Oman Helee Expo Consulting Service by mikeholy


									                    13-15 December 2011
              Oman International Exhibition Centre
                 Muscat, Sultanate of Oman

     report          March 2010 - april 2011


      P.O. Box 894, P.C. 115, Madinat Qaboos, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
                  Tel: +968-24783800 Fax: +968-24783500
E-mail: Website:

                                                                  Market Report 1
               Table of Contents
Rents stable, oversupply pulls office rates                          04
OHB’s Al Buraimi branch extends 859 loans worth 16m rials            04
Towell offers residences with private pools                          04
Palm Gardens — luxury living at its best                             05
LG brings latest, powerful cooling solutions to Oman                 06
Jebel Sifah, Oman’s beckoning getaway                                07
OHB Sohar branch finances 2,954 housing buildings                    07
Muriya, BankMuscat sign home finance agreement                       08
OAB offers finance for Dhofar’s mega project                         09
Cluttons Oman joins hands with ODC                                   09
OHB’s soft loan disbursals surge in Dakhiliya                        10
Panasonic launches new range of spiral lamps                         10
Flooding of Salalah Beach Marina is complete                         11
The Home Show to showcase wide range of products                     11
Panasonic introduces ‘Econavi’ air-conditioners                      12
BankMuscat to offer housing finance for ODC houses in Seeb           12
MEDC launches ‘Keep Your Home Safe’                                  13
Cluttons identifies Qurm district as ‘area to watch’                 13
Al Bustan Residences appoints construction contractor                13
BankMuscat’s ‘Baituna Souq’ attracts visitors                        14
Property pricespoised to stabilise                                   14
Affordable housing will fuel next boom, say realtors                 16
Oman Housing Bank provides 1,446 loans worth RO 42 million in 2010   17
The Wave, Muscat’s properties showcased at Muscat Festival           17
Rents remain high despite more properties on offer                   17
Oman: Welcome fillip                                                 18
Construction sector growth gathers more pace                         19
Housing, office rent levels fall                                     20
Alargan Towell targets middle income families                        21
Alargan Towell completes 75pc of Beyout AlFaye                       22
300 housing units in Salalah                                         22
Oman’s realty sector on recovery path                                23
Palm Gardens — luxury living in Sohar                                24
Iskan Oman launches Zahrat al Khareef                                24
Lands distributed to 68,755 women                                    26
Oman Tourism in for boom with more hotels on the anvil               26
Oman: real estate rising                                             27
624 families get social housing project loans                        28
Oman: boost for construction                                         28
Public expenditure touches RO94b: Macki                              29
Tourism pact signed in Oman                                          30
The Wave, Muscat all set to launch first-of-its-kind villas          30

2 The Home Show 2011
The Wave, Muscat sets up Lease Department                                             31
Limited edition villas released by Muriya                                             31
Iskan Oman launches freehold development in Salalah                                   32
Al Balushi Investment all set to unveil Mayar Al Khoud project                        33
ERA to exclusively market Sohar project                                               33
Spanish group Assignia eyes prestigious projects in Oman                              34
Healthy growth in Oman’s real estate                                                  34
Baader launches upscale project                                                       35
Oman’s marble export earnings exceed RO 40m in four years                             36
Spanish giant lowest bidder for Duqm hotel                                            36
Boom in construction sector                                                           37
New luxury hotel at Airport Heights                                                   38
The Wave, Muscat, taking final shape                                                  38
Alargan Towell Investment Co. launches ‘Beyout AlFaye’                                39
118 housing units being completed                                                     40
BankMuscat ‘baituna souq’ rejuvenates real estate market                              40
The Wave, Muscat signs mortgage financing agreement with SCB                          41
Construction firms line up for Duqm hotel contract                                    42
Nawras Mini Homes give chance toexperience new residential services                   42
Strong rise in Al Jazeera Steel sales                                                 43
Omran, Musstir tie-up for resort                                                      44
Construction costs spring up                                                          45
Luxury living in Saud Bahwan Palm Gardens villas in Sohar                             45
Bank Sohar signs MoU with Zain Property Development                                   45
The Wave says 60pc work on waterways done                                             46
New projects signal tourism boom                                                      46
Oman Arab Bank in alliance with Zain Property Development                             47
OHB provides Maskan loans worth RO 3.57m                                              47
Better Homes begins Muscat operations                                                 48
Muriya to showcase sample Jebel Sifah apartments soon                                 48
Mega tourism projects in Dhofar                                                       49
Royal grant for housing scheme                                                        49
HSBC Oman lowers mortgage rates                                                       50
Infrastructure gets RO1b                                                              50
Oman-German JV set to announce entry into real estate sector                          51
Khimji’s Bait Al Ahlam launches Bagno Design showroom                                 51
Tourism, real estate sectors on cusp of sweeping growth                               52
Extension underscores social role of Oman Housing Bank                                53
Glorei signs agreement to build Maktabi 2 in Wattayah                                 53
BankMuscat’s baituna Souq to showcasearray of real estate projects                    54
MoU inked for environmental tourist resort in Mirbat                                  54
Zubair Corp. plans hotel, residential complex                                         55
Muriya sales event to showcase Jebel Sifah and Salalah Beach properties               55
Standard Chartered launches mortgagescheme for residential properties                 56

                                                                          Market Report 3
      Rents stable, oversupply pulls office rates
                                             Oman Tribune - 30 April 2011

T   he first quarter of 2011 saw
    healthy and increased activity
in the residential leasing sector, a
                                          terms of value for money. Values for
                                          most property types appear to have
                                          reached their ‘true levels’ and further
                                                                                    The impact of the new integrated
                                                                                    tourism complexes, particularly The
                                                                                    Wave and the Muscat Hills Golf and
study said.                               declines from existing rates are not      Country Club, has been significant
                                          predicted over the next quarter.          for the rental market. With most of
According to Savills Oman, which re-                                                these developments offering high
leased the findings of the study, there   While medium level apartment rent-        quality housing options in managed
was sustained demand for all types of     als have held firm over the quarter,      communities, rents consistent with
property, particularly villas, within     there is likely to be some downward       those prevailing in more central areas
the new ITC developments, according       pressure throughout the rest of the       continue to be achievable and demand
to a press release. Rentals remained      year, owing to the completion of a        remains high.
under pressure to some degree, ow-        significant amount of new stock. With
ing to corporates generally tightening    some larger companies developing          As the enhanced facilities of hotels,
their housing budget allowances. The      their own staff accommodation, the        shopping and recreational amenities
move of many companies away from          release of formerly rented apart-         are completed in both these develop-
the traditional ‘expatriate package’      ments into the market could poten-        ments, the study predicts that there
which included housing allowance          tially result in an oversupply and a      will be a healthy rental growth and
in gross salary has resulted in tenants   consequential softening of rents, the     values will outstrip those of the cen-
becoming increasingly demanding in        release added.                            tral areas.

               OHB’s Al Buraimi branch extends
                 859 loans worth 16m rials
                                            Oman Tribune - 28 April 2011

T   he number of loans extended by
    Oman Housing Bank’s (OHB’s)
Al Buraimi branch since its inception
                                          The lending process at the branch has
                                          been simplified to enable citizens get
                                          approvals in a smooth and efficient
                                                                                    lease added. This comes as part of the
                                                                                    efforts exerted by the bank for raising
                                                                                    the people’s awareness about modern
has reached 859 loans with a value        manner. Also, the support provided        styles of building that goes with the
of 16.77 million rials. “The loans        by the government on the fees of          modern bases for construction and
provided by the bank included all         banking and administrative services       ensures the integrity of the buildings
categories of income,” said Manager       and resorting only to transferring the    for long times, he added.
of OHB’s Al Buraimi branch Rashid         monthly premium and not the full sal-
Bin Hamad Al Kindi.                       ary had a great impact in this regard,”   “We expect to see an increase in de-
                                          he added.                                 mand for housing loans, especially
OHB’s Al Buraimi branch has been                                                    since infrastructure has become read-
providing housing loans to Omani          The role of the bank is not limited       ily available at many areas. There
citizens to provide them with a dig-      to providing just loans. The bank         will be significant development in
nified life and facilitate the lending    acquaints its customers with all neces-   light of the current competition. The
process, a press release said.            sities of observing a modern style of     bank will seek to expand its lending
                                          construction in a way that maintains      activities gradually to keep pace with
“A large part of the loans went to        the Omani style and keeps abreast         increasing demand on housing loans,”
low and medium income people.             with the demands of the era, the re-      Al Kindi said.

    Towell offers residences with private pools
                                            Times of Oman - 27 April 2011

T   owell Property launches a new
    luxury residence – Al Jawhara
Residence at Madinat al Sultan Qa-
                                          Designed by Talati and Panthaky, In-
                                          dia’s leading design firm specialising
                                          in architecture, sustainable planning
                                                                                    dential buildings and boasts spacious
                                                                                    units, expansive balcony space and a
                                                                                    private plunge pool with a deck apart
boos, a location synonymous with a        and interior design — the Al Jawhara      from bespoke amenities for each unit.
best in class residential complex in      Residence is built in traditional
Muscat.                                   Omani style, evocative of classic resi-   Another first in Oman’s Real Estate
4 The Home Show 2011
sector, Towell Property’s ‘Al Jawhara                                                 unique offering. A block away from
Residence’, comes with a private                                                      shopping, dining and entertainment
plunge swimming pool in each apart-                                                   options, Al Jawhara offers spectacular
ment. The residences are elegant and                                                  viewsand an amenity-rich lifestyle.”
spacious, with their open plan living
and dining areas, master and guest                                                    “With more than four decades of
bedrooms with en-suite bathing facili-                                                expertise in the real estate sector
ties and fitted Jacuzzi, powder room                                                  and bringing professionalism and
and a full-sized kitchen with German                                                  technical know-how; Towell Prop-
Hacker fittings.                                                                      erty believes in getting the best real
                                            private plunge pool, giving views to      estate solutions to the people in the
The residences also come with a             the horizon and adding to the feeling     Sultanate.
maid’s room, weather safe basement          of infinite space.
parking for each unit, elevator for                                                   We are confident that these residences
easy access and split ac’s and 24 hour      Ivor Braganza, CEO, Towell Prop-          will be a huge attraction to the dis-
customer service and maintenance            erty, said, “With contemporary flair      cerning in Oman because it provides
facilities. Even more impressive are        and a premier location in the heart of    the perfect getaway after a hard day’s
the floor and glass doors leading to a      MASQ, Al Jawhara Residence is a           work,” he further added.

       Palm Gardens — luxury living at its best
                                              Oman Observer - 26 April 2011

S    aud Bahwan Palm Gardens is a
     premium residential project from
Saud Bahwan Group, offering luxury
                                                                                      separate maid’s room with attached
                                                                                      bath is also provided in 3-bedroom
                                                                                      apartments. Ample car parking area
villas and deluxe apartments on rent                                                  is also provided for each apartment
in the heart of Sohar.                                                                block. Yet another thoughtful addi-
                                                                                      tion is the exclusive air-conditioned
Sprawling over 250,000 sq.mts, Saud                                                   children’s play area on each floor.
Bahwan Palm Gardens is a fully inte-
grated township designed with urban                                                   “Palm Gardens apartments exude a
lifestyles in mind – with clubhouses,       maids room. The family lounge area        rare aesthetic charm. Spacious rooms,
shopping arcade, and other modern           is a picture of luxurious comfort.        topnotch security and separate maid’s
conveniences.                               Covered terraces, car parks and large     room provide outstanding comfort
                                            lawn add to your comfort.                 and privacy,” says Sitaraman, a Palm
Residents at the Saud Bahwan Palm                                                     Gardens resident.
Gardens, Sohar say their lives took         “Completely serene and luxuri-
a delightful turn when they moved           ous. That’s how I ‘d describe Palm        Each complex offers a host of world-
into this modern residential township.      Gardens Villas - independent lawns,       class facilities and conveniences.
                                            large balconies, spacious rooms and       These include separate clubhouses
“Every component ofgood liv-                the best of modern amenities. A           for villas and apartment complexes.
ing seems to have come together             clubhouse with party areas, recreation    These clubhouses integrate tem-
here. Modern conveniences, luxury           rooms, modern gym, swimming pools         perature controlled swimming pools,
amenities,state-of-the-art security,        andsauna, quite frankly you can’t ask     multi-purpose halls and lawns for par-
aesthetic interiors. You will find it all   for more,” says Daniella Thuysman.        ties, fully equipped gymnasiums with
here. This is luxury living at its best,”   “With a fulltime on-site maintenance      trainers, steam and sauna, squash/
says Abdullah al Fahdi who moved            team, our requirements are promptly       tennis/basketball courts, games rooms
into Saud Bahwan Palm Gardens               taken care of.”                           for billiards and table tennis. These
from the inception.                                                                   spacious clubhouses are built over a
                                            Palm Gardens Apartments offer             plot area of over 4000 sq.mts.
At Palm Gardens villas, emphasis is         outstanding comfort. Designed to
on all-round elegance and spacious          offer space, these apartments have        Highest levels of safety is assured
comfort. These 3 and 4 Bedroom              built-up areas of 167 and 264      to residents with 24-hour security,
villas feature large and spacious liv- They come with 2 or 3 full-size    CCTV for common areas, graphic vi-
ing and dining areas, thoughtfully          bedroom options with attached baths,      sual fire alarm system, intruder alarm
designed kitchens that provide large        a well laid out living and dining area,   system in villas, video and audio door
work areas, and even an attached-           spacious kitchen and a storeroom. A       phones. Other facilities include: key
                                                                                                        Market Report 5
telephone system in villas, piped          a dedicated round-the-clock onsite          development within our portfolio of
gas, central satellite system, jogging     maintenance team.                           managed properties. The excellent de-
tracks, play gardens for children,                                                     sign layout and superior finishes sets
car parking area for visitors, shop-       “At Palm Gardens we offer a full            this development apart from other
ping arcade with pharmacy, beauty          property and facilities management          development in Sohar” says Philip
saloon and coffee shop together with       service. Palm Gardens is a flagship         Paul, Head of Country, Cluttons.

                          LG brings latest, powerful
                          cooling solutions to Oman
                                             Oman Observer - 18 April 2011

L     G Electronics (LG) has launched
      the Titan, a premium residential
air-conditioning model, in the Omani
                                           harshest climates in the world. LG
                                           responds to this increasing demand by
                                           offering innovative technological so-
                                                                                       LG family.

                                                                                       As OTE Group is part of the social
market yesterday at City Season Ho-        lutions for residential air conditioning    framework in the Sultanate, customer
tel. This updated version of an already    that not only offer powerful cooling        satisfaction is its top priority. OTE’s
successful, high-tech LG air-condi-        for homes, but also ensure that the         strength being always to offer the
tioner will deliver powerful cooling       air in there is dust-free and clean for     top class product quality as well as
made to withstand the region’s often       a healthier lifestyle”.                     efficient service back-up to satisfy the
punishing weather conditions.                                                          huge esteemed client base in entire
                                           The Titan is also built to last longer      country.
The Titan can blast out cool air           and that is an essential requirement in
over a distance of up to 10 metres         what can be an extremely hot region.        Now the same has been strengthened
which is the longest range of any          The multi-stage tropical compressor         massively in Muscat with day and
air-conditioner in the market today.       is designed to function, unhindered,        night service availabilities. It is this
The jet cool function and the 4-way        for 24 hours a day, despite possible        philosophy of team OTE that goes
swing system enable the unit to blow       sandstorms and temperatures as high         beyond market share and profits to
cool air in practically any direction      as 60°C.                                    come together and make OTE — a
at maximum speed, making rooms                                                         symbol of care.
cooler in the shortest possible time.      The inbuilt automatic voltage switch-
Additionally, a special multi-stage        er helps the unit respond to unstable       LG Electronics, Inc is a global
tropical compressor combines a             power supplies, while the anti-             leader and technology innovator in
highly efficient motor, minimised oil      corrosion gold fin coating makes the        consumer electronics, mobile com-
circulation and a specially designed       unit’s heat exchanger more resistant        munications and home appliances.
resonator and cylinders to ensure          to corrosion. These factors culminate       It employs more than 80,000 people
powerful cooling even in extreme           in a product that is built to last longer   working in over 115 operations
weather conditions.                        than others in its class.                   around the world. With 2009 global
                                                                                       sales of 55.5 trillion Korean Won
To ensure that Titan provides cus-         Cyrus Vevaina, MD OTE Group,                ($43.4 billion), LG comprises five
tomers with the most comfortable           said: “Customer delight is our top          business units — Home Entertain-
and refreshing environment, LG has         priority and it is this philosophy of       ment, Mobile Communications,
added unique health features. LG’s         team OTE that comes together to             Home Appliance, Air-Conditioning
air purifying system is equipped with      make OTE — A symbol of care”. The           and Business Solutions. LG is one of
special filters that eliminate germs,      LG Titan is currently available in the      the world’s leading producers of flat
capture harmful airborne viruses and       Oman market.                                panel TVs, audio and video products,
remove unpleasant odors. In particu-                                                   mobile handsets, air-conditioners and
lar, the plasma filter, which eliminates   The Titan is supplied by OTE Group;         washing machines.
germs by burning microscopic dust          the exclusive dealer of LG range of
particles through its patented electric    air- conditioners, electronics and          LG has signed a long-term agreement
field, represents the latest in LG’s       home appliances in Oman. With a             to become both a Global Partner of
innovation.                                nationwide network of showrooms             Formula 1™ and a Technology Part-
                                           and service facilities, OTE Group           ner of Formula 1™.As part of this
H S Paik, President of LG Electronics      ensures that LG customers are never         top-level association, LG acquires
Gulf FZE, pointed out: “For a long         far from getting a wide range of high       exclusive designations and marketing
time, consumers in the Oman market         quality after-sales service. It is this     rights as the official consumer elec-
have sought out cooling solutions for      strong partnership that continues to        tronics, mobile phone and data pro-
their residences in what is one of the     lead more customers to join the OTE-        cessor of this global sporting event.
6 The Home Show 2011
          Jebel Sifah, Oman’s beckoning getaway
                                               Oman Observer - 16 April 2011

T    he Sultanate of Oman is a land of
     legends, where a blend of the old
and the new coexist side by side. The
country with its lovely beaches, won-
derful landscapes and proud heritage
charms tourists from different conti-
nents. It is a country where modernity
co-exists with the cherished Omani
culture lending unique attraction to
country. The tourism potential also
attracts many local and international
companies to invest in Oman.

The Jebel Sifah project which is
about 45 km away from Muscat is
the crowning glory in Murya’s port-
folio of achievements. Its majestic
natural magnificence, combined with
architectural wonders incorporated by
Muriyah through its various projects,
has turned it into a fascinating desti-
nation for visitors and tourists.

The way to the Jebel Sifah is through
the peaceful fishing village of Sifah.       ing boats next July. It has a total area   pharmacy, travel offices, minimarket
Beautiful views of the mountains, the        of over 75,000 sq m, with 12,000 sq        and entertainment.
sea and its friendly people, all make it     m dry berth for boat storage. Besides,
a perfect place for relaxation.              the Marina Town will have 18 apart-        With the completion of its various
                                             ment blocks reflecting traditional         projects, Jebel Sifah will become
Spread over an area of 6.2 million           Omani architecture.                        the focus of all eyes, with investors
square metres. The Sifawy Boutique                                                      and visitors frequenting the place to
Hotel, which is set for a grand sum-         Adding attraction to the project is        savour its natural bounty and luxuri-
mer opening with construction activi-        the construction of an 18-hole PGA         ous offerings.
ties already reaching the final stages.      Golf Course, which was started three
It is the first of the hospitality project   months ago. The Golf Course is             It will be home to luxurious freehold
from the Muriya stables with 55 guest        expected to raise the bar for golfing      apartments and villas of diverse
rooms and 25 apartments. Relaxation          in the country. It has already cleared     architecture and style, with 100 per
is woven into the very structure of          holes 10 through 18, with work cur-        cent foreign ownership that entitles
the hotel, with customised services          rently focusing on the cut/fill for Hole   owners with residency in Oman.
pegged on the tastes of individual           12. Holes 15-16 have been rough
guests.                                      shaped.                                    Al Sammak Restaurant: It is a seafood
                                                                                        restaurant and located on the beach,
The Marina, which is considered also         Jebel Sifah’s retail venue, which fea-     just a few minutes walk from the
as one of the most important place in        tures a combination of essential and       hotel. It is offering classic seafood
this project is expected to start receiv-    convenient shops including banks,          specialties.

                          OHB Sohar branch finances
                           2,954 housing buildings
                                               Oman Observer - 14 April 2011

O     man Housing Bank (OHB), So-
      har branch, has provided since
its inception 2,954 loans with a total
                                             amount of RO 48,139,442.

                                             All the categories of income benefited
                                                                                        from these loans, especially the low
                                                                                        income categories. This step comes
                                                                                        as part of the leading role played by
                                                                                                         Market Report 7
the bank in providing the housing           policy of the country while observ-        har is distinguished in its dealings by
loans for the citizen. It illustrates the   ing the Omani style of building”, Al       providing the loans with a great ease,
contributions of OHB in providing           Balushi added.                             in addition to supporting the fees of
the appropriate houses for the Omani                                                   banking & administrative services.
citizens.                                   The Director of OHB branch at Sohar        The bank facilitates the obstacles
                                            explained that he is expecting a huge      that face the borrowers and gets very
Yusuf bin Ali al Balushi, Director          demand for borrowing during the            low fees from the citizen, ie the soft
of OHB branch at Sohar said: “The           next phase, especially when the bank       instalment and the comfortable pay-
loans provided by the bank since its        is about to adopt a new strategy and       ment period.
inception are not limited to a specific     fiscal plan. This strategy would lead
category as all the categories of the       to increasing the loans provided for       The borrowers could transfer the
Omani community benefited from              the borrowers, establishing housing        monthly instalment only from their
these loans especially the low and          complexes and providing real estate        monthly salaries and they are free
medium income people, the Omanis            loans in light of the current plans        to dispose of the remaining amounts
working outside the Sultanate and the       of the country. Furthermore, new           of their salaries. He confirmed that
self employed persons. This way, the        schemes will be developed in differ-       the citizens prefer to borrow from
bank contributed effectively in the         ent regions of the Sultanate as a result   the bank because they fully know
real estate development efforts and         of the accelerating development and        the attention paid by the country to
the establishment of the infrastructure     the continuous support provided by         this sector.
by finding the suitable houses for the      the government to the bank. These
citizens.”                                  schemes would be consolidated by           He said: “I expect that there will
                                            building new roads that replace some       be a significant improvement in the
“The bank seeks to raise the aware-         existing housing complexes like Al         performance of the bank in light
ness of its customers, contracting          Batinah Coastal roads, Al Batinah          of the exiting completion; as every
companies and engineering offices           Expressway and the national rail           bank seeks to offer its best services.
about taking care of the modern style       link project, in addition to building      The bank, for its part, will expand
for erecting buildings. It is a leading     housing complexes and providing            its lending activity gradually to keep
contributor in the growing spread of        real estate loans.                         pace with the growing increase in the
the different modern styles of build-                                                  housing loans while maintaining its
ings. This way, the bank interprets the     Al Balushi said “OHB branch at So-         current distinction.”

                             Muriya, BankMuscat sign
                             home finance agreement
                                              Oman Observer - 10 April 2011

M      uriya and BankMuscat, leading
       corporates in integrated tour-
ism development and banking sec-
                                            ment scheme with an interest rate of
                                            eight per cent, tenor of up to 20 years,
                                            and funding up to 70 per cent of the
                                                                                       ‘baituna’ Plus Home Package are
                                                                                       available to Omanis, GCC nation-
                                                                                       als and expatriates seeking housing
tors, recently signed an agreement to       unit price.                                finance solutions in Oman. BankMus-
offer mortgage finance for Jebel Sifah                                                 cat also provides refinancing options
and Salalah Beach property.                 Sulaiman al Harthy, Group DGM —            to customers with pre-existing hous-
                                            Consumer Banking, who signed on            ing loans.
Signing on behalf of Muriya, Adil           behalf of BankMuscat, said: “Bank-
Taqi said, “At Muriya we strive to          Muscat is proud to join hands with         Muriya was established in 2006,
provide easy finance solutions and          Oman’s leading tourism developer           when Egypt’s Orascom Hotels and
support to our customers, both Omani        and offer its unique ‘baituna’ home        Development (with 70 per cent
and expatriate segments. We are de-         finance, which can be structured to        stake) and Omani government owned
lighted to partner with BankMuscat          meet individual requirements. We are       Omran (with 30 per cent stake) came
to facilitate feasible mortgage finance     glad to establish a lasting relationship   together in a joint venture. Since then,
for Muriya customers purchasing vil-        with Muriya.”                              Muriya has announced ambitious
las and apartments. Such agreements                                                    projects in stunning localities around
contribute to rejuvenation of the real      ‘baituna’ home finance can be pro-         Oman. Two of the ongoing projects
estate sector in Oman.”                     cessed at special outlets and 130          are integrated tourism complexes
                                            branches of BankMuscat across the          (ITCs) offering freehold properties
The unique benefits for potential           Sultanate. Two product packages —          — ‘Jebel Sifah’ and ‘Salalah Beach’
homeowners include attractive pay-          ‘baituna’ Classic Home Finance, and        — ‘Al Sodah Island’ and ‘City Walk’.

8 The Home Show 2011
OAB offers finance for Dhofar’s mega project
                                             Times of Oman - 5 April 2011

I skan Oman 1 LLC, a subsidiary of
  Iskan Oman Investment Company
SAOC, announced recently its strate-
                                         of its kind and the largest in Salalah.
                                         Located in the Al Wadi area, the
                                         project covers an area approximately
                                                                                    to amenities and services as well as
                                                                                    incorporating recreation and leisure
                                                                                    spaces with a family friendly focus.
gic tie-up with Oman Arab Bank to        29,000sqm with 10 storey build-
provide mortgage financing solutions     ings containing 586 units, with a          The real estate development prom-
for buyers interested in Zahrat Al       total built-up area exceeding 100,000      ises to further enhance the profile
Khareef- Dhofar project.                 square metres will offer a mix of 1, 2     of Dhofar region; blending modern
                                         & 3 bedrooms and duplex apartments.        living with the natural environment
The agreement was signed between                                                    that reflects the very essence of Sa-
Mohammed Abdul Moneim, Chair-            Oman Arab Bank was established             lalah. Lush green trees, gentle breezes
man of Iskan Oman 1 LLC and Ra-          on October 1, 1984, following the          from the mountains and white sandy
shad Jaffar Al Shaikh, head of retail    acquisition of Arab Bank’s branches        beaches caress the fringes of Zahrat
marketing & business development         in the country. It operates through a      Al Khareef, Dhofar.
of Oman Arab Bank.                       network of 56 branches and offices
                                         throughout the Sultanate. The bank         In addition, a family friendly club
On this occasion, Abdul Moneim of        offers a wide range of products and        house equipped with a modern gym-
Iskan Oman said, “We are delighted       services in retail, corporate and in-      nasium and other recreational facili-
to partner with Oman Arab Bank to        vestment banking.                          ties will serve as a fitness and com-
provide home financing to Zahrat                                                    munity centre for residents, bringing
Al Khareef-Dhofar customers. Our         “Oman Arab Bank continues to de-           together the occupants to socialise
Zahrat Al Khareef project is built,      liver products and services that cater     and relax in world class luxury. Ad-
designed, and intended for diverse       to the financial needs of customers.       ditional facilities such as a swimming
customers. Today’s announcement          This partnership aims at meeting the       pool with professionally designed
is another important step in the con-    strong demand for home finance from        landscaping, further complement the
tinuing revitalisation of Oman’s real    customers in Oman and other GCC            recreational offerings of the Zahrat Al
estate market”.                          countries,” said Rashad Al Shaikh          Khareef development.
                                         of Oman Arab Bank. “As a bank we
He added, “We aim to offer purchas-      are fully committed to supporting          A commercial hub to serve the com-
ers of our Zahrat Al Khareef, a pro-     the economic development of the            munity, incorporating shops and other
spective plan that ensures potential     country, and this agreement will help      retail outlets have also been thought-
customers with financing options that    to further stimulate the country’s real    fully included in the project’s design.
suit their individual needs.”            estate market,” he added.                  Parking for residents and visitors
                                                                                    is ample, with a basement level car
Zahrat Al Khareef-Dhofar project,        The project promises to promote            park accommodating parking require-
offering freehold ownership for          wholesome community living of-             ments with more than 600 car parking
Omani and GCC citizens, is the first     fering the convenience of proximity        space provided.

         Cluttons Oman joins hands with ODC
                                           Oman Observer - 4 April 2011

O     man Development Company
      (ODC) announced the launch of
Phase 1 of its new housing scheme,
                                         Phase I, with prices from RO 83,054.
                                         Cluttons Oman, the international real
                                         estate firm that has enjoyed a presence
                                                                                    wide range of banking services.

