fears and concerns about hypoglycemia can interfere with achieving optimal glycaemic control in people with diabetes using insulin8.

Hypoglycemia that occurs at night is of particular concern9 for people living with diabetes, as it is unpredictable and difficult to detect10.

Results from studies over a two-year period show the new insulin therapy successfully achieves equivalent reductions in HbA1c, but with a lower risk of nocturnal hypoglycemia compared to insulin glargine:

  • 43 per cent for people with type 2 diabetes1
  • 25 per cent for people with type 1 diabetes2

Dr Mohammed Lamki, the consultant endocrinologist at The Royal Hospital - Oman, said: "The new insulin therapy can be administered at any time of the day, offering flexible dosing when needed. This flexibility could help improve the lives of patients, as poor insulin adherence contributes to poor glycemic control."

Complications from diabetes caused by failing to keep optimal glycaemic control can be serious, and may include problems such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, nerve damage and premature mortality11,12, he explained.

In Oman, nearly 326,000 people live with diabetes, whhile 35.8 per cent of those with diabetes are still undiagnosed.

"Maintaining good blood glucose control with insulin treatment can be challenging for healthcare professionals and patients due to concerns over hypoglycaemia and night- time hypoglycaemia in particular," stated Vikrant Shrotriya, VP Gulf, Novo Nordisk..

"Tresiba has shown less risk of nocturnal hypoglycaemia than the most widely used basal insulin," he added. .-TradeArabia News Service

Kuwait to start rail project bidding next year

Kuwait Authority For Partnership Projects (KAPP) will start bidding on its ambitious railway network in the first half of 2017 as it is committed to executing the project jointly with other GCC states, said a report.

The project comprises a railway network, which will run from Kuwait City to the airport and marine ports as well as link Kuwait with other GCC states over a 511-km long two-way railway line, reported the Kuwait Times.

The project is being developed as part of the Kuwait National Rail Road System.

One of the country's key infrastructure development initiatives, it will serve freight and passengers and will have a speed of 120 km per hour (kmph) for the regional lines and a 200 kmph high speed.

The project will be implemented under the build, operate, and transfer (BOT) scheme. .-TradeArabia News Service

Anti-expat sentiments on the rise; Interior plans to fines and fees

KUWAIT: The Ministry of Interior plans to ask the next National Assembly to approve decisions to increase charges of Ministry services as a whole and on residency services in particular, the head of the Residency Department said yesterday. Director of the General Department for Residence Affairs Major General Talal Maarafi also said that the Ministry plans to double the overstay fine from the current KD 2 per day to KD 4 for residence violators.

Maarafi did not provide further details on the type of charges the ministry plans to raise and whether the KD 600 ceiling fine for residence violators will be also increased. Currently, foreigners who overstay their residence permits are required to pay a fine of KD 2 per day up to a maximum ceiling of KD 600 regardless of the duration. He did not explain if the overstay fine for visitors will also be raised. The fine for visitors who overstay is KD 10 per day with a ceiling not exceeding KD 1,000. Maarafi said other decisions include toughening penalties on those who provide shelter or work to absconding foreign workers and also on those workers themselves.

The official also said that the residence department has started implementing the recent increase in the salary cap required by expatriates to be able to sponsor their wives and children which was raised from KD 250 to KD 450. He said the measure is primarily aimed at reducing the number of so-called "marginal" or unskilled foreign workforce. He also said that the ministry will introduce new measures with the aim to further cut the number of unskilled laborers.

At present, Kuwait is home to 1.3 million native citizens and around 3 million foreigners, a majority of them Asians with close to a record-breaking 1 million Indians. There are over 650,000 domestic helpers, a majority of them female, among the expatriates. Maarafi regretted that this important issue has escaped the attention of a majority of candidates in the November 26 snap polls. Kuwait has witnessed a significant rise in anti-expat, anti-foreigner sentiment in recent years, with many social problems include excessive traffic, youth unemployment and other issues often blamed on the country's foreign population.

