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Archive for October, 2008

Real Estate Agents: Dubai Boom Is Ending

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 28, 2008


http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2008/10/27/real-estate-agents-dubai-boom-is-ending/

Stefania Bianchi, Mirna Sleiman and Stefania Bianchi report from Dubai for Zawya Dow Jones.

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, told Zawya Dow Jones 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.

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Global recession resulted global oil, housing, commodities asset prices bubbles burst, plunge more than 50 % will be spread into oil consuming and oil producing countries
details on
www.osawh.com/mortdefa.htm
www.osawh.com/GCaptbj.html

Comment by Warren HuangOctober 27, 2008 at 7:19 pm

cool article

Comment by hue g. rectionOctober 27, 2008 at 8:06 pm

Stefania and Mirna, thanks for this article. Interesting to see how other people are living and investing.

Comment by tom a taxpayerOctober 27, 2008 at 11:08 pm

A fall in prices may actually benefit Dubai in the long term.

The escalation in cost of living in Dubai, driven by property and rent prices, has become unsustainable.

And speculation will end leading to more realistic valuation of assets.It has clearly been a speculative market when a

down payment of 20 per cent provides a 100 to 150% per cent in a less than a year from property flipping.

Comment by Dave SternOctober 28, 2008 at 12:35 am

As someone who lives “on the ground” here in Abu Dhabi, I can tell you that Dave Stern’s comment is incorrect:

the locals have been taking out personal bank loans to cover just 2 to 3 month’s mortgage payments and then

flipping properties within that time (not a year!).

They were buying up to six properties at a time in this manner.

These purchases were all “off plan”, the properties were not even under construction.

This is why the real estate market was, ultimately, unsustainable.

Comment by Jan NewtonOctober 28, 2008 at 1:02 am

I have been a doomsayer of the Indian real estate market when I predicted the fall in February 2008 –

 http://www.eclectic-investor.blogspot.com
The Arabic leverage is up to 100 times capital. I have personally know of business center receptionist

doubling up as a “real estate flipper” and now has overleveraged and stuck in properties that are not even

under construction. It is normal for authorities to blow their trumpets, but expect their sounds to end in a

Big Blowup in their faces.
A cataclysmic disaster and perhaps the start of Dubai’s fall like Beirut before and Aden even before that.

Comment by Cataclysmic Collapse of Dubai ExpectedOctober 28, 2008 at 2:26 am

Castles in the sand?

Comment by tom a taxpayerOctober 28, 2008 at 2:50 am

Currently panic is ruling the markets all over the world irrationally.

There is no exception, however, the Arabian Gulf have strong economic fundamentals and the recovery

will be much faster than in the West. As a matter of fact, the Q3 financial results of the biggest market players

for the are better than the Q3 results in 2007.
From the position of commercial property broker in Dubai, I can assure you that corporate end-users are good

clients at the moment. We have sold office floors in Business Bay during the last month and recently preparing t

he transactions of commercial properties in Jumeirah Lake Towers.

In times of crisis there are losers and winners.

Comment by Gergana MinevaOctober 28, 2008 at 4:33 am

When junk emails started arriving in one of my “special” email boxes – promising pie-in-the-sky

pre-construction deals in Dubai – went Short Oil and Emerging Markets ETFs (Thank you, Goldman oil analysts!!!)

Comment by FederalesOctober 28, 2008 at 6:23 am

Mr. Gergana Mineva!
It is Persian Gulf not Arabic.
Please use always the correct name in the future.
Thank you!

Comment by FarhadOctober 28, 2008 at 7:21 am

Farhad, Dubai is essentially ruled under Shirah Law, a cruel brand of despotic fascism that harms

women and children and is antithetical to freedom. Dubai though more “progressive”

than most repressive regimes in Sand Land, hates Jews and will not allow the

practice of such a “heinous” religion as Judaism. Yet you are worried about words and nomenclature.

Words are meaningless, actions are all that matter.

Comment by KafkaOctober 28, 2008 at 8:32 am

OPEC’s manipulation of oil prices and speculators caused this current recession by increasing oil prices to historic levels.

Comment by Blame OPECOctober 28, 2008 at 11:16 am

Market is certainly undergoing a correction but to predict doom is a little foolhearty.

There is TREMENDOUS liquidity in the market and the reserves built up during the period of

high gas prices will certainly be deployed to stablize the realestate market which is the cornerstone of ‘

New’Dubai. Also, Dubai is NOT ruled by shariah law. In fact, it is one of the most modern states

in the gulf and is known for its liberal political/social environment (recent stories about sex on the beach

 not withstanding). There are a number of very successful american jews in the city so the anti-semetic

claim is just rubbish. There is no law against practise of ANY religion.

Visit the region before speaking

Comment by DubaiDreamerOctober 28, 2008 at 1:33 pm

The smart money has begun the pull out already. Bank lending is drying up.

The only ones who continue to believe that the real estate market will go up are real estate agents

and speculators who have not been able to off load so far. The secondary market for off-plan properties is in a free fall.

And no amount of deliberate project delays and throwing people out of villas is going to prevent the serious

correction that Dubai property so badly needs. It has been the most speculative, unregulated and unprotected

market the past 6 years.

Comment by KingsleyOctober 28, 2008 at 1:55 pm

couldn’t have happened to a nicer group of people…

Comment by charlieOctober 28, 2008 at 2:13 pm

Gee, I guess the Arabs are poor for a reason = incompetence.

High oil prices masks the basic incompetence for awhile. But stupid is as stupid does.

Comment by CaliPOWEROctober 28, 2008 at 2:17 pm

Cry Out Loud and you all say what you want about dubai …BUT The truth is: We Are All Loooosing!!

The whole world is sinking…

Comment by The True ManOctober 28, 2008 at 8:44 pm

Kingsley makes some good points, Dubai is in need of regulation.

Prices may be predicted to fall, but it isn’t happening yet in the rental market.

Buyers have bought up so much of the properties and now are holding them until they can get

their desired selling price (usually expected 20% increases from sale to sale)…leaving the rentail market

struggling. Landloards can demand rents starting at $25,000/yr in ONE payment upfront for 450 sf studios…in empty,

 construction sites of buildings! Dubai is leaving no room for renters & the middle class.

Rents are still exorbitant and there are few regulations in place to support the renter.

