Bahrain’s real estate ‘resilient’ despite oil slump

Bahrain’s real estate ‘resilient’ despite oil slump

Bahrain’s real estate market has seen a significant growth in the last decade, thanks to its low investment and transaction costs compared to other GCC states, according to a report.

The flourishing market of Bahrain made it more resilient while facing the economic turbulences hitting GCC markets due to the oil price plunge as the total value of property deals remained stable at BD1 billion ($2.63 billion) in 2015 compared to the previous year.

Despite the cautious market performance after the oil prices fall, the kingdom’s real estate sector remained solid as deal values soared along with the sales and rental prices in the prime areas, it added.

Besides the buying and selling, the construction activity too picked up steam thus reflecting the companies’ confidence in Bahrain’s real estate market. Construction sector in Bahrain achieved a growth of seven per cent in the start of 2015.

The discovery of oil represents a turning point in Bahrain’s economic history. The annual budget of Bahrain, since the first discovery, totally depends on hydrocarbons product.

The second transformation in Bahrain economy started by the first oil crisis when the leadership realised that establishing a firm economy requires diversifying national resources instead of relying on oil incomes, said the Weetas in the report.

The government focused on developing different economic sectors including tourism and real estate by holding a number of partnerships with domestic, regional, and international entities.

Bahrain shifted focus to property development nearly 10 years ago to make it a major source of national income almost equivalent to the oil sector.

Under its new development strategy, the kingdom first passed a freehold law which enabled foreigners to purchase properties in specific locations across the kingdom.

It started with a limited number of areas such as Seef, Juffair, Durrat Al Bahrain, and Amwaj, then expanded over the years to cover more areas, it stated.

Investors interest in purchasing in the promising market of Bahrain has risen especially in the last two years when property deal values soared to greater heights.

Many real estate investment and development companies entered Bahrain market to take advantage of the available propitious investment opportunities and participate in the real estate boom.

This interest has invigorated supply and demand rates and boosted properties prices by 400 per cent during the last 10 years in certain areas.

Another star attraction for overseas investors is the low investment costs in Bahrain (the average price of apartments’ sq m is $2,072 in the kingdom compared to $5,073 in the UAE).

Also the transactions costs in Bahrain are lower than the neighboring countries which puts its real estate market in a privileged position offering high investment yields and capital growth.

Added to all this is the ease of doing business in Bahrain for property investors and the country’s relatively low cost of living for both citizens and expats.

The kingdom is considered one of the most convenient locations worldwide for expats due to its low rental and living prices. All these factors contributed in stimulating the market’s activity.

Over the last few years, Bahrain has been witnessing a number of new developments such as the $2.5-billion Bahrain Bay project which lies in the north of the kingdom.

The real estate development at the project is being carried out by a number of prominent domestic and regional companies like Bin Faqeeh, according to the report.

Several other projects are on track for completion this year in Bahrain Bay such as the United Tower.

High investment yields, high rental yields, market stability, and strict framework, were some of the vital factors that have drawn foreign investors and companies to Bahrain.

A number of projects are under way in Bahrain such as Marassi which was officially launched last year, said the property management firm in its statement.

A key project which represents a qualitative leap in Bahrain’s urban reality, Marassi is being executed by the UAE-based Eagle Hills.

In light of the ample prospects and the robust economic performance, the market is projected to witness even better growth rates in the coming years which will qualify it to be a real traction point for real estate investors despite its small area, it added.

Source: Trade Arabia

March 30, 2016 / by / in ,
Bahrain projects win major awards

Bahrain achieved a major breakthrough when seven of its highest quality projects were named national winners at the MEED Quality Awards for Projects, in association with Mashreq.

Bahrain’s national winners, whose combined project value is estimated at more than $787 million, include the Bahrain Four Seasons Project, entered by Six Construct, as Leisure and Tourism Project of the Year; Youth and Sports Affairs Ministry’s Hala Club Project as Small Project of the Year; Muharraq Sewage Treatment Plant and Sewer Conveyance System Project, entered by Arcadis, as Power and Water Project of the Year; and Tatweer Petroleum’s Light Oil Steam Flood Project as Oil and Gas Project of the Year, sponsored by Parsons.

Bahrain Property Mushakara Trust’s Danaat Al Madina Project, entered by Eskan Properties Company, scooped a trio of national trophies in the following categories – Sustainable Project of the Year, sponsored by Besix; Residential Project of the Year and Mixed-use Project of the Year.