Chinese group to set up recycling plant in Bahrain

China's Shenzhen Energy Group Company aims to set up a waste recycling plant in Bahrain at an estimated cost of $50 million, which once operational, will recycle up to 99 per cent of the waste, said a report.

The company sees good potential in the project as later the waste could be used to generate energy, reported BNA citing the Capital Governor Shaikh Hisham bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa.

He is heading Bahrain's delegation to China Hi-Tech Fair 2016, at the invitation of Shenzhen Mayor Xu Qin.

The delegation comprises chief executive of Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), Khalid Al Romaihi and other senior government representatives, along with leading Bahraini businessmen and women, and Bahraini start-ups.

The delegation is in China to showcase the many opportunities for Chinese investors in the Kingdom and to establish firm ties between businesses. It will also visit Hong Kong to further strengthen the bilateral ties, said the report.

Earlier senior business leaders from Bahrain and China signed a number of agreements on the side lines of a major business forum held in Shenzhen, it added.

A number of leading Chinese companies already have their offices or facilities in Bahrain including Bank of China, China CommService, China Harbour Engineering Company, CPIC, ChinaMex, CIMC, Jinluo Water and East Star Group, said the report.

Bahrain also hosts the Middle Eastern headquarters of Huawei and is home to Dragon City, a Chinese-themed shopping mall that hosts more than 500 Chinese businesses, it added.

Bahrain introduces two new visas

Bahrain has announced two new visas - a new single entry and one-year multiple reentry e-visa - in the fourth phase of the kingdom's new visa policy.

The new single entry visa will enable up to two-week stay, whilst the one-year multi-entry visa will allow for a stay period of up to 90 days.

A total of 114 countries are eligible for the new visas, including GCC residents, said a statement from the Nationality, Passports & Residence Affairs (NPRA).

The sole authority responsible for managing the entry of people into Bahrain, NPRA has also announced a key change to its three month multiple re-entry visa, which now allows for a one month stay.

Stays were previously restricted to two weeks, said the statement.

Under the new visa policy, the citizens of the US, Canada, UK and Ireland will gain a longer stay period for the five-year multiple reentry visa. Visa holders will now be able to stay for 90, instead of 30 days, it added.

Visas can be applied online via www.evisa.gov.bh, while citizens of 67 countries and the GCC can get visas on arrival.

Bahrain's Interior Ministry's Undersecretary of NPRA, Shaikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, said: "This new round of visa announcements represents another step for Bahrain's commitment to openness. We have taken great strides in recent years in making the country even more accessible, helping both leisure and business tourists."

"These developments further aid Bahrain's standing as a regional hub, which is why so many tourists and businesses are looking to the country as the ideal Middle East destination," he added.- TradeArabia News Service

No change in Bahrain Dinar to Dollar exchange rate, says CBB

Bahrain's Central Bank of Bahrain has confirmed that the dinar to dollar exchange rate remains unchanged.

The clarification from CBB comes following reports circulating on social media, quoting popular currency converter XE, that the rate was changed.

As the only integrated regulator of Bahrain's financial industry, CBB is responsible for maintaining monetary and financial stability in the kingdom.

"The exchange rate of the Bahraini Dinar quoted on XE.com is not correct," the CBB said in a statement issued on Thursday.

"The official exchange rate remains unchanged and is available on our website www.cbb.gov.bh," the statement added. .-TradeArabia News Service

Morocco plans power generation from waste

PEPS, a Moroccan company has signed an agreement with Siemens and French-based renewable energy firm NST aimed at converting waste to electricity in a bid to fight climate change, a report said.

The deal was signed as part of the COP22 climate change conference in Marrakech, reported Morocco World News.

"The initiative aims to meet the expectations of a National Household Waste Plan, which sets a target of 20 percent recycled and upgraded waste by 2022," Siemens was quoted as saying in a statement.

