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Nakheel sold 29 homes on stalled Palm Jebel Ali, official data shows

Computer-generated aerial view of how Palm Jebel Ali will look after Nakheel relaunches building of homes, hotels and other amenities Nakheel
Computer-generated aerial view of how Palm Jebel Ali will look after Nakheel relaunches building of homes, hotels and other amenities
  • Data from Dubai Land Department reveals sales before project halted
  • Nakheel reportedly planning 7,700 homes for relaunched project
  • Revival reflects strong demand for waterfront properties

Palm Jebel Ali, the Dubai mega project set to be relaunched soon by developer Nakheel, sold a total of 29 homes before work on the project was halted in 2009.

State-owned developer Nakheel has confirmed it was set to relaunch the manmade, palm-shaped, island project, which is said to be one-and-a-half times the size of the popular Palm Jumeirah.

“We confirm that the Palm Jebel Ali masterplan is being revisited. Further details will be released in due course,” a Nakheel spokesperson told AGBI on Tuesday.

Work on Palm Jebel Ali began in 2002 but all activity was halted on the project seven years later, following the impact of the global financial crisis, which saw property prices in Dubai slump by up to 60 percent.

“By the time Palm Jebel Ali had fallen victim to the Great Depression of 2008-2009, just 29 homes had been sold – a number that has remained unchanged since,” Faisal Durrani, partner and head of Middle East research at real estate consultancy firm Knight Frank, told AGBI, citing official data from the Dubai Land Department.

“Revisiting the Palm Jebel Ali could represent a significant milestone in the evolution of the emirate.

“Its rebirth could result in the emergence of Dubai’s much-needed seventh city centre, following on from Deira and Bur Dubai, Downtown, Dubai Creek Harbour, Dubai South, the recently relaunched Dubai Islands, and the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina and JLT,” he said.

Nakheel’s Palm Jumeirah under construction in the early 2000s

The Financial Times reported this week that Nakheel had appointed local banks Emirates NBD, Mashreq and Dubai Islamic Bank to help with raising AED17 billion ($4.6bn), with AED6bn said to be allocated to the relaunch of Palm Jebel Ali.

While 29 homes were registered as sold at Palm Jebel Ali, sources told the FT that Nakheel plans to build 1,700 villas and 6,000 apartments once the project is relaunched.

Durrani said he was not surprised the project was being released back to the market as he has seen “an insatiable appetite by the world’s wealthy for a slice of Dubai’s beach-front lifestyle”.

“If and when the Palm Jebel Ali relaunches, it could contribute to plugging the growing void of waterfront homes in the city,” he said.

“But with international demand predominantly focused on second homes, as opposed to investment properties, as was the case in previous cycles, the Palm Jebel Ali will need to focus on community infrastructure and place-making as a priority if it is to tempt international second home buyers in the same way as the Palm Jumeirah.”

City, Town, Urban
Palm Jumeirah in its finished glory

The relaunch of another mega project in Dubai comes at a time when the emirate’s real estate sector has enjoyed a record surge in sales.

Online platform Property Finder reported that the Dubai property market in August recorded 9,720 total sales worth AED 24.3bn ($6.62bn), the highest performing month in terms of sales transactions volume and value in 12 years.

The figures showed volume growth of around 69.6 percent year-on-year, while the value of sales grew 63.6 percent year-on-year.