Even though parts of Jumeirah Golf Estates were completed in 2009 - specifically the Greg Norman-designed Earth golf course and the attractive family-style villas of the Lime Tree Valley section - it is effectively new to the market. As those who bought villas off-plan discovered to their cost, work had stopped for more than two years following the DP World/Nakheel debt crisis, which left the development without essential utilities and infrastructure.
Now, with several of the sub-developments close to handover - and attention drawn back to the development by the recent DP World Tour Championship - it's clear that it will become a much-favoured residential area in Dubai. This is due as much to the quality of several sub-developments as to its overall concept as a complete golf estate (as opposed to, say, Emirates Hills and Arabian Ranches, which are communities that have a golf course within them). And even if the original plan of four golf courses is never realised, the two existing courses, Earth and Fire (the latter completed in 2010), and their surrounding villas will make a very appealing community.
While Jumeirah Golf Estates has an overall Mediterranean theme, each of the villa developments has its own character and each is quite small, creating the sense of intimate neighbourhoods within the wider community. It also means more variety in terms of both style and size of the villas, with less of a cookie-cutter feeling.
Olive Point offers 43 villas with a choice of seven different styles and floor plans, ranging from four to six bedrooms and 6,000-10,000 sq.ft; at Sienna Lakes there are 68 villas in a choice of 12 styles, in the 5,000-8,000 sq.ft range and Lime Tree Valley offers villas of 4,000-7,000 sq.ft in a choice of seven styles. In all three the villas have been planned to offer flexible spaces and built to a high specification with at- tractive materials and finishes. Developers are quoting prices of AED1,800 upwards per square foot for villas with a golf course frontage and around AED1,400 further back, which translates to the AED11-20 million per villa for Olive Point and Sienna Lakes. Lime Tree Valley offers great value, with golf course frontage villas at AED1,600 per sq. ft.
While the handover of homes will begin within the next three to six months, I don't expect a sudden flood of properties coming on to the market. I think most owners will adopt a wait-and-see attitude and let the market establish itself before considering reselling. And it's important to remember that most people bought their villas with the intention of living there them- selves. I think their long and frustrating wait will be worth it, as the community will offer good quality homes and the kind of lifestyle that people really want.