The memorandum is also aiming to help Morocco achieve its goal of producing 52 per cent of its electricity from renewable energies by 2030, the report said.

"For Siemens Morocco, this agreement with PEPS & NST is also a way of strengthening our commitment to Moroccan initiatives that can make things happen," said Siemens Morocco CEO Dirk De Bilde.

Qatar's new sponsorship law will give expats 30 days to get RPs

Foreigners who move to Qatar will have more time to process their residency permits when the new sponsorship law takes effect in three weeks.

Instead of seven days as stipulated in the current law on expatriates' entry, departure, residence and sponsorship, expats will get 30, a senior official said.

Law No. 21 of 2015 will come into effect on Dec. 13 after being approved by the Emir last October.

It is expected to make it easier for some residents to change jobs and leave the country.

However, the law has drawn mixed reactions.

This is because many people will still need to get No Objection Certificates (NOCs) before they can change jobs and exit permits before leaving Qatar.

Over the last month, officials have been holding briefing sessions with companies to explain how the new law will work in practice. However, few of these details have been shared publicly yet.

But speaking to Al Raya this week, the director of the search and follow-up department at the Ministry of Interior (MOI) did outline some of the changes.

More time

With regards to processing RPs, expats will now have 30 days to start the paperwork, Brig. Abdulla Jabir Al-Libdah said.

This is in accordance with Article 10 of the new law.

Failure to begin the RP process in time could result in a fine of up to QR10,000, Article 40 states.

Chapter five of the new law also includes new rules about transferring jobs while in Qatar.

Under Article 21, expats on an open-ended contract will not need their sponsor's permission to change jobs once they've worked for five years.

And those on fixed-term contracts will no longer need to get an NOC to change jobs once their agreement is finished.

However, any expat must seek the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs' permission to change jobs.

Currently, an employee needs to wait at least two years to join a new company in Qatar if their existing employer refuses to give an NOC.

It remains unclear whether new contracts will be issued next month or if the rules will apply to existing ones.

Al-Libdah only said the new law would "bring a balance in the relationship between the employer and the worker, according to the mutually binding work contract."

Leaving the country

The language of the new law omits the word kafeel - sponsor - and instead refers to the employer as "the person who licensed you to come into the country."

While the exit permit will still exist under the new law, expats will no longer arrange this with their sponsor, but instead must apply to the MOI at least three days before their planned departure.

Nevertheless, the employer still has to give their permission before the expat can leave.

If the exit visa is denied by the employer and/or the ministry, the employee can appeal their case to the Foreign Nationals Exit Grievances Council, according to Article 7.

Meanwhile, there's just eight days to go until the MOI's amnesty period for undocumented workers comes to an end on Dec. 1.


Al-Libdah said he expected to see a rise in the number of people applying to leave the country over the next week.

The official told Al Raya that uptake for the amnesty "exceeded all expectations, especially at the beginning" of the period, which was announced on Sept. 1.

Expats living here illegally can leave Qatar without penalties if they bring the necessary paperwork to the Search and Follow Up department before Nov. 30.

To take advantage of the amnesty, they must have:

  • A valid passport or travel documents from the embassy;
  • A plane ticket or booking; and
  • An ID card or copy of their entry visa.

  • Dubai builds smart AC shelters for bus riders

    Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has constructed 100 air-conditioned smart shelters for public bus riders based the Public Private Partnership (PPP).

    These shelters span more than 15 districts across Dubai Emirate. The RTA had launched the first of these smart shelters back in February this year.