                                                                                    Sheikh Salim bin Ahmed al Kathiry,
Adayat Residential Complex, located      in the Sultanate since 1986, has been      the CEO of ODC, comments, “The
in Wadi al Lawami, Seeb. The aim         appointed as exclusive sales agents        release of Adayat Residential Com-
of the development is to provide the     for the development.                       plex is a result of the aim of ODC to
opportunity to purchase a good qual-                                                provide real estate products to meet
ity, carefully designed villa set in a   Oman Development Company (ODC)             the needs of the Omani population,
secure, family friendly environment      and Bank Muscat have signed an             especially the younger generation of
at an affordable price.                  agreement to allow purchasers to           middle income Omanis who require
                                         secure mortgage finance facilities for     good quality housing at affordable
The development comprises 49 care-       their villa. Bank Muscat has been          rates. The strength and quality of
fully planned townhouses set within a    selected as a financing partner as it is   this development is illustrated by the
11,225 m² plot, and will also include    capable of and keen to provide flex-       involvement of Bank Muscat as the
a swimming pool and a multi-purpose      ible and modern financial solutions        mortgage provider and Cluttons as the
hall. 26 villas will be released in      that will enable the clients to enjoy a    exclusive sales agent.”
                                                                                                      Market Report 9
                          OHB’s soft loan disbursals
                            surge in Dakhiliya
                                            Times of Oman - 29 March 2011

O     man Housing Bank (OHB) has
      provided 2,796 subsidised loans
worth RO54.40 million in the Dakh-
                                          the objectives and plans of OHB in
                                          this regard and its role in supporting
                                          these categories. Al Nabhani pointed
                                                                                     expand the process of housing finance
                                                                                     through expanding the services of the
                                                                                     bank. He said that OHB plans to open
iliya region since its inception.         out that what distinguishes the lend-      new offices and branches all over
                                          ing process at OHB is that it provides     the Sultanate to provide borrowing
This comes as part of the bank’s ef-      soft loans subsidised by the govern-       services.
forts in contributing effectively in      ment for the low and middle income
providing housing loans for Omani         borrowers.                                 “The bank also plans to increase the
citizens in different governorates and                                               financial apportionments to cover the
regions of the Sultanate as part of its   He said that these categories benefit      loans requests, expand the settlement
role in supporting the government         most from the advantages provided          period to 30 years, decrease the inter-
efforts that aim at securing a decent     by the bank.                               est rate for the housing loans so as not
life for the citizens.                                                               to exceed 7 per cent.
                                          , in addition to benefiting from the
Abdullah bin Suleiman Al Nabhani,         long term loans and low interest rates.    This will leave a huge impact that
OHB branch manager in the Dakh-                                                      could lead to a great turnout of citi-
iliya region, said that the bank pays     OHB branch manager at Dakhiliya            zens who wish to get housing loan.
a growing attention to providing          region stated the bank provides dis-       Moreover, this move could lead to
soft housing loans for the citizens in    tinguished services for the customers      increasing the intensity of the compe-
Dakhiliya region like the other gover-    even after providing the loans. He         tition between the commercial banks
norates and regions of the Sultanate.     added the bank contributed signifi-        that provide housing loans,” he said.
                                          cantly and effectively in building and
He indicated that the categories that     construction process in line with the      OHB plans to open current accounts
benefited most from the loans at Da-      growth of the blessed renaissance and      for the contractors and give them
khiliya region are the low and middle     the current modern developments.           banking facilities against the projects
income categories with salaries that                                                 they build. The bank will participate
range between RO100 and RO400.            Al Nabhani confirmed that OHB ap-          in building residential units and com-
He confirmed that these facts reflect     proach during the next period is to        plexes with owners and businessmen.

                             Panasonic launches new
                              range of spiral lamps
                                            Oman Tribune - 28 March 2011

O    masco launched a new range
     of spiral lamps of Panasonic in
the Sultanate at a ceremony held at
                                          innovation company in the electronics
                                          industry in the Middle East as part of
                                          Panasonic’s global commitment to
                                                                                     reduce environmental impact.

                                                                                     Panasonic has successfully reduced
Muscat Holiday Hotel on Sunday.           drive eco-innovation by 2018, when         minimal lamp wattage down to 13W
                                          the company will be celebrating its        for a 70W incandescent equivalent,
General manager of retail and elec-       100th anniversary.                         with an innovative “spiral arc tube”
tronics division at Omasco, George                                                   enabling the ultra compact size of
Alexander said that the eco-friendly      Incharge of sales and marketing in         the light capsule series still keeping
series of energy saving light bulbs       the Middle East for Panasonic Toru         tri-phosphor technology and higher
were launched in Oman along with          Tachibana said: “The company is            colour rendering for natural looking
the entire Middle East region.            pursuing its eco ideas for lifestyles by   light, he said.
                                          promoting sustainable and comfort-
“These bulbs offer energy savings         able green lifestyles as well as eco       Consumers have become increasingly
up to 80 per cent as compared to an       ideas for business-styles.”                conscious of energy conservation at
incandescent bulb,” said Alexander.                                                  home, including lighting. LED bulbs
                                          And added that his company was keen        are quickly finding their way into
Alexander informed that Panasonic         to introduce eco-friendly products to      homes thanks to their high energy
aimed at becoming the leading green       the regional market, with an aim to        efficiency and long life, he said.
10 The Home Show 2011
Flooding of Salalah Beach Marina is complete
                                            Oman Observer - 27 March 2011

M      uriya, Oman’s largest tourism
       development company, has an-
nounced that flooding of the marina
                                           Edward Corry, Muriya’s newly ap-
                                           pointed Marina Manager commented,
                                           “Salalah Beach Marina has been
                                                                                      restaurants, up-scale boutiques and
                                                                                      cafes, two world-class 18-hole PGA
                                                                                      Golf courses, Inland-Marina with a
at the heart of the highly-anticipated     designed and constructed according         Marina Town, 2 Marina Boutique
Salalah Beach development is now           to world-class standards. The sheer        Hotels and five top international hotel
complete.                                  size of the marina is impressive and       brands among which are Club Med,
                                           indicative of the company’s ultimate       Rotana and Movenpick Hotels &
Conveniently located 20 minutes            aim to attract regional and interna-       Resorts. Muriya was established in
from Salalah Airport, the Salalah          tional boat owners to the Sultanate        2006, when Egypt’s Orascom Hotels
Beach development is situated in the       and ultimately boost Marine tourism        and Development (with 70 per cent
idyllic Dhofar Governorate in the          locally, putting Oman on the global        stake) and Omani government owned
southern part of the Sultanate. The        map as a yachting tourism destina-         Omran (with 30 per cent stake) came
first construction of the marina com-      tion. Built to compliment the natural      together in a joint venture. Since
menced in 2009 and took less than          beauty of the surrounding landscape,       then, Muriya has announced ambi-
two years to complete. Covering a          the Salalah Beach Marina is a truly        tious projects in stunning localities
total of 96,000 square metres with a       exceptional leisure destination with       around Oman.
total dry-berth boat storage area of       outstanding surrounding facilities.”
over 12,000 square meters, Salalah                                                    Two of the ongoing projects are in-
Marina can hold over 170 boats of up       Set over a 15.6 million square metre       tegrated tourism complexes (ITCs)
to 60 metres in length and has a total     area, the site will soon be home to        offering freehold properties - ‘Jebel
breakwater of just less than 1,200         luxury freehold villas and apart-          Sifah’, ‘Salalah Beach’, ‘Al Sodah
metres in length.                          ments. Planned facilities include          Island’ and ‘City Walk’.

                      The Home Show to showcase
                        wide range of products
                                            Oman Observer - 21 March 2011

T    he Home Show 2011’, the only
     trade exhibition in Oman that
caters specifically to the needs of
                                           the Sultanate’s vibrant building and
                                           construction industry. The company
                                           is behind the highly successful annual
                                                                                      pliances, furniture and furnishings,
                                                                                      paint products, home décor, tiles and
                                                                                      ceramics as well as wall and floor
homebuilders and homeowners, will          Oman Construction Summit, which            coverings. The event will also feature
display a wide range of products,          was first held early this year and the     interior design services, the housing
materials and services required in         upcoming Oman Power and Water              loans offered by banks and residential
all housing projects in the Sultanate,     Summit, which is scheduled in May.         properties.
making it a must-attend event for lo-
cal and international companies that       “The Home Show 2011 is primarily           Paul added that with the event’s par-
deal in these products.                    intended to serve the rapidly growing      ticular focus on everything related
                                           demand for all types of products and       to home design, construction and
Being organised under the patron-          services in building an ideal, modern      renovation, it is expected to attract the
age of the Ministry of Housing, The        home,” said C J Paul, Chief Executive      strong interest of developers, contrac-
Home Show 2011 is scheduled to be          Officer of GEC. “The three-day event       tors, homeowners, architects, interior
held from December 13 to 15, 2011          will bring product manufacturers and       designers and many other industry
at the Oman International Exhibition       suppliers face to face with their target   professionals.
Centre. It is also officially supported    clients, many of whom are currently
by the Supreme Committee for Town          involved in the construction of many       The major sponsors of The Home
Planning, Oman Housing Bank and            new houses includingprestigious            Show 2011 include Sadolin as the sil-
the Oman Society of Contractors.           properties.”                               ver sponsor and Gautier, represented
                                                                                      by Oman Marketing Company LLC,
The organiser of the event is Global       The Home Show 2011 will promi-             as the lanyard sponsor.
Exhibitions & Conferences LLC              nently showcase an extensive range
(GEC), an Omani event management           of products including doors and            The event’s media partners are made
company that is becoming known for         windows, lighting fixtures, kitchen        up of major publishing houses and in-
its portfolio of high-profile events for   and bathroom products, home ap-            dustry publications, including Oman
                                                                                                       Market Report 11
Arabic daily, Oman Daily Observer,         Watan, Al Youm Al Sabe, Furniture-          World, H!, OER Dossier, Oman Tri-
Al-Maskan magazine, Al Shabiba, Al         Global.Com, Furniture & Accessories         bune, and the Times of Oman.

                    Panasonic introduces ‘Econavi’
                                             Oman Observer - 16 March 2011

K    eeping environment protec-
     tion and energy saving morals
high in mind, Panasonic, the global
                                           precision human sensor and control
                                           programme technologies to optimise
                                           air-conditioner operation according to
                                                                                       air purifying function when necessary
                                                                                       to maintain clean and healthier air.

leader in innovation and technology,       room conditions. The units utilise this     Autocomfort is another feature incor-
has introduced ‘Econavi’ series of         technology to detect where energy           porated into the new range of Econavi
air-conditioners to the Middle East        is normally wasted and self-adjusts         series of ACs. Autocomfort enables
market. Econavi dual sensor ACs            cooling and heating power.                  consumers to enjoy the same func-
incorporate Advance Plus e-Ion air                                                     tions as Econavi with lower energy
purifying system while boasting of         The Econavi concept reduces waste           saving mode when additional cooling/
advance energy saving capacity.            in three simple steps. It examines the      heating is not required.
                                           level of activity and human presence
Panasonic, which is on course to be        in a room. It then evaluates changes        With one touch of a button, the air-
the “No 1 green innovation elec-           in location, activity and then adjusts      conditioner detects activity rate in the
tronics company” has upgraded the          the level of airflow needed.                room and optimises comfort, while
company’s existing range of air-                                                       still maintaining lower energy-saving
conditioners by introducing Econavi        “Going green by saving energy               operations. The user gets to enjoy op-
technology, which in simple terms          shouldn’t compromise your comfort-          timal comfort, all at the touch of one
senses the presence of user in the         able lifestyle. With a Panasonic air        button same as the Econavi function.
room and auto adjusts the set tem-         conditioner, individuals get to enjoy
perature to an energy efficient level in   cleaner air provided by the Advanced        Panasonic confirms to be a brand true
case of low activity detection. (Senses    Plus e-ion air purifying system featur-     to its mission of being No 1 green in-
the absence in the room and cools          ing the Econavi sensor. The result is       novation company in the electronics
select areas translating into reduced      a better quality of life,” commented        industry by offering products that suit
energy consumption).                       Shoaib, Senior Manager, Panasonic           both business and home lifestyles. By
                                           Marketing Middle East.                      promoting minimal CO2 emissions
The new ACs use 30 per cent less                                                       and optimum usage of resources and
energy when cooling, and up to 40          Advance Plus e-ion technology is de-        energy, Panasonic products aim to
per cent less energy when heating.         signed to monitor changes in the de-        contribute to a healthy and environ-
The econavi concept applies high           gree of air cleanliness. It activates the   ment friendly lifestyle.

            BankMuscat to offer housing finance
                 for ODC houses in Seeb
                                             Times of Oman - 15 March 2011

B     ankMuscat, the leading financial
      services provider in the Sultan-
ate, and Oman Development Compa-
                                           ment will facilitate customers to own
                                           a dream home in the ODC project.”
                                                                                       especially middle income youth who
                                                                                       require quality housing at affordable
                                                                                       prices. BankMuscat was selected as
ny (ODC) have signed an agreement          “The real estate sector is a major          the financing partner in view of its
to provide mortgage finance facilities     component of the national economy           capability to provide flexible financial
for customers of Adyat Residence           and BankMuscat is committed to ex-          solutions that will enable clients to
Complex project promoted by ODC            tending all possible support to achieve     enjoy a wide range of banking ser-
at Al Seeb.                                the objective of a house for every          vices,” said Sheikh Salim
                                           family, thereby contributing to the
The agreement was signed by Sulai-         revitalisation of the real estate sector    Adyat Residence Complex comprises
man Al Harthy, group DGM (Con-             and enhancing its role in the national      49 aesthetically designed town houses
sumer Banking), and Sheikh Salim           economy,” he added.                         that will be built using the most ad-
bin Ahmed Al Katheeri, chief execu-                                                    vanced construction methods to meet
tive of Oman Development Company.          “ODC property is targeted to meet the       the highest standards of quality at a
Sulaiman Al Harthy said: “The agree-       needs of the general Omani public,          reasonable price.
12 The Home Show 2011
         MEDC launches ‘Keep Your Home Safe’
                                              Oman Observer - 7 March 2011

K    eep Your Home Safe” awareness
     campaign was launched yester-
day by Muscat Electricity Distribu-
                                            detailed information on the safe use
                                            of electrical appliances in the kitchen.
                                                                                       Hattali, Manager, Customer Service

tion Company (MEDC), coinciding             “We at MEDC are looking to en-             “Our goal is to engage in constructive
with the International Day of Civil         lighten the community about the need       communication with our customers,
Defence, which is celebrated this           to protect themselves and their homes      and homemakers in particular, who
year on the theme, “Role of Woman           through the safe use of electricity.       represent a key segment of our com-
in Civil Defence”.                                                                     munity.” As they are also the most
                                            This campaign comes in the context         valuable family members who fol-
During visits to home in Muscat             of a series of awareness initiatives       low up on the daily activities of the
Governorate, female staff of MEDC           taken by MEDC in support of its            family, it is our endeavour to advice
interacted with homemakers and              efforts to guide people on rationali-      them on the interest of protecting their
handed out pamphlets containing             sation of energy use,” said Salman al      families as a whole.”

                  Cluttons identifies Qurm district
                         as ‘area to watch’
                                              Times of Oman - 2 March 2011

C    luttons Oman, the leading prop-
     erty firm that has enjoyed a
presence in the Sultanate since 1986,
                                            will be a major factor in bringing this
                                            area into the spotlight. In addition,
                                            a number of developments such as
                                                                                       fers many schools within easy reach.

                                                                                       Marianne Helme, head of residential
highlighted the Rabiat Al Qurm (op-         Qurm City Centre shopping mall and         leasing for Cluttons Oman com-
posite Qurm City Centre) in central         improvements to the older shopping         mented: “We are monitoring the
Muscat as ‘area to watch’.                  area to address central landscaping        central Muscat area very closely as an
                                            and a pedestrian bridge across the         area that is increasingly on the radar
Increased demand is predicted in this       wadi are further exciting signs of         of our clients. Qurm ticks a lot of
area — a result of recent urban regen-      improvement.                               boxes, offering a prime location near
eration opening up the road network,                                                   schools, leisure and cultural facilities
in addition to its ideal location, within   Prices for residential property in the     matched with investment into urban
easy reach of a wide selection of life-     area are currently stable, with rents      regeneration. The area is particularly
style amenities and schools.                ranging from RO650 to RO2,000 per          popular with families; properties with
                                            month, with choices ranging from           a good number of bedrooms, ter-
Qurm has recently been overlooked           smaller family homes to exclusive          races and good security are quickly
as newer development has focused            executive housing. Demand comes            snapped up.”
on schemes such as The Wave and             mainly from families, who are at-
Muscat Hills elsewhere in Muscat.           tracted to the many amenities of the       Cluttons is an independent partner-
                                            established city centre, such as the       ship of chartered surveyors founded
However, the team predicts that the         majority of shopping malls, super-         in 1765. It has a network of offices in
new Muscat Expressway joining               markets, the Qurm natural park and         the UK, Europe, Middle East, South
Sultan Qaboos Highway at Qurm               the new opera house. The area also of-     Africa and Caribbean.

                     Al Bustan Residences appoints
                        construction contractor
                                              Oman Observer - 1 March 2011

A    l Bustan Residences, one of
     Oman’s most recent and pres-
tigious Real Estate Developments,
                                            Hotel in Muscat. The appointment
                                            signifies the start of the develop-
                                            ment’s construction in March.
                                                                                       Hotels and Resorts LLC, Siegfried
                                                                                       Lingel — Deputy Chairman of
                                                                                       Baader Projects, Hotels & Resorts
has announced the appointment of                                                       LLC — Real Estate Developments,
the Al Hajiry Group as the project’s        Representatives present at the sign-       Nasser Khamis al Hashar, Chair-
construction contractor at an official      ing ceremony included Uto Baader,          man of Al Hajiry Group and Sam
signing ceremony held at the Chedi          Deputy Chairman of Baader Projects,        Varghese, Managing Director of Al
                                                                                                        Market Report 13
Hajiry Group.                               Group has a wealth of experience            tender process which was facilitated
                                            within the region and in the Sultanate;     through Baader Projects, Hotels and
The Al Hajiry Group is responsible          the latest of their projects includes the   Resorts, a new company in Oman
for the building of all 47 villas and the   new RO 22 million Petroleum Devel-          responsible for the development of
surrounding infrastructure, including       opment Oman head office building in         tourism projects across the Sultanate.
an exclusive Health Club on the site in     Mina Al Fahal.
Al Bustan which is located opposite                                                     Baader Projects, Hotels and Resorts
the Majlis Oman, set to become one          “This project is representative of          employed Omani architect Mohamed
of the Sultanate’s most iconic new          the Al Hajiry Group’s technical and         al Akkad from MA Design Archi-
buildings when completed.                   financial capabilities as well as the       tectural Consultations to design the
                                            quality of their building and the heavy     prestigious development using his
Siegfried Lingel, Vice- President           focus they place on the health and          local insights as the creative force for
of Al Bustan Residences said: “We           safety of their employees and visitors      the design of a series of homes perfect
are delighted to welcome Al Hajiry          to their site during the construction       for the end user.
Group on board as our construction          period.”
contractor. Today is a very special                                                     Savills Oman is the official Muscat-
and exciting day for us all as we join      The Al Hajiry Group won the con-            based real estate agent appointed for
together to begin the construction of       struction contract for Al Bustan            the sale of this prestigious develop-
Al Bustan Residences. The Al Hajiry         Residences following a rigorous             ment.

 BankMuscat’s ‘Baituna Souq’ attracts visitors
                                            Times of Oman - 24 February 2011

T    he third ‘Baituna Souq’ organised
     by BankMuscat opened yester-
day under the auspices of Eng. Sultan
                                            committed to extending all possible
                                            support to achieve the objective of a
                                            house for every Omani, thereby con-
                                                                                        nationals, GCC nationals and expa-

bin Hamdoon Al Harthy, chairman of          tributing to the revitalisation of the      To maximise the reach and effective-
Muscat Municipality, evoking strong         real estate sector and enhancing its        ness, the third edition of ‘Baituna
response from Muscat Festival visi-         role in the national economy.”              Souq’ is being held as part of Muscat
tors at Qurum Natural Park.                                                             Festival, which attracts a large turnout
                                            Al Harthy added: “In view of the            of visitors. The participating com-
Present on the occasion were Abdul-         continued government support to             panies are available for one-to-one
Razak Ali Issa, chief executive of          various development programmes              meetings with potential home buyers.
BankMuscat, and senior representa-          and economic activities, the real es-
tives of 12 participating property          tate sector in Oman reflects a growing      The first two editions of ‘Baituna
developers and real estate companies.       demand for residential units. Bank-         Souq’ were a huge success that saw
The three-day event, which ends             Muscat is presenting ‘Baituna Souq’         thousands of people thronging the
today, comes as part of the bank’s          as a unique co-marketing opportunity        stalls and seeking advice of industry
commitment to fulfilling the aspira-        aimed at offering citizens an array of      professionals.
tions for a ‘home for every Omani’.         home deals. All the participating real
                                            estate and property developers have         The residential segment in Oman
Sulaiman Al Harthy, group DGM –             long association with BankMuscat’s          assumes importance in light of the
consumer banking, said: “Baituna            ‘Baituna’ Home Finance”.                    growth in population as well as the
Souq’ is a unique platform which                                                        buoyant economy. The deregulation
showcases all leading property devel-       ‘Baituna’ home finance facilitates          in property ownership rights grant-
opers under one roof. The real estate       purchase and construction of new            ing foreign ownership to GCC and
sector is a major component of the          homes as well as land for residential       non-GCC nationals has also attracted
national economy and BankMuscat is          use. Finance is offered to Omani            Oman as an investment destination.

                Property prices poised to stabilise
                                            Oman Observer - 22 February 2011

L   ike its regional neighbours, real
    estate in Oman is experiencing
a correctional phase, particularly
                                            across the office and residential sec-
                                            tors and lease and occupancy rates
                                            have declined sharply, according to
                                                                                        a CB Richard Ellis (2010) report for
                                                                                        Oman, that will be released today.
                                                                                        The leading property company whose

14 The Home Show 2011
real estate market views are respected    in the Muscat residential sector re-       stability with minimal rate move-
worldwide, however added, “On the         mained subdued during 2010 despite         ment recorded during the past 12
trends of key performance indica-         the Sultanate’s economic growth            months. However, particularly areas
tors, the Muscat market has actu-         during the period. A reduction in the      such as Al Khuwair and Seeb could
ally outperformed many of its GCC         expatriate population was largely          yet expect further rate reductions as
neighbours, and this is due largely to    to blame for this trend amidst the         short term periods of oversupply are
the support provided by indigenous        backdrop of reduced employment.            created by multiple handovers.”
demand and more restricted supply.”       Lease rates in the capital grew by
                                          around 25 per cent during the period       On the residential real estate market,
According to the CB Richard El-           2006 to 2008. However, since the first     Matthew says, “The market has been
lis Oman market review, “Average          quarter of 2009 they have cooled off       similarly affected during the down-
apartment lease rates across Muscat       considerably, recording average nega-      turn with a reduction in the expatriate
have dropped by 13 per cent annually      tive growth of 13 per cent per annum.      population impacting heavily upon
since 2009. The office market is cur-     2011 is likely to see a return to more     lease rates across the capital. The
rently undergoing a downward phase        positive territory as more bullish eco-    worst affected areas to date have
as the city heads towards significant     nomic expansion takes place.”              been individual villa properties, par-
oversupply”.                                                                         ticularly in the Seeb and Al Khoudh
                                          The report further says, “Localities       areas. Affordability and the relative
Marianne Helme, head of Residential       such Al Khuwair, Azaiba, Al Ghu-           large size of these properties along
Leasing, Cluttons & Partners LLC,         bra, Al Khoud and Bausher have all         with availability of secured properties
Oman, supports this analysis: “De-        witnessed a significant expansion of       are the main reasons behind the larger
spite an increase in the volume of        property stock during this period.         drop in rates.”
transactions in the residential leasing   The development boom has led to the
market throughout 2010 and early          emergence of multiple new projects,        Marianne Helme notes, “Demand
2011 in comparison to 2009, aver-         all offering superior facilities and       remains, however, for smaller, good
age rental rates continue to decline      amenities, including covered parking,      quality properties in modern devel-
as the supply of residential proper-      controlled security access, gymnasi-       opments and in the sought-after ex-
ties exceeds demand. Significant          ums and swimming pools.                    patriate rental areas such as Madinat
rise in rental values in the two years                                               Qaboos, Shatti Al Qurum and Qurum
until mid-2008 resulted in extensive      The availability of new product offer-     which have tended to hold their rental
development activity as landowners        ings at attractive rates has resulted in   value better than less favoured areas.
sought to exploit favourable market       some migration of tenants from older
conditions.”                              areas of the city and from apartments      “Properties at The Wave, in particular,
                                          which lack adequate facilities. Traffic    are proving to be extremely popular
Marianne adds, “Our experience in         issues and extensive movement of the       despite the fact that they command a
the Sohar market shows a similar pat-     commercial office sector towards new       premium in comparison to the rental
tern whereby recent, large scale con-     development areas have also been           values for similar sized properties in
struction activity has resulted in the    influential in driving occupier move-      the surrounding area. Recently com-
supply of residential property avail-     ment in the residential sector.            pleted properties at Muscat Hills are
able for rent significantly exceeding                                                also proving to be attractive due to
demand. Accordingly, rental rates in      Rental rates for villas typically vary     their design and setting. Office sector
Sohar have declined drastically from      from around RO800 up to RO2,000            is also seeing many changes.
the highs of 2008 ago and many prop-      per month with variations typically
erties within the city remain vacant      dependant on the quality and loca-         According to the report, “The Muscat
following completion.”                    tion of the unit. In light of increasing   office sector has undergone a major
                                          construction activity, the villa and       transformation in recent years, both in
However, M. Sudhakar Reddy, gen-          townhouse market could face the            terms of quality and its overall offer-
eral manager, Al Habib & Co. LLC,         prospect of further falls in both lease    ing. Much of the existing stock is now
Oman, is of the opinion that rents        and occupancy levels during 2011.”         ageing, with poor quality facilities
have stabilised and there is a move-                                                 and substandard parking allocations.
ment from old buildings to new build-     When asked what is the prime reason
ings. “The fact that 4,000 apartments     for freezing of rents in Oman and          “This situation is now driving the
are coming up every year proves           in some places slightly decreasing,        migration of tenants to new areas
the point that there is still a fairly    Matthew Green, head of research            where suitable access to shaded and
good demand for well-maintained           UAE, CB Richard Ellis Middle               secure underground parking is more
properties. But yes, if you consider      East, said, “Office rental rates have      prevalent. At this point there is no
the 2008 peak period rents are now        dropped significantly in all areas of      integrated public transport system
fair,” he said.                           Muscat since the market peak as new        in place in Muscat, and this means
                                          demand evaporated at the onset of the      issues with congestion and building
On the residential sector, the CB         economic crisis. Encouragingly, we         access are likely to continue in the
Richard Ellis report says, “Activity      have now entered a period of greater       short-term at least.”
                                                                                                      Market Report 15
As in the residential sector office         now very much on the rise.”                 The CB Richard Ellis report sums up,
lease rates have declined in all areas                                                  ‘The real estate market of Muscat is
of Muscat over the past two years.          Talking about the weaker demand             expected to see a period of greater
The average fall citywide was re-           fundamentals, the report cites the          stability over the next 12 months with
corded at 16 per cent, whilst the larg-     main factors that contributed towards       lease rates for all properties starting
est decreases took place in the CBD/        these rate reductions as persistent traf-   to level out. The prolongation of
Ruwi, Al Khuwair and Madinat Al             fic congestion and the general inad-        increased government spending on
Qaboos areas, where rents plunged           equacy of available parking facilities.     infrastructure projects looks set to
22 per cent.                                                                            see a new influx of workforce to the
                                            It further says, “The existence of          capital, both from outside the country
“The overall improvement in new             poor quality ageing office stock is         as well as within.
available stock has resulted in tan-        also starting to impact upon the desir-
gible growth in tenant relocations,         ability of Muscat. Current lease rates      Matthew Green concludes, “Given
particularly from more established          in the CBD now typically range be-          the relative affordability of the mar-
offices locations such as CBD/Ruwi          tween RO8 to RO12/sqm/month. Al             ketplace now as compared to the
where many offices are blighted by          Khuwair area, which had historically        peak, we are likely to see further
traffic congestion, inadequate parking      commanded higher rates than the             relocations as occupiers look to ex-
facilities and ageing product. The          CBD, due to its higher quality offer        ploit favourable conditions to achieve
emergence of new and better qual-           and proximity to government offices,        attractive lease options. This grow-
ity commercial offerings at Airport         is now seeing an increased movement         ing trend is now forcing landlords
Heights and in the Al Khuwair area          of tenants towards new purpose built        to become more competitive which
has led to a noticeable improvement         office buildings. This in turn has          in turn will lead to further lease rate
in the overall commercial offering          resulted in increasing vacancy rates,       reductions and growth of incentives
with the number of projects offering        placing increasing pressure on local        such as rent free periods.”
high quality facilities and amenities       landlords to fill voids.”

