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Emaar given ratings upgrade after first-quarter sales surge

Dubai Mall Emaar Beata Zawrzel via Reuters Connect
The Dubai Mall is just one of Emaar's signature properties in Dubai
  • Developer’s Q1 2023 sales of $2.5bn show 11% year-on-year increase
  • Dubai property prices climb at fastest rate for almost a decade
  • Residential property deals in emirate at record-breaking level

Dubai’s largest real estate developer Emaar Properties has received credit rating upgrades from Fitch Ratings, Moody’s and S&P Global, as residential property prices in the emirate continue to rise.

Fitch Ratings upgraded its long-term issuer default rating to ‘BBB’ from ‘BBB-‘, Moody’s announced an upgrade to Baa2 from Baa3 and S&P Global raised Emaar to ‘BBB’ from ‘BBB-‘.

All upgrades came with stable outlooks, signalling confidence in the company’s financial stability and prospects.

Dubai property prices climbed at their fastest rate in almost a decade in the year to the end of June and Emaar reported sales of AED9.2 billion ($2.5 billion) in the first quarter of 2023, an 11 percent increase compared to Q1 2022. 

Emaar’s property sales backlog also rose to AED55.7 billion, providing a healthy revenue pipeline. The developer saw an 11 percent increase in recurring revenue in Q1, buoyed by increased tenant sales and a resurgence in tourism activity.

The stellar Q1 performance resulted in a 43 percent rise in net profit compared to a year earlier. Emaar also declared and paid dividends of AED2.2 billion.

The company said in a statement that the upgrades underscored “robust cash flow, lower leverage and formidable operational performance across all business segments”.

Emaar Properties is listed on the Dubai Financial Market and its share price is up over 16 percent at AED6.85 this year, as of close on July 17, but is still down by nearly two-thirds on its 2005 peak of nearly AED20.

Emaar has a land bank of 1.7 billion sq ft in the UAE and key international markets and has delivered over 94,000 residential units in Dubai while over a third of its revenue is from its shopping malls and retail, hospitality and leisure and international subsidiaries.

Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall and Dubai Fountain are among Emaar’s trophy destinations.

Emaar’s rating boost comes as property consultancy CBRE reported that average residential prices in June increased by 16.9 percent, up from the 15.9 percent growth registered a month earlier.  

In the first six months of the year, Dubai recorded a total of 57,737 residential property deals, the highest level on record, according to CBRE.

Dubai’s property market has been boosted by higher oil prices, the government’s 10-year golden visa programme as well as an influx of high-net worth individuals (HNWIs) – people with wealth of more than $1 million.

Taimur Khan, head of research at CBRE, said: “Looking at average apartment and villa prices, we have seen price growth in 97.1 percent (apartment) and 96.8 percent (villa) of the communities that CBRE monitors compared to a year ago. 

“Prime and key residential areas are capturing an elevated level of demand and seeing significant price growth.”