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Oman's $3bn property project ‘to pick up pace’

Muscat, September 20, 2010

Oman's biggest property project is heading for a recovery after being hit by the global recession, as it benefits from heavy government spending since last year, a senior project official said on Monday.

The project, Wave Muscat, will benefit from increased liquidity due to the government's prudent approach in its 2009 and 2010 fiscal spending, marking a turning point for the property market, Abdulla bin Khamis al-Shidi, deputy chief executive of the company said.

'In March this year, we have offered 168 properties off-plan and all of them have been sold. The sale has been boosted by market liquidity created by government spending,' he said in an interview.

Oman has spent about $16 billion in 2009 on local infrastructure and other projects and this year, the government has already signed contracts worth $11.5 billion of its $18.5 billion expenditure allocated for its 2010 budget, according to the national economy ministry statistics.

The $3 billion Wave Muscat project, is jointly owned by the Government of Oman, National Investment Funds Company and Dubai's Majid Al-Futaim Properties.

'The Wave Muscat plans to offer more lucrative products to the market before the end of this year. This offer will include a mixture of villas, apartments and townhouses to take advantage of the revived investor confidence,' Shidi said.

The price range of The Wave Muscat's properties sold in March was between RO70,000 ($181,804) and RO170,000. The off-plan sale planned for the end of this year will be priced similarly.

The Wave Muscat has already sold about 1,000 units and handed over nearly 500 homes so far.

'About 55 per cent of the buyers of our properties are Omanis and 45 per cent are foreigners, mostly Europeans and Indians,' Al Shidi added.

The Wave Muscat plans four hotels but Al Shidi gave the details of three. The development plans to raise funds next month from private Omani institutional investors for the Kempinski Hotel whose construction is planned to start early next year.

The design of the Fairmont Hotel, to be built next to the 18-hole Greg Norman Golf Course, is being finalized while a four-star hotel for corporate customers adjacent to the 400-berth Marina is in the design phase.

Al Shidi declined to say how much The Wave Muscat is planning to raise for the Kempinski hotel but industry sources said it will be in the region of about $200 million. The target, according to an industry source, will be institutional investors like the civil service, defence ministry and police pension funds or big local corporate houses.

Al Shidi said that the 9-hole golf course of the Greg Norman will be completed by the end of this year while the second 9-hole is scheduled to be finished in the fourth quarter of 2011.

'We plan to host major golf tournaments here such as the PGA, the European and US tours,' Al Shidi said.

Al Shidi added that The Wave Muscat project is scheduled to be completed in 2018 and expected to build about 4,000 properties by then. – Reuters




Tags: Oman | Wave Muscat | Property project | Majid Al-Futtaim |

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