                          Affordable housing will fuel
                           next boom, say realtors
                                            Oman Tribune - 22 February 2011

T    he demand for affordable housing
     in Oman is on the rise, accord-
ing to real estate agents and property
                                            ing and investment pattern of Omanis
                                            have undergone a sea change. “Most
                                            Omani youth these days are profes-
                                                                                        climate, it is not totally immune, and
                                                                                        the demand for high-end real estate
                                                                                        is flagging. The recent credit crunch
developers. With one fifth of Oman’s        sionals and very aware of the money         has readjusted the budgets of consum-
population aged between 20 and 30,          that they earn and spend these days,”       ers worldwide, and so developers in
the demand for high end real estate         said Mish’al Moosa, managing di-            Oman would do well to bring price
is flagging and affordable family           rector, Zain Property Development,          tags down to affordable levels,” said
homes are becoming highly sought            a Muscat-based real estate house            Tariq Hilal Al Harthy, a senior person-
after, so much so that this could very      specialising in providing top quality       nel with a real estate firm in Muscat.
well drive the next economic boom,          housing at affordable prices.
they say.                                                                               However, realtors said the term
                                            “Instead of renting an apartment            ‘affordable housing’ should not be
“During the recent construction             for, say, 600 rials, cautious youth         misunderstood for ‘low cost hous-
boom, a lot of people were unable to        would prefer to pay a little more to        ing’. Affordable housing means the
keep up with the rising cost of hous-       a bank and have a property to call          provision of a no fuss home, with
ing. In fact, both rental and sale prices   their own. They don’t mind paying           top class facilities and amenities, at a
have regularly doubled in the past five     equated monthly instalments in order        budget that is reasonable. It does not
years. In the last two to three years, in   to finance the purchase of property.        mean paying less for cheap facilities.
Muscat sale prices averaged around          Moreover, the demand for affordable         Nowadays, this distinction is very
500 rials per sq metre, while high-end      housing would continue to increase,         marked,” said Moosa.
residential complexes fetched more          they say, as Oman’s youth moves
than 1100 rials. Rental prices in the       away from joint families to nuclear         So, according to property dealers, af-
capital ranged from 150 rials to 700        families,” Moosa added.                     fordable housing is all set to trigger
rials,” said Ramanathan Shivalingam,                                                    the next economic boom in the Sul-
an independent real estate consultant.      “While Oman has fared well when             tanate. And middle class Omanis who
                                            compared to some of its GCC neigh-          have been dreaming of homes of their
According to developers, the spend-         bours in the current volatile economic      own will soon find it turning real.

16 The Home Show 2011
     Oman Housing Bank provides 1,446 loans
          worth RO 42 million in 2010
                                         Oman Observer - 15 February 2011

T   he number of loans provided
    by Oman Housing Bank (OHB)
to citizens in various governorates
                                         to citizens in the various governor-
                                         ates and regions of the Sultanate,
                                         with the aim to provide a decent life
                                                                                    from six per cent fee loans was 214
                                                                                    citizens, valued at RO 6.9 million.
                                                                                    OHB provided loans to citizens of the
and regions of the Sultanate in 2010     for citizens. The number of groups         Governorate of Muscat worth RO 5.5
reached 1,446 loans, valued at RO        that have benefited from subsidized        million, Al Batinah region amounted
42 million. The number of mortgage-      housing loans with fees of three per       to RO 8.5 million, Al Sharqiyah RO
backed loans were 1,046, amounting       cent amounted to 96 citizens, valued       1.7 million, Al Dakhiliyah RO 5.7
to RO 28.9 million while the number      at RO 1.8 million, while the number        million, Musandam 0.6 million and
of housing loans through the last year   of citizens who benefited from the         in Buraimi RO 1.9 million.
was 400 loans worth RO 13.1 million.     bank’s financing with fees of 4 per
                                         cent amounted to 736 citizens, valued      It should be noted the Oman Housing
These loans comes as part of the         at RO 20.1 million.                        Bank branches are spread in all the
role played by the bank to provide                                                  governorates and regions, covering
government-subsidized housing loans      The number of groups that benefited        all wilayats of the Sultanate.

     The Wave, Muscat’s properties showcased
               at Muscat Festival
                                         Oman Observer - 9 February 2011

T   he Wave, Muscat, the Sultanate’s
    first Integrated Tourism Com-
plex, has established a fully-fledged
                                         are available at The Wave, Muscat
                                         ranging from apartments to villas
                                         and townhouses. The stand also of-
                                                                                    fordable home financing schemes,
                                                                                    visitors can also obtain useful infor-
                                                                                    mation about the numerous mort-
promotional stand at Qurum National      fers other fun activities especially for   gage and financial solutions that are
Park as Silver Sponsor of the 2011       children and families, such as face        available for purchasing and leasing
Muscat Festival.                         painting, balloons and other interest-     through the Development’s long
                                         ing giveaways.                             standing partnerships with a number
The stand is centrally located at the                                               of leading national banks in Oman.
Silver Jubilee Square amidst the en-     Muscat Festival has also provided an       These solutions have been specifi-
tertaining atmosphere that celebrates    ideal platform to introduce the public     cally designed to make residential
Oman’s rich and traditional arts, cul-   to the various lifestyle advantages of     property more accessible, convenient
ture and heritage making The Wave,       becoming part of a growing and vi-         and simple.
Muscat the only real estate project      brant multi-cultural beachfront com-
in Oman to have a stand at the park.     munity in the heart of Muscat which        Festival goers can also arrange for
                                         includes Oman’s first PGA Links            more in-depth one-on-one interviews
Manned by two sales promoters, the       Golf Course designed by the legend-        at The Wave, Muscat’s dedicated
stand offers prospective home buyers     ary Greg Norman, a fully equipped          Sales Center by simply completing
and tenants a friendly and convenient    Sailing Academy, world-class hotels        consultation cards to schedule ap-
opportunity to gain comprehensive        and globally renowned retail outlets.      pointments to tour the properties and
information and key insights about                                                  discuss their residential requirements
the multitude of property options that   In light of increased demand for af-       in further detail.

                  Rents remain high despite more
                        properties on offer
                                          Times of Oman - 6 February 2011

P  roperty rental has remained
   steady in affluent areas of the
capital with landlords refusing to
                                         drop the letting fee even though more
                                         properties are now available in the
                                         market, estate agents say.
                                                                                    “The good news is that rents are not
                                                                                    going up but not dropping either.
                                                                                    We see more properties coming to
                                                                                                    Market Report 17
the market in the last 12 months but       Al Hamdani, proprietor of Oman              sential materials in the construction
landlords are still maintaining the        Homes in Al Khuwair, said.                  of properties and their prices have
same letting prices they are used                                                      significantly dropped. That’s why
to command in 2009,” Mustafa Al            “Landlord will be forced to drop their      there is a construction boom at the
Shaibani, proprietor of the Property       prices after June this year as more         moment,” said Ravi Chowdhary, a
Shop at Barka, said.                       housing units become available,” he         building supervisor for Al Shaihani
                                           added.                                      Construction.
He said that rental in popular places
like Qurum, Al Khuwair, Azaiba,            He said a typical new three-bedroom         Both Oman Cement and Raysut Ce-
Ghubra, Boushar and Seeb are still on      flat in Al Khuwair still commands up        ment companies, the country’s only
the high side with demands pushing         to RO400 a month while RO500 in             cement producers, have each doubled
up rental prices in the affluent areas.    Qurum and Ghubra.                           their productions in the last nine
                                                                                       months to overcome shortages that
“The reason is that people still want      “New villas can fetch landlords up to       sent dement prices soaring to RO3 per
to live in these areas. Landlords take     RO700 a month in Al Khuwair while           bag of 50kg. Now locally produced
advantage of the situation and are         Qurum and Ghubra, Azaiba and the            cement cost only RO1.5 per bag, half
not budging with their demands,”           Wave Muscat areas up to RO1,200 a           the price it was traded early last year.
Mustafa added.                             month,” Al Hamdani said.
                                                                                       The global steel prices have plum-
But other estate agents see rental         Building material experts say that          meted as China and East European
dropping down by up to 30 per cent         the price of steel has now dropped to       countries have started to export more
in the second half of this year as more    RO300 a tonne from RO600 in early           steel from the first quarter of 2010.
properties are due to be completed by      2010 while cement and bricks by 30          Oman by next year will also cut down
then. “There’s a construction boom at      per cent.                                   its demands on steel import by half as
the moment as building materials is                                                    two local companies are expected to
coming down in prices,” said Fardan        “Cement, bricks and steel are the es-       come on stream in 2011.

                                 Oman: Welcome fillip
                                           Oman Observer - 26 January 2011

O     man’s real estate sector is slowly
      regaining momentum after more
than a year of reduced activity. The
                                           just under 2.7m, of which 1.95m are
                                           Omani nationals and 742,000 are
                                           expatriates. The census showed that
                                                                                       but that the broader effects will flow
                                                                                       throughout the market.

increase in demand is being seen in        there had been steady progress in           The fillip will be very welcome, with
a number of sectors whilst oversup-        meeting housing needs, with a total         the residential and commercial com-
ply in others has resulted in weaker       of 546,000 housing units in existence       ponents of the property market still
take-up, although this could soon be       as of the end of 2010, well up on the       well off the peaks of two years ago,
overcome as the impact of a massive        431,000 of 2003, the last time a na-        according to a report from Cluttons.
government investment programme            tional census was conducted.                Issued in early January, the report
starts to be felt more acutely.                                                        said that while there had been an
                                           With the new five-year development          improvement in sales and prices in
The government is planning to spend        plan, demand for housing is forecast        some categories, continued oversup-
$78bn over the coming five years in        to increase, especially as the number       ply in the commercial segment and
a series of investment programmes          of foreign professionals employed           slow demand for high-end residential
aimed in part at reducing dependence       in the Sultanate is expected to rise.       properties – especially those in inte-
on hydrocarbons by building up other       Coupled with the higher rate of             grated tourism complexes – indicate
industries and expanding infrastruc-       domestic employment and stronger            that the market could remain weak for
ture, while also bolstering social         spending power for Omani nationals,         some time yet. “Cluttons does not feel
services and support for the private       this demand could further stimulate         that the bottom of the market has been
sector. The investment package is          the residential segment of the sector.      reached, and foresees a continued
expected to have a significant impact                                                  softening of secondary market values
on the country’s real estate sector by     Matthew Wright, a strategic con-            over Q1 2011,” said the report.
increasing both demand and private         sultant at international property
spending power.                            consultants Cluttons, told local press      With an estimated 500,000 sq metres
                                           in January that the high levels of          of new office space set to come onto
According to the results of Oman’s         investment in infrastructure will           the market by the end of 2013, the
latest census, released in late De-        directly lead to an increase in real        price of commercial property was
cember, the population stands at           estate activity in the industrial sector,   likely to ease back, the report said,
18 The Home Show 2011
while rents in this segment are likely    dium-term problem, with the height-         turn, then be passed on to new prop-
to decline. To counter this, commer-      ened economic activity expected over        erty buyers.
cial property owners needed to take       the next few years — a result of the
steps to ensure they hold onto existing   government’s development pack-              Despite this possibility, the real estate
tenants and attract new ones. “It is      age — helping to reduce the existing        sector is in line to maintain its steady
vital that landlords adopt a proactive    supply of business space and boost          recovery over the next few years.
approach, with the emphasis being on      rent returns.It is also possible that the   With Oman’s GDP forecast to in-
achieving and maintaining good oc-        state’s investment programme could          crease by around 6 per cent annually
cupancy rates rather than concentrat-     push up real estate prices in the com-      over the term of the latest five-year
ing on high headline rental values,”      ing years. The scale of the projected       plan and thousands of new jobs set to
the report noted.                         increase in construction activity may       be created, more Omanis will be in a
                                          put pressure on materials supplies,         position to buy a home of their own,
It is likely that this oversupply of      potentially driving up building costs       fuelling demand and fulfilling the
commercial properties will be a me-       as a result. This inflation could, in       government’s objective of boosting
                                                                                      private equity in the economy.

                        Construction sector growth
                           gathers more pace
                                           Oman Observer - 15 January 2011

O    man’s construction sector is
     set to derive the maximum
benefit from the Budget 2011 and
                                          According to experts, the deficit
                                          is within the limits of the previous
                                          budget. Though this deficit could be
                                                                                      ship for the removal of difficulties
                                                                                      concerning the development of
                                                                                      infrastructure in the country. During
the Eighth Five-Year Plan as the          considered relatively high in terms of      the Seventh Plan, the share of private
government is ramping up spending         its absolute value, its rate to the GDP     players in the total investment regis-
on infrastructure development. Along      is within the economically safe and         tered remarkable growth.
with investments made in large-scale      acceptable limits.
projects and propelled by information                                                 “The Oman government’s commit-
technology sector, the Sultanate is in    They say the increase in size of            ment to furthering the private sector
good stead along with other emerging      investments and expansion in the            role by stimulating domestic and
economies.                                construction activity will provide          foreign investments will ensure the
                                          additional work opportunities for the       private sector’s role in contributing
Sustained infrastructure build-up         national workforce. As data shows           to the national GDP”, Niraml says.
led to strong growth wave powered         performance during the Seventh Plan         The steady growth recorded by the
by large spends in housing, road,         in regard to human resources devel-         construction industry is on the top
seaports, water supply and airports       opment was exemplary. The present           line and with strong order backlog,
development. The construction sec-        plan strives to widen the scope for         the next fiscal will be more promis-
tor has achieved significant growth       more work opportunities for the             ing, he adds.
during the last few years and its share   nationals.
to the GDP registered considerable                                                    With several construction and in-
increase. Preliminary forecasts of the    Construction sector arena is the major      frastructure projects are either in
plan show that GDP during its period      employment driver.                          the initial stage or are progressing,
will grow at an average annual rate of                                                suppliers of material to these sectors
six per cent at current prices and five   According to Nirmal Thomas, Direc-          will be kept busy in the future. Many
per cent at constant prices.              tor, Global Group of companies, this        of the local firms including cement
                                          is because of the chain of backward         manufacturing and steel units have
The fiscal framework is formulated        and forward linkages that the sector        already increased output or are look-
to serve the objectives of the plan in    has with other sectors of the economy.      ing to boost capacity.
general and stability and growth of       Several ancillary industries such as
the national economy in general. Oil      cement, steel, brick, and building          The government, during the plan
revenues have been based on the ex-       material are dependent on the con-          period, under the investment expen-
pected increase of the annual average     struction industry. A unit increase in      diture item in the budget, will fund
of oil production and at a rate of $59    this sector has a multiplier effect and     projects at a total cost of RO 6.6
per barrel during the period. The RO      the capacity to generate more employ-       billion. Of these RO 3,200 million
850 million deficit will be financed      ment and income.                            will be as investment expenditure for
from the budget surplus, if any, or                                                   oil production and RO 3,407 million
from any other financing means ap-        From a policy perspective, the con-         as investment expenditure for gas
proved in the budget.                     sensus is on private-public partner-        production.

                                                                                                        Market Report 19
The total cost of the projects that will   have started moving in and tying up         to work in favour of the real estate
be financed by the government during       with local Omani constructions firms        developers, the outlook for the short
the plan period under the participa-       to be part of this economy build-up.        term remains bleak. Also the fact that
tions item in the budget is estimated      This will vibrate strongly along this       the realty companies have lined up
at RO 2.2 billion. Of these, RO 566        region and strengthening the position       huge projects, across all the segments
million for financing the projects of      of Oman on the world market,” adds          — residential, commercial, indus-
Oman company for tourism develop-          Nirmal.                                     trial and retail is likely to widen the
ment, RO 800 million to finance the                                                    supply-demand gap, going forward.
government energy companies work-          Real estate investments account for         Entry in to affordable housing is
ing in electricity transport and water     majority of the total construction in-      likely to pressurise margins but arrest
distribution and electricity supply,       vestments. Favourable demographics,         the free fall in top line as witnessed
and RO 87 million to fund projects         rising affordability levels, availability   during the downturn, according to
of the Oman sewage company and             of financing options as well as fiscal      experts in the sector.
Salalah sewage company.                    benefits available on availing of home
                                           loan are the key drivers supporting the     Although demand-supply gap for
An amount of about RO 30 million is        demand for residential construction.        residential housing has reached the
allocated to cover the operational ex-                                                 equilibrium, demand for residential
penditure of the new projects planned      “The accelerating investment in the         and office space segment is expected
for operation in some ministries dur-      Sultanate’s infrastructure will be of       to continue.
ing 2011.                                  significant benefit to the industrial
                                           sector, particularly in terms of lo-        Port of Salalah, a world- class trans-
This will result in provision of new       gistics capabilities. This will lead to     shipment hub, sohar Port and In-
job opportunities plus the expected        increase in real estate activities within   dustrial area and the southern port
economic growth as a result of the         the industrial sector,” according to        town of Duqum are the major areas
operation of these projects, leading       Matthew Wright, Strategic Consultant        now under focus. Development is
to an increase in private sector invest-   at Cluttons.                                progressing at rapid pace for several
ment and social development in areas                                                   heavy industry projects including
of these projects.                         From a wider perspective, continuing        metal and petrochemical plans at
                                           and increasing investment into the          these places.
“The construction boom will pave           development of the Sultanate allied to
way for foreign direct investment          an expanding economy will undoubt-          Upgrade of Muscat and Salalah
into the country thereby strengthening     edly provide impetus to the real estate     airports, construction of domestic
the economy further and diversifying       market across all sectors, he says.         airports and the planned railway proj-
the revenue streams. Already many                                                      ect will add steam to the construction
international contracting companies        While long-term factors are likely          sector’s engine.

                       Housing, office rent levels fall
                                           Oman Observer - 12 January 2011

R    ental levels in the Muscat region
     have registered a decline with
mixed fortunes for landlords and
                                           the property market has crossed the
                                           equilibrium. This trend is expected
                                           to continue in the coming years with
                                                                                       tion and several newly-completed
                                                                                       buildings in the immediate past
                                                                                       have increased the vacancy level
tenants depending on location, qual-       many more building projects coming          outstripping the demand,” he told
ity and size.                              up in the capital area.                     the Observer.

Thanks to the increasing amount of         Rising rental values and a shortage of      However, demand remains strong for
supply, price-driven demand and            residential properties till the middle of   smaller, good and quality villas and
flexibility in rates by some landlords,    2008 witnessed a significant develop-       apartments, he says.
rents have dropped over the last few       ment activity leading to over-supply.
months. To add to this, tenants have       According to Matthew Wright, Stra-          Excess values: Many landlords are
now a wide range of choices with           tegic Consultant at Cluttons, one of        still seeking rent in excess of the
many new apartments and villas com-        the leading property brokerage houses       realistic market rates. Ignorant of
ing up in the city area. In contrast to    in Oman, average rental values have         the increasing competitive market,
the past, the new buildings have more      fallen and further reductions are in        landlords are not showing their will-
quality and amenities.                     the offing as a result of the impact of     ingness to enter into negotiations in
                                           the over-supply.                            order to get good tenants.
According to experts, the decrease
shows the reflection of demand/            “The situation now is different that        “Successful landlords will be those
supply dynamics suggesting that            many buildings are under construc-          who recognise the market conditions
20 The Home Show 2011
and understand the value of their          is vital that landowners adopt a pro-      mercial hub of the nation. Many of the
investment and let the building at the     active approach with more emphasis         banks and other corporate houses are
current rent level instead of keeping      on achieving and maintaining good          relocating their offices to this area.
them closed,” Matthew says.                occupancy rates rather than con-
                                           centrating on high headline rental         “Quality buildings with enough space
An inquiry with a building owner in        values,” Matthew says.                     and ample parking facilities will con-
Ruwi area, it was found that despite                                                  tinue to be in good demand and com-
the occupancy level at his building        Office space demand: Office rental         mand a premium,” Matthew adds.
was narrowing due to higher rent,          rates have continued their downward
which he started taking in 2008, he        trend, albeit at a slower rate. The com-   Landlords need to adopt a more
is unwilling to reduce the rent.           bination of the recent global financial    flexible approach with an attractive
                                           crisis and an increasing supply of new     occupier terms and wider range of
“Even if we have to keep the flats         office space have led to a dip in the      incentives to differentiate themselves
locked, we will not reduce the rent,”      rental values, which is expected to        from the competition, says Mat-
said an adamant building owner in          continue in the coming years.              thew, adding: “developers should
Ruwi.                                                                                 seek expert advice from experience
                                           According to an estimate by Clut-          property professionals to ensure that
Ruwi and its adjoining area is the         tons, there will approximately be          the building is financially viable and
place of residence for middle income       500,000 square metres of new office        market facing.”
group of both local and expatriate         space coming into the market across
community. Landlords in the area           the capital area by the end of 2013.       Many tenants in Ruwi area complain
had hay days till recently thanks to       Majority of this new development is        about the dilapidated condition of the
high demand for flats. In some cases       spread across the western section of       buildings they stay in. “Landlords are
rise in rent amounted to 300 per cent.     the city, where development is taking      bothered just about the rent. Mainte-
“In the current market conditions, it      place at a rapid pace to make it a com-    nance is hardly done,” they say.

                     Alargan Towell targets middle
                           income families
                                            Times of Oman - 12 January 2011

A    largan Towell Investment Com-
     pany yesterday launched its
mixed use development, Beyout Al-
                                           road network and is near Al Khoudh
                                           souq. Well-known establishments like
                                           Sultan Qaboos University, Knowl-
                                                                                      facilities to serve the surrounding

faye, in a well-developed residential      edge Oasis Muscat, Ministry of De-         Hussain Jawad added that Oman is
area of Al Khoudh, and announced           fence, City Center and Sultan Center       witnessing the emergence of a strong
75 per cent achievement of the first       are in a close proximity to the project.   middle income segment, and the com-
phase project.                                                                        pany’s focus has substantially been
                                           Three model homes and a sales of-          on this segment from the beginning.
The project, worth RO11.9 million,         fice, fully equipped to showcase the       Khaled Al Mashaan, vice-chairman of
covers a gross land area of 54,800         project in detail and highlight each       Alargan Towell Investment Company
square metres. Beyout Alfaye con-          unit’s design and layout option, are       said he is proud to present latest de-
sists of a residential component,          now ready for potential buyers and         velopment in the Sultanate, designed
featuring 3- to 5-bedroom villas, a        guests. For the convenience of clients,    specifically to cater to the modern
park, and a commercial area, which         the company has opened a special           Omani family and its needs.
will comprise a number of services         sales booth at the city center at Seeb.
and facilities to cater to the residents                                              “Beyout Alfaye’s first phase, consist-
of the development.                        “It is remarkable to see such a fully      ing of 48 villas, will see completion
                                           comprehensive development launch           in the third quarter of 2011 and the
Beyout Alfaye consists of 126 semi-        in the Sultanate,” said Hussain Jawad,     second phase, consisting of remaining
attached villas each having a sizable      chairman of W J Towell group.              residential units and the commercial
plot area of 300 square metres. The                                                   component will be completed in
villas have a built-up area of 139-255     He stressed that unlike many other         2012,” Al Mashaan noted.
square metres and six different layout     mixed use projects, Beyout Alfaye not
designs, to provide a wide choice to       only targets middle income Omani           Further, he said that Muscat city
accommodate different lifestyles.          families but has gone the extra mile       should continue to expand. “There is
                                           to ensure a high quality in design,        indeed a demand supply gap for the
The villas enjoy excellent access to       variety in layouts and complementary       right product,” he said.

                                                                                                      Market Report 21
                    Alargan Towell completes 75pc
                          of Beyout AlFaye
                                           Oman Observer - 12 January 2011

T    outed as ‘total housing solutions
     to the middle-income segment’ of
the Omani society, the Alargan Tow-
                                          ning of our Company”.

                                          Beyout AlFaye which means ‘shade
                                                                                    Omani family and its needs. Beyout
                                                                                    AlFaye’s first phase, consisting of 48
                                                                                    villas will see completion in Q3 2011
ell Investment Company launched           which possesses a protective shelter-     and the second phase, consisting of
yesterday its mixed-use development,      ing’, comprises of 126 semi-attached      the remaining residential units and
Beyout AlFaye in the sprawling area       villas each having a sizable plot area    the commercial component will be
of Al Khoudh, as 75 per cent of the       of 300 m2. The Villas have a built-up     completed in 2012. Given that Mus-
first phase of the RO 11.9 million        area of 139-255m2 and six different       cat city continues to expand and that
project was completed.                    layout designs, to provide a wide         there are only a few projects in this
                                          choice to accommodate different           area by the reputed developers, there
Covering a gross land area of             lifestyles. The development enjoys        is indeed a demand-supply gap for
54,800m2, Beyout AlFaye consists          excellent access to road network and      the right product”, Vice-Chairman of
of a residential component, featur-       is near Al Khoudh souq. Well-known        Alargan Towell Investment Company,
ing 3-5 bedroom villas, a park, and       establishments like SQU, KOM, City        Khaled al Mashaan stated.
a commercial component which will         Centre, Sultan Center are fairly close
comprise of a number of services and      to the Project. The project is designed   Winner of several building and con-
facilities to cater to the residents of   to accommodate different lifestyles       struction related accolades, Alargan
the development.                          and tastes. Beyout Al-Faye also           Towell aims to provide the Omani
                                          consists of a commercial and retail       society with innovative, affordable
Announcing the landmark in the            component to serve its community.         housing solutions with a focus on the
construction of the residential de-                                                 middle-income segment where their
velopment offering a range of villas,     Three Model Homes and a Sales Of-         developments are designed to create
Hussain Jawad, Chairman of W J            fice, fully equipped to showcase the      homes and communities. Since its
Towell Group of Companies, said: “It      project in detail and highlight each      inception in 2003, Alargan Towell
is remarkable to see such a fully com-    unit’s design and layout options, are     Investment Company has expanded to
prehensive development launched in        now ready to welcome potential buy-       encompass leisure and mixed-use de-
the Sultanate. Unlike many mixed-         ers and guests. For the clients’ con-     velopments in the Sultanate of Oman.
use projects, Beyout AlFaye not           venience, the Company has opened a        Some of their ambitious projects are
only targets middle-income Omani          special sales booth at the City Centre    ‘Barka Community’, a mixed-use
families but has gone the extra mile      at Seeb.                                  development Barka, ‘Barka Resort’,
to ensure a high quality in design,                                                 a master-planned community located
variety in layouts and complementary      The supporting banks are BankMus-         30 minutes from Muscat, The ‘Oberoi
facilities to serve the surrounding       cat, NBO and AhliBank                     Resort’ at Al Khiran located in Ban-
community. Oman is witnessing the                                                   dar Al Khiran 17km east of Muscat,
emergence of a strong middle-income       “We are proud to present our latest de-   ‘Qurm Gardens’, a mixed-use devel-
segment. Our focus has substantially      velopment in the Sultanate, designed      opment located in the prestigious Al
been on this segment from the begin-      specifically to cater to the modern       Qurm area.

                        300 housing units in Salalah
                                           Oman Observer - 11 January 2011

T    he Tender Board yesterday
     awarded tenders worth RO 36.5
million. The new projects include
                                          Environment and Climate Affairs
                                          Ministry (RO 2,936,813); operation
                                          and maintenance of electrical and me-
                                                                                    and road network in the Al Halaniyat
                                                                                    Islands in Dhofar Governorate (RO
                                                                                    1,788,138); additional works on water
construction of 300 housing units         chanical equipment and maintenance        supply project in Rustaq, Al Awabi,
for citizens in Sahl Hamran (plain)       of Sultan Qaboos University Hospital      Nakhl, Wadi al Ma’awel and Al
in Salalah (RO 15,577,678); aerial        (RO 2,526,861).                           Mesana’ah (RO 1,580,531); design
imaging (50 cm) and production of                                                   and construction of a road to connect
contour lines and models of land          Also included are additional works        Al Tarif in Al Musanah to Jama in
elevations in all the regions and         for the provision of consultancy ser-     Rustaq (RO 1,540,000).
governorates (RO 3,626,850); ad-          vices for the study, design and super-
ditional works for the building of the    vision in the construction of a harbour   Projects included construction of vet-
22 The Home Show 2011
erinary quarantine in Sa’al area in Bid     for quantity surveying for Wadi Bani       (4); Tender No 307/2010 for annual
Bid (RO 1,534,392); linking trans-          Kharous road construction project in       maintenance of roads in Southern
former stations of Majan Electric-          Al Awabi in the Al Batinah Region          Al Sharqiyah Region; Tender No
ity Company (33/11 kv) to SCADA             (RO 154,800); and provision of             308/2010 for annual maintenance
system (third stage) (RO 1,489,530);        consultancy services for design and        of asphalt roads in Musandam Gov-
additional works for the provision of       construction of main operation centre      ernorate; Tender No 315/2010 for
consultancy services for the design         and the main building for Oman Post        supply, installation and operation of
and supervision of construction of          company (RO 73,800).                       medical equipment for the cardiology
the Al Batinah coastal road (RO                                                        centre at the Royal Hospital; Tender
1,454,900); upgrating Radio Oman            The Board also opened bids for             No 320/2010 for repair of crude oil
studios and main control room for           the following tenders: Tender No           line from Mina al Fahl to Sohar Port;
(RO 1,159,499); supply of vehicles          255/2010 for supply of materials           Tender No 329/2010 for construction
for Oman Electricity Transmission           for the construction of the educa-         of networks for the distribution of
Company (RO 687,975).                       tion museum at Al Saidiyah school          water in Al Khadhra al Jadidiah in Al
                                            in Muscat; Tender No 289/2010 for          Buraimi; Tender No 344/2010 for re-
The board also awarded additional           repair of oil tanks in Raysut station;     pair of parallel street to the borders in
works for design and implementa-            Tender No 300/2010 for construction        Al Buraimi; and Tender No 350/2010
tion of internal roads in Barka (RO         of transformer stations (2x20 MVA)         for design and construction of internal
319,022); additional works for the          (33/11KV) in Wadi al Kabir (5),            roads in Khalouf area in Mahout in
provision of consultancy services           Muttrah (4), Seeb (4) and Al Khoudh        the Al Wusta Region.

