Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Real Estate Agents: Dubai Real Estate Boom Is Ending

A six-year real estate boom in Dubai that spurred a $475 billion building frenzy has ended, according to agents who say sales are collapsing amid fears that the global economic downturn will hit the sheikdom.

“Last month was a real disaster and worse is coming I guess,” Mehdi Zoghbi, an agent at Middle East Real Estate Consultants, said on Sunday.

Zoghbi says that desperate sellers are now offering off-plan properties on the secondary market for a zero premium, effectively accepting a loss on their investment in order to offload quickly. Dubai, the first Gulf sheikdom to allow foreigners rights to buy homes, may also be the first to see a crash in property prices.

“Our commissions have fallen by up to 70% recently,” said Khaled Daji, an agent at Al Jabal Real Estate. “The most hit are the projects under development and those luxurious high end. We plan to survive for another six months to see how this crisis unfolds.”

But the city’s biggest developers like Emaar Properties PJSC and Nakheel are adamant that sales remain robust. Mohammed Alabbar, Emaar’s chairman and one of the architects of Dubai’s real estate boom, said in the company’s third-quarter statement that “we are very confident of our company’s fundamentals and future growth.”

That hasn’t stopped investors dropping the company’s shares. Emaar’s stock has fallen 62% since the beginning of the year, that’s more than the 48% fall in the Dubai Financial Market’s main index over the same period, according to Zawya.com data. Earlier this month, Colliers International said the growth of property prices in Dubai slowed to 16% in the second quarter of 2008 from 42% in the first quarter. Morgan Stanley warned in August that property hotspot Dubai could see a 10% fall in prices by 2010.

A collapse in real estate prices will add to pressure on Dubai’s economy, ♂which doesn’t benefit from the vast oil income enjoyed by neighboring Abu Dhabi. Property and construction╚ are estimated to account for about 30% of the emirate’s economy.

Meanwhile, the nerve - and wallets - of Dubai’s shoppers will be tested this week when, against a tide of global economic woe, the region’s largest shopping mall opens. Covering an area of more than 50 soccer fields, Dubai Mall will have more than 1,200 shops; one of the world’s largest indoor gaming arcades; an Olympic-size ice rink; the world’s largest indoor Gold Souk; and one of the world’s biggest aquariums, which will be home to more than 33,000 types of sea life, including over 400 sharks.

Source: RealtyTribune

1 comment:

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