By Peter Alagos/Business Reporter
Barwa Real Estate Group ‘is committed to provide reasonable rent rates’ even as it plans to complete 12,000 residential units by 2020, Group CEO Salman Mohamed al-Muhannadi has told Gulf Times.
Barwa, which has an existing 4,000 residential units, is aiming for the expansion as part of the group’s QR15bn-new business plan (2016-2020), unveiled last year.
‘Most of our projects will be on housing, focusing on residential mid and high-mid segments. This year, they include Dara in Lusail, Barwa Village, which will be an extension of the existing Barwa Village, and hopefully, Barwa Doha. Most of our units will be available in 2017,’ al-Muhannadi said during a press conference yesterday.
For the Barwa Doha project, al-Muhannadi said the group ‘intends to complete’ all 1,970 apartments ‘most likely by early 2018.’
On providing ‘reasonable rent rates,’ al-Muhannadi emphasised: ‘We cannot reveal the levels of rent we are anticipating but we feel that it is part of our national duty to maintain a reasonable level of rent.’
‘Reasonable house rental is our priority right now, and hopefully, we are going to give the market with prices that will be perceived as a ‘reasonable rent rate’. Most of our units now are considered to have the most reasonable rates in the market,’ he stressed.
Asked if Barwa will implement ‘reasonable rent rates’ in new and upcoming projects, al-Muhannadi said: ‘That is the intention and this is the challenge we are facing right now. And in order for us to maintain such rents, we have to work very hard in the design and the cost of construction without jeopardising the quality.’
He added: ‘The balance of cost, quality, and time is very challenging, especially in a market like Qatar. We are working hard in order for the whole team to have a major change in mindset. We have even changed completely the style of our procurement process, and we are very tough when it comes to procurement.
‘At the same time, while being tough with contractors, we are trying to be, as much as possible, transparent and clear with contractors because most of them are willing to give reasonable pricing, yet, as long as we are providing them with a very good level of clarity and consistency.’
Citing research from external consultants, internal expertise, and published data, al-Muhannadi said Barwa has decided to focus on the residential segment.
‘We’ve done a very though research last year and we concluded that we are going to focus on the residential mid and high-mid because the gap is very obvious in that segment, and most likely the gap will continue to increase and the requirement for additional supply will continue to grow,’ he said.
On the commercial and retail segment, al-Muhannadi added: ‘We have also concluded that commercial and retail will be challenging, and we have decided that we will just incorporate the two segments to complement our residential mid and high-mid projects.
‘If we have a large-scale development that provides an x-number of residential units, there could be a requirement for some retail and commercial spaces, but we will not invest aggressively on purely retail or commercial.’
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