          Oman’s realty sector on recovery path
                                             Times of Oman - 10 January 2011

C    luttons, a leading property bro-
     kerage firm with a strong pres-
ence in the Middle East, yesterday
                                            grated tourism project have stabilised
                                            to some degree following falls from
                                            the highs of early 2008 but further
                                                                                       although confidence and activity
                                                                                       are returning, the market is still in
                                                                                       recovery mode.
said that confidence is returning to the    softening of resale values is predicted.
Sultanate’s real estate market, even                                                   Other notable activity in the inte-
though resale values of integrated          “Signs of confidence returning to the      grated tourism complexes includes
tourism projects are expected to            market are demonstrated by the two         the completion of the first phase of
soften in the first quarter of this year.   releases of new properties at The          the residential units at Muscat Hills,
                                            Wave during 2010.”                         with the last of the handovers in De-
The transactional activity increased                                                   cember 2010.
significantly during the first half of      Prices in the resale market have de-
2010, compared to the same period           clined sharply from the highs of early     The report added that proposed future
of previous year, Cluttons said in its      2008, but have now stabilised to a         developments at Muscat Hills include
latest Oman market report covering          degree. However, Cluttons does not         a five-star hotel, a country club and
residential and commercial sectors.         feel that the bottom of the market has     further residential units.
The total value of real estate trans-       been reached, and foresee a continued
actions during the first half of last       softening of secondary market values       There is movement at Saraya Bander
year soared by 60.8 per cent to more        in the first quarter of 2011. The last     Jissah located in a secluded bay to the
than RO 992 million as compared to          quarter of 2010 has seen increased         east of Muscat. The proposed devel-
RO 617 million for the same period          activity in the secondary sales market,    opment will be built on 2.2 million
of 2009. The number of real estate          but is still relatively quiet.             square metres of land and will include
transactions involving non-Omani                                                       residential units, two five-star hotels
GCC citizens amounted to 2,299,             The level of inquiries is, however,        and leisure facilities. The develop-
an increase of 40.7 per cent over the       gradually increasing, and Cluttons         ment is a partnership between Saraya
same period of 2009.                        expects activity in the market to ac-      and Omran, the Ministry of Tourism’s
                                            celerate in 2011.                          investment and development arm.
“However, slow sales activity in high-                                                 The project is likely to be launched
profile developments and over supply        The release of properties by The           during early 2011 with construction
in the commercial sector indicate that      Wave in November 2010, including           also starting immediately.
the bottom of the market is still to be     70 villas and 36 townhouses, was
reached in most sectors.”                   offered at reduced prices to suit the      Further, Muriya is preparing to open
                                            current market conditions. However,        the Sifawy Hotel during the first
The report also noted that resale           this launch was not sold out, despite      quarter of 2011 at their development
values of properties within the inte-       the new villa units, indicating that       at Jebel Sifah.
                                                                                                         Market Report 23
          Palm Gardens — luxury living in Sohar
                                                Oman Observer - 4 January 2011

L    ocated in the heart of Sohar, Saud
     Bahwan Palm Gardens provides
unique advantages and conveniences
                                               well laid out and windows open to
                                               spectacular views. It is every sense
                                               a place you’d be proud to call home.
                                                                                        play area on each floor.

                                                                                        Each complex offers a host of world-
to its residents. The Palm Gardens             The residents also have access to a      class facilities and conveniences —
has been conceived as a luxury resi-           whole array of facilities.               including three separate clubhouses
dential project, and caters to new-age                                                  for villas and apartment complexes.
lifestyles with topnotch amenities,            At Palm Gardens villas, emphasis is      These clubhouses integrate tempera-
world class recreation facilities and          on all-round elegance and spacious       ture controlled swimming pools, café,
the assurance of complete security.            comfort. These 3 and 4-bedroom           multi-purpose halls and lawns for par-
                                               villas feature large and spacious liv-   ties, fully equipped gymnasiums with
Sprawling over 250,000 sq mts, this            ing and dining areas, thoughtfully       trainers, steam and sauna, squash/ten-
is a fully integrated township of              designed kitchens that provide large     nis /basketball courts, games rooms
luxury villas and deluxe apartments –          work areas, and even an attached         for billiards and table tennis. These
complete with clubhouses, shopping             maids room. The family lounge area       spacious clubhouses are built over a
arcade, and other modern conve-                is a picture of luxurious comfort.       plot area of over 4000 sq mts.
niences. As one of the residents puts          Covered terraces, car parks and large
it, “This is luxury living at its best. It’s   lawn add to your comfort.                Topnotch safety measures ensure
hard to miss all the thoughtful little                                                  complete peace of mind for the resi-
touches that have gone into the mak-           Apartments, meanwhile, offer maxi-       dents. These include 24-hour security,
ing of this unique project. The ame-           mum space and comfort with built-up      CCTV for common areas, graphic
nities, safety and security measures,          areas of 167 sq mt and 264 sq mts.       visual fire alarm system, intruder
the many conveniences, everything              They come with 2 or 3 full-size bed-     alarm system in villas and video/
reflects a rare sophistication.”               room options with attached baths, a      audio door phones. Other facilities
                                               well laid out living and dining area,    include: Key telephone system in
Designers spent a lot of time perfect-         spacious kitchen and a storeroom. A      villas, piped gas, central satellite sys-
ing the aesthetics of the villas and           separate maid’s room with attached       tem, jogging tracks, play gardens for
apartments at Palm Gardens. The                bath is also provided in 3-bedroom       children, car parking area for visitors,
tastefully decorated interiors reflect         apartments. Ample car parking area       shopping arcade with supermarket,
sheer sophistication and it is evident         is also provided for each apartment.     pharmacy, beauty saloon, laundry
that great attention has been paid to          Yet another thoughtful addition is the   and dry-cleaning shop together with
the smallest of details. Rooms are             exclusive air-conditioned children’s     a dedicated maintenance team.

         Iskan Oman launches Zahrat al Khareef
                                               Oman Observer - 20 December 2010

I skan Oman’s Zahrat al Khareef,
  Dhofar project was launched at a
ceremony held at Al Bustan Palace
                                               Zahrat al Khareef, Dhofar has been
                                               designed to harmoniously blend with
                                               the environment, complementing the
                                                                                        venience of proximity to amenities
                                                                                        and services as well as incorporating
                                                                                        recreation and leisure spaces with a
yesterday, attracting an interest un-          surroundings that attract thousands      family friendly focus.
paralleled in the property and devel-          of visitors each year to witness the
opment industry.                               subtropical lushness in the summer       The Zahrat al Khareef development
                                               season.                                  promises to further enhance the
The gated community project, offer-                                                     profile of the Dhofar region; blend-
ing freehold ownership for Omani               “It is our commitment to actively con-   ing modern living with the natural
and GCC citizens, is the first of its          tribute to our economy as well as our    environment that reflects the very
kind and the largest property develop-         societies; Iskan Oman seeks newer        essence of Salalah. Lush green trees,
ment to date in Salalah.                       and untapped avenues and translates      gentle breezes from the mountains
                                               them into viable opportunities gen-      and white sandy beaches caress the
Construction commenced in April of             erating lasting growth,” said Iskan      fringes of Zahrat al Khareef, Dhofar.
this year, with the first phase of the         Group Chairman, Adil Mohammed            Located in the Al Wadi area in Sa-
development scheduled for comple-              al Bader.                                lalah, the Zahrat al Khareef, Dhofar
tion by the end of 2011. The third                                                      project covers an area of approxi-
floor slab work for block two and the          The Zahrat al Khareef, Dhofar proj-      mately 29,000 square metres. Ten
second floor slab for block one A has          ect promises to promote wholesome        storey buildings with a gross built
already been completed.                        community living offering the con-       up area of 130,000 square metres
24 The Home Show 2011
will offer 576 living units in a mix
of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom and duplex

In addition, a family friendly club
house equipped with a modern gym-
nasium and other recreational facili-
ties will serve as a fitness and com-
munity centre for residents, bringing
together the occupants to socialise
and relax in world- class luxury. Ad-
ditional facilities such as a swimming
pool with professionally designed
landscaping, further compliment the
recreational offerings of the Zahrat al
Khareef, Dhofar development.

A commercial hub to service the
community, incorporating shops and
other retail outlets have also been        excellent environment for integrated        the leading firm of property experts
thoughtfully included in the project       family living. Zahrat Al Khareef,           in the Sultanate, Savills Oman — a
design. Parking for residents and          Dhofar is close to the naturally-beau-      name recognised for its professional-
visitors is ample, with a basement         tiful Salalah Gardens and minutes           ism and integrity — is involved with
level car park accommodating park-         away from the pristine white sandy          numerous bespoke consultancy as-
ing requirements with more than 600        beaches that make Salalah famous.           signments, leasing and sale of quality
car parking spaces provided. As the        The Salalah market has been largely         residential properties.
second-largest city in Oman, Salalah       untapped so far. The Zahrat Al Kha-
is a prime investment destination.         reef, Dhofar project appeals across         STS is a leading Omani construction
Lucrative governmental and private         the GCC region to an audience want-         Company specialising in the provi-
projects have been initiated in the        ing a safe and family friendly location     sion of maintenance, operations and
region, and millions of square metres      to live, play and flourish.                 construction services to all industries.
of land have been designated for the                                                   STS has been awarded the construc-
future, promising good possibilities       The appeal for locals seeking afford-       tion contract of the Zahrat Al Khareef,
for sustained growth.                      able housing solutions with modern          Dhofar residential development by
                                           amenities and luxury surroundings is        Iskan Oman.
With a state-of-the-art international      further strengthened by the provision
airport slated for development, set to     of all facilities that one requires for a   In addition to this, Bank Dhofar
cater to up to 2 million passengers an-    healthy and active lifestyle.               SAOG are the financing partners for
nually, Salalah is on path for a shining                                               phase one of the project. This is a per-
future. This is guaranteed to further      For Omanis from other regions want-         fect choice for a financial partnership
attract visitors and investments to Sa-    ing a second or holiday home, Zahrat        and reflects Iskan Oman’s commit-
lalah and will make freehold owner-        Al Khareef, Dhofar is ideally located       ment to invest in local communities.
ship of Zahrat Al Khareef, Dhofar for      in lush surroundings that provide an
GCC nationals even more attractive.        escape from the oppressive summer           Adil Mohammed al Bader, com-
With increase demployment oppor-           heat.                                       mented, “Zahrat Al Khareef, Dhofar
tunities in the Salalah and the sur-                                                   is a freehold project primarily ca-
rounding region, a lucrative market        For GCC nationals wanting a holiday         tering to the interest of Omani and
for housing facility development is        home-cum-investment opportunity,            GCC citizens. It will bring a new
emerging.                                  the Salalah airport enables easy ac-        phase to Salalah, one that will see
                                           cess for reach across the GCC region.       the emergence of smart living and
Zahrat Al Khareef, Dhofar is a unique      The ceremony at the Al Bustan Palace        smart growth”.
investment opportunity designed to         was represented by various interna-
cater to all housing needs within a        tional and a regional performer across      Speaking on the occasion, Dr Rashid
gated community. It is a one-of-a-         various fields of real estate such Sav-     Ali Al Balushi, Managing Director
kind residential complex offering          ills Oman, Special Technical Services       of Iskan Oman said “The first phase
convenience and security of living in      LLC (STS) and Bank Dhofar.                  of the plan includes 218 unique
an enclosed environment.                                                               apartments and amenities like the
                                           Savills is one of the world’s largest       club house and swimming pool.“ he
The proximity of Zahrat Al Khareef,        real estate firms, offering a broad         themed landscape of the project has
Dhofar to the airport, schools, hos-       range of specialist consultancy and         been designed to reflect the very es-
pitals and shopping malls makes an         transactional services globally. As         sence of Salalah.”
                                                                                                        Market Report 25
             Lands distributed to 68,755 women
                                         Oman Observer - 10 November 2010

T    he Ministry of Housing has set
     aside in various regions and
governorates of the Sultanate during
                                         families. The number of cases ap-
                                         proved in the Governorate of Muscat
                                         was 10 loans, 11 in Al Dakhiliyah,
                                                                                     encourage investment in all fields by
                                                                                     facilitating conducting legal transac-
                                                                                     tions and documentation of contracts.
2009 as many as 153,077 pieces of        five in Al Sharqiyah, 22 in Al Batinah      During 2009, the ministry registered
land for various uses. Lands planned     and two in Dhofar.                          a total of 69,167 pieces of land for
for residential use formed 89 per cent                                               the first time with various uses in
with a total number of 136,345 pieces.                                               various governorates and regions of
                                         One of the priorities of the ministry       the Sultanate.
With respect to the lands granted        is to provide adequate housing for
to women, as per Royal Decree No         people as it continues to implement         The number of lands that have been
125/2008 to amend land entitlement,      projects to build housing units in or-      recorded for the first time for resi-
the ministry began distribution of       der to achieve stability for the citizens   dential use was 54,796 pieces or 79
land to women in various wilayats        and linking them to their villages of       per cent of the total number of lands
and regions where the number of          origin, in addition to contributing to      during 2009, followed by agricultural
women who got land since 1997            the development of local communi-           land by 13 per cent.
reached 68,755.                          ties in different regions and villages.
                                                                                     The traded value of the property in the
Women in Muscat got about 15,538         The total number of housing units           Sultanate in 2009 was about 1.2 bil-
pieces, 5,250 in North Al Batinah,       that have been completed is nearly          lion. Fees from legal actions amount
6,755 in south Al Batinah, 482 in Mu-    1,587. During 2009 the ministry has         to about 26 million. About 83,221
sandam, 7,232 in Al Dhahirah, 3,865      completed the implementation of ap-         warranty of titles were issued.
in Al Buraimi, 8,585 in Al Dakhili-      proximately (625) housing units at a
yah, 12,409 in Al Sharqiyah, 1,053 in    cost of over RO 11 million in Muscat        In order to strengthen co-operation
Al Wusta and 7,586 in Dhofar.            (164), Al Dakhiliyah (171) and Al           in the economic sphere between the
                                         Sharqiyah (290) housing units.              countries of the Gulf and other Arab
                                                                                     countries to encourage real estate
This programme grants loans without      The ministry is currently building          activity among the GCC countries,
interest for low income citizens who     (962) housing units in South Al             Economic Unity Agreement between
earn between RO 130 per month and        Mabaila (17 units), (121 units and          the GCC states provided for the treat-
RO 250 at the time of submitting the     two sitting halls) in Governorate of        ment of GCC citizens in any of the
application and their income does        Al Buraimi, (202) units in Al Dakhili-      member states the same treatment
not exceed RO 400 when they get          yah, (219 units) in Al Sharqiyah (192       of its citizens, including freedom
the approval. With regard to crafts      units) in Al Wusta , and two sitting        of properties ownership of various
men, their monthly income will be        halls in Al Dhahirah Region.                uses for the purposes of housing and
calculated over a period of one year.                                                investment in accordance with the
                                         The land registration system in the         terms of ownership.
The loan is granted for the purpose of   Sultanate is a part of the registration
building a house, buying a new one       system of the realestate, a system in       The number of GCC citizens who
or expanding an existing house, and      place in most countries of the world.       own properties in the Sultanate in ac-
would be repaid in monthly instal-       It facilitates the transfer of the prop-    cordance with the laws of real estate
ments that do not exceed 25 per cent     erty easily and safely and aims to          ownership in the Sultanate was 3,134
of the total income of the borrower.     preserve and maintain the rights and        owners in 2009, most of them in Al
The number of beneficiary house-         the registration of property in the         Batinah Region by 43 per cent and 21
holds during the same period was 50      documents of the land register and to       per cent in Al Buraimi.

                      Oman Tourism in for boom
                     with more hotels on the anvil
                                         Oman Observer - 28 November 2010

T    he Sultanate of Oman has been
     attracting more and more in-
bound tourists which is reflected in
                                         official at the Ministry of Tour-
                                         ism. Mohammed al Toobi, Under-
                                         Secretary at the ministry, opined that
                                                                                     that the Sultanate is one of the most
                                                                                     sought-after tourism destinations in
                                                                                     the region.
the number of hotels being opened        the increasing number of hotels is a
in the country, according to a chief     clear sign, among others, of the fact       He was speaking to the Observer after
26 The Home Show 2011
opening the first Moghul heritage-         annual growth rate of 10 per cent.        uted to the surge tremendously.
themed hotel in the city, The Plati-
num, in Al Khuwair.                        Besides, the Sultanate has plans to       “The expansion of the Oman Air
                                           increase the number of hotel rooms        network of direct flights to Frankfurt,
He said hotels like this one, and many     to 16,000 by the end of 2010 from the     London, Paris, and Bangkok and
more in the pipeline, can give a fillip    present number of more than 10,000,       several cities of India would attract
to the ever-growing tourism industry       according to the tourism officials.       greater traffic”
of the Sultanate. “I’m sure, the open-
ing of more and more hotels in the         Added to that, in the next few years,     The ministry has recently launched
country is a sign that the number of       Oman will add up to 5,000 rooms,          a marketing campaign to coincide
tourists are increasing thanks to the      refurbish Muscat and Salalah Interna-     with the country’s 40th National
prudent and balanced approach of His       tional Airports and begin construction    Day celebrations. Named ‘Beauty
Majesty towards all sectors including      of five domestic airports, according      has an address’, the initial phase of
tourism”.                                  to experts in the hospitality industry.   the campaign concentrates on desti-
                                           It is estimated that there will be an     nation awareness promotions in the
The number of hotels and hotel apart-      increase of tourists from the UK of       press, online and with trade partners
ments in the country, according to a       at least 7.5 per cent year-on-year and    highlighting the country’s traditional
recent study, has increased from 30 in     Oman Air, the ‘high-flying’ national      heritage as well as contemporary
1990 to 195 in 2008, with an average       carrier of the Sultanate, has contrib-    offerings.

                              Oman: real estate rising
                                           Oman Observer - 24 November 2010

O    man’s real estate sector is gather-
     ing momentum, with economic
confidence driving higher domestic
                                           islation allowing foreigners of other
                                           nationalities to directly own property
                                           within ITCs.
                                                                                     Speaking at a recent property financ-
                                                                                     ing expo held by BankMuscat, Tyler
                                                                                     Scott, a senior manager for sales and
sales and amended property owner-                                                    leasing with real estate brokers Engel
ship rules drawing increased interest      These measures have helped fuel           and Volkers, said buyer confidence
from foreign investors.                    Oman’s real estate expansion and          was returning and interest in a broad
                                           could serve as a yardstick for prop-      range of products was on the rise.
Some RO1.3bn ($3.4bn) worth of             erty development in the region, Hilal
property transactions were registered      Ali al Sulaimani, general manager         “The Omani real estate market is
in the first nine months of this year,     of Hilal Properties, told the Oman        quite distinct and quite character-
compared to RO1.1bn ($3.1bn) in the        Observer last month. “When Oman           istic of the country,” he said. “The
whole of 2009, according to data from      formulated land ownership rules,          property market has witnessed big
the Ministry of Housing. Ownership         the real estate scene in the Sultanate    adjustments and is presently enjoying
deals by GCC citizens also grew by         received a real fillip,” he said.         good support.”
40.7 per cent to 2300 in the first six
months of 2010 while some 5800             Amendments to Omani land use laws         While there were concerns that a big
mortgage contracts were signed with        issued by Royal Decree in September       budget infrastructure programme
a total value of RO698m ($1.8bn).          relaxed foreign shareholding restric-     launched by the state would divert
                                           tions, enabling public and closed joint   construction capacity away from
Meanwhile, a report by the hospital-       stock companies with a minimum of         residential projects, the projects are
ity research group PKF Consulting          30 per cent Omani shareholding to         unlikely to make long-term bottle-
released in October noted growing          own land.                                 necks in supply, leaving the market
interest in residential units located                                                free to build on its strong foundations.
in integrated tourism complexes            Significantly, the amendments allow
(ITCs) spread along the country’s          these companies to engage in real         In the meantime, the government’s
coast. ITCs are the easiest avenue for     estate development as a business          plans to boost transport and housing
foreign nationals looking to enter the     object, a permission that was previ-      infrastructure under its “Vision 2020”
local property market.                     ously restricted to 100 per cent Omani    programme have led to growing in-
                                           and later 100 per cent GCC owned          terest in the construction sector. The
Oman has largely opened up its real        companies.                                industry is valued at $3.7bn this year
estate sector to foreign investors in                                                and should register growth rates of
the last decade, with the first major      This further opening up of the sec-       around 5 per cent in the next three
step a 2002 decision to grant GCC          tor could add impetus to the market,      years, according to the “Oman Infra-
nationals the right to own property for    which is already seeing growth due to     structure Report Q4 2010”, published
residential or investment purposes.        domestic demand fuelled by econom-        in November by companiesandmar-
This was followed in 2006 with leg-        ic growth and a young population.
                                                                                                      Market Report 27
    624 families get social housing project loans
                                          Times of Oman - 10 November 2010

I  n all, 624 families benefited from
   social housing project loans pro-
vided by the Ministry of Housing
                                          the soft housing programme should
                                          not be more than RO400 when the
                                          approval is granted.

                                                                                      The value of the real estate contracts
from January 1 to November 1.                                                         in 2010 hit more than RO1.3 billion.
                                          The RO20,000 soft loan is granted           The fee collected from the completed
According to a report from the minis-     for building a house or buying new          transactions amounted to RO16 mil-
try, it has also approved the construc-   house or making extension to a cur-         lion including RO11 million from the
tion of 925 social housing units with     rent building. The loan is paid on          sale transactions and more than RO4
utilities in a number of governorates     monthly instalments not more than           million from mortgage.
and regions of the Sultanate.             25 per cent of the borrower’s salary.
                                          The number of families that benefited       The number of real estate transactions
The ministry provides three pro-          from the programme from January 1           till September was 65,604. The num-
grammes for the social housing            to November 1 amounted to 121. The          ber of title deeds issued by the end of
project that aims at availing housing     total money disbursed for 121 people        September amounted to 108,904. The
services for low income and social        was RO121,970,765.                          number of real estate property own-
securities families and housing loans                                                 ers from other GCC member states
for low income bracket.                   The Ministry of Housing also availed        amounted to 2,685.
                                          115,360 land plots till September end
The housing aid programme has             in various parts of the Sultanate.          The Ministry of Housing is currently
been designed to assist low-income                                                    implementing 808 housing units,
families whose income is less than        According to the report, the local          mosques and public gathering areas,
RO129 and those who are covered           committees at the ministry received         as well as, other facilities in different
by the social security system.            more than 16,925 applications for           wilayats in the Sultanate at a cost of
                                          land plots. In all, 11,370 applications     RO30,391,642.
The soft housing programme pro-           were registered and 15,284 land plots
vides interest-free housing loans for     have been processed.                        The Ministry of Housing has com-
low income families whose income                                                      pleted the construction of 743 hous-
is not less than RO130 and not more       By the end of September, the minis-         ing units worth about RO21,157,240
than RO250 at the time of application.    try registered 55,699 land plots for        in the wilayats of different governor-
The income for those who apply for        various uses for the first time in the      ates and regions in the Sultanate.

                     Oman: boost for construction
                                          Oman Observer - 3 November 2010

O     man’s government is ramping
      up infrastructure spending as
part of a programme to stimulate
                                          els could be even higher due to the
                                          reported increase in budget outlays.
                                                                                      first half of next year. With an an-
                                                                                      nual capacity of 1.5m tonnes, the
                                                                                      factory’s output will not only serve
the economy, with the construction        With some $10bn worth of construc-          the domestic market but further afield,
sector and suppliers of building ma-      tion and infrastructure projects either     according to JSP’s deputy managing
terials set to be the most immediate      at the initial development stage or         director, Sushil Maroo.
beneficiaries.                            planned before 2015, Oman’s build-
In late September, local and interna-     ers will be kept busy in the foresee-       “It is a port-based plant,” Maroo told
tional media reported that the gov-       able future. So too will the sector’s       Indian media in early October. “It will
ernment would increase its budget         suppliers, with a number of Oman’s          be a gateway for us to growing mar-
outlays for 2011 by some 11 per cent      leading materials firms increasing          kets. We will also ship the products
over this year’s $18.7bn, with most of    output or looking to boost capacity.        to India and China from the plant.”
the additional funding to be directed
towards infrastructure and develop-       One segment of the construction ma-         Jindal is not alone in buying into the
ment projects.                            terials industry gearing up for more        Oman steel sector. India’s Zoom Steel
                                          activity is the steel sector. India-based   Company (ZSC) is also developing a
Recent projections suggest that the       producer Jindal Steel and Power (JSP)       plant in the north-eastern city of Sur.
construction industry will grow by        is planning to have a plant located         When brought online in late 2012,
just under 6% annually for the next       within the Sohar Port and industrial        the $655m facility will be able to
five years, though actual growth lev-     complex up and running by in the            turn out 1.2m tonnes of steel billets
28 The Home Show 2011
and blooms. Mirroring JSP’s plans         within a month. Though the company         board of directors, Abdullah Abbas
for expansion, ZSC is also looking to     has not revealed what firm it plans to     Ahmed, said on October 24 that
use Oman as a platform from which         buy, media reports have suggested          oversupply had been created “due
to launch into international markets.     it will be Ras Al Khaimah Cement,          to the huge inflow of cement from
Syed Gazanfar Abbas Safvi, the Di-        which operates out of the UAE.             neighbouring countries.”
rector and Chief Executive Officer
of ZSC, said the new plant’s close        “We have been exploring acquisitions       Raysut’s chairman, Mohammed bin
location to the port of Sur meant that    for some time now,” Raysut Cement          Alawi Ali Muqaibal, said that his
it was well placed for exports as well    Chief Financial Officer Samidh             company’s 21 per cent fall in profits
as local sales.                           Mukhopadhyay said on October 24.           was due in part to cheaper imports.
                                          “The important thing is the tonnage        “The decline in profit may be attribut-
“First we will sell it in Oman. Then      capacity. We won’t go for below 1m         able mainly to the severe competition
we go to the next circle of the GCC       tonne capacity.”                           from the external markets coupled
region, including Yemen,” Safvi said.                                                with demand recession in the export
“Thereafter, a bigger circle represent-   Though many construction materials’        markets,” he said.
ing the rest of the world.”               producers in Oman are optimistic
                                          about both the local economy and           The pressure on domestic prices is
Oman’s cement industry is also eye-       prospects for improved export sales,       likely to ease as the rest of the Gulf’s
ing growth. In mid-October, officials     they face stiff competition, with the      construction trade steps up activity,
of the Al Madina Cement Company           Sultanate’s cement manufacturers           while Oman’s export markets for both
said the firm was on track to have a      coming under pressure in their own         cement and steel will also pick up as
new plant completed and operational       market from imports.                       the Sultanate’s neighbours start to
before the end of this year that would                                               match its own building momentum.
produce some 2,500 tonnes of cement       Both Raysut and its main rival Oman
per day, mainly Portland.                 Cement reported declines in pre-tax        Though this may take some time,
                                          profit for the first nine months of the    Oman’s material suppliers will be
Oman’s Raysut Cement also recently        year compared to the same period           well placed to meet increasing over-
confirmed it has been in talks aimed at   in 2009.                                   seas demand, having anticipated the
acquiring another regional producer,                                                 revival of the construction industry
with a possible deal to be announced      Oman Cement’s chairman of the              and invested in new plants.