Comment by MRODubaiOctober 28, 2008 at 11:40 pm

As someone who lives and breathes real estate since its first days here in Dubai,

I feel it is necessary to see the cause of the boom and only then we may be able to make some

calculated estimates of the future market condition.
1. Dubai real esate growth was based on a promise of freehold, residence permit, tax free benefits

for nationalities who have certain restrictions in their countries and saw dubai as a safe secure investment opportunity.
2. Government of dubai removed the residence permit guarantee by buying a property.

So automatically no tax free status, coz if you are not a resident of Dubai you can not open

bank account & you are still liable for taxes in your country.

Comment by real estate expertOctober 29, 2008 at 12:21 am

3.Nakheel/emaar/dubai holding factor: All these companies hate each other and therefore fight for the

attention of sheikh mohammed, which means the greed and ego overtake logic and feasibility!!! result:

Excessive lands/properties/ mega projects without proper planning & infrastructure in place.
4. Universal law supply Vs. Demand: nobody realises that the already anounced projects in dubai will need

about an extra 6 million people to live in it!!!! (From Lagoons, meydan, dubailand, tatweer, mizin,

industrial projects, emaar, bawadi, the world, the universe, palm deira, port rashid, waterfront, arabian canal,

dubai world central….)Excuse me thats almost double the UAE population.

Comment by real estate expertOctober 29, 2008 at 12:29 am

5. Loose the Confidence You loose everything: The investors/buyers are wakening up to the reality & there is

absolutely no confidence in the market not only because of the global financial crisis but mainly because of the

over supply & fear of the crash.

6. Genius Government policies: dubai government is its own worst enemy, at times like this what does dubai do?

They launch new mega projects & new development companies like meraas with ambitious projects that will only

further dampen market confidence.
7. Investor’s security: Dubai’s judicial system is as good as any underdeveloped country with selective rights

depending who the complaint is against.

Comment by real estate expertOctober 29, 2008 at 12:35 am

8. No human rights when it comes to dubai police. infact torture and enforced disappearance has become

common in dubai under the umberella of the state security they can attach anything to anyone to reach their

commercial targets.
9. Everybody owns 20% of several properties: Paying a few installments does not make you theowner so when the next installments come due and there is no quick sales like the good old days, what happens? Sell below the price or lose your deposit with the developers…. results in what we call “stress sell”

Comment by real estate expertOctober 29, 2008 at 12:40 am

10. Oil prices & Inflation: ofcourse oil prices doubled so did the cost of steel & cement & food & labor

accomodation… result abnormaly increase in construction prices on a weekly basis!!!… so an increase

in property prices due to rising cost….
11. Decrease in Oil prices: Sudden decrease in everything from food prices, to raw materials…..

creating sudden panic as properties are cheaper to build and a fear of further reduction is iminent.
12. There are too many chefs in the tiny real estate kitchen of dubai, have you noticed there aren’t any

happy faces in the media anymore!!! what happened to the so called international anouncements about their acquisitions…

Comment by real estate expertOctober 29, 2008 at 12:45 am

13.The Sheikh factor: when the ruling family is desperately getting into everythng from real estate,

to owning or managing coffeshops and bakeries, landries…. then the opportunities for the public is becoming less

and less which means a lot of unhappy UAE nationals and residents…. which everyone know will not help the already

unstable state of dubai.
14. Big brother factor: let there be no doubt Abu Dhabi will eventually overtake dubai for the right reasons.

 money is not an issue thanks to oil & there is no rush to sell everything just to raise funds for the previously

anounced project like in dubai. Dubai’s power in UAE will be reduced due to lack of funds, money talks!!!

Comment by real estate expertOctober 29, 2008 at 12:51 am

15. regulatory body with no teeth: RERA is supposed to ensure that developers/real estate agents

/ landlords/ follow the rules and regulations… what happens if a developer or an agent does not follow the law?

 NOTHING… just a 100,000 fine… comparing to the hundreds of millions at stake its a drop in the ocean.
16. Public Prosecution & Corruption: Everything in public prosecution is relative & variable…. there are

cases of misrepresentation by nakheel, for example selling thousands of villas

 and after 2 years just cancelling the project…. nobody can make a complaint.

Likewise several private developers & real estae agents operating in a fraudulent manner are let go off the hook.

Comment by real estate expertOctober 29, 2008 at 1:54 am

Take away the speculation and in the end it comes back to fundamentals. Rental yields on finished

properties are currently 2-5%. Interest rates on property loans are 8-9%. Deposits on property

purchase are 30% minimum. If you want to buy a 2 bedroom apartment in a decent location you

would need to be earning US$200k to meet the lending criteria. The stock market in the Gulf has

fallen 25% in th elast 30 days and real estate stocks by 60% in 9 months.

Look for similar movement in property values.

Comment by steveOctober 29, 2008 at 5:20 am

Main reason dubai eco will collapse is the RUSSIAN factor.

Comment by GB BajajOctober 30, 2008 at 1:58 pm

The comments entered by the real estate are very impressive/ Truly an expert.

Comment by AdmirerOctober 30, 2008 at 4:08 pm

Great comments by the real estate expert as i call dubai an artificial market. There is onemore important point

that expert forgot is what will happen after Sheikh Muhammad as UAE history says e.g.Sharjah.

Advice to all expat go back to your homeland and serve for your country as Dubaidoes not have a

nation like Oman, Bahrain , Kuwait or KSA.

Comment by Fact FinderOctober 31, 2008 at 7:18 pm

Well it seems everyone here is pretty sure that Dubai Property Market is done and huge Crash is in Pipeline

(or is already there). Well no matter how much we want it but it’s not entirely Ture. The Factors Mentioned

by “Experts” here does not have much impact on property market. Property Market depends on

three important factors. 1) Creations of new Jobs and thus Movement of New People to area

2) Amounts of loan banks willing to give 3) Pricing of the property
In Case of Dubai, Companies are still very much eager to open up an office here which saves them 30% to 40%

in direct Tax fromtheir own Country. That Means new companies, new Jobs, new demand.

Comment by Real Estate InvestorNovember 1, 2008 at 8:56 am

it is easier to open an Office in Dubai than Buying BMW in U.K. It Still Costs AED 10,000/-

and every employee gets residence visa (AED 8000 per employee for three year) hence TaxFree status.

Dubai Government investing in own companies E.G opening up Hotels, Telecome, Café and everthing

else is also very Good for Dubai. Since 30% to 40% of Dubai’s Expat population

work in these Companies shows how serious Dubai Government is in bringing people to Dubai.