    "The initial indicators had shown numerous results including an increase in the number of smart shelters users, compared to the normal air-conditioned bus shelters. The users expressed a great deal of satisfaction in a way that rose from (74 per cent) to (91 per cent) since the inauguration of the project earlier this year thanks to the smart shelters. The number of different transactions done in the smart bus marked (25) thousand transactions up to end of mid-2016," said Abdullah Yousef Al Ali, CEO of Public Transport Agency, RTA. "Constructing 100 air-conditioned smart shelters contributes to one of RTA's core goals i.e. People Happiness as they encourage the public to use mass transit means in Dubai and they contribute to transforming Dubai to the world's smartest city. The underlying objective of these smart shelters is to upgrade public transport facilities & services through transforming them into smart elements capable of maximizing the satisfaction & happiness of various community segments, especially public transport riders," added Al Ali.

    "The smart shelters provide an array of services for public bus riders such as the Free WiFi UAE offered in collaboration with Du, selling & recharging of NOL cards, mobile phone top-ups, payment of government bills, recharging mobile phones, passenger information service, self-service kiosks, interactive media screens, monitors displaying information about RTA services, and the selling of refreshments and snacks," he concluded.- .- TradeArabia News Service

    Abu Dhabi set for new water, electricity tariff

    Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (Adwea) in association with its two subsidiaries, Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC), and Al Ain Distribution Company (AADC), has announced changes to its water and electricity services tariff starting from January 1, 2017.

    The changes are part of the tariff restructure in effect since the beginning of 2015 in support of initiatives aimed at environmental protection and sustainable growth, said a report by Adwea.

    The amended tariff reflects the actual cost of supplying water and electricity to all categories of customers in Abu Dhabi in line with the policy of natural resources conservation in place in the emirate, it stated.

    "Sustainability and encouraging people to reconsider their consumption behaviour of water and electricity are part and parcel of the fundamental principles of the emirate's growth for the benefit of the future generations," said a spokesperson for Adwea.

    ADDC and AADC earlier launched the demand side management (DSM), programme, Tarsheed (Conservation and Efficient Use of Water and Electricity), to help their customers use water and electricity resources efficiently.

    The programme is aimed at educating the public on how to adopt the best conservation practices and technologies and to maintain them on regular basis to ensure their operation efficiency.

    The bills issued to customers in the residential category include detailed information about ideal consumption, which is shown in the Green Band, and inefficient consumption, shown in the Red Band on all bills.- TradeArabia News Service

    Etisalat rolls out new IP address standard

    UAE-based telecom group Etisalat has rolled out of IPv6, the latest standard in internet addressing technology enabling every device to have its own IP address and connect directly to the Internet.

    IPv6 is the future of internet addressing and is now rolling out across the UAE for all Etisalat eLife customers. IPv6 will enable many new and innovative services including smart homes, connected wearables, smart power grids while acting as the foundation for billions of machine-to-machine devices to communicate directly via the Internet of Things (IOT).

    Etisalat eLife subscribers are expected to benefit from improved latency and speed while using applications, websites and services. As more connected-home devices become available, IPv6 will improve the set-up experience while delivering the potential for increased security.

    Esmaeel Al Hammadi, senior vice president, Network Development, Etisalat UAE said: "We as Etisalat always strive to provide the latest technologies and innovations to enable UAE remain a leader in all aspects, as the country leaders always emphasise. IPv6 shall open the doors to many new services for smart cities and IOT in addition to enhance customer experience."

    Jonathan Haysom, vice president, Home Products, Etisalat UAE said: "Innovation and technology leadership is deep rooted in Etisalat's culture. We were the first carrier to rollout High Definition TV; we were also the first to deliver fiber broadband nationally, positioning Abu Dhabi as the world's first fully fibered capital city. Rolling out IPv6 for our eLife customers is yet another first and will be a catalyst towards the smart home and the 'Internet of Things' future.

    As this launch is set to revolutionize the communication of devices in the online world, Etisalat has conducted extensive testing and trials in the lead up to the launch of the internet standard. Under the rollout, each Etisalat eLife home customer will automatically receive a large allocation of IPv6 addresses enabling potentially thousands of devices to be connected in the future. - TradeArabia News Service

    Abu Dhabi 'best Mideastern city for expats'

    The UAE capital Abu Dhabi has been ranked as the best place to live abroad in the Middle East region, in the third annual InterNations Expat Insider 2016 survey.