     Public expenditure touches RO94b: Macki
                                          Times of Oman - 3 November 2010

T    he Sultanate’s total public ex-
     penditure touched RO94 billion
during the last four decades, since the
                                          hr in 2009 enabling the provision of
                                          electricity to almost all parts of the
                                                                                     of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin
                                                                                     Said sought to provide a decent hous-
                                                                                     ing facility for citizens through the
beginning of the Renaissance, said                                                   programmes of social housing, hous-
Ahmed bin Abdulnabi Macki, min-           The potable water production also          ing aids and easy-term loans. “The
ister of national economy and deputy      grew reaching 39,657 million gallons/      number of households benefited from
chairman of Financial Affairs and         day. During the Seventh Five-Year          these programmes during the previ-
Energy Resources Council, yesterday.      Plan, the production size and exten-       ous five-year plans touched 25,698 at
                                          sion of main and sub-networks in the       total cost of RO405.4 million.”
Speaking on the occasion of the 40th      various Sultanate regions increased.
National Day, the minister said that                                                 He also said that foreign direct invest-
the state investment was mainly for       It is anticipated that the rate of pro-    ments (FDI) totaled about RO5,029
developing basic infrastructure facili-   duction capacity of the desalination       million in 2009, indicating a growth
ties like roads and power and educa-      plants will total 143 million gallons      of 15.3 per cent from that of 2008.
tion, healthcare and water.               by the end of this year. Also, distribu-   As for foreign investment, new
                                          tion networks were added at the dif-       amendments were introduced in the
Referring to the tremendous growth        ferent regions with lengths exceeding      laws related to foreign investments
in basic infrastructure facilities,       1,500km together with establishment        specifically in relation to securing
Macki said that the total length of       of 81 new tanker filling stations to       foreign ownership up to 100 per cent
paved roads by the end of 2009            benefit from desalinised water and         and reducing tax rate from 30 per
touched 25,926km from as low as           reduce use of underground water.           cent to 12 per cent, which makes the
15km in 1970. Similarly, power                                                       Sultanate as one with the lowest tax
generation increased to 18,405 GW/        Macki also noted that the government       rate in the region.

                                                                                                      Market Report 29
                     Tourism pact signed in Oman
                                          Times of Oman - 1 November 2010

T   he Tourism Ministry and the
    United Real Estate Company, a
Kuwaiti public joint stock company,
                                          The ministry, in cooperation with
                                          the private sector, has already imple-
                                          mented or will commence a number
                                                                                    with one of the investment companies
                                                                                    during the coming months.

yesterday signed an usufruct contract     of tourism projects in Dhofar — the
for the development of integrated         Salalah Beach Resort, which is ex-        Dr Rajiha said the projects will
tourist resorts in the Wilayat of Shal-   pected to open its first phase during     contribute to the development of the
eem and on Al Halaniyat Islands           the first half of 2011; the Commercial    tourism sector in Dhofar, and provide
under the trade names ‘Jnot’ and          Tourism Complex, which is imple-          job opportunities. The project’s total
‘Blatuz’.                                 mented by UREC; Sawdah Resort,            area is two million square metres
                                          which is expected to be completed in      upon which each one will have beach
Dr Rajiha bint Abdul Amir bin Ali,        2011; Al Baleed Tourist Resort, which     hotels, villas, chalets, a full range of
tourism minister, said signing of the     is expected to begin its implementa-      support services, recreational and
contracts will boost tourism in the       tion by the beginning of 2011; and the    special services for diving, fishing
country and attract more investments      development agreement of Aftelqyat        and marine sports.
to the sector.                            Resort project, which will be signed

               The Wave, Muscat all set to launch
                    first-of-its-kind villas
                                          Oman Observer - 1 November 2010

T    he Wave, Muscat is set to launch
     its first new villa product in
nearly two years, a first of-its-kind
                                          “The new villa design offers buyers
                                          various competitive price points and
                                          alternative sizes in line with market
                                                                                    comprising a range of unique floor
                                                                                    plans with either garden, water or
                                                                                    park views. The innovative designs
design previously not offered in the      expectations. This latest release fol-    increase usability of space while
project and which has been developed      lows the successful launch of the new     maintaining The Wave, Muscat’s
in response to customer feedback.         apartment and townhouse designs           industry benchmark of class leading
                                          earlier this year, when 95 per cent of    interior and exterior finishes.
The emphasis in the new design            properties were sold out in the first
is efficient living space and added       month of release.”                        The villas also feature spacious off-
lifestyle community features such as                                                street parking and garden walkways
mature green landscaping and gar-         Stafford added: “With increased           and a central community swimming
den walkways that connect residents       maturity of the ITC market in the         pool and recreational area ideal for
through spacious parkland areas to        last two years coupled with the shift     families. The marina and upcoming
the beach and recreational facilities.    from speculators to end-users, The        Retail Village are also located within
                                          Wave Muscat continues to experi-          easy walking distance of this release.
David Stafford, Vice-President of         ence strong demand for high quality       A total of 36 townhouses will also be
Sales and Marketing at The Wave,          residential properties. Our vision to     introduced to the market in the Luban
Muscat said: “There has been sig-         deliver a fully master-planned sus-       and Acacia Block of Al Marsa Village
nificant interest in the new designs      tainable community and world-class        in the marina precinct.
from the local market since we first      tourism destination is progressing at a
advertised the release but we are         remarkable rate with golf course and      Over the next 12 months, The Wave
also seeing a number of new buyers        phase 1 of the 400 berth marina due       Muscat will hand over a number of its
from outside of Oman attracted by         for handover next year.”                  core lifestyle and tourism offerings,
the country’s strong development                                                    including the Sultanate’s first 18-hole
fundamentals and the advantages of        The release of the purpose designed       PGA standard golf course, 400 berth
buying in an ITC project.”                The Wave, Muscat villas is a new          Marina and phase one of the Retail
                                          milestone in achieving this vision        Village, adding new dimensions to
“The stability in Oman’s real estate      and the interest in the product is        residential living within The Wave,
market has not escaped savvy inves-       testimony to the demand in Muscat         Muscat’s growing and dynamic com-
tors from across the GCC region           for high quality residential units in     munity. To date over 1,000 proper-
including investment funds which          the new strategic development area        ties have been sold and more than
are attracted to the diversity of the     of the capital.”                          450 delivered with more than 300
economy and strength of the property                                                families already calling The Wave,
fundamentals.”                            A total of 70 villas will be released     Muscat home.

30 The Home Show 2011
The Wave, Muscat sets up Lease Department
                                           Oman Observer - 20 October 2010

T   he Wave, Muscat, the nation’s
    landmark freehold development
and first Integrated Tourism Complex
                                          provide an easy and accessible option
                                          for those wanting to call The Wave,
                                          Muscat home.
                                                                                    are confident that with the current
                                                                                    demand for ITC residential leasing,
                                                                                    we will continue to present attrac-
(ITC), has expanded its property                                                    tive housing solutions that meet the
management offerings with the for-        Headed by a number of highly quali-       market demand.”
mation of a new specialised Lease         fied and experienced Senior Lease
Department.                               Consultants, the department will          According to an Oman Property
                                          manage the entire renting process         News Report issued by residential
David Stafford, Vice-President of         and will be responsible for promot-       and commercial sales experts, Clut-
Sales and Marketing at The Wave,          ing home owner’s properties to the        tons Oman, The Wave, Muscat has
Muscat, stated that the new depart-       marketplace. It will also offer key       set the benchmark for quality in the
ment was launched in response to          insights into the market and support      residential market and has proved to
increased demand for a hassle-free        prospective tenants in assessing the      be a popular leasing option.
tenancy and landlord service.             various home options that are avail-
                                          able in the multibillion dollar fully     The report said the development
“In a market categorised by a shift       master planned community.                 continues to present sound residential
from speculators to end users, there                                                value and offer quality homes in a
has been increased demand for             Stafford also said, “As the project ma-   modern development, attributing the
residential leasing over the last two     tures, we are continuing to implement     increased numbers of customers to
years, and by leasing directly from       new commercial strategies to better       lifestyle features including contem-
the developer, tenants will be assured    serve our customers and complement        porary design, high quality finishing
of the widest selection of premium        our comprehensive property offering       and green landscaped gardens.
properties,” said Stafford.               as the leading residential and tourism
                                          community in Muscat, Oman.”               Cluttons Oman also said that price
The Wave, Muscat has already de-                                                    reductions experienced in the last two
livered over 500 villas, townhouses       Stafford added, “Whether custom-          years have made properties within
and apartments and the new Leasing        ers are interested in purchasing or       ITCs such as The Wave, Muscat
Department is a natural extension         leasing, The Wave, Muscat is an           more affordable and attractive while
of the value added services to help       investment in quality living. We          remaining in line with market realities
new owners rent their properties and                                                and expectations.

       Limited edition villas released by Muriya
                                           Oman Observer - 13 October 2010

M      uriya Tourism Development
       is offering exclusive, spacious
villas for just 15 days in its two in-
                                          state-of-the-art fittings that will set
                                          them apart from other properties.
                                                                                    100 per cent free-hold properties have
                                                                                    attracted many investors and continue
                                                                                    to do so. Phase I customers will start
tegrated tourism complexes ‘Jebel         Products by renowned international        receiving their villas and apartments
Sifah’ and ‘Salalah Beach’.               brands and high quality finishing such    by the first quarter of 2011.
                                          as modern electrical fittings and au-
‘Majan’ and ‘Jabrin’ villas in ‘Jebel     dio-visual equipment are included to      In ‘Jebel Sifah’, construction work
Sifah’ and ‘Salalah Beach’ respective-    create an ideal fully functional home.    is in progress over different stages in
ly come with two to three bedrooms                                                  all 18 apartment blocks, with the ma-
and plots of land starting from 1,500     “Our focus has been mainly to think       jority approaching completion. The
square metres. The extensive area         out of the box and present a unique       initial 63 villas have been designed
covered provides both space and pri-      product that exceeds the expectations     in eight different styles, of which 41
vacy, an exceptional feature available    of our customers — be it in concept or    approaching completion.
in a limited number of villas.            quality,” said Bahaa Kareem, Market-
                                          ing Director of Muriya.                   The 55-room marina boutique hotel
Each of the luxuriously designed two/                                               (Sifawy Hotel) is scheduled to be
three bedroom villas will be fully fur-   Both projects ‘Jebel Sifah’ and ‘Sa-      completed by the end of the year and
nished with private swimming pools,       lalah Beach’ are quickly taking shape.    will be managed by Muriya Hotel Di-
equipped with the best amenities and      The portfolio of reputed hotels and       vision. High quality weather-resistant
                                                                                                     Market Report 31
pontoons have been put in place that       ury villas and apartments, two world-     Omani government owned Omran
will provide enough space for up to        class 18-hole PGA Golf courses, five      came together in a joint venture.
150 boats.                                 5-star hotels, two marina boutique        Since then, Muriya has announced
                                           hotels, retail outlets, restaurants,      four ambitious projects across the
Similarly in ‘Salalah Beach’, work         cafes etc, ‘Salalah Beach’ combines       beautiful locales of Oman.
is rapidly progressing on the marina.      the best of both worlds — the natural
The building structure of 47 villas        beauty of the destination with mod-       Two of the ongoing projects are in-
has been completed. Construction of        ern facilities and amenities. Work on     tegrated tourism complexes (ITCs)
six blocks comprising a total of 186       Rotana Hotel is already in progress       offering free-hold properties — ‘Jebel
apartments around the marina is also       and scheduled to be completed by          Sifah’ and ‘Salalah Beach’. More-
nearly complete.                           early 2012.                               over, Muriya also has extensive plans
                                                                                     to develop’ City Walk’ in Muscat and
With 15.6 million square metres of         Muriya was established in 2006 when       work for the boutique hotel on ‘As
prime beachfront area, high-end lux-       Egypt’s Orascom Hotels and Devel-         Sodah Island’, is in progress.
                                           opment (with 70 per cent stake) and

                     Iskan Oman launches freehold
                         development in Salalah
                                            Oman Observer - 4 October 2010

I  skan Oman’s Zahrat Al Khareef,
   Dhofar project, offering freehold
ownership for Omani and GCC citi-
                                           Group Chairman, Adil Mohammed
                                           al Bader, had said: “It is our com-
                                           mitment to actively contribute to our
                                                                                     from white sandy beaches.

                                                                                     On Saturday, a number of agreements
zens, is the first of its kind and the     economy as well as our societies;         were signed with leading internation-
largest in Salalah proper.                 Iskan Oman seeks newer and un-            al and regional names in various fields
                                           tapped avenues and translates them        of real estate — Savills, Special Tech-
Located in the Al Wadi area, the           into viable opportunities generating      nical Services LLC (STS) and Bank
project covers an area approximately       lasting growth.”                          Dhofar. Savills is one of the world’s
29,000 sq metre 10-storey buildings                                                  largest real estate firms, offering a
with a gross built up area of 130,000      Today, the Zahrat Al Khareef, Dho-        broad range of specialist consultancy
square meters will offer 586 living        far project promises to promote a         and transactional services globally.
units in a mix of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom       happy community living offering
and duplex apartments.                     the convenience of proximity, space       STS has been awarded the contract
                                           and leisure. Zahrat Al Khareef is set     to construct Phase I of the Zahrat Al
That apart, a club house equipped          to change the skyline of this region,     Khareef residential development by
with a modern gymnasium and                bringing along a trend in blending        Iskan Oman. Bank Dhofar are financ-
other recreational facilities, swim-       modern living with the natural envi-      ing partners for Phase 1 of the project.
ming pool, professionally designed         ronment that reflects the very essence
landscape, and a commercial hub            of Salalah. Lush green trees, gentle      Speaking on the occasion, Dr Rashid
to service the community are also          breeze from the mountains, white          Ali al Balushi, Managing Director of
incorporated in the project design. A      sandy beaches are given. The added        Iskan Oman said “The first phase of
basement level car park will accom-        advantage is that all this is presented   the plan includes 218 unique apart-
modate more than 600 cars.                 in an environment most suited for         ments, the commercial properties
                                           present day living.                       and amenities like the club house
The designers of Zahrat Al Khareef,                                                  and swimming pool. The themed
Dhofar have laid much emphasis on          Zahrat Al Khareef, Dhofar is a unique     landscape of the project has been
the environment with primary con-          investment opportunity developed          designed to reflect the very essence
cern for eco-factors. Every building       to cater to all housing needs in a        of Salalah”.
is conceived to be highly energy ef-       single complex. It is a one-of-a-kind
ficient. Provisions include use of solar   residential complex offering con-         Dr Rashid continued “Zahrat Al
energy, natural ventilation, water         venience and security of living in a      Khareef, Dhofar is a freehold project
recycling systems, sky villas, green       gated community. It offers a prime        primarily catering to the interest of
roof and a tropical garden.                location — close to airport, schools,     Omani and GCC citizens. It will bring
                                           hospitals, shopping malls and an ex-      a new phase to Salalah, one that will
In 2008, when Iskan Oman Invest-           cellent environment — close to the        see the emergence of smart living and
ment Company was set up, Iskan             Salalah Gardens and minutes away          smart growth.”
32 The Home Show 2011
                    Al Balushi Investment all set to
                    unveil Mayar Al Khoud project
                                             Oman Observer - 4 October 2010

A    l Balushi Investment, a leading
     real estate company, is all set to
unveil its much-awaited ‘Mayar Al
                                            LLC, said,” We are delighted to an-
                                            nounce the timely delivery of residen-
                                            tial units of Mayar Al Khoud project.
                                                                                      are very community like in a safe,
                                                                                      secure and service oriented environ-
                                                                                      ment and this project is no different.
Khoud’ a luxury residential project         We are highly conscious of the buy-
by this month. The first of its kind        ers’ keenness to move into their new
project in the Sultanate, which will        homes that is set to offer a unique       “We have every sought-after facil-
bring a much sought-after variety in        experience in community living with       ity in this project and I am sure our
the Omani real estate and allow the         its exquisite features and ambience.      potential buyers will be more than
public to enjoy a comfortable living        We are proud to welcome them to           happy when they see what we have
experience.                                 our prestigious new developments.”        to offer”, Hussain added.

The project, which was launched in          Set to occupy an area of 23,029 sq.       Mayar Al khoud offers its custom-
June 2008, with a vision to build con-      m. and with a built-up area for each      ers comforts such as state-of-the-art
temporary living spaces for people in       villa ranging from 288 to 363 sq. m.,     swimming pool, gymnasium, recre-
an exclusive and stylish environment        ‘Mayar Al Khoudh’ will feature four       ational spaces, walking tracks, chil-
will be composed of 58 stand-alone          different villa designs each spanning     dren’s play yards, as well as exclusive
villas within a strategic location in the   230 to 347 sq. m.                         shopping and recreational facilities.
Al Khoudh area in Muscat. With close
proximity to Muscat International           The luxury residences will feature        Mayar Al Khoud provides exclusive
Airport, leading shopping malls. the        four to five bedrooms, a living room      community living experience. The
residents will enjoy easy access to all     and family sitting area, five to six      developer Al Balushi Investment
the city landmarks.                         bathrooms and toilets, a dining room,     provides round the clock managed
                                            kitchen, storage, laundry room, a         facilities to all residents ensuring
Delighted with the timely completion        maid’s room and two parking spaces.       idyllic, undisturbed and secure living
Hussain A Habib, Group General              Al Balushi Investment has been in-        condition.
Manager, Al Balushi Investments             strumental in providing homes that

      ERA to exclusively market Sohar project
                                            Oman Observer - 23 September 2010

E   RA Real Estate Oman, a pioneer
    real estate service provider in
Oman, has entered into an agreement
                                            units with Club House, Swimming
                                            Pool and other amenities which will
                                            stand 6-storeys high and finished
                                                                                      This huge project has great attraction
                                                                                      in Sohar real estate sector, since its
with Ministry of Defence Pension            with finest modern finishes, which        agglomerates unprecedented archi-
Fund, for exclusive marketing its           distinguishes this project from others.   tecture and interiors, presence of a
prestigious project “Sohar Sawary                                                     sports complex consists of a lounge
Centre”, located in Sohar.                  The Sohar Sawary centre is located in     Gymnasium, squash and tennis court,
                                            one of the most distinguished places      gymnasium, multipurpose hall, with
Hassan Mohammed Juma, Managing              of Sohar, which adds advantage to its     a swimming pool and a baby pool,
Director of ERA Real Estate-Oman            features. This multi use centre, which    diversified sections of housing, em-
stated that they are delighted to em-       compiles accommodation, shopping          ployment, trade and entertainment all
bark on the marketing and leasing           and work in one place is located on       in one destination.
of such an eminent project and he           the Muscat-Dubai highway and close
express his gratitude to Ministry of        to Al Sallan Round about.                 Ismail Kamel, Head of Sales of ERA
Defence Pension Fund for choosing                                                     Real Estate-Oman stated that “Sohar
ERA-Oman for marketing this land-           Scheduled to be completed by the end      Sawary Centre” is the perfect place
mark project.                               of 2010, the Sohar Sawary Centre          for stay, shop, dine and work in one
                                            will be one of the largest foremost       place, which you can find luxury and
The “Sohar Sawary Centre” spreads           residential and commercial building       comfort, which has long sought to
over 55,275 sq.m. of built-up area and      in the Sohar region, comprising of        obtain them. The centre also features
the centre is poised to be grand with       luxurious fixtures, ample parking         more than 250 basement car parking
combination of Vivid Shopping Mall,         space, modern amenities and state-        and more than 250 open car parking
Restaurants, Offices, Residential           of-the-art security systems.              in front of the centre.
                                                                                                       Market Report 33
                       Spanish group Assignia eyes
                      prestigious projects in Oman
                                          Oman Observer - 4 September 2010

S    panish company Assignia In-
     fraestructuras is keenly targeting
opportunities in Oman’s fast-growing
                                          establishments,” said Javier Álvarez,
                                          Middle East and Turkey Director of
                                          Assignia. “We believe that our expe-
                                                                                     Plaza Hotel Resort in Duqm on behalf
                                                                                     of Omran.

construction and infrastructure sec-      rience can add value to the tourism        Since the proposed resort will cater
tor. Assignia Infraestructuras is the     projects of the Sultanate of Oman.”        to the special needs of corporate sec-
parent company of a large interna-                                                   tor and business travellers, the hotel
tional group with headquarters in         Assignia Infraestructuras participates     will have state-of-the-art meeting and
Spain, dedicated to construction and      in large-scale infrastructure projects     conference facilities and will feature
services.                                 — high speed railway lines, mo-            several dining options including a
                                          torways and airports. It is a leading      specialty dining restaurant, an all-day
The Spanish construction business         company in the services and infra-         dining restaurant, a complete fitness
classification system rates Assignia      structures concessions sector, par-        centre with the latest in high-tech
as technically and financially robust     ticularly in the area of health (where     equipment, a spa, and tennis courts.
in implementing infrastructures and       it has been awarded three hospitals
buildings of all types and budgets.       on the BOT model) education and the        Construction work on the first luxury
                                          environment. It is also present on the     hotel in Al Wusta region is expected
“The Group has an active role in the      renewable energy market.                   to commence early next year, with
development of tourism in Spain, be-                                                 the project slated for completion by
ing involved in key tourist projects.     The Oman Tourism Development               early 2012. In addition to execut-
Currently Assignia has two ongoing        Company (Omran) has received bids          ing the hotel project, the successful
luxury hotel projects with Paradores      from 15 groups on 16 August for the        contractor is expected to construct
de Turismo, a Spanish government          contract to build the new Crowne           an access road to the property. The
funded limited company with eight         Plaza Hotel resort in Duqm. Assignia       Assignia Group has been awarded
decades of history and which cur-         Infraestructuras is the low bidder for     with important contracts in Mexico,
rently manages more than 90 hotel         a contract to build the new Crowne         Venezuela, Colombia and Turkey.

           Healthy growth in Oman’s real estate
                                          Oman Observer - 2 September 2010

O     man is known for its friendly
      and welcoming nature, thanks
to its natural borders, coastal access
                                          for residential units. Foreign invest-
                                          ment, liberalisation of property laws
                                          and healthy tourism have all added to
                                                                                     Sultanate received a real fillip. Omani
                                                                                     freehold has been making waves and
                                                                                     is on the threshold of making a new
to the Gulf of Oman and historical        the country’s real estate growth.          yardstick for property development in
interaction with different cultures.                                                 the region the freehold way.”
It is unique in its landscape with an     In December 2002, GCC nationals
awe-inspiring splendour.                  were given the right to own property       According to him, the strength of
                                          in Oman for the purpose of residence       Oman’s real estate stems mainly from
The country is one of the fastest         or investment, through an accord on        both proactive government foresight
growing economies in the Gulf for         cross-border real estate ownership.        and the nature of the market here.
the government’s prudent planning,        Following this, in February 2006,
calculated spending and investments       all other nationalities were given the     From the perspective of a real estate
in the non-oil sector.                    right to own properties in Integrated      developer, who is seeking a safe
                                          Tourism Complexes. With this, ex-          investment option, Oman has all the
The opening of Oman’s real estate         patriate property owners are allowed       potential to make a magnificent and
market is part of ‘The Vision 2020’       automatically to get residency rights      sustainable destination.
— an economic diversification plan        for themselves and their immediate
aimed at helping the country gradu-       families, by virtue of the property        Oman’s growing population means
ally reduce its oil contribution on to    acquisition.                               housing demand is outstripping sup-
the GDP.                                                                             ply. More than half of the natives are
The real estate growth in the Sultan-     Hilal Ali al Sulaimani, General Man-       predominantly young. This young
ate is driven by strong and stable pa-    ager of Hilal Properties, says: “Ever      generation has all the desire to build
rameters. Omanis’ rising purchasing       since Oman formulated land owner-          or purchase its own houses and has
power has fuelled growing demand          ship rules, the real estate scene in the   great purchasing power leading to a
34 The Home Show 2011
higher demand for land.                     distinct niche. Property developers        completion in Muscat capital area.
                                            are leveraging the country’s natural
One of the crucial elements of Oman’s       variety,” says an architect at a prop-     Development at Al Sarooj and Madi-
demography is its change in the fami-       erty firm.                                 nat al Sultan Qaboos has produced a
ly trends. Like elsewhere in the world,                                                number of high-end properties.
there is a shift from the joint family to   Planners take extreme care to keep         Seeb with its dynamism, is being
the nuclear family system, especially       Oman’s distinctive building style          projected as a business hub with many
in urban areas like Muscat, Salalah,        though we give a modern touch, he          companies having shifted their head-
Sohar or Sur. This makes young mar-         adds.                                      quarters there or are planning to shift
ried couples looking forward to have                                                   thanks to the availability of prurpose-
their own houses, agrees Hilal.             Since Oman’s opening up, invest-           built buildings in the Airport Heights.
                                            ment into the real estate market has
The growing number of expat work-           been skyrocketing. The Wave Muscat         Recently the government has desig-
ers in Oman is also fuelling the real       took up the first initiative into this     nated a number of areas in the capital
estate boom. With the government’s          unchartered territory. It built a long     where apartment and office com-
expansion and diversification efforts       strip of a beach in Muscat — an in-        plexes of up to 12 stories are being
gathering steam, several projects in-       tegrated tourism complex — where           permitted, a move expected to lead to
cluding industrial, manufacturing and       non-GCC nationals are allowed to           a better supply of affordable housing.
construction are taking shape increas-      buy real properties.                       With the government investing more
ing the country’s dependence on for-                                                   in tourism projects, foreign participa-
eign labour. This has again increased       Obviously, the demand and the rate         tion is increasing thanks to incentives
the demand for more residential, retail     growth in the capital area is more         like land at low cost, availability of
and business space.                         because of the higher population and       beachfront plots, lucrative infrastruc-
                                            higher income here. A number of            ture to investors. This suggests phe-
“Oman’s emergence as an attrac-             projects including villas, apartments,     nomenal investor interest in Omani
tive housing market is catering to a        retail and office space is nearing         real estate projects.

                   Baader launches upscale project
                                             Oman Observer - 31 August 2010

T     he real estate market in Oman
      has already shown the signs of
recovery while other countries of the
                                            estate development in Oman - and to
                                            cement the joint venture relationship
                                            with our Omani partner Silver Circle
                                                                                       be ready for handover in 18 to 20
                                                                                       months. “The exclusive and luxuri-
                                                                                       ous new development will consist of
GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) are          Seas, as well as Savills Oman.”            a total of 47 of the most beautifully
still struggling to get back on track.                                                 designed villas and linked villas all of
                                            “Savills Oman has a vast amount of         which will be finished to the highest
The market in Oman is completely            experience within the region and is        standards and furnished with the very
different from other GCC markets            currently working on a number of           latest fixtures and fittings,” he said.
and this is the best market in the re-      prestigious projects within the Sul-
gion. This was stated jointly by Uto        tanate and we would like to welcome        Commenting further he said, “Fami-
Baader, Deputy Chairman of Baader           Savills Oman on board and look             lies will adore their new homes
Projects, Hotels and Resorts and            forward to a long and successful rela-     which will be surrounded by lush
Siegfried Lingel at the launch of Al        tionship,” he said. The project launch     green landscaping and gardens. Some
Bustan Residences yesterday.                was hosted by all the three sharehold-     properties also have the luxury of
                                            ers including Sayyid Salem Musallam        their own private swimming pool al-
The project, which is offering 47           al Bussaidy of Silver Circle Group.        lowing all members of the family to
exclusively designed homes, is being                                                   enjoy the outdoors in the privacy of
done by the newly formed company            Baader Projects, Hotels and Resorts,       their own home.”
jointly owned by Uto Baader, Chair-         a recent entrants in the Omani real es-
man of Baader Bank and Siegfried            tate market, are offering the villas for   Project developer Baader Projects,
Lingel, owner of German Merkur              RO 245,000 at one of the most pres-        Hotels and Resorts is backed by
Bank headquartered in Munich as             tigious locations in Muscat opposite       German investors and has been
well as Silver Circle Overseas LLC,         new Majlis A’Shura Building, Muscat        specifically built to develop tourism
the company’s local partner. An-            Governorate and AL Bustan Palace           products and locations in Oman. The
nouncing the launch of the project          Hotel. According to Christopher J          Company’s vision is to build a series
Uto Baader said, “We are proud to an-       Steel, Managing Director of Savills        of unique and distinctive projects that
nounce the launch of Al Bustan Resi-        Oman, the unique Arab style villas         also fit with the development objec-
dences – our first major upscale real       are meant for GCC nationals and will       tives set by Oman’s leadership offer-
                                                                                                        Market Report 35
ing some of the best opportunities in    itself in the Omani real estate market.    very different from the Integrated
the GCC at this time.                    “The entry of Baader Projects to the       Tourism Complexes that already
                                         local real estate market comes when        exist in Muscat. Marketed at GCC
According to Christopher, members        the Omani real estate market has           and Omani residents this gated com-
of the senior management team have       shown strong signs of improvement          munity will provide a limited number
extensive experience of investing in     since the beginning of the year.”          of homes aimed at the GCC’s elite
some of the most high profile projects                                              in what will soon be one of the most
around the globe and will draw on this   “The new project will provide hom-         exciting and vibrant locations in
strength now as it plans to establish    eowners with a unique proposition          town,” he said.

                  Oman’s marble export earnings
                   exceed RO 40m in four years
                                          Oman Observer - 29 August 2010

O    man’s marble export earnings
     have grown at about 20 per
cent compound annual growth rate
                                         ment, OCIPED.