The 2nd factor is the bank Finance and that’s a problem right now. Due to Global Crisis Gulf Banks have huge

Liquidity problem and that’s the reason they have Stopped Finance,(Yes Stopped) Most Banks have Already

Reached their Yearly tar

Comment by Real Estate investorNovember 1, 2008 at 8:57 am

Most Banks have Already Reached their Yearly targets of cash outflow and Simply don’t have cash for mortgage.

Hence the finance buyer which is about 60 to 70% of market cannot buy. BUT from Jan next year Banks

will have fresh cash and hence finance will be back on track. Since Finance will be back the property market

will tend to rise again.

The 3rd Factor Pricing – Yes Dubai prices had increased on massive pace and yes things were gone

up really fast but still prices were not par will other countries (similar metropolitan cities) and now

with the correction in property prices due to the Financial problem the prices are even more attractive.

Comment by Real Estate investorNovember 1, 2008 at 8:58 am

No place in the world can sustain to grow above 40% annually but prices only crash only when the demand dries up. Like in U.S and U.K where most citizen already own a home and new migration is only 1 or 2% of population where as in Dubai its at 28% to 40% every year and most people here still live in rented houses. Now with that kind of new people market will not crash but yes the growth can slow to 10% to 15% will is more realistic level.

But everything’s not that great also, Dubai Needs to a lot more to keep growing and attracting

more expats E.G Allow more foreign ownership in local companies, give more Rights to expats,

and introduce permanent residency with work permit.

Please let me know if some one thinks the other way

Comment by Real estate InvestorNovember 1, 2008 at 8:59 am

The UAE is now a ‘Buyers’s Market’ and I hope developers improve incentives such as back-loaded payments plans etc.

Real Estate Dubai

Comment by AndrewNovember 1, 2008 at 1:32 pm

in dubai…reality is, the dubai govt thinks just like any other govt in the world i.e. india, usa, uk, japan etc.

nothing is done in dubai unless its severely needed [i.e. metro] and then its splashed with every god

damn adv from lipstick to lingerie to condoms to repay the loans taken for it. Y?

coz dubai govt HATES HATES HATES to pay for it from its pockets.

Comment by analyst expatNovember 1, 2008 at 3:45 pm

To the “Real estate Investor” who does not have a clue of what this place is like: re-read the comments

by the “real estate expert” and by “Fact Finder” and then get rid of your investment as fast as you can and while you can.

Yes, you would be safer if you were in Kuwait for instance, but not here. Get out of your circle and talk

to others and get to know the real picture. Does “Pirate Coast” mean anything to you?

Comment by Yet another fact finderNovember 2, 2008 at 1:01 am

Dubai has been trying to imitate the West for a long time now.The current situation is a predicted end to its Western dreams

Comment by Shaiju JanardhananNovember 2, 2008 at 6:10 am

excellent article… it’s so nice to read objective and realistic articles (and comments) about dubai and

their real estate market. i’m absolutely sick of reading blatent property (or any other) propaganda in Dubai’s “Newspapers”.

Comment by michaelNovember 2, 2008 at 6:55 am

i have read your article. wish to know few details regarding the Rental Index on Residential & commercial Properties.

There is a situation which were i have (a tenant) is going through tough time in Dubai

i have rented a Shop inside a Shopping Mall from past 4 years which was running in losses.

From 10 months the customers have raised and he was doing the Breakeven.

Suddenly the Mall is sold and New Landlord is asking for New RENT 40% increase and he is showing a

document of RERA stating landlord can increase the Rent to Market Rates.
i have put all his money in the business and may go bankrupt incase the situations goes out of hand
NEW LAND LORD IS AWROSTAMANI REAL ESTATE

Comment by QurashiNovember 5, 2008 at 7:26 am

Hi guys, am glad some of the readers find my comments useful. I just would like to add that god forbid if

anything actualy happens to our “super man sheikh” (Sheikh Mohammed) the entire wolves surrounding

him will start eating each other as history has shown in the gulf.
HSBC & lloyds TSB have stoped giving out mortgages to apartments in dubai what does that tell you?

PROPERTY CRASH is inevitable but the question is how hard it will hurt the government who has nothing in the account.
I hope I am wrong, but rumor says sheikh mohammed has had a stroke and an operation.

God help all those who still continue to dream and believe the wonderful animations of dubailand and nakheel!!

Comment by Real Estate ExpertNovember 11, 2008 at 10:44 am

The real estate market in dubai has crashed already. I bought a few floors from Dynasty zarooni’s sheffield project in dubai waterfront at 2700 dhs per square feet, today i can not sell it 30% below the purchase price. Why because Dynasty Zarooni does not even own the land & they don’t even have an escrow acount, yet people have paid over 20% to their acount and there is no construction on site. RERA knows about it but does nothing.

Comment by Dubai ResidentNovember 12, 2008 at 2:54 am

Really impress with your knowledge Real Estate Expert. Keep us updated to whats happening in Dubai Real Estate and when it will be a good time to buy probably an year from now.

I am based in Canada real estate here is doing reasonably well small 5% correction which is normal and acceptable.

no major job losses or recession predicted yet Canada has a sound economy.

Comment by Real Estate CrashingNovember 15, 2008 at 4:03 am

The nightmare is here…Great analysis by Mr. “Real Estate Expert”

Comment by Dubai NightmareNovember 16, 2008 at 6:50 am

It’s time that speculators lose something. Earning hunderds millions was not normal.
I never believed Dubai, never, it was bluff, very well supported by propaganda. Crisis will clean it up.

Comment by AziziNovember 19, 2008 at 8:11 pm

I wish real estate expert had published these comments in dubai dailies… thousands of small investors

like myself would not havebeen trapped in unrealistic promises.

Today my property is worth 40% less than what I bought it 4 months ago.

I blame the government for bringing so many projects into the market and killing the confidence.

Why are they quiet. Real estate expert how can I get in touch with you for some advice… email?

Comment by SilviaNovember 20, 2008 at 3:35 pm

In the 1980s and 1990s, Dubai used to be such a fun place to live in. Good medical, good salaries, good savings.

Today, expats are lucky to save even 5% of their income and stress levels have gone through the roof.

Traffic jams 24 hours a day, near impossible to get street parking, a 45 minute wait to get a taxi.

Indirect taxes in the form of extremely high rent and huge fees on everything related to living in Dubai.

