Established in 2003, the company, run by the charismatic 32-year-old Fahad Sattar Dero, has focused on building high-grade real estate projects in the best locations at economical prices.
Located just 20 minutes from Dubai International Airport and 12 minutes from Sharjah International Airport, AED 2.2 billion Ajman Uptown, the group’s flagship project, is today a thriving residential community with over 400 families living in the emirate’s first gated community, experiencing a “safe, secure and superior lifestyle”.
“Ajman Uptown City is the testament to our long-term commitment and trust in Ajman, its thriving economy and an attractive real estate destination,” Dero, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Sweet Homes Group, told The Gulf Today in an exclusive interview.
“We offer freehold properties to all nationalities in Ajman Uptown and investors are guaranteed to get a high return on investment, driven by the UAE’s robust economic activity and upcoming Expo 2020,” he added.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: Can you tell us about Sweet Homes Group?
A: Sweet Homes Group has accomplished several milestones as it has successfully completed and delivered along with Aqaar iconic projects such as Corniche Tower – the tallest tower in Ajman, Al-Khor Towers, Falcon Towers, Nuyemiya Towers, Paradise Lake Towers B5, Paradise Lake Towers B6, Paradise Lake Towers B9 in Ajman.
Our track record speaks about our commitment having delivered more than 2,500 high-quality residential and commercial real estate units to date.
Q: How did Sweet Homes perform in 2017?
A: Ajman Uptown, the first gated city in Ajman, is Sweet Homes Group’s flagship project. The group has different products than other developers who maintain a common strategy by developing single category projects such as hi-rise towers. We, at Sweet Homes, decided to be different. Therefore, we launched the only gated community in Ajman, one of the best master developments in the emirate. The economical prices of the units within Ajman Uptown project stirred up the appetite of end-users and investors despite the regional situation. With regards to sale transactions, the market has shown a slight decline in the sales volume compared to last year, but we are optimistic about the future and expect sales to increase in the coming years.
Q: What is the occupancy levels in Ajman Uptown?
A: Occupancy levels in Ajman Uptown are growing fast. So far, almost 400 families are living there. Occupancy levels will increase as we deliver more units. When complete the population of Ajman Uptown project will exceed 3,000 residents, as the gated project includes 1,504 villas and several low-rise apartment buildings.
Q: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in working on Ajman Uptown?
A: Property development is a multi-step process that can be complicated, and risky. It can take years to bring a project from the initial planning stage through construction to final completion, and there are plenty of obstacles that can come up along the way. Investors can more confidently assess some of the risks associated with construction by better understanding the “life cycle” of a development project. We have faced our share of challenges, but persistence and commitment to deliver on our promises have always guided us to overcome all the obstacles.
Q: Can you tell us about your Citizenship by Investment programme?
A: Sweet Homes Group offers first-of-its-kind investment plan in the entire Gulf region since it has close ties with the Government of Antigua & Barbuda which has extended its territorial jurisdiction towards the Ajman Uptown project pursuant to Section 42 of the Finance Administration Act 2006.
The buyers of a villa in Ajman Uptown can avail benefits of the Citizenship by Investment Program of Antigua & Barbuda subject to due diligence.
Our exclusive investment plan is a win-win situation for investors as well as owner-residents as they own a property that is appreciating every year and provides high rental income but offers the investor/buyer as well as his family to get passports of Antigua & Barbuda, subject to due diligence.
Passport holders enjoy several benefits among which they can travel to 132 countries visa-free including the UK and the countries of the Schengen area.
Q: How did the Ajman real estate market fare in 2017? And, did you see prices and rents stabilizing last year?
A: The real estate market trend in Ajman is correlated to the ups and downs of our neighbouring emirates of Dubai and Sharjah as well as the regional developments. During the past two years, the property market in Ajman showed a decline in the selling price, the case in other emirates and regional countries. Prices of construction materials as well play a major role in defining the cost of a property. Since 2009, the construction materials, including steel went down causing a tangible reduction in the overall price of properties. But on the rental side, apartment rents in the emirate have been stable, as rent value in the emirate has always been the lowest compared to Sharjah and Dubai. Therefore, stability remains the dominant feature of Ajman’s rental real estate market.
Q: What is your outlook for Ajman real estate market in 2018?
A: As we are at the beginning of the New Year, positive sentiments are being shared among many real estate professionals, who overwhelmingly reported optimism, while some have growing concerns of potential oversupply in the emirate; which could cause a continuation of the softening rents. Nevertheless, if the geopolitical situation changes and the oil prices increase, property value might shoot up again.
Q: Why do you think people should invest in Ajman property market?
A: The Emirate of Ajman is characterized by its strategic location, a well-developed infrastructure comprising a port, roads, transport and industrial areas, an attractive investment environment as well as economic policies that enhance economic development. The government of the emirate plays an active role in directing economic development, determining its path, vision, objectives and provides all the facilities and incentives to encourage investment and attract investors.
Ajman is known for its low relative cost, a free zone that provides incentive and grants concession and exemptions and quality services at competitive prices.
In fact, Sweet Homes is among the few developers offering ready-to-move-in homes. We are offering easy payment plans, starting from AED 3,125 ($852) per month to be paid over a 10-year period for two-bedroom villa, which makes it very convenient for buyers, who will certainly see capital appreciation of their properties over the coming years.
Besides, Propertyfinder Group, in a report last year, said rental yields in Ajman were among the highest in the world at 9.6 percent per annum between April and October 2017. Our projects due to their strategic location and high quality will continue to offer high returns over the years.
Q: What reasons are driving families to buy or rent property in Ajman?
A: Ajman is a city with a steadily rising population, and the authorities have put ample facilities in place to cater to their needs. In Ajman, where land price is cheaper than in other emirates, tenants can find three-bedroom units on average advertised for rent at just AED 50,000 per annum, while same-sized homes in other Northern Emirates are listed annually between AED 73,500 and AED 99,500.
Q: What is your view on the construction sector? Is it still competitive?
A: In 2006-2008 construction sector witnessed severe competition following the global financial crisis 2007-2008, which has been considered by many economists to have been the worst, financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. As part of the consequences of the global financial crisis, construction sector like many other sectors showed tangible stall. The impact of the crisis has created a new form of severe competitiveness between contracting companies.
Q: Are you planning any new projects?
A: We have some projects in the pipeline, but we are waiting to see a change in the current market situation and improvement in the regional situation before taking a call.
Fahad Sattar Dero is the chief executive officer and managing director of Sweet Homes Group, a multi-service provider to the real estate sector. Under his guidance and leadership, the Group has grown to become a leading master developer in the UAE successfully launching projects such as AED 300 million Rainbow Towers and AED 2.2 billion Ajman Uptown. He also runs several associated companies of the group that are engaged in construction, agriculture and trading not only in the UAE, but in many overseas countries.