“Bahrain’s construction industry is projected to exhibit sustainable growth prospects in the next few years. This industry experienced enormous investments from the public and private enterprises during the past few years and there are optimistic signs that this will continue. We congratulate all the winners for delivering and contributing towards the growth and sustainability of the industry,” Mashreq executive vice president and group head of corporate and investment banking John Iossifidis said.

This is Bahrain’s best performance in the awards, with seven projects winning the national winner accolade compared with five in last year’s edition. They will now compete at the regional level against national winners from Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE for GCC-wide recognition in various categories.

“The projects were evaluated by an esteemed judging panel against criteria that included not only engineering and construction excellence; but also sustainability and innovation,” said MEEDeditorial director Richard Thompson.

“They are a testament to the quality of projects being built throughout the Gulf and MEED is honoured to be able to recognise these achievements to highlight their contribution towards the future development of the projects industry in the region.”

The winners of the 2016 MEED Quality Awards for Projects will be announced at a ceremony on May 25. For more information on this year’s awards programme, please visit

Source: GDNonline

March 27, 2016 / by / in ,
Bin Faqeeh to launch new luxury project in Bahrain

Bin Faqeeh Group, a leading real estate investment firm, is set to break ground on Layan, a luxury residential property with a private water park coming up at Durrat Marina.

Also known as the Jewel of Bahrain, the Durrat Marina is already one of the most distinguished projects in the Gulf and is currently valued at $1.3 billion.

An ideal family retreat and the perfect weekend escape, Layan offers a variety of residential options including studios, one-bedroom apartments and duplexes, two-bedroom apartments as well as penthouses and villas.

The property prices at the Layan begin at BD55,000 ($144,928) onwards, said a statement from Bin Faqeeh.

A star attraction for the investors is that each villa in Layan comes with a combination of a luxury yacht and a car, it stated.

Work on the project will start by month end with completion expected approximately 24 months from now, said a company official.

“We take immense pride in our efforts to be the first in Bahrain in each and every one of our projects,” remarked Nadia Bouslama, the head of marketing for Bin Faqeeh.

To celebrate the launch of The Layan project, Bin Faqeeh had organised the kingdom’s first “Dining in the Sky” event on Wednesday which will be followed by a two-day carnival packed with activities and entertainment.

The “Dining in the Sky” event began with a grand reception in the garden. Guests were ushered into the garden area or relaxed in the shade of the tents as they listened to soft music and enjoyed light refreshments.

The diners were then comfortably strapped in seats secured to a dining table and lifted about 50 m into the air by a crane. Once at the top, caterers served food and refreshments while diners got to enjoy the breath taking views of Layan-in-the-making.

Its unique features include picturesque landscaping, in-water movie theatres, in-water restaurants and a wave pools with a surf area.

On the Dining in the Sky event, Bouslama.”We took this style to the next level by being the first in terms of events as well as project concepts. We are constantly working on new and exciting projects and cannot wait to continue unveiling new projects for the Limited 5.”

A table holding 32 guests at a time was carried high into the sky at four different times per day to allow guests to enjoy a dining experience like never before, explained Bouslama.

Different guests enjoyed different meals at varied times of day as breakfast, lunch, high tea and dinner were served at some point, she added.

In keeping with their theme of “first in everything,” Bin Faqeeh is combining a myriad of different activities in one place.

The carnival on March 25 and 26 will offer a wide selection of different shows including fire shows, music shows and water shows. Families with young children will have the chance to leave their children with trusted nannies in “toddler tents” in order for them to enjoy other activities, said the official.

The two family days will take place in a peaceful and secluded area in Durrat Marina, she stated.

“Other activities include a petting zoo, rubber duck fishing and horseback riding. In an effort to stay current in electronics, the carnival will also host virtual reality experiences, Wii games and PS4 games. Finally, adults can sit back and enjoy the selection of dining options in relaxing atmospheres,” said Bouslama.

The carnival keeps in tune with the brand’s luxury standard in its offering of a getaway within Bahrain, she added.


Source: Trade Arabia

March 26, 2016 / by / in ,
Bin Faqeeh buys four Durrat Marina plots

Manama: Durrat Marina has announced the signing of a land sale and development agreement with Bin Faqeeh Real Estate Investment Company.

The four plots adding up to more than 15,000sqm, acquired under the agreement by Bin Faqeeh, are in phase II of the $1.3 billion Durrat Marina project.

The land will be the site of Layan, a high-end mixed-use retail, commercial and residential project valued at BD30m ($79.5m), which was announced earlier by Bin Faqeeh.