Before, people treated you for who you are. Now they treat you based on what you drive, where you live

and how much you earn. Dubai is no fun to live in anymore, rather it is a materialistic society amidst an ugly

 poorly planned concrete jungle where the rule is eat or be eaten

Comment by Ex-Dubai ExpatNovember 21, 2008 at 6:35 am

Fortunately avoided the market here as I read the contracts and evaluated the risk given the emerging legal infrastructure.
Very little sympathy for those that bought, as they knew that the potentially high returns came with equally high risk.

Unfair to blame the Gov’t they have been putting the right regulatory structure in place, but this usually takes years.

The region needs a Dubai and I have no doubts it will be a regional powerhouse.
In the short run I expect an 80% drop in values, much like Singapores correction in the late 90’s.

Comment by sulliNovember 21, 2008 at 6:40 am

Been in UAE since 1994 but lost the bull market due to over protectiveness any way nothing to cry for,

can see one more coming in the near future as I have seen these happening in the past, unlike India from

where I come from, Dubai is not seen as a permanent residenence for most of the expatriate community

residing here, Most of us especially Indians are phobic of the locals and have been taken undue advantage

by the local youths and some most of the GCC expatriates and in my personal experience worst among these

are the Palestinians who seeems to have no respect to another human being now saying that, since no expatriate sees

UAE as his future home but a stop gap arrangement to make a

Comment by Lost BullNovember 24, 2008 at 2:26 pm

quick buck, which attracted the soldiers of fortune around the world, and persons with questionable past and

 present but with a huge wallet even though there were some sort of regulation put in regarding the money transfers,

there seems to be money flowing in from every were, Now in India we have a huge population and we have absolute

need for housing even it is rare to see such an mega project as in Dubai even with some of the worlds richest persons residing

there, Anyway before coming over to Dubai I used to travel around the world and it surprised me in 1994 why

Dubai did not have MRT which was very much common even in small countries such as Singapore,

And it surprising and at the same

Comment by Lost BullNovember 24, 2008 at 2:44 pm

extremely frustrating that you cannot travel back in the same taxi of other emirate unless you have engaged

 it for a round trip, about just 2-3 years back an inter emirate buses started plying the roads.

Once the real estate market started selling there were lots of people rushing in to buy assuming that they can forsee

a stable future with permanent residence visa status if they bought a free hold property which did not materialise,

again the only option that was left for all to make a quick buck when the boom lasted, Extremely well marketing tools

 were used to attract people from all over the world with a promise of living on beach life style, and compared the

prices to the major cities

Comment by Lost BullNovember 24, 2008 at 3:00 pm

found it to be cheap minus the infrastructure to support such a rapid developement, due to all projects going on simultaneously,companies ,man power, machinery and materials started flowing in and competitiveness within the developers started pushing the price upwards, speculators started rushing in prices went beyond the reach of genuine end user, any product which becomes unaffordable to the end user shall not sustain its existence so the crash in the market was inevitable, But even in this period there are plenty of genuine buyers if the prices are affordable and without high maintenance charges for the upkeep it is upto the developers to recognise, presently there are lots of projects

Comment by AnonymousNovember 24, 2008 at 3:15 pm

being shelved, scaled down and going for a rebiding ( face saving tactics), speculators immediately stated off loading their stocks , few with sustaining power shall hold untill they cannot afford to pay their mortgages any more, companies have already started retrenching, rents in Dubai started droping,bank interest rates have incresed, come March ( end of academic year)2009 we will see an exodus of families saying goodbye to UAE since it is not worth for them to be live here any more, and then the real crash starts…….. Advice time : 1. Do not panic this is not a end of the world 2. If you cash start investing in the shares 3. force banks to reduce the interest rates and extend the

Comment by Lost BullNovember 24, 2008 at 3:31 pm

repayment period. 4.Hunt for good bargains in the real estate property market start buying hagle with the developers,5.

This is good news as there is very sustainable future ahead for those who weathers this strom 6.

Live life comfortably as you will not take anything when you are dead anyway 7.

Pray for a good health during this stressful period ……… May God Bless U.A.E and its Rulers

Comment by Lost BullNovember 24, 2008 at 3:41 pm

Looking for real estate in Dubai? Property Portal connects you to hundreds of sales and investment opportunities

in the world’s hottest real estate market.

Comment by server BaigNovember 25, 2008 at 5:29 am

money-grubbing pigs deserve to wallow in their own filth

Comment by rich man poor manDecember 1, 2008 at 6:54 am

well dune dubai dream..!!

Comment by ignorentDecember 6, 2008 at 4:08 pm

to all Dubai haters i say “moral indignation is jealousy with a halo”……

Comment by Wells.H.GDecember 11, 2008 at 1:36 am

i believe that rich man poor man’s comment is logically directed towards the party that created this

worldwide financial crisis, which naturally is not Dubai…..see what i mean !?

Comment by Wells.H.GDecember 16, 2008 at 3:01 am

 

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Dubai, Abu Dhabi property sales at near standstill – Real Estate – ArabianBusiness.com

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 27, 2008


Dubai, Abu Dhabi property sales at near standstill – Real Estate – ArabianBusiness.com:

Property sales in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have ground to a near standstill and resale prices have dropped for the first time due to the global financial crisis, agents have said. Off-plan sales have been the hardest hit as speculators struggle to sell on their properties because potential buyers are finding it more difficult to secure financing, UAE daily The National reported on Sunday.

Speculators then face problems meeting instalments plans, forcing them to lower prices in an effort to make a quick sale, the newspaper said.

“It has been going on for a week now. I have seen prices going down about 10 percent everywhere, even in Dubai Marina and Downtown Burj Dubai,” Khaled Elqassim, the sales manager at Dubai-based property broker AAA, was quoted as saying.“Pretty much all the secondary market is trading at less than it was before the financial crisis,” Karen Lay, the marketing manager at LLJ Properties in Abu Dhabi, was quoted as saying

READERS’ COMMENTS
View all comments (9)

Have your say
REAL ESTATE PRICES
Posted by Padmanabhan, Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Sunday 26 October 2008 at 17:05 UAE time

Honestly, a sigh of relief! The Real Estate SEctor was giving a hard time to the residents of the UAE using monopolistics and hoarding practices. You will find advertisements coming in the paper claiming that 90% SOLD!!! That is how they maintained these hype pricing so far. Now that the world financial support system is crembling a highly geared state like Dubai can not do much. A country who is putting an national budget of 60 Bn but announcing projects with trillions does not make sense… there was something wrong somewhere and this testing times will get it all fixed… The time of living on credit cards and borrowed money seems to be coming to an end..good bye speculators and gamblers!!!. At least honest people can lead a calm life after this potential turmoil, I hope!

