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Alpha1Estates launches Al-Tilal Villas Madinah and Royal Clock Tower Makkah

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January 1 2010 / 1431: Global Islamic real estate consultancy Alpha1Estates International said today it is launching Al-Tilal Villas Project in Madinah and the Royal Clock Tower in Abraj al-Bait in Makkah, allowing Muslims from all over the world to purchase property there.

The company, which launched to global acclaim on January 1 2006, said that the two projects demonstrate the strength of the real estate projects in the Holy Cities, set to be further developed over the next decade.

Alpha1Estates International is delighted to be working with the most reputable developers in the Middle East to allow Muslims to buy property in Makkah and Madinah,' said Mr Al-Alawi, Chairman of Alpha1Estates International. “By virtue of their unique nature, property in these projects is guaranteed by virtue of their unique nature to appreciate in the medium to long-term.'

Al-Tilal Villas in Madinah allows Muslims from all over the world to purchase permanent villa homes nearly 10 kilometres from the Prophet's Mosque. The Royal Clock Tower is the central tower in the Abraj al-Bait Project, 50 metres opposite the Grand Mosque in Makkah, which allows Muslims to buy apartments on 24-year leases as part of a government-based religious endowment.

Alpha1Estates International launched in 2006 to become the world's first company to market Saudi property globally and also the first company to market property in both Makkah and Madinah, with its projects ZamZam Tower, Makkah, Abraj al-Bait, Makkah, Hajar Tower, Makkah and Taiba Eastern Tower, Madinah all centrally located near the two Holy Mosques. In subsequent years, it has launched the world's first bespoke real estate consultancy programme and joint-investment fund focused on the Holy Cities.

In January 2010, the company launches the Ihsan al-Haramain Index, the first index to solely track Saudi-listed companies involved in real estate development in Makkah and Madinah.

"The Ihsan al-Haramain Index rose by over three percent this year, despite the global financial crisis affecting stock markets across the world," said Mr. Al-Alawi. "However, the stock of some major listed companies involved in real estate development in Makkah and Madinah has risen in value by over 20 percent since January 2009.'

The main reasons why Muslim real estate investors should seek to invest in the Holy Cities now, Mr. Al-Alawi said, is based on inelastic and rising global demand from the world's billion and a half-plus Muslims, supported by significant public and private sector investment in infrastructure, both for the Grand Mosques and transport to them.

Mr. Al-Alawi also said that over ten million Muslim pilgrims from 140 countries visit the Holy Cities annually for Hajj and Umrah, contributing 20 billion riyals ($5.3 billion) per year, the second-most lucrative source of the Kingdom's revenue after oil.

Real estate investment in Makkah and Madinah accounts for 40% of total real estate investments in the Kingdom, reflected in land prices in the Holy Cities being the most expensive in the world at between $70,000 and $110,000 per square metre.

The Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah have undertaken multi-billion dollar expansion and infrastructure investment programmes, the CEO added.

Air transport to the Holy Mosques is also being boosted with the expansion of the Jeddah International Airport for Makkah and the Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah, whilst ground transport is being transformed with the creation of the Makkah-Madinah Railway Link, set to be operational by November 2010.

Mr. Al-Alawi also said that the general macro-view of Saudi Arabia's real estate market remains strongly favourable, for residential, commercial and investment purposes.

"Demand for domestic housing, major real estate projects and a growing hospitality sector make the kingdom an attractive destination for global real estate investors," the CEO said. "The mortgage law for the Kingdom, which has been on the table for some years now, could finally come into force in 2010, supported by a renewed focus on middle-income housing.'

In the commercial real estate sector, Saudi Arabia was also the most attractive destination for retailers, with nearly 40 companies entering the kingdom in the past year, ahead of more than 60 countries around the world, Mr. Alawi added.

2009 CE/ 1430 AH has been an immensely successful year for Alpha1Estates International, Mr. Al-'Alawi said, with the company's reputation in the Middle East and globally enhancing. During the past year, the management of Alpha1Estates International have met royalty, statesmen, government ministers and chief executive officers from across the world.

Another major achievement for Alpha1Estates has been that in its role as the world's first real estate consultancy to be featured on YouTube.com, the company has now passed the 200,000 views mark on the video-sharing website. Nearly half of the viewers on the website channel have seen 'The VIP Experience: Dubai from the Sky', which features the first aerial footage of The World islands after their completion, The Atlantis Hotel on The Palm Jumeirah Island and Burj Khalifa (then the Burj Dubai) as the world's tallest building after it had exceeded 600 metres. Burj Khalifa, once called the Burj Dubai, is the world's tallest man-made structure at 828 metres and opened officially on 4 January 2010, with Alpha1Estates International’s management in attendance.

Alpha1Estates International in 2010 also launched itself on premier social networking websites, Facebook, Twitter and Muxlim.

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