    With more than 14,000 respondents, the survey is one of the most extensive ever conducted to explore the general living situation of expatriates.

    Although cities in the Middle East do not do that well in the overall ranking of 35 global metropolises, they tend to perform well in certain areas.

    The latest InterNations survey finds that despite the low quality of life for expats in all the cities analyzed, Abu Dhabi and Dubai excel in the ease of settling in index and Jeddah and Riyadh score highly for personal finances and cost of living.

    In the global rankings, it has even overtaken London (UK), Paris (France) and Rome (Italy), said the survey.

    As part of the Expat Insider 2016 survey, InterNations takes a closer look at cities around the world and ranks them according to such factors as the quality of life, personal finance, working abroad, and settling in.

    Melbourne emerges on top

    In the global list, the Australian city of Melbourne takes the top spot for expat life out of the 35 cities analyzed.

    Expats in Australia's second-most populous city are particularly pleased with their work-life balance: 79 per cent of respondents rate this positively, which is notably higher than the global average of 60 per cent.

    Overall job satisfaction in Melbourne is also above average, with 71 per cent rating this factor positively. This city down under also excels when it comes to the availability of leisure activities: an astounding 91 percent rate this aspect positively, 19 percentage points higher than the global average of 72 per cent.

    Houston, Texas, finds itself in second place overall and for general satisfaction among expats. The US's fourth-biggest city also excels when it comes to the cost of living and personal finance, ranking fifth and seventh, respectively, in both of these categories.

    Houston comes in first place in the Ease of Settling In Index, too. However, the data was collected before the US presidential elections: it is yet to be seen if the election results will have an impact on such ranking categories as "Friendliness" or "Feeling Welcome", which the Ease of Settling In Index is based on.

    Madrid ranks third overall, mainly due to expats feeling welcome there and finding it easy to make friends: the Spanish capital takes the top spot in both of these categories.

    Spain's capital is also appreciated for its comparatively low cost of living: 72 per cent of expats rate this factor positively, in comparison to the 49 per cent global average.

    Duesseldorf, Germany, and Singapore round out the top five best cities for living abroad.

    Abu Dhabi, Dubai safe cities

    Although none of the Middle Eastern cities do well in the Quality of Life or Working Abroad Indices, one category that Dubai performs well in is safety: Dubai ranks 7th out of 35 cities, and Abu Dhabi follows not too far behind, in twelfth place.

    Both cities do particularly with regard to personal safety, with 64 per cent of expats in Abu Dhabi and 63 per cent of expats in Dubai considering their personal safety to be 'very good', in comparison to a global average of 38 per cent.

    Similarly, both Dubai and Abu Dhabi receive positive responses for political stability, with 51 per cent and 44 per cent of expats, respectively, rating the political stability as 'very good'.

    Doha and Jeddah also do fairly well in this respect as 36 per cent of expats in Doha and 38 per cent of expats in Jeddah consider the political stability to be 'very good' too. This is a very positive result as the global average was relatively low at 25 per cent.

    Although Riyadh has been ranked 30th in the safety & security subcategory, ahead of popular European expat destinations Rome (31st) and Brussels (32nd).

    Despite these positive results for most of the Middle Eastern cities included in the survey, they do not rank nearly so positively regarding leisure, health, travel and transport, or personal happiness.

    Even Abu Dhabi, which does the best in the Middle East for quality of life overall, only makes it to a rather mediocre 17th place.

    Abu Dhabi and Dubai do best in the Ease of Settling In Index for the Gulf region. Dubai takes 11th place and Abu Dhabi follows close behind in the 12th spot. Both cities do particularly well in the friendliness and language subcategories.