Inevitable
Posted by Rahul, Dubai, UAE on Sunday 26 October 2008 at 16:13 UAE time
This was bound to happen.In my case, I was denied the loan even though the combined amount of me and my brother was in the amount of AED 20,000.UAE has a sound domestic demand for housing.However, the banks look at the age and the income of the individual when it should be looking at the credit rating.To add salt to the wound the speculators raise the prices to almost 45% of the actual price and expect people to buy.With America already going down,it will be a matter of time that the speculators will start to suffer once this vicious circle of greed completes itself. Personally I think it is time for market regulations to be put in shape and sound laws implemented.The speculators are getting what they have sown all this time.

Property Prices
Posted by Maxim, Dubai, UAE on Sunday 26 October 2008 at 15:43 UAE time

This is the beginning of your end dear speculators/real estate agents. You guys deserve that, you guys earned exorbitant amount by squeezing end users. Just imagine, till recently an end user could not buy a apartment/villa directly from a well known developer such as Emaar/Nakheel. Every unit from these developers had been gobbled up by so called speculators with in hours. (I would say greedy fly by night business men). When a real buyer/end user wants to buy Prices of flat/villa shoots up in few hours after the sale.

Real Estate prices Dubai
Posted by Investor, Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Sunday 26 October 2008 at 15:37 UAE timeI fully agree with the article, the issue as i see it is that Banks and Financial institutions have dropped their financing percentage to 60% and 65% , not only they are giving an indication to the market that the expected correction in the real estate sector could be in the range of 40% to 45% but also they are making it really difficult to buy a house in Dubai, which will lead to an inevitable correctionI don’t understand the contradicting position between Government officials and banks, either that UAE has a strong real estate sector as per the Government officials or it does not as per the Banks financing position. If banks do not have the financing ability then they should not push away investors by putting unreasonable financing conditions.


Property Prices Down

Posted by Robert Parker, Dubai, UAE on Sunday 26 October 2008 at 15:32 UAE timeThe inevitability of prices coming down in Dubai (and Abu Dhabi) has long been foretold it was never IF it was always WHEN. The question now is how much – the report of 10% drops is insignificant with the rises seen even this year in the UAE – my belief is that we are about to see significantly higher drops as the word gets out and speculators try to offload.
In some areas 50% drops are possible but I would suggest 30%-35% will be the norm.
OK if you bought a couple or more years ago – tough if you bought in the last few months!

Secondary market is cheaper now
Posted by Vision, Dubai on Sunday 26 October 2008 at 14:59 UAE timeThe secondary market for Downtown Burj is 20- 30 % less than what Emaar is offering directly to its buyers. It looks like there is an opportunity for interested investors if they look at Burj Downtown.

Property prices
Posted by angelo, Dubai, UAE on Sunday 26 October 2008 at 14:35 UAE time
It was commented by more learned persons than I over a year ago that the speculative buying of properties would implode on itself – this was also when the leaders of the comunity started to implement controls hopeing that real estate compnies would start self regulation. Maybe this will bring properties to their real value

Its Finally Arrived
Posted by Uzair waheed on Sunday 26 October 2008 at 14:12 UAE time
Its finally arrived – the much anticipated dip in Dubai property prices. If prices have been slashed by 10% in a week, what can we expect in the next six months.?
prices headed down

Posted by Mermer, dubai, uae on Sunday 26 October 2008 at 10:46 UAE time
As long as dollar gains value. Property prices is going down further. Just think if you have house purchased for 600k(~70k GBP gpb/usd=2.05) dirham 1 year ago. and if it cost now 1M dirham (~175 GBP gbp/usd=1.6) . now compare it 70k GBP to 175k GPB. :) Wouldn’t you like to sell the house here and buy one in London where prices already headed down.

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Now E-Complaint System RERA Dubai

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 19, 2008


E Complaint System via RERA Dubai Wesite

Link:

http://www.rpdubai.com/rpdubai/home.jsp?lang=0

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Dubai SchonProperties announces final schedule for Lagoon project

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 19, 2008


Gulfnews: Schon announces final schedule for Lagoon project

original published Guld News October 19, 2008

http://archive.gulfnews.com/business/Development/10252897.html

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Khaleej Times Online – Shaikh Mohammed orders transfer of Dhs70 bn to the Ministry of Finance

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 14, 2008


Khaleej Times Online – Shaikh Mohammed orders transfer of Dhs70 bn to the Ministry of Finance

14 October 2008

Dubai –

The Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has ordered the transfer of Dhs70 billion to the Ministry of Finance so that it can inject liquidity into the national banking sector.

The move followed the instructions of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The order means that Dhs120 billion (US$32.7 billion) has been provided for the banking sector over the last month. On Sheikh Mohammed’s instructions, the Ministry of Finance and the UAE Central Bank have been assigned the task of injecting the liquidity into the banking sector.

Shaikh Mohammed ordered the setting up of a suitably qualified committee composed of the officials of ministries of Finance and Economy and the Central Bank to follow up these instructions, as well as to handle the relevant the Cabinet procedures.

The step further indicates the country’s leadership to provide all required guarantees to support the banking sector in the UAE and to protect it from the global financial crisis. It also reflects the quick response of the UAE government in term of providing whatever could guarantee stability for the financial and banking sector in the country.

On Sept. 22nd, the Central Bank allocated Dhs50 billion (US$13.6 billion) as facilities for the banks operating in the country so that they could use them if required, as part of the economic measures taken by the UAE to support the banks to avoid the current global financial crisis.

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Off-plan market frenzy likely to cool off – The National Newspaper

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 13, 2008


Off-plan market frenzy likely to cool off – The National Newspaper: “Off-plan market frenzy likely to cool off”

original published TheNational October 13, 2008

Nathalie Gillet

Last Updated: October 13. 2008 4:07PM UAE / GMT The global financial crisis will likely cool off some of the market frenzy that has driven speculators to buy off-plan properties in their droves in recent years, Chris Dommett, the chief executive of mortgage adviser John Charcol Dubai said today.

As foreign and local investors are displaying more caution than usual, the off-plan market, which has been known to drive up property prices due to speculative buyers and seller, is expected to slow down, said Mr Dommett.

Investors who buy property and quickly resell for a profit, otherwise known as ‘flipping’, have not only been discouraged by the recent global economic uncertainty, but also by recent Government and regulatory action taken to limit the practice.

End users are already less likely to buy off-plan as they typically need a place to live or to generate rental income to support mortgage payments, and are often wary of the return of their investment, the company found.