                                         OCIPED will have a 15 square metres
                                                                                    uted the same among Omani marble
                                                                                    and stone exporters.

(CAGR) in the past four years to         of exhibition booth under the banner       Al Farsi believes exporters will get an
reach about RO 40.66 million in          Oman pavilion. So far four Omani           excellent exposure in understanding
2008. This is expected to increase       marble and stone companies have            new technologies in marble mining,
further in the near future following     confirmed participation in this ex-        cutting, and packing by attending this
continued efforts to boost Oman’s        hibition. This is part of the initiative   exhibition. Since the Verona Fair is
exports of marble products.              of the Directorate-General of Export       the largest marble and stone exhibi-
                                         Development of OCIPED to reach out         tion, Omani exporters will have an
As a part of the continuous efforts,     to new markets, identify new business      opportunity to meet with importers,
the Omani Centre for Investment          opportunity and partnership.               distributors, building contractors
Promotion and Export Development                                                    from all over the world and under-
(OCIPED) is all set to participate at    OCIPED has obtained a Market               stand their needs.
the International Exhibition of Stone,   Report on Natural Stone and Stone
Design and Technology from Sep-          products prepared by the Centre for        Al Farsi hopes Omani Pavilion will
tember 29-October 2 at Verona, Italy,    the promotion of imports from the          attract a good number of visitors
said Faris Nasser al Farsi, Acting       developing countries (CBI), Nether-        resulting in export opportunity for
Director-General, Export Develop-        lands during 2009 and have distrib-        Oman.

  Spanish giant lowest bidder for Duqm hotel
                                          Times of Oman - 28 August 2010

A    bid submitted by Spanish con-
     struction giant Assignia Infrae-
structuras turned out to be the lowest
                                         tourism infrastructure -- is build-
                                         ing the hotel mainly to cater to the
                                         needs of business travelers into the
                                                                                    and RO17.59 million, respectively.

                                                                                    Other bidders for the project are
one for building a four star-hotel in    area – consultants, contractors, in-       Douglas OHI, Simplex Infrastruc-
Duqm under Crowne Plaza brand.           vestors and project managers - who         tures Ltd, Abu Hatim, Federici-Stir-
                                         frequently visit Duqm to support the       ling Batco, National United Engineer-
As many as 15 local and international    government-initiated port and ship         ing, Carillion Alawi, Oman Shapoorji
groups have submitted bids for build-    repair yard there.                         Construction, Al Adrak Trading and
ing Crowne Plaza Duqm Resort,                                                       Contracting, Erenport Insaat Sanayi
which will have 228 rooms, including     Assignia’s lowest bid was for              Veticarte Anonim, International Con-
11 spacious executive suites and 6       RO16.43 million. Galfar Engineer-          tractors Co and Armenco. Armenco
smaller suites.                          ing & Contracting, Larsen & Toubro         was the highest bidder with a bid
                                         (Oman) and Services and Trade              amount of RO24.84 million.
Oman Tourism Development Com-            Company stood second, third and
pany (Omran) - an investment arm         fourth positions with their bid prices     Apart from bid amount, the tender
of the government for developing         of RO16.70 million, RO16.79 million        board will take into account various
36 The Home Show 2011
other factors like the experience and      centre with the latest in high-tech      Omran signed an agreement with
reputation of contracting firms in         equipment, a spa, and tennis courts -    Intercontinental Hotel Groups (IHG)
successfully completing similar prop-      all of which will give business guests   to operate the hotel project.
erties. Since the proposed Crowne          the opportunity to mix business with
Plaza Duqm Resort will cater to the        pleasure.                                Within the next five years, Duqum
special needs of corporate sector and                                               will be transformed into a major
business travellers, the hotel will have   Apart from executing the hotel           commercial port, with various fa-
state-of-the-art meeting and confer-       project, the successful contractor is    cilities for ship repair facilities. The
ence facilities.                           expected to construct an access road     master plan for Duqum’s scale-up
                                           to the property. Construction work       also includes designated areas for
Further, the hotel will feature several    on the first luxury hotel in Al Wusta    an airport, free trade zones and oil
diverse dining options including a         region is expected to commence early     storage facilities as well as a fishing
speciality dining restaurant, an all day   next year, with the project slated for   harbour complete with fishery related
dining restaurant, a complete fitness      completion by early 2012.                industries.

                       Boom in construction sector
                                            Oman Observer - 27 August 2010

O     man’s construction sector is
      gathering steam, encouraged by
economic growth and implementation
                                           along with other GCC states. Oman’s
                                           private sector is taking the construc-
                                           tion industry forward with billion-
                                                                                    rapid pace for several heavy industry
                                                                                    projects including metal and petro-
                                                                                    chemical plants at these places.
of large-scale projects. The main          dollar projects. The Global Group,
driver behind rapid expansion of this      which has businesses in construction,    Port of Salalah is situated right at the
sector has been government spend-          electrical and manufacturing has joint   major East-West shipping lanes. It
ing, which registered major rise in        venture projects with Indian compa-      enjoys an attractive strategic location
the recent years.                          nies in Oman.                            in the heart of the Indian Ocean Rim
                                                                                    and caters to some of the world’s
Along with investments made in the         “Oman has everything to attract          largest ocean going vessels.
public infrastructure, and propelled       investors — the booming economy,
by the growth in Oman’s informa-           liberalised policies, and a safe and     The location of the port holds true in
tion technology sector, the Sultanate      pristine environment”, he says.          transshipment. Technology, innova-
has seen major undertakings in in-                                                  tion, productivity and the dynamic
dustry and tourism related projects.       It has been estimated that about 40      management have made all the dif-
This phenomenon has again fuelled          per cent of the Sultanate’s population   ference for the port.
expansion of residential, retail and       is in the age group of 20 to 40 years.
business space.                            “The government’s goal of ensuring       The industrial development of Sohar
                                           jobs for every Omani youth will be       is remarkable with many international
The Sultanate’s economic diversifica-      fulfilled with the setting up of new     firms setting up projects thanks main-
tion is the driving force behind the de-   industrial projects. The youths have     ly to the services of the Sohar Port.
velopment of sophisticated industrial      knowledge and skill,” adds Nirmal.
projects. The state has been releasing                                              Despite the global economic down-
much more land in the past few years,      The current Seventh Five-Year Pan        turn that weighed down other ports
opening up regions across the country      has ambitious objectives of establish-   in the wider region, this industrial
for development.                           ing a number of large-scale industrial   port of Oman registered across-the-
                                           projects. The plan also focuses on       board improvement in its overall
Nirmal Thomas, Director of Global          generating more jobs and setting up      performance. Petrochemical products
Group of Companies, acknowl-               the principles of the economy that       brought from the region can be stored
edges these factors for the boom           depend on knowledge and develop-         in its facilities, if necessary, and trans-
in the construction sector. He says,       ment of the role of the private sector   ported to onward destinations — an
“increased government spending             in the national economy and increas-     activity that was once chiefly done at
on infrastructure and diversification      ing direct foreign investment.           petrochemical hubs like Rotterdam,
policies do attract lot of investments                                              Houston, Singapore.
in the country giving a boost to the       Port of Salalah, a world class trans-
growing economy.”                          shipment hub, Sohar port and indus-      This opens up opportunities for added
                                           trial area and the southern town of      value growth as downstream inves-
The strengthening infrastructure now       Duqm are the major areas now under       tors see the cost advantages of setting
holds the Sultanate in good stead          focus. Development is progressing at     up operations in the vicinity because

                                                                                                      Market Report 37
of the competitive access to all their     The project is paving way for setting      up at a dramatic pace, with several
feedstock requirements.                    up of industrial areas and also special    multibillion-dollar projects taking
                                           economic areas, which will lead to         off. Residential demand has been
Duqm is characterised by its strategic     developing different sectors, logistic     endogenous to a great extent. Several
location overlooking the Arabian Sea       activities and other works, thus driv-     reasons are seen behind this growth.
and not far from the international         ing the national economy to achieve        Omanis now have desire either to
shipping lanes that link East and          its goals as outlined by the govern-       build houses or buy them as their
West. The first stage of the project       ment’s economic strategy.                  purchasing power has increased
includes a port, a dry dock, an airport,                                              tremendously. The state has been
power and water desalination plants,       Government plans to build a railway        releasing much more land in the past
roads, tourism utilities and infrastruc-   line, upgrade Muscat and Salalah           few years, indicating an increase in
ture projects. Experts say the Duqm        airports, construct domestic airports      the construction of more residential
Port project will add value to the         and infrastructure projects in different   buildings.
national economy and will contribute       regions affirms the Sultanate’s com-
to diversifying sources of income          mitment for growth.                        High profile projects like The Wave,
by attracting major investments and                                                   Blue City and Barr al Jissah have
industries.                                Since 2000, construction activities in     also contributed to the boom in the
                                           the tourism sector have been picking       construction sector.

             New luxury hotel at Airport Heights
                                            Oman Observer - 25 August 2010

C    onstruction work on a new
     luxury hotel will kick off shortly
at Airport Heights, adding to a string
                                           project is slated for completion in the
                                           third quarter of 2012. Significantly,
                                           the luxury hotel will further reinforce
                                                                                      be able to host huge scale events and
                                                                                      international conferences upon the
                                                                                      development’s completion, attract-
of prestigious landmarks coming up         the Airport Height’s image as an up-       ing global and commercial ventures.
around this rapidly developing suburb      coming tourism, leisure and business       Airport Heights will also be a hub for
of Muscat Governorate. The five-star       district of the capital region.            tourism and leisure, accentuated by
property, promoted by Azaiba Hotel                                                    the luxuriant fairways of the splendid
LLC, will come up on a spacious plot       The property will complement the           golf course set up by Muscat Hills
of land adjacent to the newly unveiled     iconic Oman Convention and Exhi-           Golf and Country Club located within
headquarters of BankMuscat. Well-          bition Centre, which will come up          distance of the new property.
known Omani construction firm,             a short distance away. Promoted by
Galfar Engineering and Contracting,        Omran, the tourism development             A number of government ministries,
has won a contract to build the prop-      vehicle of the Omani government, the       leading banks, public sector organisa-
erty at a cost of RO 7.067 million.        sumptuous Convention and Exhibi-           tions and corporate firms are also relo-
                                           tion Centre will act as a gateway to       cating to the Airport Heights stretch,
The upscale hotel will boast in excess     Muscat and will be an architectural        described as one of only a handful of
of 220 rooms and suites and all the        landmark. The centre will have a           areas within the capital region still
amenities of a five-star property, in-     seating capacity for 6,000.                available for development. Adding to
cluding an array of diners, swimming                                                  its appeal is the district’s proximity to
pool, business centre, and a range of      This includes 20 meeting rooms with        Muscat International Airport, as well
leisure and recreational facilities. The   varying seating capacity. Oman will        as other urban centres.

            The Wave, Muscat, taking final shape
                                            Times of Oman - 24 August 2010

N     ot all real estate development
      projects in Oman have seen
happy endings, but The Wave, Mus-
                                           tres stretching along 6km of natural
                                           beach it will include a string of man-
                                           made internal lakes.
                                                                                      sion mode, The Wave Muscat has
                                                                                      come out of this well and everything
                                                                                      is progressing according to the plan.
cat, is comfortably placed with a fully                                               The very fact that over 900 units of
master planned community which             What is the current status of The          The Wave, Muscat project have been
offers some of the most luxurious          Wave, Muscat?                              completed and sold while 333 units
accommodation in the region. With                                                     are currently under construction
more than 4,000 properties occupying       Notwithstanding the fact that the          speaks volumes about our confidence
a total area of 2,500,000 square me-       GCC real estate market is in a reces-      level. More than 500 properties have
38 The Home Show 2011
already been handed over to their re-      manage a resort-style hotel located       end users rather than speculators.
spective owners. The 333 units, now        close to the golf course. Both the        The first release of our new product
under construction, will be completed      hotels are at the final design stage at   occurred in March this year and was
by the end of 2010. This is unprec-        the moment. Construction for Oman’s       a resounding success.
edented in the GCC.                        first PGA Links golf course designed
                                           by the legendary Greg Norman is           Did the slowdown see you rolling
Now that people have started to move       progressing. The first 9-hole facility    back expansion plans?
in and more will follow suit in the        is scheduled to open in early 2011 and
coming months… what about sup-             the complete 18-hole standard course      No, expansion plans within the devel-
porting facilities for the residents?      is expected to fully open in 2012. The    opment are still on track, as promi-
                                           400-berth marina too is progressing at    nent Integrated Tourism Complexes
The Wave, Muscat is a fully master         a rapid pace and according to plans.      (ITC’s) such as The Wave, Muscat
planned community and we will be                                                     continue to present sound home buy-
providing several international re-        How did The Wave, Muscat handle           ing and investment opportunities due
tail offerings, including restaurants,     the slowdown?                             to their diversity. As we offer a wide
shops and a small supermarket to                                                     range of residential, leisure, entertain-
support residents’ different needs.        As the case with any other major real     ment and commercial facilities all
The commercial aspect is a key com-        estate project, the current economic      in one central location, we can look
ponent to the overall development          conditions presented a number of          forward to a steady and sustained
of our master planned community,           serious challenges which required         growth for the future.
especially at the dynamic Al Marsa         a review of our project and product
waterfront village, which is the larg-     offerings. During the initial stages of   Supported by the Sultanate’s new
est phase in the development and the       the downturn which occurred in late       foreign freehold ownership laws, for-
cosmopolitan hub of the project. Sev-      2008, a detailed review of the Master     eign investors are entitled to purchase
eral of our retail outlets in Al Marsa     Plan and product offerings was un-        freehold properties at The Wave,
Village will be operational and open       dertaken. During this review period,      Muscat and non-Omani buyers can
for the public by end of 2010, but the     extensive research was conducted so       also apply for residency visas when
bigger offerings continue to emerge        as to ensure that The Wave, Muscat’s      purchasing property in accordance
as the community grows. Kempinski          products would continue to meet the       with Omani law, an essential element
Hotels, one of the leading luxury ho-      needs of its customers in a long term     for potential foreign residents look-
tel groups worldwide, will be ready        and sustainable manner. This resulted     ing to make The Wave, Muscat their
for operation in 2013. Another hotel       in new product offerings that would       home. We are optimistic the project
property, Fairmont Hotels and Re-          appeal to broader segments of the         will continue to receive very strong
sorts, a global hospitality major, will    market and targeted more towards          support going forward.

                     Alargan Towell Investment Co.
                        launches ‘Beyout AlFaye’
                                            Oman Observer - 24 August 2010

A    largan Towell Investment Com-
     pany announced the completion
of the ‘model house’ of its latest resi-
                                           development designed to reflect the
                                           demand of the Omani middle-income
                                           segment for quality residential units
                                                                                     In addition, the company has fa-
                                                                                     cilitated financing agreements with
                                                                                     a number of leading banks in Oman
dential development in the Sultanate       in the Sultanate.                         to provide flexible payment options.
of Oman, Beyout AlFaye.
                                           The development includes a commer-        Beyout AlFaye features 126 villas
Beyout AlFaye, worth approximately         cial and retail component covering an     with a built-up area of 141 to 255
RO 12.5 million, is situated in the        area of 2,398m2 in addition to a num-     square metres, and includes six dif-
area of Al Khoudh, 15 km away from         ber of services and amenities to serve    ferent layout designs to provide an
Muscat International Airport. The          the surrounding local community.”         array of choices and accommodate
126 unit project will offer 29,258m2                                                 different lifestyles. The develop-
of residential and retail space with       Alargan Towell holds a notable track      ment is situated in close proximity
direct access to main highways and         record where the company has suc-         of major chain supermarkets as well
road networks.                             cessfully developed many innovative       as various facilities such as the pres-
                                           and affordable residential properties     tigious Sultan Qaboos University and
General Manager of Alargan Towell          and has expanded to encompass             Hospital. The expected completion
Investment Company, Ali Hassan             leisure and mixed-use projects in the     of the Beyout AlFaye project is first
Moosa said: “Beyout AlFaye is a            Sultanate of Oman.                        quarter of 2012.
                                                                                                       Market Report 39
               118 housing units being completed
                                            Oman Observer - 16 August 2010

T    he Diwan of the Royal Court, rep-
     resented by the Office of Sohar
Development, continues executing
                                           of 21 housing units in the mountain-
                                           ous areas and 12 housing units in the
                                           coastal areas and plains. There is a
                                                                                     the needs of these families. Nasser
                                                                                     bin Said bin Ali al Muqbali said: “We
                                                                                     thank Allah for this great blessing and
118 housing units ordered by His           study for 7 housing units that will be    we are thankful to His Majesty Sultan
Majesty Sultan Qaboos to the families      built during the coming period.           Qaboos and the Sohar Development
of social security and low-income                                                    Office for their great efforts in the
people in the Wilayat of Sohar. The        The continued support of the gov-         implementation of our house. We
office is about to deliver the contrac-    ernment in the past years through its     were suffering in our old houses. Now
tors 50 housing units in mountainous       various programmes for the housing        these houses would protect us from
zones that were ordered by His Maj-        sector is the main reason for the pro-    summer heat, winter cold and rains.”
esty during his last meet-the-people       vision of adequate housing. This has
tour in Saih al Makarem in Sohar.          a clear impact on the development of      Abdul Rahim bin Yusuf bin Ahmed al
                                           a healthy residential environment to      Balushi said: I work for a company
The total number of units is 118 of        cope with the comprehensive devel-        and receive a relatively weak salary
which 78 were completed in the             opment witnessed by the Sultanate in      that doesn’t exceed RO 130. I live
coastal areas and were handed over         this prosperous era.                      with my family that consists of 9
to their owners earlier this year. Work                                              members. Thanks to Allah and His
is under way on the implementation         These houses were designed to suit        Majesty, we have a better life now.”

                      BankMuscat ‘baituna souq’
                    rejuvenates real estate market
                                             Oman Observer - 8 August 2010

T    he second ‘baituna souq’ organ-
     ised by BankMuscat successfully
concluded on Friday with prospective
                                           specialised mortgage advisory and
                                           loan facilitation across 126 branches
                                           for properties from all leading de-
                                                                                     GCC nationals and expatriates as
                                                                                     well. The bank also offers refinancing
                                                                                     of housing loans.
home buyers, leading property and          velopers.
real estate developers, who attended                                                 To maximise the reach and effective-
the 3-day event, terming the event as      Sadiq al Zaabi, Head, Consumer            ness, ‘baituna souq’ was held on a
a true reflection of the rejuvenation of   Products, said: “BankMuscat is grati-     weekend, when the venue, Muscat
the real estate market in Oman.            fied that the 2nd ‘baituna souq’ turned   City Centre, has the highest footfalls.
                                           out to be a unique opportunity for        Representatives of the participating
Organised as part of BankMuscat’s          citizens and residents to consider an     companies were available under one
‘Oman Celebrates’ campaign com-            array of attractive home options. We      roof for one-to-one meetings with po-
memorating the Sultanate’s 40th            thank all participating real estate and   tential home buyers, thereby opening
Renaissance anniversary, ‘baituna          property developers for strengthen-       a channel of contact with interested
souq’ was aimed at fulfilling the          ing their association with ‘baituna’      customers.
bank’s aspiration to facilitate a ‘home    home finance and thereby fulfilling
for every family’.                         BankMuscat’s aspirations to facilitate    Tyler Scott, Senior Manager, Sales
                                           a ‘home for every family’.                and Leasing, Engel and Volkers, said:
The participating companies, which                                                   “The 2nd ‘baituna souq’ is a positive
showcased attractive real estate proj-     All these companies have a wealth         development. BankMuscat provided
ects included Zain Property Develop-       of expertise and experience in the        a unique opportunity to rejuvenate the
ment, E&V, Eamaar, Golden Group,           development of successful real estate     property market. The confidence of
Muscat Homes, Al Qandeel, Better           projects in Oman. BankMuscat re-          BankMuscat in the property market
Homes, ERA, Eqarat, Alargan Towell         mains committed to supporting these       was visible at the exhibition. The
and Oman Housing Bank.                     projects and citizens in acquiring        event has encouraged a lot of Oma-
                                           choice homes.” Tailor-made ‘baituna’      nis and GCC nationals to seriously
BankMuscat’s ‘baituna’ home finance        home finance facilitates purchase and     consider real estate options in the
served as the hub of activities offer-     construction of new homes as well as      Sultanate.”
ing attractive interest rates, quick       land for residential use. Home finance
and convenient approval process,           is made available for all Omanis,         “The Omani real estate market is
40 The Home Show 2011
quite distinct and the products on        into firm deals. Alargan Towell has        2009, an increase of 60.8 per cent.A
offer are also quite characteristic of    several projects on hand, which are        number of integrated tourism projects
the country. The property market in       prime properties in Muscat. Though         which allow property purchase by
Oman has witnessed big adjustments        the number of people who visited the       foreign nationals are offering attrac-
and is presently enjoying good sup-       event was not very high, those who         tive investment opportunities.
port. The market is well established      turned up were serious clients who
and is affordable. We interacted with a   made proper evaluation of projects on      Foreign investors in these projects
number of interested and prospective      offer. The exhibitors as well as visi-     enjoy free hold property ownership
clients who showed keen interest in       tors reflected the favourable property     and residency visa. The complement-
some properties. There is no doubt        market conditions in Oman.”                ing factors in favour of Oman include
that the market has been energised                                                   a growing, affluent population and a
by this exhibition. The confidence is     Ismail Kamel, Head of Sales, Era           modern, open economy offering an
back among customers to invest in         Oman, said: “The response from the         abundance of business opportuni-
the property market.                      exhibition has been quite encourag-        ties. The Omani property market
                                          ing. The event was very well arranged      is showing strong signs of growth
We congratulate BankMuscat for pro-       and the support of BankMuscat to the       and has bucked regional trends as
viding support and bringing together      real estate sector is proving beneficial   reflected in ongoing projects across
all leading property developers and       for all.”                                  the Sultanate. Experts believe that
consultants under one roof,” Scott                                                   this is a very exciting time for the real
added. Dawood Hamed Mubarak al            The Sultanate’s real estate sector         estate sector with excellent prospects
Shahi, Sales Officer, Alargan Towell      is presently witnessing favourable         and opportunities for both residential
Investment Company, said: “The            trends with the total real estate trans-   developments and integrated tourism
second ‘baituna souq’ was a good          actions touching RO 992 million in         projects. They affirm that Oman of-
business opportunity as we were suc-      the first half this year compared to       fers some of the best property options
cessful in converting a few queries       RO 617 million in the same period in       in the GCC at this time.

               The Wave, Muscat signs mortgage
                financing agreement with SCB
                                            Oman Observer - 8 August 2010

O     ffering lucrative loan opportu-
      nities to potential home buyers
and complementing its wide range
                                          purchasing processes through strong
                                          consumer banking partnerships that
                                          offer buyers of all nationalities af-
                                                                                     He added, “Standard Chartered
                                                                                     Bank places particular focus and
                                                                                     emphasis on providing the highest
of strategic partnerships with lead-      fordable and adequate financing            level of personalised services to its
ing financial institutions, The Wave,     schemes,” stated Abdulla al Shidi,         customers which we hope The Wave,
Muscat, the Sultanate’s landmark          Deputy CEO at The Wave, Muscat.            Muscat’s customers will also have
freehold development, has signed a                                                   an opportunity to experience.” The
mortgage financing agreement with         “We aim to realise the aspirations         agreement with Standard Chartered
Standard Chartered Bank (SCB).            of the Omani people and residents          Bank is part of The Wave, Muscat’s
                                          of our beloved nation, therefore it is     mission to build a truly sustainable
The Agreement was finalised during        crucial that we unremittingly offer        multi-cultural community by making
a commemorative signing ceremony          genuinely competitive housing loans,       residential property ownership more
held at the Integrated Tourism Com-       presenting full turnkey solutions          accessible, attainable and convenient
plex’s Sales Centre, attended by          from advanced purchase to support          to local and foreign home buyers.
senior officials from both parties.       services.” Ravneet Choudhry, CEO
                                          at Standard Chartered Bank, said,          With a focus on high levels of durabil-
As part of the Agreement, Standard        “We are proud to be associated with        ity and flexibility, this partnership also
Chartered Bank will offer up to 80        one of the most prestigious develop-       complements The Wave, Muscat’s
per cent of the value of the property,    ments that is increasingly forming in      existing affiliations with other chief
with a maximum loan period of up          the heart of Muscat. This partnership      financial establishments in the Sul-
to 25 years, and a very competitive       will make our products available to        tanate in efforts to meet customer’s
interest rate as low as 5.99 per cent     all The Wave, Muscat’s home buyers         myriad monetary requirements and
per annum.                                and will meet their various financial      accommodate the home purchasing
                                          necessities.                               process, allowing prospective buyers
“Our new agreement with Standard                                                     greater access to its diverse product
Chartered Bank presents another op-       We look forward to assisting them          portfolio ranging from apartments
portunity to facilitate essential home    to obtain the house of their dreams.”      and townhouses to villas.
                                                                                                       Market Report 41
                          Construction firms line up
                           for Duqm hotel contract
                                            Oman Observer - 2 August 2010

C    onstruction work on the Wusta
     region’s first luxury hotel at
Duqm is expected to commence early
                                          Sultanate’s first ship repair yard.
                                          Built in traditional Omani style, the
                                          four-storey structure will feature 213
                                                                                   desire to participate in a competitive
                                                                                   tender for the construction contract
                                                                                   include: Douglas OHI, BAM In-
next year.                                guestrooms and suites, as well as a      ternational, Carillion Alawi, Oman
                                          complete range of dining, leisure, and   Shapoorji, Galfar, Makyol, Bahwan
More than 30 local and international      recreational amenities.                  Contracting, Wade Adams, Erenport,
construction firms are preparing to bid                                            Al Turki Enterprises, Taylor Wood-
for a contract to build the beachfront    As a property oriented principally to-   row, Simplex Infrastructures, Larsen
property, which will cater primarily      wards business travellers, Duqm hotel    & Toubro (Oman), Mapa & Gunal,
to business investors, executives and     will also be equipped for meetings,      National United Engineering, Al
government officials supporting the       conferences and banquets.                Adrak, Abu Hatim, Teejan, Armeno,
development of a major industrial and                                              Federici-Stirling BATCO, Nagarjuna
commercial hub at Duqm, anchored          Omran has roped in leading hotel         Construction, DSME Construction,
by a world-class port and dry dock        chain InterContinental Hotels Group      Assignia Infrastructuras, China No.
complex.                                  (IHG) to operate the property under      4, and Ramco-Zecon. Bids close on
                                          the prestigious ‘Crowne Plaza’ brand.    August 16.
Omran, the wholly government              This follows an agreement signed by
owned tourism development firm,           Omran with IHG in August 2008 for        In addition to executing the hotel
is developing the four-star property      the development of the Duqm hotel.       project, the selected contractor will
on a 10-hectare plot overlooking the      The contract to build the hotel, es-     also construct a graded access road
Arabian Sea.                              timated to cost in excess of RO 25       to the property, besides providing
                                          million, has evinced the interest of a   supply and electricity connections.
The site is located a short distance      large number of local, regional and      With a construction timeframe of
from Duqm Town, and not from              international contracting firms.         around two years, the project is slated
where the government is building a                                                 for completion by end-2011 or early
giant port facility, incorporating the    Companies that have signalled a          2012.

             Nawras Mini Homes give chance to
             experience new residential services
                                            Oman Observer - 31 July 2010

N    awras is welcoming residents
     from across Oman to come and
explore its new Home Broadband and
                                          of eager visitors have already begun
                                          experiencing the Nawras Home
                                          Broadband and Voice services, and
                                                                                   the central Nawras Store in Salalah.