    Abu Dhabi even reaches the top ten, ranking ninth for both categories, with a quarter of respondents noting that the local population is very friendly. The result is much higher than in Doha where only 10 per cent of expats rate this factor as very good, or than especially in Riyadh, where even fewer expats (seven per cent) would consider it excellent.

    Dubai does even better than Abu Dhabi in the friendliness and language subcategories. Dubai ranks eighth for friendliness and narrowly misses the top five, ranking sixth for language.

    Although 57 per cent of respondents in Dubai say that the local language is difficult to learn, compared to the global average of 45 per cent, this does not seem to have a negative effect in such an important expat hub.

    A total 75 per cent of expats in Dubai think it is not difficult to live there without speaking the language; this figure is extremely high compared to the global average of 43 per cent.

    Saudi shines in personal finance

    Although Jeddah and Riyadh do not do well in any other index, they both excel in the personal finance and cost of living indices. Both Jeddah and Riyadh rank in the top ten for the cost of living, on ninth and seventh place respectively.

    In fact, 65 percent of expats rate the general cost of living in Riyadh positively and 54 percent in Jeddah also judge this aspect of life abroad favorably: both of these results are above the global average of 49 percent.

    It is even more impressive, though, how well both cities perform in the Personal Finance Index. Jeddah ranks third and Riyadh comes fourth, well above Dubai (28th) and Abu Dhabi (26th), said the survey.

    When asked if their disposable income is enough to cover their necessary expenses in daily life, 17 per cent of expats in Jeddah and 22 per cent of expats in Riyadh say that they earn a lot more than enough'.

    These results are impressively high, compared to the global average of one in ten respondents who thinks the same, it added.- TradeArabia News Service

    DIP breaks ground on new British Columbia school

    Dubai Investments Park (DIP), the largest integrated commercial, industrial and residential community in the Middle East, marked the ground-breaking of a new school within the development.

    The new British Columbia Canadian School (BCCS), the sixth school within DIP, will be operational by the end of September next year.

    The school is being built at a total investment of Dh88 million ($24 million) in partnership with Emirates REIT, the Sharia-compliant regulated real estate investment trust, on a 25,000 sq m area in DIP.

    The school, to be constructed in two phases, will include computer labs, indoor pools, sports fields, play grounds and an auditorium covering a total built up area of 17,156 sq m.

    The school will offer K-12 Kindergarten, primary and secondary programs within the British Columbia Canadian curriculum. The school will have over 60 classrooms, with a total capacity to accommodate 1,500 students.

    The groundbreaking was attended by Mostafa Tawfik, the chairman of BCCS, Karim Mostafa, the vice-chairman of BCCS, Sylvain Vieujot, chief executive of Emirates REIT, Emmanuel Kamarianakis, the Consul General of Canada in the UAE, and other officials from Dubai Investments Park.

    Omar Al Mesmar, the general manager of DIP, said: "The British Columbia Canadian School is a significant value-addition to DIP, and part of its strategy to offer additional choices and world-class educational institutions within the community."

    "DIP is fast reinforcing its identity as the preferred residential destination and thus a favoured option for both investors and end-users," noted Al Mesmar.

    Vieujot expressed delight at partnering with the British Columbia Canadian School and adding it to its portfolio of school developments.

    "We have the experience of working with leading contractors and other partners of architects and education specialists and we look forward to delivering a high quality education facility to the growing Dubai Investments Park community," he stated.

    Mostafa said the British Columbia Canadian School's network comprises 46 schools, serving more than 20,000 students across eight different countries and five continents, including China, Columbia, Egypt, France, Japan, Qatar, South Korea and now in the UAE.

    "The school in DIP is strategically located and will fully integrate technology, including global classrooms, into its education programs under the supervision of teachers certified from Ministry of Education in Canada," he added.

