Emaar looks beyond luxury projects with affordable housing plans

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Emaar Properties plans to launch a low cost housing unit to extend its reach into affordable housing for region’s poor.

Mohammad Al Abbar, Emaar’s chairman, said the Dubai-based developer planned to acquire a company specializing in social housing that might launch projects in Morocco, India, Pakistan, Egypt and the Palestinian territories.

The move is a shift in strategy for Emaar, which has so far concentrated on luxury projects and has $100 billion (Dh 367 billion) of projects under development. As its home market matures, the company has sought market in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia to find fresh sources of revenue.

“We have been blessed but you have to do more. We might only get a three per cent margin but if we are good citizens we can’t just take profit, we have to be able to stand tall in front of our children,” said Al Abbar.

Emaar, which has started social programs around its property development on Lombok island in Indonesia, is also considering a development in Jakarta for a self-constrained district around a skyscraper, mirroring the residential and commercial zone around Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest tower.

Al Abbar said Emmar’s Indian joint venture, Emaar MGF, would continue to expand across the subcontinent after it withdrew plans for an initial public offering in February.Yemen is the lastest Arab country expected to host a new Emaar development.

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