                                                                                   To celebrate the release of its excit-
Voice services by visiting one of the     even more are getting the chance to      ing new fixed services, Nawras is
company’s latest Mini Home expos,         play with us on a trial basis,” says     also offering customers incredible
now open to the public at a variety       Pradeep Kumar, Trade Marketing           discounts on many of its latest home
of popular locations. From trendy         Manager at Nawras.                       broadband products, including double
shopping malls to local supermarkets,                                              data allowances, half-priced modems
Nawras teams have set up five differ-     “We believe that the latest technol-     and more.
ent Mini Home locations where visi-       ogy should also be user-friendly, and
tors can see firsthand the quality of     at the Mini Home we are pleased to       “We are seeing a great response from
voice services and surf the broadband     show visitors just how simple it is to   people across the Sultanate as visitors
Internet connection all while relaxing    enjoy Nawras plug and play pack-         discover the many options avail-
on the living room sofa.                  ages,” he said.                          able in selecting Nawras packages
                                                                                   suited to their individual needs,” adds
Nearly 25 Nawras trainees are on          The campaign is running until August     Kumar. “Experiencing the system
hand to welcome customers, drawing        6 with the demo areas open from 10       firsthand also gives us the chance to
upon their know-how to explain the        am-10 pm daily in the areas of City      listen to our customers as we strive to
uses and benefits of the new services,    Centre (Seeb 2), City Centre (Qurum      build a close relationship with them
discuss price options, and offer free     3), Lulu Hypermarket (Darsait 4),        and offer a pleasingly different com-
demos of the products. “Hundreds          Lulu Hypermarket (Ghobra 5), and in      munication experience.”
42 The Home Show 2011
“More than 1.9 million Nawras             telecommunications provider, now         the very first time,” a company press
customers are currently enjoying the      offering residential customers in        release said.
unique products and services of the       Oman a choice in fixed services for

              Strong rise in Al Jazeera Steel sales
                                             Oman Observer - 29 July 2010

A    l Jazeera Steel Products Co
     SAOG has reported an impres-
sive 87 per cent growth in steel sales
                                          steel making, supported by an overall
                                          increase in demand with restocking
                                          taking place.
                                                                                   fourth quarter of this year. With a
                                                                                   wider range of products, the demand
                                                                                   for merchant bars is expected to
during the first half of this year.                                                translate into much higher levels of
                                          Nevertheless, the market was not able    capacity utilization during the last
Revenues soared to RO 32.076 mil-         to sustain this growth in demand for     quarter,” the Chairman stated.
lion this year, from RO 17.161 mil-       a long period, and both HRC and bil-
lion during the same period last year.    let prices have come down by 20 per      Demand for Al Jazeera’s pipe prod-
Total production of steel products        cent as compared to the first quarter.   ucts remained positive not only in
jumped 93 per cent to 107,671 metric      The volatility in raw material prices    the GCC market, but also in North
tonnes (MT) this year, from 55,801        affected regional demand and most        America, according to the Chairman’s
MT during the first half of last year.    traders took a very cautious stand       report. The company has in hand a
Sales, in volume terms, were 79 per       in building up inventories, while        stable volume of orders for exports
cent higher at 105,266 MT this year,      the construction sector in the UAE       outside the GCC, compared to the
from 58,778 MT during the first six       has not fully picked up to pre-crisis    same period of 2009. Export sales are
months of last year.                      levels. Due to the wider application     expected to maintain the same trend
                                          of Al Jazeera’s pipe products and the    in the coming months.
As a result of the strong growth in       reputation that your company enjoys
sales, Al Jazeera posted a net profit     in the international market, we were     “The increase in demand is coupled
of RO 1.155 million during the first      able to improve our sales despite        with the easing of the recession and
half of 2010, compared to a loss of       these adverse circumstances.”            the restocking carried out by traders
RO 2.084 million during the corre-                                                 across the world. However, once
sponding half of 2009.                    Al Jazeera’s merchant products,          again a very cautious approach is be-
                                          which primarily cater to infrastruc-     ing taken to protect the company if a
Commenting on the company’s per-          ture development, saw a significant      downturn occurs,” Al Rubaie stated.
formance during the first half of the     downturn, the report said. Sales were    “With our excellent product and qual-
year, Sulaiman M Shaheen al Rubaie,       affected negatively by “dumping”         ity standards, we have been able to
Chairman, stated in the Chairman’s        from international producers.            achieve higher volumes in the second
Report: “From the beginning of this                                                quarter compared to the previous year
year, hot rolled coils (HRC) and billet   “Also, unlike our pipes, with our        second quarter and we are expecting
prices, the two key raw materials used    limited merchant product variety we      growth in the remaining quarters. To
in our products, were buoyant and         were not able to cater to some of the    achieve these goals, we have to be
continued their upward trend through      other product categories demanded        more vigilant and aggressive in pro-
the beginning of the second quarter.      during this quarter. Currently, de-      curing our raw materials at the right
The continuous rise in prices of HRC      velopments are going on to cover a       price and time in order to meet the
and billets was due to the persistent     broader spectrum of products, which      market demand and optimise profit-
increase in raw material prices for       are expected to be available from the    ability,” he added.

            Al Anwar Ceramic to boost capacity
                                             Times of Oman - 29 July 2010

A     l Anwar Ceramic Tiles Com-
      pany (AACT), which has a
dominant position in the domestic ce-
                                          take its total capacity to 16 million
                                          square metres per annum.
                                                                                   lion,” said AACT Managing Director
                                                                                   A. Shamsuddin.

ramic tiles market with its popular Al    ”We have finalised our next expan-       He said that his company is in discus-
Shams brand, is planning to expand        sion plan. This will be in two phases    sion with the government for availing
its installed capacity by six million     of three million each —enabling a        additional natural gas to feed the new
square metres in two phases. This will    total investment of about RO12 mil-      production line and the immediate
                                                                                   gas requirement is for three million
                                                                                                   Market Report 43
square metre capacity. “We should be       market, where it invested signifi-         freight increases.”
able to get a positive response from       cantly in strengthening branding and
the government.”                           merchandising platforms.                   According to Shamsuddin, the overall
                                                                                      size of the ceramic tiles industry in the
In case of a difficulty in getting ad-     “We have achieved the position of          GCC region is estimated in the region
ditional natural gas, the company          the lowest cost producer of ceramic        of 125-150 million sq meters per an-
has another option of using LPG.           tiles in the region; consistent with our   num and roughly half of this demand
However, the company has to invest         strategy,” he noted.                       is met by local GCC manufacturers
additional money for converting LPG                                                   and the rest by imports. “Saudi Arabia
into natural gas to feed the factory.      Shamsuddin said that the company           and the UAE are the two large mar-
                                           is anticipating a sales revenue of         kets,” Shamsuddin noted.
“It takes only 12 months to complete       RO18 million this year, as compared
the (first phase of three million square   to RO15.89 million posted for 2009,        The GCC continues to remain a net
metres) expansion, after getting           while pre-tax profit is expected to        importer of ceramic tiles, and the
government permission for gas,” he         move up to RO6.2 million from              factors that fuel demand include
noted.                                     RO5.61 million.                            opening up of property ownership for
                                                                                      foreigners, growth in tourism, and the
Shamsuddin said that his company           Referring to the demand situation, he      growing young population that props
has a good presence in other GCC           said, “We expect some uncertainties        up demand for housing units. The
markets with exports accounting for        to prevail in the immediate short term,    company’s strategy is to maintain its
55 per cent of total volumes.              which could make market conditions         status as a low-cost regional producer
                                           difficult. We expect the intensity of      going forward, which will help them
Al Anwar Ceramic Tiles Company             Chinese price competition to ease          challenge the prevailing competition
has a strong presence in the domestic      given their own cost, currency and         in the region.

                  Omran, Musstir tie-up for resort
                                              Times of Oman - 25 July 2010

O    mran, the investment company
     developing tourism assets and
infrastructure in Oman, and its joint
                                           table experience, teamed with the
                                           warm Omani hospitality.
                                                                                      The extensive landscaped resort
                                                                                      will feature 106 one, two, and three
                                                                                      bedroom chalets, most with their
venture partner, Musstir LLC, on           Mohammed Al Rawas said, “I am              own courtyard swimming pools. The
Thursday celebrated the laying of the      delighted to be attending this sig-        main hotel building will house 30
foundation stone for the Al Baleed         nificant ceremony especially that it       guest rooms, recreation facilities, spa,
Resort.                                    coincides with the commemoration           F&B outlets; themed restaurants and
                                           of Oman’s Fortieth Renaissance Day,        function areas.
A ceremony was held under the aus-         celebrating the wise leadership of His
pices of Abdul Aziz bin Mohammed           Majesty Sultan Qaboos. The laying          Dr Rajiha said, “This will be another
Al Rowas, cultural affairs advisor to      of this foundation is a further step in    strong tourism attraction for Oman
His Majesty the Sultan, and attended       enriching the region of Salalah, and       and a fantastic accomplishment for
by Dr Rajiha bint Abdul Amir bin Ali,      sets an example of how to create site-     Omran and Musstir. This project
the minister of tourism and Omran          sensitive luxury, whilst conserving        supports our aim to enrich and further
Chairperson, and Sheikh Mohammed           our natural environment. I would like      strengthen the structure of the Sul-
bin Marhoon bin Ali Al Ma’amari,           to congratulate Omran and Musstir on       tanate’s tourism and it will develop
minister of state and governor of          their foresight and the synergy of their   the tourism potential of the Dhofar
Salalah, and a number of guests;           visions to create luxurious and sensi-     region. This is in line with our vi-
members of the, State Council,             tive havens that respect the authentic     sion for development, with tourism
Majlis Al Shura Council, and other         habitats of Oman.”                         expected to be one of the largest
distinguished honorees of the state                                                   sectors contributing to our nation’s
of Dhofar.                                 The resort is a joint venture between      growth by 2020.”
                                           Omran and Musstir LLC, an MB
The resort will become a key attrac-       Holding company specialising in            Al Barwani said, “As a socially re-
tion of Al Baleed, the cradle of culture   real estate management and devel-          sponsible organisation, we remain
and trade in the Dhofar region of          opment. Work will start on the site        committed to sustaining and adding
Oman. The rich history of the ancient      in November, 2010 and anticipated          value to our society, the environment
city will offer visitors an unforget-      to be complete by December, 2012.          and the economy.”
44 The Home Show 2011
                       Construction costs spring up
                                              Times of Oman - 15 July 2010

P    rices of construction material in
     Muscat have registered a sharp
increase of 3.2 per cent in the first
                                          sprang up 1.4 per cent in this year’s
                                          first quarter compared to last year’s
                                          fourth quarter, it said.
                                                                                      The data also shows electrical equip-
                                                                                      ment & appliances registered a 7.9 per
                                                                                      cent rise in the first four months this
quarter of 2010 compared to last year,                                                year compared to the last four months
the Ministry of National Economy’s        The data indicates that the first quarter   of 2009 due to a 9.3 per cent rise in
statistical bulletin has showed.          of this year saw a 0.4 per cent rise in     price of electrical appliances used for
                                          price of wood compared to fourth            protection of electrical circuit.
The report shows building costs gal-      quarter of 2009 due to a 4.3 per cent
loped despite a decline of 1.3 per cent   rise in plywood price. Glass prices         Prices of stones, sand and gypsum,
in the price of cement during the first   rose 8.5 per cent due to the rise in the    on the other hand, declined 5.4 per
four months of this year compared to      glass fibre products by 20.2 per cent       cent together with aluminium, which
the fourth quarter of last year. Also,    and glass mirrors by 21.4 per cent.         is down 3.5 per cent. Prices of other
the construction material price index                                                 metals also declined 1.6 per cent.

                      Luxury living in Saud Bahwan
                      Palm Gardens villas in Sohar
                                             Oman Observer - 6 July 2010

V    illas at Saud Bahwan Palm Gar-
     dens, Sohar have been designed
with modern lifestyles in mind. A
                                          robes with extra storage space on
                                          top. Every villa has a covered terrace
                                          balcony and master bedroom attached
                                                                                      Highest levels of safety is assured
                                                                                      to residents with 24-hour security,
                                                                                      CCTV for common areas, fire alarm
fact evidenced in every facet of its      with a separate full-length balcony         system, intruder alarm system in
structure and the many thoughtful         and walk in closet. A comfortable           villas, video/audio door phones etc.
conveniences that are built into them.    family lounge adds to your comfort.         Other facilities include: key telephone
Understandably, it is fast becom-         Covered car parks and large lawn for        system in villas, central piped gas and
ing the popular choice of Sohar’s         evening get together enhance your           satellite system, jogging tracks, play
discerning customers — Omani and          convenience.                                gardens with equipment for children,
expatriate alike.                                                                     car parking area for visitors, etc.
                                          Each complex offers a host of world-        together with a dedicated round-the-
At Palm Gardens villas, the emphasis      class facilities and conveniences           clock onsite maintenance team.
is on spacious comfort. These 3 and       including a separate clubhouse for
4 Bedroom villas feature spacious         the villa complex. The dedicated            Located in the heart of Sohar, the
rooms with central ducted AC, maid’s      clubhouse has integrated temperature        Palm Gardens villa is fast becoming
room with wardrobe and attached           controlled swimming pools, separate         one of the most sought after addresses
toilet, air-conditioned kitchens with     children’s pool, Multi-purpose halls        in Oman. While convenience, build
large work areas and Storerooms.          with pantry and store facility and          quality and sheer luxury are key
Kitchens are large and loaded with        lawns for parties, fully equipped           considerations, so is the trust and
features — plenty of cabinets, 5          gymnasium, steam and sauna, squash/         reliability that customers attach to
Burner gas cooker hob with smoke          tennis/basketball courts, games rooms       the property developer — The Saud
extractor, built-in dish washer, built-   for billiards and table tennis, poolside    Bahwan Group, Oman’s best-known
in electrical oven to just name a few.    lawns for parties etc. These spacious       business house with diversified inter-
                                          clubhouses are built over a plot area       ests and a reputation for unmatched
All bedrooms feature built-in ward-       of over 4000 sq.mts.                        customer care.

                       Bank Sohar signs MoU with
                       Zain Property Development
                                              Oman Observer - 5 July 2010

B    ank Sohar has signed a memo-
     randum of understanding with
                                          Zain Property Development to extend
                                          housing finance to customers keen to
                                                                                      invest in the Zain projects at Dar Al
                                                                                      Zain at Sur Hadid — Seeb and at Zain
                                                                                                       Market Report 45
Heights, Ruwi.                            Mohamed Abdulla Moosa, Chairman           specific requirements of our custom-
                                          of Zain Property Development com-         ers and takes care of all aspects of a
The MoU was signed by Dr Mo-              mented: “Zain Property Development        home purchase.”
hamed Abdulaziz Kalmoor, Chief            always keeps the interest of the buy-
Executive Officer, Bank Sohar and         ers at the fore front, which is why I     Al Tal’ey added that Bank Sohar’s
Mohamed Abdulla Moosa, Chairman           am pleased that this MoU with Bank        memorandum of understanding
of Zain Property Development last         Sohar has been signed as it will of-      with Zain Property will work to the
week at the head office of Bank Sohar.    fer customers of Dar al Zain or Zain      advantage of customers who are in
Senior Management members from            Heights properties an affordable fi-      the market for a property purchase.
both sides were present to witness        nancing facility at competitive rates”.   “Customers can select their home
this signing ceremony.                    “Bank Sohar’s ‘Al Bait Al Mumayaz’        and come to Bank Sohar to make it
                                          Home Solutions is one of the first        possible.”
“With the signing of this MoU, Bank       products launched by the bank when
Sohar will extend Housing Loan Fi-        they opened for business,” said Khal-     Zain Property Development is an
nance to customers eager to invest in     fan Rashid al Tal’ey DGM Retail           Omani family business specialis-
Zain’s housing projects at Seeb and       Banking.                                  ing in providing affordable luxury
at Ruwi,” explained Dr Kalmoor. “A                                                  housing to middle-income families
home for every person in Oman is a        “The Home Solutions have significant      and couples. The developer re-
cherished national goal.                  highlights and are customer-friendly.     cently handed over Phase I of their
                                          They are marketed directly to custom-     debut development ‘Dar al Zain’,
This MoU makes it convenient for          ers, offered through the bank’s branch    62000 square meter townhouse and
customers to invest and own a home        network and through exclusive ar-         villa community based at Seeb. Zain
of their choice and realise their as-     rangements with leading real estate       Property Development recently com-
pirations with ease and minimum of        and property developers.                  menced construction of their second
formalities. Our initiative will make                                               project; ‘Zain Heights’, a luxurious
the process of owning a home an           Al Bait Al Mumayaz’ Home Solu-            apartment complex in the Mumtaz
achievable goal.”                         tions has been developed to meet the      district of Ruwi.

The Wave says 60pc work on waterways done
                                             Oman Observer - 2 June 2010

T   he Wave, Muscat has an-
    nounced that more than 60 per
cent of construction on its internal
                                          for fish and other sea life.

                                          As a prime architectural feature that
                                                                                    With construction of the seawater
                                                                                    pump stations progressing, the master
                                                                                    planner’s objective is to complete the
waterways is nearing completion and       blends with unique marina views, the      internal waterways in several phases
progressing.                              waterways are an exquisite lifestyle      with the first sections near the main
                                          component for residents and visitors      residential entrance already in place.
This is in line with the residential      to live and relax by the water, bring-
occupations in the initial construc-      ing together the multitude of features    The Wave, Muscat has also taken
tion sector, and this phase is expected   available at The Wave, Muscat.            proactive steps in its efforts to con-
to be complete by end of 2010. The                                                  serve the environment by preventing
waterways, which weave across five        The waterways are envisaged to en-        harmful algae and red tide growth,
km of the residential sectors in a        hance a genuine sense of community        through utilising the latest circulation
curve fashion with widths up to 30        in line with the development’s core       and water monitoring technology to
metres, have bridges connecting the       objectives to form a truly integrated,    guarantee that the water is changed
waterfront properties throughout the      harmonious and environmentally            every 72 hours to keep it cool, clean
development and are already home          sustainable community.                    and clear.

               New projects signal tourism boom
                                             Oman Observer - 1 June 2010

A   four-star hotel coming up in Al
    Khuwair is among the many
properties currently under way in
                                          S A Salman Rizvi, general manager
                                          of an upcoming property named ‘The
                                          Platinum’ in Al Khuwair, said: “Our
                                                                                    ing tourism sector.”

                                                                                    Even as the construction is nearing
Oman which signal the country’s           new four-star hotel, set to open soon,    completion, The Platinum is receiving
booming tourism business.                 is yet another sign of Oman’s boom-       a very good response from prospec-
46 The Home Show 2011
tive customers “largely because tour-      up in the Batinah Region in view of    tional Airport and is mere five min-
ism is booming in the Sultanate.” The      the booming tourism business.          utes drive to the magnificent Sultan
Sultanate’s tourism sector continues                                              Qaboos Grand Mosque, government
to flourish in the face of international   Some of the projects in the pipeline   ministries, embassies and commercial
economic meltdown, Salman added.           include Al Aiga Hotel in the Wilayat   business district.
                                           of Sur, Firaq Hotel and Restaurant
Experts say other projects currently       in Wilayat of Nizwa, a Convention      Unlike most hotels, The Platinum
under way are a 5-star hotel in Al         and Exhibition Centre in Bausher, an   boasts of separate facilities for men
Buraimi, Jabal Saifa Resort, Salalah       Eco-tourism Resort in Ras Al Hadd,     and women such as gymnasiums,
Beach Resort, The Sport City at Al         Abu al Nakheel Resort in Barka, in     swimming pool, steam bath and
Musannah, Hayout Resort in Khasab,         addition to many other projects in     jacuzzi, all situated on the roof top
Haraf Resort in Khasab, a tourist          different parts of the country.        overlooking the city.
camp in Nakhal, a tourist restaurant
in Darsait, and the newly opened four-     European and regional Arab tourists    The Platinum has 85 rooms and
star Butterfly Hotel Suites in Sohar,      have appreciated the fusion of rich    suites, esthetically designed, spacious
to name only a few.                        Islamic heritage and ultra modern      and luxuriously furnished to delight
                                           luxuries in The Platinum, which is     the discerning taste of GCC, Asian
Around nine new hotels are coming          only 10 km from the Muscat Interna-    and European tourists.

                 Oman Arab Bank in alliance with
                  Zain Property Development
                                             Oman Observer - 26 May 2010

A    n agreement has been signed
     between Oman Arab Bank and
Zain Property Development recently
                                           Heights apartment have the option
                                           to approach Oman Arab Bank for a
                                           competitive housing loan.
                                                                                  customers. “We are delighted to
                                                                                  be associated with Zain Property
                                                                                  Development as we believe that
at the head office of Oman Arab                                                   our partnership would allow Omani
Bank in Ruwi, with the presence            “At Zain Property Development we       families to own an affordable home
of Rashad al Shaikh from the bank          are committed to providing safe,       at competitive pricing,” added Rashad
and Mish’al Mohd Abdullah Moosa,           secure and affordable housing to       al Shaikh.
Managing Director of Zain Property         Omanis. The agreement with Oman
Development.                               Arab Bank assists this commitment      In addition to Al Dar housing loan the
                                           by making our properties even easier   bank has developed several products
Established in 2008, the company           to afford.”                            and services to meet its customer’s
specialises in developing affordable,                                             financial needs such as Markabati
quality real estate. The agreement         Oman Arab Bank, one of the leading     Auto loan product, in addition to the
means that Zain Property Develop-          banks in the Sultanate, has always     growth account and Hassad saving
ers’ customers purchasing either Dar       strived to provide a complete home     scheme which gives an opportunity
al Zain villa or townhouse or a Zain       financing solution to its valued       to win exciting cash prizes.

OHB provides Maskan loans worth RO 3.57m
                                              Oman Observer - 25 May 2010

T    he number of Maskan loans pro-
     vided by Oman Housing Bank
(OHB) during the first quarter of the
                                           the number of loans distributed in
                                           Dhofar Governorate was 12 with a
                                           value of RO 465,800.
                                                                                  19 at a value of RO 504,300, while
                                                                                  the loans funded by the bank in Al
                                                                                  Batinah Region were 32 at a value of
current year reached 118 subsidised                                               RO 953,000. In Al Dakhiliyah region,
loans with a value of RO 3,572,100 as      In Al Buraimi Governorate, the num-    OHB offered 16 loans at a value of
part of the efforts exerted by the bank    ber of persons who benefited from      RO 442,000.
to provide loans for the category of       OHB loans was four with a value
people whose salaries are more than        of RO 165,400 and in Musandam          “Maskan” is one of the residential
RO 600 monthly.                            Governorate one Maskan loan worth      loans offered by OHB for funding
                                           a value of RO 29,200 was allocated.    many purposes like building, pur-
The greatest share of 34 loans were                                               chasing and expansion of houses in
allocated to Muscat governorate with       The number of loans funded by          order to complete home construction
as much as RO 1,012,400, whereas           OHB in Al Sharqiyah region was         projects.
                                                                                                   Market Report 47
       Better Homes begins Muscat operations
                                            Oman Observer - 22 May 2010

B    etter Homes, the UAE’s largest
     real estate agency, has opened its
doors in the Sultanate of Oman, sign-
                                          Oman’s property market opens to
                                          freehold foreign ownership opportu-
                                          nities”, said Harry Buitelaar, General
                                                                                    been limited to tourism-related de-
                                                                                    velopments. Outside the hotels and
                                                                                    Integrated Tourism Complexes,
ing up with Mohamed and Qaboos al         Manager, Better Homes Oman. “De-          developers are constructing private
Khonji Group of Companies.                spite a global slowdown, real estate      and corporate residential, commercial
                                          in Oman has shown a high degree of        and retail projects for a fast growing
Opened for business in March 2010,        resilience, maintaining a steady rate     economy and an anticipated increased
Better Homes will be operating in         of growth” added Buitelaar.               population.
Oman from the heart of the capital.
Offering a mix of residential and         2010 is also expected to witness the      “The banking sector will be permit-
commercial property services, the         launch of several large mixed-use         ted to sell mortgages, placing home
brokerage aims to provide quality         projects in an effort to diversify the    ownership within reach of most
inventory matched with first-rate cus-    economy and expand Oman’s hous-           income-earning nationals and expa-
tomer service, benefits which are still   ing and commercial real estate stock.     triates — allowing Better Homes to
lacking in certain areas in the region.                                             assist in sales, leasing and property
                                          With real estate activity in Oman is      management activities for residen-
“The launch of the Muscat office          set for significant mid-term growth,      tial and commercial property within
comes at an interesting time as           Oman’s property boom has not              Oman”, added Buitelaar.

                        Muriya to showcase sample
                        Jebel Sifah apartments soon
                                             Times of Oman - 22 May 2010

J  ebel Sifah, the integrated tourism
   complex being developed by the
Muriya Tourism Development, has
                                          and apartments.

                                          Bahaa Kareem, marketing director of
                                                                                    The roads leading to Sifah will be
                                                                                    widened for safe access to the desti-
                                                                                    nation. The internal roads within the
started to take shape, providing a        Muriya Tourism Development said,          project have already been laid out,
glimpse of what the destination will      “all the apartments and over 70 per       providing clear access to the proper-
look like.                                cent of the villas have been sold out.    ties and the marina. Final revetment
                                          The owners are 70 per cent Omanis         for internal roads will be finished by
Spread over an area of 6.2 million        and the remaining 30 per cent consti-     beginning of next year.
square metres and surrounded by           tute expatriates mainly from France,
turquoise waters and the Hajjar           Germanany and Switzerland.”               The central hub of ‘Jebel Sifah’ is
mountain range, the destination of-                                                 the marina that will be bustling with
fers a choice of the view you would       With the construction work in full        an array of activities surrounded by
want to enjoy.                            swing, Muriya will soon announce          lively restaurants, cafes and apart-
                                          the release of new units and schemes.     ment blocks with narrow, shaded,
Construction work is in progress at       Selective hotel-managed new apart-        cobbled roads when completed. Even
different stages in all the 18 apart-     ments and villas will offer a unique      so, a lot of thought and attention has
ment blocks, while finishing work is      rent back guarantee programme and         gone into the planning to ensure that
nearing completion on five blocks.        will be operated by top brand hotels,     the feel and look of the place remains
                                          a first of its kind associated with       open and uncluttered, at the same time
A mock-up apartment is being com-         freehold properties in Oman. The          aesthetically pleasing.
pleted, with the interiors done up, to    new villas to be released will have
give a realistic insight on design and    new convenient sizes. An on-site sales    The marina was flooded in Novem-
space. The mock-up apartment will be      office will be set up soon, to further    ber 2009 and will be soon ready for
open for public in a couple of days.      enhance the service to the customers,     berthing boats. High quality weather-
                                          including site visits.                    resistant pontoons have been put in
The 63 villas, part of the initial                                                  place that will provide space for up
release will be designed in eight dif-    Muriya has also set up a home design      to 150 boats.
ferent styles of which 41 are nearing     department, and are providing owners
completion. In the first quarter of       furniture packages, interior finishing,   A promenade will weave through the
2011, phase I customers will start        audio-visual packages, landscaping        lively marina town that will also ac-
receiving the handover of their villas    and upgrade options.                      commodate a marina boutique hotel
48 The Home Show 2011
having 55 rooms. Nearing comple-          hotel company.                            Egypt’s Orascom Hotels and Devel-
tion, the marina hotel will open in                                                 opment (with 70 per cent stake) and
the first quarter of 2011 and will be     In partnership with the iconic fash-      Omani government-owned Omran
managed by Muriya Hotel Division.         ion house of the same name, Hotel         formed a joint venture. Since then,
                                          Missoni will be stylish, intimate,        Muriya has announced four projects
Muriya has secured a portfolio of         contemporary and eclectic in design.      across the beautiful locales of Oman.
the most reputable and prestigious        The property with 250-room keys will      Work is ongoing on two projects that
hospitality brands for Jebel Sifah        be designed by Michael Graves and         are integrated tourism complexes
that include Four Seasons Hotels and      Rosita Missoni will oversee the inte-     (ITCs) offering freehold properties
Resorts, Banyan Tree Hotels and Re-       riors. Construction for the Missoni       — ‘Jebel Sifah’ and ‘Salalah Beach’.
sorts and Angsana Resorts and Spas,       Hotel is scheduled to start in 2010.      In addition, Muriya will also be devel-
Missoni Hotel and the fourth hotel                                                  oping a city complex in Muscat and a
will be operated by a famous French       Muriya was established in 2006 when       boutique hotel on ‘As Sodah Island’.

                 Mega tourism projects in Dhofar
                                             Oman Observer - 19 May 2010

A    number of mega tourism
     projects are under way in the
Governorate of Dhofar. These include
                                          in Dhofar.

                                          With regard to other future projects,
                                                                                    in Salalah, developing ‘Al Murnaif
                                                                                    Cave’ in Al Maghsayl, building a
                                                                                    café for visitors, paving the 12-km-
the Shatti Salalah Resort (first phase)   Al Rowas said that the Consolidated       long ‘Taiq Cave-Jabal Samhan road,
which is undertaken by Muriya Tour-       Real Estate Company of Kuwait is          besides undertaking the development
ism Development Company.                  currently studying the construction       of some tourism attractions (first
                                          of an integrated tourism resort in        phase) such as the viewing site at
The resort comprises of three hotels, a   Niyabat al Shuwaimiyah. Oman In-          Iteen Cave, Hamrair Pass, Jarziz and
marina, golf course, a shopping mall,     ternational Development and Invest-       Sahanawt springs.
villas and hotel apartments. Muriya       ment Company is currently studying
Tourism Development Company is            the construction of a tourism resort in   The ministry has also financed a
also implementing Jazirat As’Sowdah       Aftailquot district, he said. A number    number of projects in the Dhofar
Resort in Al Halaniyat Islands which      of projects are still under review,       Governorate, such as, the 8-km-long
includes a specialised environmental      including construction of an environ-     Iteen dual carriageway under the su-
tourism resort comprising of a total      mental resort in the Wilayat of Mirbat.   pervision of the Office of the Minister
of 32 hotel units.                                                                  of State and Governor of Dhofar, in
                                          An MoU was signed between Wahat           addition to construction of 15 water
The tourism shopping mall, ‘World         al Yasmin Trading and Contracting         closets (WCs) at different tourism
of Salalah’, is being constructed by      and Alila International Hotels, in        sites, being undertaken by Dhofar
Kuwait’s Real Estate Consolidated         addition to other projects which in-      Municipality. In conjunction with
company. It includes a tourism com-       clude development of Al Mughsayl          Dhofar Municipality, the ministry has
plex which consists of restaurants, a     district and ‘Al Fazayih District’, he    also contributed towards lighting of
world-class central market Carrefour,     explained. It’s worth noting that the     Al Mughsail beach, financing some
cinemas, snooker and bowling halls,       Tourism Ministry has implemented          26-km-long roads at springs and
amusement e-games and hotel apart-        a number of projects in the Dhofar        wadis, such as, Wadi Darbat, Wadi
ments. This was announced in a state-     Governorate which included ‘Al            Athum, Tubruq and Jarziz Springs
ment to Oman News Agency here             Morouj Theatre’ that accommodates         and Wadi Sha’boun under the super-
yesterday by Khalid bin Musalam al        about 6,000 spectators, the ‘Youth        vision of the Regional Municipalities
Rowas, Director-General of Tourism        Housing’ project in Sahalnawt district    and Water Resources Ministry.

