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The National


25 Dec 2017

Sharjah Oasis, the developer of the Dh25 billion Sharjah Waterfront City, expects to sellunits of phase one by June as the emirate's private sector banks on increase in non-Arab citizens owning freehold real estate, its chief executive said.

Sharjah Waterfront City is expected to be built over six phases with phase one comprising 321 villas on Sun Island and is set for completion by September 2019.

The private developer declined to put a value on phase one. “We sold approximately 50 per cent [of units], and as per the demand the first phase will be closed by June,” Sultan Al Shakrah of Sharjah Oasis told The National.

Sharjah has a growing population of around two million that is overwhelmingly expatriate. Much of Sharjah’s real estate remains geared towards affordable housing for expatriates who live in the emirate for its low cost of living but are employed in Dubai.

Arab nationals can buy on a freehold basis in Sharjah, but other nationalities can purchase homes on a 100-year lease. In 2014, the government of Sharjah passed a law permitting anyone with a valid residence in the UAE to buy property on a 100-year lease but not land.

Read more: UAE developer to build biggest-ever real estate project in Sharjah Sharjah opens up property market to expat buyers for first time  Since then mega-developments such as the Dh24bn Aljada developed by a firm owned by Saudi Arabia's billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal as well as Tilal City - a joint venture between Sharjah Asset Management and Eskan Real Estate Development - are tapping into the growing demand for freehold property in the emirate.

Developers such as Sharjah Oasis believe the waterfront development, which lies on Sharjah’s outskirts along its border with the emirate of Umm Al Quwain, can offer returns on investment of up to 12 to 13 per cent from the time of handover of units in September 2019. “We’re welcoming all sub-developers who are serious and have a good reputation, hunting selected developers to come join with us at this point,” Al Shakrah said. The development located along Sharjah’s expansive waterfront offers villas ranging from 2,800 square feet up to 15,000 square feet at a price range of Dh2.5m to Dh8m, competing with similar developments launched in Dubai along older community hubs such as Deira. Sharjah’s ambitions are Dubai-scale with the upcoming water front development offering a habitat for around 60,000 people in 1,500 villas, 95 towers built on artificial islands, a water theme park, the emirate’s largest shopping mall, a commercial cluster and retail arcade as well a water theme park and a marina with 800 berths for good measure.

The developer has so far completed Dh3bn-worth of infrastructure works that has among other things created eight islands and 20 kilometres of new coastline and beachfront properties.