“End users are realising there is very little price differential between off-plan and completed properties, and they would prefer to buy something that is ready to move into,” said Mr Dommett. “Financing is also generally more difficult for off-plan buyers as the banks are increasingly reluctant to lend against a property that has yet to be built.”

ngillet@thenational.ae

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Dubai Property PR – Stars the Painkiller – it will only work in the short term-Left with stars in their eyes – The National Newspaper

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 13, 2008


Left with stars in their eyes – The National Newspaper:

……Sports stars were also out in force during Cityscape 2008.

The British boxer Amir Khan became the brand ambassador for the Tejarah Executive, a residential tower to be built in Ajman, while the seven-time Formula One winner Michael Schumacher launched the Michael Schumacher World Champion Tower on Abu Dhabi’s Reem Island, in partnership with Marasi Real Estate Fund.

This is the second project that Mr Schumacher has lent his name to in the UAE. He also tied up with the developer ACI earlier this year to work on Michael Schumacher Business Avenue in Dubai.

read more:

Left with stars in their eyes – The National Newspaper:

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Emaar Properties shares fall to new 46-month low – Real Estate – ArabianBusiness.com

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 12, 2008


Emaar Properties shares fall to new 46-month low – Real Estate – ArabianBusiness.com: “Emaar Properties shares fall to new 46-month low”

on Sunday, 12 October 2008

Shares in Emaar, the largest developer in the Middle East, plunged 9 percent to their lowest value since December 2004 in morning trading on Sunday, as investors took fright from last week’s turmoil in the financial markets.

It came as US investment bank Citi, in a report published on Thursday, predicted a slowdown in the Dubai’s booming real estate market and stood by its buy recommendation for the stock, which was down 9 per cent at 5.18 dirhams at 11.43am.

Citi analyst Hasnain Malik told Arabian Business: “This is exactly in line with what is happening globally. If you look at what the markets did on Friday, it is a spillover from that.”

“We feel there is an overly pessimistic view for [Emaar’s] share price,” he added.

Emaar is the largest publicly traded property company in the Middle East and is building the world’s tallest tower in Dubai as well as a Las Vegas-style strip of hotels.

The firm is largely responsible for Dubai’s rapidly changing skyline in the last decade, together with the city’s massive construction boom.

Over the past year the company has lost nearly two thirds of its value, with shares falling over 65 percent.

At the start of the year the stock peaked at 15.70 dirhams.

Other big property companies in Gulf also suffered this morning. Abu Dhabi’s largest developer Aldar, hit a new year low earlier this morning at AED 5.13, before recovering to AED 5.74 at 12.30pm, down 1.5 percent.

Qatar-based Barwa followed suit, falling for the fifth day out of six. The stock lost 10 percent to QR $44.9, approaching its January year low of QR 40.1.

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Emaar Properties shares fall to new 46-month low – Real Estate – ArabianBusiness.com

Dubai bourse cuts stock move limit to 10% – Financial Markets – ArabianBusiness.com

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 12, 2008


Dubai bourse cuts stock move limit to 10% – Financial Markets – ArabianBusiness.com: “Dubai bourse cuts stock move limit to 10%”

on Sunday, 12 October 2008

The Dubai Financial Financial Market has limited the amount by which a stock can fall in a trading session to 10 percent.

Previously stocks could move by a minimum or maximum of 15 percent. Now the downward threshold has been cut according to a Dubai Financial Market official who declined to be named.

“Stocks can still move up by 15 percent but they can only move down by a maximum of 10 percent,” he said.

Gulf markets have suffered major declines as panic selling hit local bourses amid a global rout in equities markets.

The Dubai Financial Market has lost 27 percent since the beginning of the month while Qatar lost 19 percent while Abu Dhabi lost 23 percent.

Shiv Prakash, an analyst at MAC Capital Advisors, said: “They had to in order to stabilize the markets and bring more liquidity but as of now the trend is bearish and will continue to be bearish.”

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Dubai exchange ends on 43-month low – Financial Markets – ArabianBusiness.com

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 12, 2008


Dubai exchange ends on 43-month low – Financial Markets – ArabianBusiness.com: “Dubai exchange ends on 43-month low”

Sunday, 12 October 2008

original published Arabian Business by Andy Sambidge and Reuters

Shares in Dubai’s Emaar Properties dropped 10 percent on Sunday, dragging the Dubai Financial Market to its lowest level since March 2005 as investor fears over the global financial turmoil intensify.

Under new regulations brought in by the Dubai bourse on Sunday, the company’s fall in value was the maximum it could lose in a day. Deyaar Developments fell 8.3 percent, while Arabtec ended 9.9 percent lower. The index ended 5.41 percent lower at 3,025 points.

Shares in Dubai continued to drop after the UAE government agreed on Sunday to take measures to protect the economy, promising to protect banks from credit risks and guarantee bank deposits.

Saudi Arabia’s main index rose 0.3 percent to 5,813 points, recouping earlier losses after the kingdom’s central bank cuts its key benchmark repo lending rate by 50 basis points.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) surges 8 percent, while Petro Rabigh gained 6.8 percent and Al Rajhi Bank rose 3.8 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, the main index ended 2.3 percent lower at 3,133 points, paring earlier losses as attractive valuations tempted investors back to the emirate’s real estate sector.

Aldar Properties finished just 0.7 percent lower, while Sorouh Reak Estate gained 0.21 percent.

Qatar’s main index ended 7.18 percent down at 7,029 points, led lower by bank stocks and Industries Qatar, which dropped 7 percent.

Qatar Islamic Bank and Commercial Bank of Qatar fell 7.8 percent and 7.2 percent respectively. The index has lost 27 percent since the beginning of the year.

In Kuwait, the main index finished 0.4 percent lower at 11,858 points. Gulf Bank plummeted 5.17 percent, but Mobile Telecommunications Co (Zain) surged 8.62 percent, while Kuwait Finance House ended 4.9 percent up.

Bahrain’s main index ended 0.83 percent lower. Gulf Finance House and Bahrain Telecom Co ended 0.86 percent and 0.31 percent lower while Ahli United Bank gained 1.11 percent.

Oman’s main index closed 5.68 percent lower at 6,770 points – the index has fallen 27 percent since the beginning of the year.

Bank Muscat finished trade 8 percent lower, while Oman Cable Industries plunged nearly 10 percent.