The project’s design features a centralised water park fully encompassed within the grounds of a residential complex having more than 200 homes ranging from studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, duplexes, penthouses and villas.

It will include serviced apartments, branded residences and villas alongside a retail strip with food and beverage outlets facing the main quay walkway and a multistorey car park.

Durrat Marina chairman Bader Al Adsani said the project would encourage further investment in phase II of the master-planned development.

“We are thrilled to have Bin Faqeeh on board with us for their second project and we look forward to further collaboration with them in the future.”

Chief executive Waleed Saffy said the latest deal with Bin Faqeeh will help move the project from phase I which is on the verge of completion to phase II where the infrastructure is well underway for upcoming developments.

“The new ambitious Bin Faqeeh project embodies the Durrat Marina lifestyle as a private development concept that provides luxury, privacy and security in an integrated modern fully serviced environment.”

This is Bin Faqeeh’s second project in Durrat Marina. It is developing the 360 Tower – a 14-storey residential building in phase I of the project.

Bin Faqeeh chairman Faisal Faqeeh said he was confident of the project’s success due to its prime location.

“Our new project is targeted at buyers looking for sophisticated residential solutions in a modern environment,” he added.

Source: GDNonline

March 23, 2016 / by / in ,
Saudi government plans $533m water projects

The Saudi government is set to spend around SR2 billion ($533 million) on projects aimed at enhancing water security in the Makkah region, said a report.

The project being implemented by National Water Company (NWC) covers Makkah, Jeddah and Taif and on completion it will boost the water capacity by 5.4 million cu m, reported the Arab News, citing a senior minister.

The project would be carried out in three phases, with Jeddah getting an additional capacity of 4 million cu m at a cost of SR1.5 billion ($399 million), stated Abdullah Al Hussayen, water and electricity minister and chairman of the NWC board.

“The goal is to increase the operational efficiency of the water sector and keep up with the demand from other neighbourhoods. The cost of this phase will be more than SR219 million ($58.3 million),” he was quoted as saying in the report.

He said the company would also upgrade nine sewage treatment plants serving the three cities from 540,000 to 1.5 million cu m a day, and to boost its quality with triple treatment.



March 23, 2016 / by / in ,
Seef Properties names new chief executive

Seef Properties, a leading real estate development company in Bahrain, has appointed Ahmed Yusuf, a property industry veteran, as its new chief executive officer.
A graduate of the University of Kuwait with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, Yusuf bring with him a wealth of experience heading numerous property investment companies in Bahrain and Kuwait.

He has also completed the AMDP program from School of Design at Harvard University, said a statement from Seef Properties.

On the appointment, Yusuf said: “I am honoured to have been named the CEO. Seef Properties is a change leader in its market sector and the company’s philosophy is based on new and innovative thinking. Such philosophy has enabled us to grow with resilience and strength during the past few years.”

“We have recently announced our plans for 2016 which includes the evaluation of a number of investment opportunities; a strategic platform for growth,” stated the top official.

“I am look forward to working with the team to deliver the board’s ambitious plans and strategies and move products and services up to a whole new level, further positioning Seef Properties as a leader within the real estate development sector,” he added.

Headquartered in Bahrain, Seef Properties was established in 1999 as a publicly listed company with more than 450 assets across the kingdom.



March 23, 2016 / by / in ,
Bin Faqeeh lines up million dollar investment plans

Manama: Bahrain has the best potential for steady real estate development over the next 10 years, feels Faisal Faqeeh, the chairman of home-grown privately held real estate developer Bin Faqeeh.

In an exclusive interview with the GDN, Mr Faqeeh said the company which has already invested $500 million in ongoing and completed projects, expects to double its investment in the country as it launches “an exclusive limited edition luxury project each year until 2020”.

The launches are a part of its ‘Limited 5’ five-year plan that kicked-off last year with Waterbay – an exclusive residential apartment building with a commercial shopping front on the ground floor.

It is situated in the prime location of Bahrain Bay facing the Four Seasons Hotel.

“The design concept is to create a homely yet high-end luxury accommodation that encapsulates a superior hotel lifestyle experience,” said Mr Faqeeh.

Facilities include a swimming pool, separate gyms for men and women, prayer rooms, movie theatres, nursery, multi-purpose rooms, restaurants and coffee shops.

“Since many of our customers are from neighbouring GCC countries, a luxury car transportation facility with a concierge service to and from the property has been made available, in addition to water taxi services to Avenue Mall via an exclusive collaboration with Bahrain Bay,” he added.