                   Royal grant for housing scheme
                                             Oman Observer - 3 May 2010

H   is Majesty Sultan Qaboos has
    issued a Royal grant allocating
RO 200 million to finalise all social
                                          of 2009. This was announced by
                                          Ahmed bin Abdulnabi Macki, Minis-
                                          ter of National Economy and Deputy
                                                                                    Energy Resources Council.

                                                                                    To mark the 40th Anniversary of His
housing applications as at the end        Chairman of the Financial Affairs and     Majesty the Sultan’s assumption of
                                                                                                     Market Report 49
power, His Majesty has allocated           keenness to provide the citizens all        Minister valued His Majesty’s grant
RO 200 million to clear all pending        over the Sultanate with convenient          for social housing assistance scheme
housing applications for those who         housing.                                    beneficiaries, citizens with limited
meet the conditions for housing ap-                                                    income and social security families.
plications and who are registered in       Al Shabibi told Oman News Agency
the Ministry of Housing till the end       (ONA) that the number of pending            He described the Royal grant as a
of 2009, Macki added. Macki told           applications for housing assistance         kind gesture from His Majesty to the
Oman News Agency that the Royal            scheme stood at 12,339 as at the end        faithful Omani people who are used
grant stipulates that the amount of        of 2009. He added that the grant will       to his generosity. He said that the
RO 40 million will be dispensed an-        cut short the period of waiting and         Royal grant reflects His Majesty’s
nually throughout the 8th Five-Year        expedite the processing of applica-         keenness to help achieve the goals of
Plan from 2011 till 2015.                  tions owing to availability of financial    the Ministry of Housing. The housing
                                           assistance (RO 40 million a year) to        assistance scheme has been one of
Macki underlined the keenness of His       be dispensed throughout the 8th Five-       the housing schemes pursued by the
Majesty the Sultan that all citizens all   Year Plan starting from 2011 to 2015.       ministry during the blessed renais-
over Oman should enjoy a decent and                                                    sance led by His Majesty the Sultan.
stable living to help them contribute      Al Shabibi pointed out that the com-
to the socio-economic development          mittees concerned at the ministry           A great deal of families have benefit-
of the Sultanate. Shaikh Saif bin Mo-      will study all the housing assistance       ted from this scheme. Considering the
hammed al Shabibi, Housing Minister        applications to ensure that they con-       circumstances of beneficiaries, the
affirmed that the Royal grant of His       form with relevant conditions prior         government’s assistance is deemed a
Majesty to finalise pending housing        to their approval and the floating for      non-refundable grant to the citizens,
applications underlines His Majesty’s      tenders for bidding. The Housing            Al Shabibi explained. — ONA

             HSBC Oman lowers mortgage rates
                                             Oman Observer - 26 April 2010

H   SBC announced yesterday it is
    decreasing mortgage rates for
home finance for customers, effective
                                           to Muscat region but is also extended
                                           to some areas in Al Batinah region
                                           including Barka, Buraimi and Shinas.
                                                                                       fidence has been low, however we
                                                                                       believe that owning a home continues
                                                                                       to be an extremely important decision
immediately, in line with its commit-                                                  for residents of the Sultanate. It is also
ment to be the Best Place to Bank.         Ewan Stirling, Chief Executive Of-          key to point out that in attractive lo-
                                           ficer, Oman, HSBC said, “HSBC is            cations across Oman, buying a home
Customers can now take advantage           very much open for business, and            can be cheaper than renting.
of HSBC’s revised rate at 5.99 per         wants to provide flexibility and choice
cent from the previous 7.5 per cent        for customers who are looking to own        “With our new rate reduction, higher
when purchasing a ready property,          a home.                                     loan to value and a variety of options
the lowest home finance rate in Oman.                                                  at competitive prices, we continue to
                                           Price valuations are currently very at-     support the Omani housing market
In addition, financing increased to        tractive in the housing market and our      as well as what is important to our
80 per cent of the value for ready         new reduced rate will make it easier        customers.”
property and 70 per cent for land or       for end-users to obtain affordable
under construction property.               mortgage finance.                           HSBC mortgages are available to
                                                                                       expatriates and nationals with loan
HSBC mortgage offer is not limited         “We understand that investor con-           terms of up to 25 years.

                            Infrastructure gets RO1b
                                              Times of Oman - 26 April 2010

T   he government plans to spend
    RO1 billion on infrastructure
projects this year as the Sultanate’s
                                           the Financial Affairs and Energy Re-
                                           sources Council, Ahmed bin Adulnabi
                                           Macki said yesterday.
                                                                                       oil exporter’s economy, which grew
                                                                                       3.7 per cent while other economies
                                                                                       declined, he said.
economy is expected to grow six per
cent this year, Minister of National       The effect of the global financial crisis   Macki, who was recently awarded
Economy and deputy chairman of             has had a limited effect on non-Opec        an honorary doctorate in econom-
50 The Home Show 2011
ics from Seoul National University         in a statement.                            also stressed on the government’s
of Technology in South Korea, was                                                     five-year economic plan to transform
speaking at the Oman Economic              “Our national economy’s resilience to      industries with minimal public sector
Forum’s second edition.                    the crisis has everything to do with the   involvement, thereby enabling the
                                           fact that Oman boasts an economic          private sector to move forward.
Later, he was also honoured with a         community that supports diversifi-
lifetime achievement award at the          cation and one which encourages            The government is developing a num-
forum’s award ceremony as a recog-         local and international investment,”       ber of sectors such as manufacturing,
nition of his leadership and achieve-      Macki said.                                tourism and an eight per cent growth
ments in the development of Oman’s                                                    in the tourism sector is an encourag-
economy, the forum organisers said         The first day of the two-day forum         ing sign, he said.

               Oman-German JV set to announce
                 entry into real estate sector
                                             Oman Observer - 25 April 2010

B    aader Hotels & Resorts, a com-
     pany backed by leading German
investment bank Baader Bank, is set
                                           across Europe. Baader Hotels & Re-
                                           sorts Deputy Chairman, Baader said:
                                           “We are delighted to be launching
                                                                                      before it is too late. Baader Hotels
                                                                                      & Resorts was established follow-
                                                                                      ing the initiative of Uto Baader,
to shortly announce its arrival in the     our new company in Oman at what            Chairman and founder of Baader
Sultanate with the planned launch          is a very exciting time for the Real       Bank Munich and was specifically
of a new upscale residential hous-         Estate sector with excellent prospects     created to develop tourism products
ing development in Muscat. Baader          and opportunities for both residential     and locations in Oman. Baader Bank
Hotels & Resorts has been created in       developments and integrated tourism        Aktiengesellschaft is among the lead-
association with local Omani business      projects.                                  ing German investment banks, and is
partners to develop real estate and                                                   headquartered in Munich with a net
integrated tourism projects in Oman.       Our project is unique and strongly         worth of $235 million.
                                           supports the objectives set by Oman’s
The newly formed company is jointly        leadership to provide decent housing       The Bank was established in 1983,
owned by Uto Baader, Chairman of           to its citizens.” “Oman offers some of     employs more than 350 people and
Baader Bank and Siegfried Lingel,          the best opportunities in the GCC at       is a member of seven German stock
owner of German Merkur Bank head-          this time and we are looking forward       exchanges. It is also a member of
quartered in Munich as well as Silver      to announcing our first major devel-       Paris, Zurich, Amsterdam and Vienna
Circle Overseas LLC, the company’s         opment within the next few weeks           stock exchanges as well as Virt-X, the
local partner. Lingel is also the Consul   — a residential development here           trading platform for leading European
General of Mozambique in Germany           in Muscat.” “Our company has very          companies in London and Eurex, the
whilst Uto Baader also assumes the         strong financial foundations with the      derivatives exchange in Germany.
position of Vice-Chairman of the           backing and support of Baader Bank,        Baader Bank Aktienge-sellschaft
Board of Directors of Gulf Baader          one of Europe’s most successful and        also recently became a member of
Capital Market SAOC, part of a listed      largest stock broking banks that has       the London Stock Exchange. Baader
investment company here in Oman.           operated for over 25 years”                Bank has extensive experience of
                                                                                      investing in some of the most high
All parties bring to the region a wealth   Their entry into the Omani real estate     profile projects worldwide and will
of expertise and experience in the         market comes following advice from         draw on this strength to develop a
development of successful real estate      Savills Oman advising investors            number of high end projects from
developments in primary locations          to purchase property in Oman now           around the world.

                   Khimji’s Bait Al Ahlam launches
                      Bagno Design showroom
                                             Oman Observer - 21 April 2010

T   he 6th Bait Al Ahlam outlet in
    the Sultanate was opened at Al
                                           Ghubra on Monday by Italian Am-
                                           bassador Cesare Capitani. This new
                                                                                      outlet will feature a very compre-
                                                                                      hensive range of creative bathroom

                                                                                                      Market Report 51
solutions under the Bagno Design           Cream, Bossini, Bonqio, Bati, GSI,         stimulates the body and the mind and
concept from Italy.                        Effegibi, Bugnatese, Geberit, Fantini,     helps to restore natural balance.
                                           Galassaia, Nicolazzi, Hoesch Design,
Bagno in Italian means ‘Bathroom’.         Vado, Reginox, Simex, Sanit Zucche-        Vado has introduced a new stylish
Bagno Design is a new concept for          tti, Wagner Ewar, and Stone forest.        showerhead appropriately named as
medium and high end bathroom so-                                                      ‘Sculpture’ comprising of six flex-
lutions; it brings together an array of    Hritik Khimji, Director, Khimji Ram-       ible tentacles. Sculpture allows the
products from different manufactur-        das, said: “The new Bagno Design           consumer to bend, twist and shape
ers from across Europe, providing          showroom is in line with KR Infra          the form into any position. The
customers with a unique opportunity        Group’s strategy to provide high-end       shower-head is distinctive in design
to choose the best of designs and          bathroom solutions to its discerning       and structure providing a fresh slant
products from top class sanitary-ware      customers. Our customers will now          to bathroom design.
manufacturers. Bagno Design is a           get to use the best in bathroom fittings
name synonymous with luxury bath-          and accessories to experience a new        N S Vijaya Kumar, CEO — Khimji
rooms and tiles around the Middle          level of luxury.”                          Ramdas Infrastructure Group said:
East and Asia regions.                                                                “The new Bait Al Ahlam Bagno De-
                                           One of the main attractions of the         sign showroom concept has been well
Bait Al Ahlam Bagno Design show-           showroom is the Dream Light show-          received in Asia and Middle East. He
room at Al Ghubra will showcase            erhead from Bossini. This Shower-          added that “Villa Owners, Architects,
leading designer brands in Tiles,          head reflects the beneficial effects of    Consultants should plan their visit to
Sanitaryware, Accessories, Luxuri-         seven colours on the body and mind.        our new facility before finalising their
ous Mirrors, Jacuzzis, and Steam           Colours have always been part of our       bathroom designs; and examine our
Rooms etc from leading brands such         world and are a vital force and source     quality luxury product line for giving
as Apape, Apaiser, Bertocci, Art           of energy. The Chromo-therapy              a creative edge to their bathrooms.”

                         Tourism, real estate sectors
                         on cusp of sweeping growth
                                              Oman Tribune - 19 April 2010

T    he Sultanate’s growing popular-
     ity as the region’s leading tourism
destination, together with the coun-
                                           The report says it is an excellent time
                                           to buy real estate in the sultanate.
                                                                                      its villas to excited owners.

                                                                                      Most major banks in Oman are pro-
try’s improved mortgage market, is         “There is no doubt in my mind that         viding mortgage facilities to nationals
a clear indication that this is the best   now is an opportune time to buy real       and expatriates. HSBC, Bank Muscat
time to invest in real estate, according   estate in Oman. If investors wait          and National Bank of Oman have
to a study.                                longer they will almost certainly miss     continued to be active lenders, most
                                           the boat,” says Chris Steel, Managing      recently joined by Standard Chartered
Property developers and real estate        Partner, Savills Oman. “With projects      Bank.
agents in the Sultanate saw renewed        such as the expansion of Muscat
confidence in the sales market in the      International Airport, the emerging        Such favourable trading conditions
first quarter of the year, mainly due      Royal Opera House, Shura Council’s         are bound to attract new entrants to
to the major role banks have played        Houses of Parliament building, and         the market and a major new real estate
through their improved mortgage            several existing new tourist develop-      and tourism development operator
facilities, says a study conducted by      ments due to come on line, now is          is expected to announce details of
real estate agency Savills Oman.           without a doubt a unique time for          its entry into the market and its first
                                           investors to maximise their returns.”      major development in the Muscat
Oman has emerged as the region’s                                                      area within the next few weeks, says
leading tourism attraction with the        Steel said property values have            the report.
development of its integrated tour-        remained firm and the promise of
ism complexes such as Barr-Al Jis-         ownership for all nationalities has        As other countries within the region
sah residences, Muscat Hills Golf &        been delivered. The Wave Muscat has        struggle to recover from the effects
Country Club and The Wave, Muscat.         already handed over the first phases of    of 2008, Oman is forging ahead with
While these projects were not totally      their development including the first      increased government and private
unscathed by the global economic           apartment block Almeria South, and         investments in areas such as private
downturn of 2008 they have fared bet-      this month Muscat Hills & Country          equity, integrated tourism develop-
ter than their regional counterparts.      Club saw the handover of the first of      ments, infrastructure and real estate.
52 The Home Show 2011
“Savills Oman has seen a surge of         in the future, and investors are keen      it is looking forward to using local
interest from international invest-       to captialise on the benefits these        expertise to assist with new develop-
ment organisations over the past few      projects will bring to the country and     ments. Savills Oman said it intends to
months wanting to penetrate Oman’s        the region,” says Steel.                   leverage the knowledge and expertise
real estate market. This interest                                                    of its senior management team to
is supported by the developments          He says property market is very ex-        develop tourism related real estate
Oman currently has underway to            cited about the imminent arrival of        products in the Sultanate of Oman.
diversify into new markets now and        new players in the Omani market and

                Extension underscores social role
                    of Oman Housing Bank
                                            Oman Observer - 18 April 2010

D     arwish bin Ismail al Balushi,
      Secretary General, Ministry of
Finance and the Board Chairman of
                                          the past years in providing appropri-
                                          ate housing facilities for citizens in
                                          the different wilayats of the Sultanate
                                                                                     finding various alternatives that
                                                                                     provide wide options for the citizens
                                                                                     according to their income levels,”
Oman Housing Bank (OHB), has              and assisting the efforts of the govern-   he added.
hailed the extension of the tenure of     ment aimed at ensuring a decent life
the bank by a further 20 years, as set    for them in the prosperous reign of        Since its establishment in 1977, OHB
out under the recently promulgated        His Majesty,” Al Darwish said.             disbursed a total of 29,613 loans of a
Royal Decree 36/2010. The step, he                                                   total value of RO 509,275,687 as of
said, will further reinforce the bank’s   “The bank also managed, through its        end-December 2009. Low income cit-
mission in enabling Omanis secure         board, executive management and all        izens were the biggest beneficiaries,
subsidised housing loans.                 the staff, to achieve the desired bal-     accounting for 87.2 per cent of the
                                          ance between providing soft, easy and      total (25,827 loans) with a total value
“His Majesty the Sultan’s sublime         subsidised housing services, achiev-       RO 414,641,429. Further, 81.4 per
confidence reflected in extending         ing positive results and maintaining       cent of the loans, totaling RO 225.602
OHB’s tenure confirms the great suc-      the financial status of the bank by        million were disbursed to applicants
cesses achieved by the bank during        adopting conservative policies and         outside of Muscat Governorate.

                   Glorei signs agreement to build
                       Maktabi 2 in Wattayah
                                            Times of Oman - 31 March 2010

G     lobal Omani Development &
      Investment Co. (Glorei) has
signed an agreement to build ‘Mak-
                                          Madaein Engineering Consultancy
                                          and Syam Sunder, CEO of Larsen &
                                          Turbo, the two companies implement-
                                                                                     for environment protection by using
                                                                                     eco-friendly materials. The project
                                                                                     selection process is based on the
tabi 2’ project in Wattayah. The proj-    ing the project.                           locations that are consistent with the
ect consists of developing 22,000sqm                                                 principle of sustainable development,
of office spaces, exhibition halls and    Mohammed Abu Baker Al Ghas-                saving water and energy and preserv-
other facilities and supporting ser-      sani, the CEO of Glorei, said: “The        ing the atmosphere.”
vices, for a total cost of $25 million.   Maktabi 2 project represents one of
                                          the leading projects equipped with         Prior to investment, Glorei evaluates
The project will take around 18           the latest technology making it a          the market with a clear vision intend-
months and will contribute in the eco-    unique smart office in Oman. The           ing to find successful investments that
nomic development of the country,         company seeks to use local products        fulfil the economic and investment
focusing on commercial, residential,      and materials in all its projects in       market conditions.
and tourism complexes. The contract       order to reduce cost, ensure qual-
was signed by Sheikh Mohammed             ity and reduce carbon emission. We         Al Ghassani said, “The current eco-
Oufit Al Shanfari, chairman of Glo-       aim to compensate our environment          nomic situation looks good following
rei, together with Fuad Abdullah Al       against the carbon emission from our       the international financial crisis that
Kindi, CEO of Ibn Khaldoon and Al         offices by several initiatives calling     had a strong impact on several eco-
                                                                                                      Market Report 53
nomic sectors.”                           On another note, Glorei also inau-         in the Sultanate in general, or interna-
                                          gurated its business centre (Maktabi       tional companies requiring offices for
He commended the government for           1) in Al Khuwair in the presence of        a short or limited period. The offices
advertising various projects accord-      the company’s board of directors.          are available in various sizes and are
ing to plans thus reducing the impact,    The project consists of large office       fitted with several services, including
and as oil prices have regained its       spaces and provides safe and com-          reception, high speed Internet, meet-
record levels all these elements en-      fortable working environment for           ing rooms with video conferencing,
courage investment.                       the companies entering the market or       parking and public relations.
                                          expanding its business in Muscat or

       BankMuscat’s baituna Souq to showcase
            array of real estate projects
                                           Oman Observer - 22 March 2010

C    ommitted to fulfilling the aspi-
     rations for a ‘Home for every
Omani’, BankMuscat, the leading
                                          family in Oman. Complementing
                                          government efforts, BankMuscat
                                          remains committed to supporting
                                                                                     as a unique co-marketing opportunity
                                                                                     aimed at offering citizens an array of
                                                                                     home deals. All the participating real
financial services provider in the        citizens in acquiring choice homes.”       estate and property developers have
Sultanate, has organised a first-of-                                                 long association with BankMuscat’s
its-kind event aimed at facilitating      BankMuscat’s tailor-made baituna           baituna Home Finance.”
home deals for prospective buyers         home finance facilitates purchase and
interested in properties offered by       construction of new homes as well          To maximise the reach and effective-
leading real estate developers.           as land for residential use. Finance is    ness, baituna Souq’ is being held on
                                          primarily offered to Omani nationals,      a weekend, when the venue has the
Saleh bin Mohammed al Farsi,              though baituna products also provide       highest footfalls. The participating
Under-Secretary at the Ministry of        financing for GCC nationals and ex-        companies will be available for one-
Housing, will inaugurate the first-ever   patriates. The Bank also undertakes        to-one meetings with potential home
baituna Souq which brings together        refinancing of housing loans.              buyers, thereby opening a channel
leading real estate and property de-                                                 of contact with interested customers.
velopers and several thousands of         Al Harthy said: “The real estate sector
prospective buyers at Muscat City         is a major component of the national       The residential segment assumes
Centre, Seeb on March 25 and 26. The      economy and the Bank will extend           importance in light of the growth in
state-owned Oman Housing Bank is          all possible support to achieve the        population as well as the buoyant
also participating in the event.          objective of a house for every Omani.      economy. The government distrib-
                                          BankMuscat is committed to the             uted 142,916 plots at the beginning
Sulaiman al Harthy, Group DGM             revitalisation of the real estate sector   of 2008, of which 88.3 per cent were
— Consumer Banking, said: “The            and enhance its role in the national       used for residential purposes. The
‘Oman Celebrates’ campaign                economy.”                                  deregulation in property ownership
launched by BankMuscat as part of                                                    rights granting foreign ownership
the 40th anniversary celebrations of      Al Harthy added: “In view of the con-      to GCC and non-GCC nationals has
the Sultanate’s Renaissance led by        tinued government support to various       also attracted Oman as an investment
His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said        development programmes, the real es-       destination. Due to strong regulations
is aimed at offering innovative prod-     tate sector in Oman reflects a growing     in place, the Omani real estate sector
ucts and services catering to varied      demand for residential units. Bank-        was protected from adverse effects of
requirements of the largest banking       Muscat is presenting baituna Souq          the global financial crisis.

                     MoU inked for environmental
                       tourist resort in Mirbat
                                            Oman Tribune - 17 March 2010

A    l Yasmin Oasis Trading and
     Contracting and Alila Interna-
tional signed an MoU on Tuesday
                                          for the operation of an environment
                                          tourist resort in the Wilayat of Mirbat
                                          in Dhofar Governorate. The MoU was
                                                                                     signed by Alila International CEO
                                                                                     Mark Adilson and Al Yasmin Oasis
                                                                                     chairman Mohammed Bin Aqil Ba
54 The Home Show 2011
Omar.                                     the craftsmen and fishermen in the         international tourist hub.
                                          local communities and on the tourism
Mohammed Bin Aqil Ba Omar said            and food suppliers as well.                He added that the project, when
the project comprises a comprehen-                                                   completed would enhance the accom-
sive environment tourist resort at        The plans for this project were done       modation capacity in the Sultanate
Khaisah Aqian in the Wilayat of Mir-      in collaboration with leading experts      in general and the governorate in
bat. The project, which will be set up    and consultants in this field. The         particular.
over 400,000sqmt area, includes hotel     project takes into consideration the
rooms, villas, chalets, marine park,      needs of visitors for such project. A      On his turn, Mark Adilson expressed
diving club, health club, restaurant,     tourism environmental open area that       his happiness for signing the MoU
crafts market and cultural village.       overlooks the sea has been selected        and praised the eco-diversity of the
The project, which will cost around       to meet the needs of the different         Sultanate. He also said the company
30 million rials, will be completed in    categories of visitors.                    would operate two other resorts in the
36 months.                                                                           Sultanate, namely Al Jabel Al Akh-
                                          Mohammed Ba Omar said the project          dhar Resort and Musandam Resort.
He added that the project would gen-      would contribute to the many efforts       The company operates more than 20
erate a number of job opportunities       undertaken by different authorities        resorts in India, Vietnam, China, In-
in the field of environmental tourism     with the tourism ministry at the           donesia, Laos, Thailand, the Maldives
and would have positive outcome on        foremost to make the Sultanate an          and Malaysia.

 Zubair Corp. plans hotel, residential complex
                                            Times of Oman - 15 March 2010

D    iversified business group
     Zubair Corporation plans to
build a new budget hotel in Muscat
                                          located in major business centres in
                                          Asia and the Middle East.
                                                                                     make up the rest in the three-and-
                                                                                     a-half year old property, Shrestha
                                                                                     pointed out.
in addition to a retail-cum-residential   Zubair Corporation already has
complex, a top official said.             a management contract with the             The property, by virtue of being part
                                          Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts for          of the Shangri-La network of 65
“We are looking into it,” director of     its Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, a         hotels worldwide, benefits from the
tourism, Ziyad Al Zubair said. The        luxury resort with 680 rooms spread        1.5 million member strong loyalty
group would, however, would not go        over 124 acres by the sea in Muscat.       program of Shangri-La Hotels and
ahead immediately due to the general                                                 enjoys an average guest return ratio of
slowdown in the real estate market in     Zubair is looking at more than 20 per      30 per cent, the officials said. The city
Oman but would start working on the       cent growth in its guest arrivals at       of Muscat has more than 1,600 hotel
projects once the market improves,        its Barr Al Jissah property in 2010,       rooms in the luxury category and the
he said. “It will be on mass scale and    Arbind K Shrestha, general manager         current economic scenario would not
really depends on timing”.                of the resort said. The three-hotel        allow the hotels to raise their average
                                          resort had about 80,000 guest arriv-       room rent in order to boost revenues,
The proposed hotel would target the       als in 2009 as compared to 100,000         Zubair added.
value-conscious business traveller as     during the previous year as the global
well as leisure tourists and the group    financial crisis affected the tourism      The Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa
may even look at using the ‘Trad-         industry globally, he added.               employs 1,075 employees from 40
ers Hotels’ brand of the Shangri-La                                                  countries and plans to hire more and
Hotels and Resorts, the Hong Kong-        Leisure travellers account for about       take the level of native Omani em-
based luxury hotel group, Zubair said.    four-fifth of the total number of guests   ployees up to 50 per cent of its total
                                          from more than 50 countries across         staff strength from the present 32 per
Traders Hotels branded properties are     the world while business travellers        cent, Zubair said.

            Muriya sales event to showcase
        Jebel Sifah and Salalah Beach properties
                                          Oman Observer - 14 February 2010

M       uriya, Oman’s leading pre-
        mium property brand, is host-
                                          ing a four-day sales event spotlighting
                                          investment opportunities linked to its
                                                                                     prestigious Jebel Sifah and Salalah
                                                                                     Beach developments.
                                                                                                       Market Report 55
During the event, set to take place at    extensive choice of villas and apart-    “The upcoming event is yet another
the developer’s Muscat Sales Centre       ments, which are available now at        demonstration of our commitment to
in Al Sarooj between February 15 and      unmatched prices. Investors can also     offering investment opportunities at
18, 2010, Muriya will also unveil a       take advantage of a diverse selection    great value, within our Jebel Sifah
package of exclusive offers and at-       of payment methods that can extend       and Salalah Beach properties. We
tractive payment terms — applicable       up to seven years.                       are going the extra mile in making
for a limited period only.                                                         it possible for prospective investors
                                          Moreover, any villa or apartment         and homebuyers to own a piece of
During the promotion, interested          purchased during the four-day promo-     real estate in some of the most desir-
buyers can explore a remarkable           tion will come fully furnished upon      able locations in Oman. By taking
range of purchase options of Muriya’s     delivery, courtesy of Muriya.            advantage of our unbeatable pricing

       Standard Chartered launches mortgage
          scheme for residential properties
                                            Oman Observer - 8 March 2010

T    o meet the rising demands for
     residential properties in the Sul-
tanate, Standard Chartered has for
                                          “With a forecast GDP growth of 3.8
                                          per cent in 2010, the bank is well
                                          placed to support the rising demand
                                                                                   ing to the development of our mort-
                                                                                   gage portfolio. We are pleased to offer
                                                                                   an alternative mortgage solution for
the first time in Oman introduced a       for residential mortgages. We have       our Omani market.”
complete mortgage solution, targeted      been building our expertise globally
at residential owners. It complements     in the mortgage business for several     The mortgage facility offers flex-
Standard Chartered’s current array of     years and are pleased to be extend-      ibility to home owners to purchase
retail finance products.                  ing our product capabilities into this   completed properties or refinance
                                          market.”                                 their fully paid residential properties
“Standard Chartered has been com-                                                  with an 80 per cent loan to value at a
mitted to the Sultanate of Oman for       Bikram Rishi, Head of Consumer           competitive introductory rate of 5.99
over 40 years; part of this commit-       Banking Standard Chartered Oman          per cent per annum.
ment revolves around building a           said, “We continuously improve our
sustainable economic environment          product offerings to deliver real ben-   The facility is open to both Omani
for the benefit of the country,” said     efits for our customers. Our focus has   nationals and non-Omani residents,
Ravneet Chowdhury, Standard Char-         always been to build a retail banking    offering mortgages up to 800,000
tered CEO for Oman.                       platform that deepens our customers’     Omani rials for villa properties and
                                          banking experiences while contribut-     600,000 Omani rials for apartments.

56 The Home Show 2011

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