HRH Premier stresses strong Bahrain-Russia partnership

HRH Premier stresses strong Bahrain-Russia partnership

Manama, Jan. 21 (BNA): His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa has reiterated Bahrain’s keenness on strengthening cooperation ties with Russia, being closer to GCC countries than other continental blocs, and due to its status as an international power with a considerable political and economic weight, and plays a “positive” role in consolidating global security and stability and combating terrorism.

HRH the Prime Minister lauded the stances of friendly Russian towards efforts to achieve security and stability in the Middle East region. He also praised Russia’s interest in bolstering relations with the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

HRH Premier underlined the importance of enhancing Bahraini-Russian cooperation in various fields, given the two countries’ friendship, mutual understanding and joint coordination vis-à-vis regional and international issues, which, he said, can lead to a strong and fruitful partnership between them.

The Prime Minister made the statements while receiving at his Palace in Riffa today Victor Zubcov, the Special Representative of the Russian President Vladimir Putin for Cooperation with Gas Exporting Countries Forum, and Chairman of the Gazprom Board of Directors, currently on a visit to the Kingdom.

HRH Prime Minister Prince Khalifa welcomed the visit of the Russian official to the kingdom, and highlighted the importance of the visit in developing bilateral cooperation and opening up new horizons for joint relations to meet the aspirations of the two countries and their friendly peoples, affirming Bahrain’s desire to boost relations with all countries of the world on the basis of bilateral cooperation, mutual respect and shared interests.

“Bahrain is developing its relations with friendly Russian according to a strategic vision, and is keen on bolstering cooperation with it in the economic, trade and energy fields to meet the aspirations of the two friendly peoples,” he said.

HRH Premier called for the need to intensify visits of senior officials from the two countries in order to open new horizons of bilateral cooperation and consolidate joint understanding on various issues of mutual concern.

The challenges the global economy is currently going through require more coordination and understanding among various countries in order to reach a new formula of economic cooperation that protects countries and peoples from economic downturns and maintain their comprehensive development efforts, the Premier added.

The Russian President’s Special Envoy expressed sincere thanks and appreciation to HRH Premier for the hospitality and warm welcome accorded to him, lauding his keenness and interest in enhancing bilateral cooperation. He also praised the Prime Minister’s sound visions towards all regional and international issues.

He voiced admiration for the Premier’s visions and ideas on ways to strengthen joint economic and investment cooperation in all sectors, especially oil and gas, reiterating his country’s keenness on broadening areas of cooperation with the kingdom, being a major partner in the region with whom Russia shares a great understanding on many political, economic and trade fields.


Source: Bahrain Agency News

January 25, 2016 / by / in
Work set to resume on stalled project

Manama: Bahraini real estate developer Cityview has remobilised to resume construction work on the stalled Landmark Cityview building project, it has emerged.

Cityview, which is a 51:49 joint venture between Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, and Ebrahim Abdulaal Group, yesterday said it plans to deliver all units by December this year.

It was reported on Sunday that work on the stalled project was set to begin with the developer submitting a plan for construction to the ministerial committee for urbanisation and infrastructure.

Sunday’s report quoted committee chairman Deputy Prime Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa as saying that the panel tasked to study stalled real estate projects had obliged Cityview to carry out the scheme as per the schedule submitted by its board.

“The developer has been urged to honour its commitments, failing which the project will be referred to the stalled real estate settlement committee,” Shaikh Khalid said.

Yesterday’s announcement quoted Cityview chairman Abdulhakeem Al Mutawa as saying that the company was “committed to completing the 23-storey residential apartment building as soon as possible”.

“The Landmark Cityview project was unfortunately put on hold in 2011 due to circumstances beyond the developer’s control,”

“Determined to deliver the project as soon as possible, the board of directors have taken major decisions over the past few months and made key appointments to ensure construction work resumes and finishes as soon as possible,”

“A detailed survey of the project has since been conducted studying the building and all elements of the construction,”

“The survey confirmed that construction on the project may be resumed, and that the structure of the building allows the construction to be completed,”

“In parallel to the survey, a pre-qualification for various contractors was also done, and expressions of interests and pre-qualification documents were received from multiple contractors,”

The Cityview board has deployed necessary resources and proceeded to the next stage, tendering for the remaining construction work.

Construction is expected to resume in April.

Landmark Cityview is a residential tower in the Seef District across the highway from Dana Mall. The freehold project comprises a total of 88 apartments with amenities.

The developer declined to disclose the cost of the project.

Source: GDNonline

January 24, 2016 / by / in
Infrastructure investment ‘to drive Bahrain growth’

Manama: Bahrain looks set to be cushioned from prolonged economic challenges facing Gulf markets mainly due to continued infrastructure investment, global property consulting firm CBRE has said.

In its Q4-2015 Bahrain MarketView for the quarter ended December last year, this investment was from the GCC Development Fund.

In a report on Sunday, the Economic Development Board said nearly $6 billion worth of projects under the GCC Development Fund, were allocated, $3.7bn worth had been tendered and $1.3bn worth had commenced, up from $300 million in the fourth quarter last year.

The fund comprises a $10bn aid package from GCC neighbours announced after the outbreak of unrest in 2011, often described as a GCC “Marshall Plan.”

Despite negative impacts of the on-going oil slump, the real estate sector in Bahrain has proven resilient.

Solid returns are still considered achievable, affording hard pressed investors the opportunity for potential growth in an otherwise unpredictable market.

This was underlined by the seven per cent growth achieved within the construction sector during early last year, as a raft of new development projects were launched across all real estate asset classes, but notably in the retail, hospitality and residential sectors.