This year’s limited edition project is Layan within the $1.3 billion Durrat Marina master-planned development in the south of Bahrain, overlooking the Arabian Gulf.

Bin Faqeeh’s penchant for bringing unique concepts comes to the fore not only in Layan’s design, with a water park as its centrepiece, but also in the project’s launch event today featuring Dinner in the Sky, a Belgium-based concept.

Thirty-two guests will be comfortably strapped in proper seats secured to a dining table and lifted 50 metres into the air during the event that will also feature a carnival as part of a marketing strategy, the company said.

Layan, said Mr Faqeeh, “will be home to the largest private waterpark not only in the region but also the world, accessible to residents only, with its state-of-the-art luxury facilities, restaurants, designer retail outlets, the marina and breathtaking view”.

Unique features include picturesque landscaping, a 300m pool, a wave pool, Water Movie Theatre and two island restaurants.

Work will commence at the end of the month with completion expected approximately 24 months from now.

Established in early 2008, during the global financial crisis, it was not until 2010 that Bin Faqeeh embarked on the first of its projects.

The first projects to be delivered were La Vida Tower and The One residential developments in Busaiteen, in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

On Reef Island, the company is developing Dar Al Salam, comprising six luxury residential buildings each with 56 apartments overlooking the sea, the Bahrain Financial Harbour and Bahrain Bay.

Projects at various stages of completion include first class developments like The Treasure, an 11-storey residential complex located in Dilmunia Island.

It consists of one to three bedroom apartments and penthouses.

Facilities include in-house cinema, garden, coffee shop, spa, game rooms, etc.

The Nest is a 26-storey residential development located in Sanabis, next to LMRA. It consists of fully furnished one bedroom apartments and studios.

Also in Sanabis, Bin Faqeeh is developing the Forbes, a 42-storey commercial office project.

In Seef District, meanwhile, Bin Faqeeh has built the Business Bay commercial tower; the 35-storey The Breaker luxury residential project; The Grand, a mixed-use residential and leisure development including in-house cinema, bowling and billiards centres; and The Tweet, a residential complex of fully-furnished one-bedroom apartments.

The Homes – a project featuring landscaped modern residential villas in a private community in Hamala was delivered six months ahead of schedule earlier this year and 360, a residential tower located in Durrat Marina, offering sea views from all sides is set for delivery soon.

Mr Faqeeh said reasons for the company’s success was earning investor enthusiasm and trust through a commitment to delivering quality projects, on time and within budget, based on global best practices.

He said the company has realised significant growth over the years, investing in real estate and other types of investments, with experience in virtually every facet of real estate, from construction and development to appraisal, property management, and financing activities.

“In the future, we will look at family-focussed entertainment and recreation alongside affordable housing which remains a core business,” he added.

Source: GDNonline

March 23, 2016 / by / in ,
BD40m Fontana Gardens on course for completion

Manama: A luxury freehold apartment project in Juffair is on track for completion next month, on schedule, even as the Bahraini developer lines up multimillion dollar investments across the country.

Al Kooheji Group firm The Developers’ BD40 million Fontana Gardens comprises 413 apartments or 57,523sqm of residential area spread across three towers, Royal Ambassador Property Management and business development general manager Eman Al Mannai told a media briefing at the Fontana Towers in Juffair yesterday.

Ms Al Mannai said the project is almost fully sold off-plan and nine types of mock-up apartments are ready.

“So far many units have been sold due to the unique features of the project and the good reputation of
the developer and contractor.”

Key features of the project include a mini golf course with eight holes, largest sky infinity pool, large Turkish bath, 24 hours CCTV security, 24 hours reception and concierge service, indoor swimming pool and kids water splash playground, she added.

The company said BD1m was spent on landscaping of the sky garden alone.

“We promise a high end product worth the money paid for, if not more, the project has already appreciated by 29 per cent since launch,” she added.

The starting price is BD600 per square metre and Royal Ambassador is
assuring net rental return of at least 8-10pc.

“As an additional service, we are offering top notch interior design service by international interior designers, we are charging for production only.”

According to her, investors in the project are from 26 different nationalities, which confirms that Bahrain is still one of the better markets for real estate investment.

The group is very upbeat on Bahrain’s real estate sector and has projects lined up in Amwaj Islands and Seef.

“It is obvious that Bahrain is witnessing improvement in development and infrastructure in the past few years with the construction of new roads, new bridges and new access roads in and out of vital areas,” Ms Al Mannai said.