    Over the years, DIP has spent over Dh4 billion ($1.08 billion) in enhancing the infrastructure to international standards, which includes 140-km of internal road network and well-integrated water and electricity systems, the best of educational institutions, hospitals, hotels, retail outlets, supermarkets and other day-to-day necessities and recreational options.- TradeArabia News Service

    Dubai's affordable properties in big demand

    The pressure is mounting on landlords across Dubai as budget-conscious tenants continue to place emphasis on downgrading to smaller units or relocating to cheaper communities to get better value for money, said a report.

    Apartments in Jumeirah Village Circle and Dubai Sports City saw rates increase by two per cent and three per cent respectively - the latter also recorded the highest growth over the year, averaging 13 per cent as demand for affordable housing increased, according to leading real estate consultancy Asteco.

    The mid- to high-end segment also saw some movement, with Business Bay recording a five per cent decline due to new supply being handed over and budget-conscious tenants looking for alternatives, stated Asteco in its Dubai Property Review Q3 2016.

    John Stevens, the managing director, Asteco, said: "Although rental rates have remained relatively stable this quarter we are seeing a definite shift to more affordable areas such as Jumeirah Village and Dubai Sports City where rents are cheaper and an increasing number of amenities are coming on line as communities reach critical mass."

    Apartment rental rates in Jumeirah Village ranged from Dh40,000 to Dh55,000 ($10,887 to $14,970) for a studio and from Dh125,000 to Dh165,000 for a three-bedroom unit.

    In mid- to high-end areas such as Jumeirah Lakes Towers studios ranged from Dh55,000 to Dh75,000, while three-bedroom apartments were available from Dh120,000 to Dh180,000.

    The high to luxury-end of the market with developments such as Downtown Dubai saw studios priced from Dh75,000 to Dh105,000 while three-bedroom units varied from Dh175,000 and Dh300,000, said Asteco in its report.

    On the villa market, the property expert said the rents ranged from Dh130,000 to Dh185,000 for a two-bedroom villa in Arabian Ranches, Dh125,000 to Dh160,000 for the same size in Jumeirah Village.

    In The Springs, a two-bedroom villa is priced between Dh130,000 and Dh145,000, for a three-bedroom the cost varies from Dh165,000 and Dh220,000.

    Villas in Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim too recorded a significant year-on-year decline of 19 per cent and 12 per cent respectively, which was attributed to substantial new supply and an increasing number of budget-conscious tenants.

    "Given that tenants have a wide range of options to choose from, they are more likely to negotiate with their landlord; and if their requirements are not met, they will vacate. Whilst this was noticeable in Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim, this trend has spread throughout the wider Dubai market," pointed out Stevens.

    "With more handovers expected in the next few months, we anticipate villa rental rates could come under further pressure," he added.

    After dropping nearly 20 per cent year-on-year, sales rates for apartments in Dubai Marina remained stable and it was a similar picture for DIFC, The Greens and JBR.

    "With ample options available in the market, at various prices and attractive payment plans, buyers have significant choice. They also appeared to be better informed compared to previous years, as they researched their options, pricing, payment plans and developers' track record," explained Stevens.

    In terms of villa sales, interest was predominantly for more affordable and mid-priced units, typically priced between Dh2 to Dh5 million. As a result, established communities such as The Springs and Mudon recorded 5 per cent and 1 per cent increases respectively over the quarter.

    On the commercial office sector, Asteco said it saw a 24 per cent reduction in transactions compared to the previous quarter, although this was 12 per cent higher than the corresponding period last year.

    On the leasing front, Ibn Battuta continued to perform well with rates from Dh145 per sq ft for small units and Dh85 per sq ft for larger shell and core space.

    Land sales rates reached as low as Dh60 per sq ft on the GFA (gross floor area) in areas such as Majan, Jumeirah Village and Arjan.

    "With more supply announced and due to enter the market over the next few months, there seems to be little potential for both rental and sales prices growth, except within select developments," said Stevens.- TradeArabia News Service

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