“This growth was underpinned by investment in large scale infrastructure projects, supported by the $10bn GCC aid fund, including the multi-billion dollar Bahrain Airport expansion and the expansion of government affordable and social housing schemes, are also at the forefront of this trend,”

The retail sector continues to dominate real estate activity in Bahrain, with the fourth quarter witnessing several significant openings and new announcements.

“Community malls serving new residential districts continue to emerge as a dominant theme and nowhere is this more evident than in New Janabiya where no less than four separate malls under development or planned,”

“The 5,000sqm Al Mercado, anchored by Al Osra supermarket, is well underway and three other retail projects totalling nearly 50,000sqm of leasable space are being considered.”

According to the report, the December quarter heralded a period of consolidation in the hospitality sector, with no major new announcements but steady progress made towards the launch of two new developments early this year.

Amongst others, the Marriott Residence Inn at Water Garden City is also expected to be completed this year. Emaar Hospitality Group is also reportedly building five new hotels in the kingdom by the end of 2018, keeping Diyar Al Muharraq firmly in the property news.

The residential sector presents opportunities for investors to leverage key advantages that Bahrain enjoys over other GCC markets, with the retail and hospitality sectors rapidly approaching saturation point and the commercial office market still labouring amidst weak demand.

Quoting the InterNations Expat Insider Survey 2015, the report said Bahrain ranks highest in the Gulf for lifestyle, cost of living and education, at 17th globally ahead of the UAE, 19th and Oman, 24th.

“If you also consider that real estate costs per square metre for apartments in Bahrain average $2,072 and $5,037 in the UAE and that transaction costs are significantly lower in Bahrain, a case can be made for the residential sector offering potential investment opportunities, supported by a low real estate cost base, attractive business costs and Bahrain’s popularity as a place to live for Mena and western expatriate families and bachelors,” 

Opportunities also exist in the compound villa sector with strong occupancy levels in areas popular with expatriates, especially those with good access to the Saudi Causeway and popular schools.

Prime apartment sub markets also continue to fare well with Reef Island retaining its position as the most expensive apartment location, supported by strong demand.

In addition, Amwaj Islands is emerging from a relatively dormant period with an increase in construction activity in the residential sector, underlining its continuing popularity as a lifestyle destination. The commercial office market continues to face stiff challenges with downside risks again appearing on the horizon.

Budgets to fund ministry office projects may also be affected by the widely discussed cuts in short to medium-term government spending.

“Average rentals for leading Grade A projects remain stable for now, typically quoted at between BD7 and 9 per sqm.  Although, it is difficult to see how these levels can be maintained, with downward pressure on demand and with an additional 70,000sqm of office space in Bahrain Bay and Seef coming on stream during the first half,” 

Source: GDNonline

January 24, 2016 / by / in
Bahrain’s residential property ‘showing signs of stability’

Bahrain’s residential property sector continued to show signs of market stability during the third quarter of 2015 with insignificant quarter-on-quarter changes in key performance indicators.

Despite the increasing demand for housing in the north-western parts of the country (in areas such as Sar, Jasra and Budaiya), residential rentals across all areas remained stable with a marginal decrease of 0.1 per cent, according to leading consultancy PKF.

Reef Island, which remains one of Bahrain’s most prestigious and expensive residential areas, achieved an occupancy of 95 per cent across leased properties with average rental rates standing at approximately BD1,000 ($2,633) per month.

On the other hand, Amwaj Islands, which is positioned as one of the most affordable apartment markets in the country, reported average apartment rentals of BD700 ($1,843)/month, while villas in the same area were leased for BD1,350 ($3,555)/month.

With regards to new project announcements, the third quarter witnessed the launching of a new high-end residential development on Amwaj Islands, named Modern Residence-2, stated the PKF in its report.

Upon completion in the second quarter this year, the development will feature apartments and penthouses, ranging from 87 sq m to 198 sq m, with prices starting from BD75,879 ($199,792).

Due to the area’s close proximity to key economic zones, including Bahrain International Airport, and new emerging shopping districts, there is a sustained demand for residential units in Amwaj Islands, the report said.

In addition, the long-delayed BD245 million ($645 million) mixed-use ‘Villamar project’ in Bahrain Financial Harbour, comprising 800 residential units across three twisted towers resumed after the developer secured financing for its completion, it added.

According to PKF, the sustained low rates of oil prices are expected to have a negative impact on demand for residential properties in the kingdom as companies, particularly those in the hydrocarbon sector, conduct staff redundancies to compensate for lower oil revenues.

As per a third-party report, rental rates in the market are forecasted to decrease by three to four per cent over the next year due to lower demand indicators.

In addition, sales transactions in the property sector are also likely to be negatively affected as disposable incomes among key target buyers (especially the Saudi market) will be hit by the current oil market, it added.

On the office segment, PKF said the sector remained relatively stable during the third quarter of 2015 with no major deliveries of new commercial developments.

The quarter was characterised by an increasing demand for smaller units (100-200 sq m in size) with flexible lease terms, premium facilities and good connectivity.

Although current demand for office space is predominated by smaller units, minimal demand for larger units is still triggered by government institutions and renowned international firms.

Due to the improved social and political stability in Bahrain, resumed business activity from multinational firms has been noticed in the kingdom.

Approximately 25 per cent of all office space is occupied by multinational companies, while the hydrocarbon sector accounts for another quarter of the total office market, it added.

According to PKF, the average lease rates across Grade A office space in Bahrain remained relatively unchanged during the third quarter and ranged between BD7 to 9 ($18.4 to $24) sq m.

The new office properties slated for completion this year are likely to put downward pressure on rental rates and occupancy rates across older office developments, it stated.

One notable project, expected to be delivered in mid-2016, is the 50-storey mixed-use United Tower at Bahrain Bay, which will house the five-star Wyndham Grand Manama hotel along with modern corporate office space, it added.

Source: TradeArabia News Service

January 16, 2016 / by / in