Source: GDNonline

March 20, 2016 / by / in ,
GCC ‘working on $110bn project-finance schemes’

More than 120 project-financed schemes worth over $110 billion are either being planned or under construction in the GCC as governments increasingly seek alternative methods of financing their project plans in light of falling oil revenues, said a report.

The largest market for public projects backed with private sector finance is Kuwait, with just under $49 billion worth of projects under its public-private-partnership (PPP) projects programme, stated regional projects tracking service, Meed Projects in its report released ahead of a key industry event.

The ‘Meed Financing Projects in New Oil Era’ conference will be held on March 23 at the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Dubai.

The conference will help project sponsors to manage deficits and secure private finance, contractors deal with project slowdown, contractor finance and cash flow issues and help investors and financiers to capitalise on the new borrowing needs of the region’s project owners.

Industry experts will discuss the alternative methods of financing public projects at the upcoming event.

According to Meed, Kuwait has been an innovator in advancing the PPP model in the region, with schemes ranging from power plants and water and wastewater facilities to schools and tourism projects falling under the programme, which is handled by the Kuwait Public Authority of Partnership Projects (KAPP).

The other big player in privately-financed schemes is the UAE, with about $35 billion of projects planned or under way, stated the project tracker citing data.

These include Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s (Dewa) Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park, Road and Transport Authority’s (RTA) Union Oasis real estate scheme in Dubai and Fewa’s Umm Al-Quwain independent water project (IWP) it stated.

The other GCC states have some $26 billion worth of privately-financed projects between them, including the Facility D independent water and power project (IWPP) in Qatar, Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport Expansion Terminal 5, and Oman’s Sohar IWP.

“The project finance model has been applied to power and water projects regularly over the past 15 years in the region, but it is only now with lower oil revenues that there is a concerted push to apply the model to projects in other sectors,” explained Ed James, the director of Content & Analysis at Meed Projects.

“Governments are increasingly turning to innovative financing structures such as project bonds, sukuk issuances, and export credit agency financing to fund projects as revenues decline. By doing so, they can maintain spending on projects without impacting their balance sheets, a critical issue when state budgets are under strain from falling oil sales,” he said.

As the oil price fell in 2015, the value of project-financed schemes increased substantially to $14.3 billion compared with just $2.6 billion the previous year, according to Meed.

With the oil price showing little sign of rising in the short term, this number is expected to continue growing in 2016, it added.-TradeArabia News Service



March 18, 2016 / by / in ,
Gulf Property Show gears up for Thai skyscraper launch

Thailand’s premier real estate agency Result Plus Media is set for the global launch of The Rich Nana, a luxury condominium tower coming up in Bangkok, at the Gulf Property Show 2016, the annual dedicated showcase for the global real estate and property development sector to be held from April 26 to 28 in Bahrain.

A key regional event being organised by Bahrain-based Hilal Conferences and Exhibitions (HCE), the Gulf Property Show will be held under the patronage of HRH Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre.

Result Plus Media represents Thailand’s leading developers, promoting their luxurious properties around the world.

The agency has established a reputation in South East Asia for dedicating itself to ensuring that investors obtain high returns from their investments.

Unveiling its big plans, Nisha Chulasukontha, the managing director of Result Plus Media, said: “Gulf Property Show has achieved a reputation as being the boutique real estate trading event for the Gulf. This reputation is the reason we are using our participation to launch Bangkok’s luxury development, The Rich Nana.”

The Rich Nana, situated in the heart of Bangkok, is a 32-storey residential tower resonating modern luxury and elegance. The development comprises a total of 413 units including 36 commercial units which will provide residents with high-class restaurants, a spa and shopping outlets.

The tower offers residents the experience of being in the city with panoramic views across Bangkok, but with a Feng Shui positivity. The development is surrounded by nature through landscaped gardens.

On the global launch, Jubran Abdulrahman, the managing director of HCE, said: “GCC citizens are no strangers to real estate investments in South East Asia. Demand is growing for properties in South East Asia not only from GCC investors but also from expats who are looking for properties back home or European expats looking at alternative retirement option.”

“The Rich Nana tower will be a welcome addition to the portfolio of real estates on offer at the Gulf Property Show,” stated Abdulrahman.

Gulf Property Show is sponsored by Manara Developments and Diyar Al Muharraq and is supported by Bapda (Bahrain Property Developers Association)

The event runs alongside HCE’s other major exhibitions – gulfBID and gulfInteriors – ensuring the continued success of the biggest integrated business-to-business platform for the construction, interiors and property in the Northern Gulf.-TradeArabia News Service



March 17, 2016 / by / in ,