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Swift action gets an equal and rapid response from UAE Inc

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 12, 2008


Swift action gets an equal and rapid response from UAE Inc

12 October 2008

The strong comments made by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on the strengths of the UAE economy and the stability of its real estate and financial markets have set off a chain reaction of confidence.
Corporate chieftains have come out in vocal support of Sheikh Mohammed’s statement, made on the final day of Cityscape Dubai. Independent research too has confirmed that the UAE economy has the ability to emerge stronger.

“Our national economy, banking sector and financial markets are sound,” Sheikh Mohammed said. “They draw their strength from a long-term vision, boosted by flexible legislations that protect local and foreign capital.” He added that the UAE economy was able to weather economic downturns, even during Gulf’s first and second wars.

Global Insight, a US-based economic and financial forecasting company, yesterday said the UAE is among the world’s least risky countries along with Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and Malaysia. In the UAE, capital levels are high, liquidity is sufficient, bank management is adequate, and the regulatory environment is prudent, it added.

“In general terms, GCC countries exhibit high levels of banking sector stability, in sharp contrast to emerging economies outside that group. For the GCC countries presently under coverage, the UAE and Saudi Arabia banking sectors are rated as stable and as highly stable,” Global Insight said.

Sheikh Mohammed’s comment that the country’s ability to grow can be attributed to the “clear vision, world-class infrastructure, availability of local and international expertise and the perfect and attractive business environment” has found a resounding echo among the UAE’s business elite that Emirates Business spoke to yesterday.

Sheikh Mohammed said the UAE’s economy was far from being affected by the global credit gloom and referred to the surge in real estate demand.

According to Global Insight, the global financial crisis has had relatively limited direct effect on banking stability in most emerging markets. “We looked at 33 emerging markets and found that credit expansion in many of these economies has been very rapid over the past several years, driven in large part by strong economic growth,” said Toby Wight, manager of Global Insight’s Banking Risk Service.

The nation’s chief executives have firmly stood by Sheikh Mohammed’s words when he said: “Our economy and markets are doing well. Our economic history shows the sound vision of the country’s leadership and the best example for that is the huge demand witnessed in all sectors, especially real estate. We launch initiatives on financial, educational, technological and media fronts and then attract investments from all over the world which shows the success of such initiatives.”

Nasser bin Hassan, Al Shaikh: Director-General, Dubai Department of Finance, and Chairman, Amlak and Deyaar

“The fundamentals of our economy are strong and over the past few years we have enjoyed surpluses besides having strategic reserves in place. Although we are part of the global economy, our position is much better than many countries since we do have solutions in hand whether it be on federal or local level.

Another important thing to be noted here is that we have always been fast in taking a decision and implementing it. This actually works in our favour in such an environment unlike some other countries where you see the right decision is taken, but so much time passes before the decision is implemented. Sometimes the delay proves fatal.

His Highness’s comment is certainly a vote of confidence in the economy and no one can argue that the UAE or any other regional country does not have the solutions in hand.

Due to the global meltdown in the credit market, what has happened is that the international capital markets closed overnight. This caused a small disturbance in the system. However, since we have solutions in hand, the effects of the global credit crisis will be small on our economy.

The UAE Central Bank has moved fast to provide a Dh50-billion credit line for UAE financial institutions and this is just to compensate for the difficulty they are facing from international capital markets.

Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehyan: Chairman, TamweelTamweel and Bin Zayed Group

Today the whole world is going into a huge chaos. It is very important to bring rationality and also bring understanding of the issues. It is very important to know what has happened and how these issues inter-relate and can affect the local market and also who is in charge and who is responsible about what is happening.

Everybody is blaming the stock market, but this stock market is just a reflection of what is happening. Everybody is blaming speculators in the real estate market. These players utilise the opportunities that are there. This is a free market, and we would like to keep it open as much as is possible so that the market decides exactly where prices, where interest should go.

But unfortunately you hear of people who would like to control it, who would like to build dams in their way, which is really very strange.
People need to have a fair chance in being able to utilise the opportunities in their interest as well as contribute to the growth of the whole economy.
Yes, you would like to regulate, there is no doubt about that so that there is no abuse in this market. this is the new era of Dubai and it was the bold move of Sheikh Mohammed in this as well as his advisers and his team who have helped to develop Dubai.
Everybody was saying, no it is not possible. It requires courage to go and build something like this, but it also requires knowledge to navigate in troubled times like this.

Salah Salem bin Omeir Al Shamsi: Chairman, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The comments of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, are very strong and come at the right time.
They have dispersed a lot of clouds that have enveloped the country’s economy since the beginning of the global financial crisis. The statements have consolidated the position and solidity of the national economy and reassured national and foreign investors about their investments in the UAE.

Despite the fact that the world financial crisis has hit most of the world, its effects on the emirates are weak, and the UAE economy will be able to weather the crisis as it did the first and second Gulf wars.

And most certainly our financial institutions and real estate markets are now in a very strong position, and the government will intervene to protect them in case of any trouble.

The UAE has not been much affected by the financial crisis for two main reasons. The first is the sound economic vision of the politicial leadership that has enacted legislations to guarantee stability and protection for investors in various sectors that witness big growth. Evidence of this is the growing demand in sectors such as banking and realty.

The second reason is the strong growth in gross domestic product (GDP) which has exceeded Dh512bn and which depends on abundant liquidity secured by oil. Add to this the contributions made by the private sector.

Ronald Barrott: Chief Executive, Aldar Properties

I agree with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The UAE is good and a sound place for investment. The country continues to attract foreign investors due to its stable market. The investment conditions are excellent here, particularly in Abu Dhabi.

Lots of investors are coming to the UAE. With my experience in Aldar, we are doing well with continued growth, and we see no problem despite these crises.

Mohammed Sharaf: Chief Executive, Dubai Ports World

I strongly believe in the words of Sheikh Mohammed, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. There shouldn’t be anything to worry about in terms of the UAE economy. We should pay close attention to what is happening globally to ensure we don’t make the same mistakes, but historically when there has been economic strife in the world, the Gulf, and the UAE in particular, has continued to prosper. Yes, short-term investors in the stocks markets have lost a lot of money, but what many of them were doing was gambling. We have Sheikh Mohammed’s comments and the UAE Central BankUAE Central Bank has also stated that our banking sector is in a strong position, so what more do we need?

Habib Fekih: President, Middle East, Airbus Industrie
As far as the UAE is concerned, it is less affected than the rest of the world. The country has the resources and means to stay strong and grow.

For the aviation industry in particular, the UAE market will do fine. While airlines such as Emirates will be fine, we are waiting to see consequences for other airlines in the Middle East, such as the ones in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and so on.

