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Jordan lands $8.5 billion in development projects

Cityscape Dubai 2006, the world’s largest international property investment and development event taking place at the Dubai International Exhibition Center on December 4-6, has witnessed substantial exhibitor growth from Jordan. Encouraged by increased demand from local and foreign investors, a host of colossal developments are beginning to change the landscape of the Jordanian property market.

Premier organizations such as Saraya Holdings, ASEZA and Abdali, will provide project updates and reveal the latest investment opportunities available. According to a recent report from Jordan’s Department of Lands & Survey, Jordan’s real estate market experienced up to 40 percent growth in 2005, during which time there were 17,847 apartments and 116,077 house and land transaction registrations. Non-Jordanians bought $212 million worth of property, with 67 percent attributed to Iraqis who spent $142 million. Group Development Director, Cityscape Dubai, Rohan Marwaha, commented, “With excess liquidity and exceptional returns, investors are focused on real estate throughout the region.

Besides Iraqi investments, there is a trend developing for the GCC to invest in Jordan now, which represented 14 percent of total land sales in 2005, almost $30 million.” Jordan has often seen an increase in property demand when trouble arises in the Middle East and the same trend is evident with the on-going troubles in Iraq. In the past couple of years many Iraqi families have relocated to Jordan while they await political calm to return to their country. It is estimated that some 500,000 Iraqis currently reside in Jordan.

This influx has fuelled the real estate boom resulting from the increased demand for apartments and office space. Market rates, especially in the more fashionable parts of Amman, have doubled and in some cases tripled over the past few years. With 35 percent of Jordan’s population under 15 years of age, the headcount in the capital is expected to grow to almost three million by 2015 and demand should continue unabated, pushing prices still higher. Saraya Holdings a real estate development company that plans numerous multi million dollar projects in Jordan and around the region, has committed to 450 square meters of exhibition space at Cityscape Dubai. In Jordan they are involved in two major developments in Aqaba and at the Dead Sea. Vice Chairman and CEO of Saraya Holdings, Ali Kolaghassi, stated, “Jordan’s real estate market is very promising and has already grown exponentially since 2003.

There is still great potential for high yields in the future.” Their flagship project Saraya Aqaba is a spectacular tourist destination on the northern tip of the Red Sea. At a cost of almost $1 billion, the project features world-class hotels, a water park, residential units, a convention center, business facilities, health spas, beach clubs and a high-end retail offering, all built around a man-made lagoon. “The resort will be completed by 2009, although residential sales activities have already started in earnest and is being well received by both local investors as well as buyers from around the region and internationally,” added Kolaghassi.

Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) will be targeting Cityscape Dubai to promote several large mixed use developments that are currently being built in the free zone. Several large-scale resorts, in particular, Tala Bay and Ayla Oasis will accommodate upscale leisure and entertainment centers scheduled for completion by 2014 at a cost of $1.5 billion.

In another billion-dollar development, al-Abdali Investment and Development is constructing the al-Abdali Urban Regeneration Project in Amman. The development will accommodate 500,000 square meters of office space, with 200,000 square meters allocated for residential units. The area aims to create “A New Downtown”.

Amman,10 02 2006
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