Air travel performance depends on how much travel plans will be affected. But we are okay so far and not suffering from any serious downturn. The UAE economy will stand strong but our sector especially is linked to the world economy. So Airbus will suffer if some airlines in the region are not able to perform.

Arif Alharmi: Chief Executive, AmlakAmlak Finance

Sheikh Mohammed’s comments came at the right time, and the whole market, especially the real estate sector, responded positively to the reassurance the economy is strong. We were always confident that the government will take all necessary measures to safeguard our economy and guide us.

Since the start of the global crisis, we worked closely with the authorities and implemented several measures to continue with our commitment of providing leading-edge home financing. However, the real estate sector needs to move forward with the completion of the numerous projects in the pipeline.

Farhan Faraidooni: Executive Chairman, Sama Dubai

The statement made by Sheikh Mohammed has reassured investors about the strength of the UAE economy and will certainly have a positive impact on the real estate industry here. Stock markets across the world have been hit badly and I believe that people will not invest there for a long time.

If we look at what happened after 9/11, I can certainly say that people will start investing in the real estate market here. In today’s circumstances, it offers them a safe and secure investment opportunity in the medium to long term. Dubai now needs more long-term investors and new legislations have actually helped curtail speculation in the market.

I am very optimistic that the property market will react positively to Sheikh Mohammed’s comments, and in the coming years will offer better returns to investors.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Fahid Al Shakra: Chairman, Al Hanoo Holdings

The UAE’s diversified economy has made it capable of standing unshaken in such credit crunch circumstances. This market is based on solid foundations one of which is that it depends on local and regional liquidity.

Compared to the world market, the UAE and the regional markets are at their highest level of economic cycles. Many talk about the negative impacts of the credit crunch on the UAE market but that has not happened.

Khalid Al Malik: Chief Executive, Tatweer

The statement made by Sheikh Mohammed is definitely reassuring since it is coming from someone who has seen the ups and downs of a market. It gives a lot of confidence since it is coming from someone who is a visionary.

But we have to bear in mind that it is very important for us not to ignore the situation. There is a problem in the world and we are part of this world. The bottom line is: the ones who face the situation with confidence in the market are the ones who can bear the consequences of this. Those who don’t have the confidence and only sit and think about the problem will not move forward.

Every market is different. A developer has to understand the market here. There is a certain demand and supply situation in each market, and what I advise a new developer is to look at the market before he ventures into it.

Saif Belhasa: Chief Executive, Saif Belhasa Group

The crisis in the US and Europe will affect our markets, but we won’t know the extent of its impact for a few months. We will have to watch the situation very carefully. We have not seen any slowdown in the UAE, but we can’t say there won’t be any effect in the future. Our banks have a lot of money in Europe and the US, but the Central BankCentral Bank has assured us that the majority of assets are in the UAE.

Sheikh Mohammed has been a great supporter of our markets. The Dubai Government will do everything it can to achieve its targets.

Sultan Butti bin Mijrin: Director-General, Dubai Land Department

The wise leadership represented by Sheikh Mohammed makes us confident about overcoming crises and taking advantage of them. This is due to the strength of the UAE’s economic structure as well as the confidence that Dubai enjoys among investors inside and outside the UAE.

The current crisis will have positive effects on Dubai and consolidate its position as a destination for the world’s capital. That was noticed at Cityscape. In addition, land trading witnessed a big revival. Land transactions at the end of Ramadan were not affected and were close to the transactions done at the beginning of Ramadan, though the real estate market was facing problems. Property registration also increased in 2008 compared to the same period in 2007.

Sina Al Kazim: Chief Executive, Meraas Development

We got a confidence boost by Sheikh Mohammed at Cityscape. When we launched the Jumeirah Gardens project, we were aware of the grim global economic scenario, and we were confident of the Dubai economy and the good prospects it offered. This was evident when we approeached banks for funds and got a positive response from them. This assures us that Dubai is financially stable.

Mohamed S Binbrek: Group Chief Executive, Dubai Properties Group

Sheikh Mohammed’s comments will calm jittery investors’ nerves and reinstate confidence in our economy. Our economic fundamentals are strong; we are a diversified economy with surpluses in our budget. In the real estate sector, only six per cent of the purchases are made through home finance options, while 94 per cent are buyers who pay cash.

Even the Central bank has strict restrictions in place, limiting sectoral lending. I don’t see we will face any problems like the US. Moreover, we have checks and balances in place with 90 per cent lending in best-case scenario and monthly instalments not being more than 50 per cent of take-home salary. This is to prevent people from falling into excessive debt.

The market and people have a herd mentality and they follow what others are doing. A statement coming from the second highest authority of the country reinstates confidence in the market and calms jittery nerves.

Marwan bin Ghalita: Chief Executive, Real Estate Regulatory Agency

The market is doing well and we are part of the global situation, but we have good government support and, as Sheikh Mohammed said, most of the companies are run by the government and semi-government entities. What can I tell people other than that if you have invested in Dubai, you investment is safe. The only thing people have to bear in mind is that an investment in real estate should be long term.

In fact, if you look at the long term, Dubai is the best place for any investment because of the support and the strength of the system. The investor has nothing to worry about. The projects will be completed and they have a secure investment.

A buyer should always check his cash-flow and use professionals while deciding on where to invest. But I will say with all my strength: invest in Dubai’s real estate.

Khalfan Al Kaabi: Board Member, ADCCI, and Chairman, Ascorp

Sheikh Mohammed’s statements have reassured many local and foreign investors who were scared by the fallout of crises in the US, Europe and Asia. The UAE needs two things to overcome the world financial crisis. First is the availability of liquidity. The real estate sector needs money on time to finish ongoing projects.

The second is strong government support to big financial institutions, especially banking and real estate, in light of the collapses seen in several countries.

Wasim Saifi: Chief Executive, Tamweel

The fundamentals of the UAE real estate market are very strong. There is no problem in the supply-demand factor. Demand is continuing with respect to new jobs in the region; plus we are seeing increased delays in project execution that will keep demand afloat.

The second concern for us today is the credit availability in the market. We have seen recently tight liquidity conditions but the UAE Central BankUAE Central Bank is taking steps to mitigate that by introducing rate cuts. Liquidity will improve.

The sentiment of the market is the most important and we reassure investors that they have nothing to worry about. The recent merger talks between AmlakAmlak and TamweelTamweel are not because of credit crunch in the UAE or in the region but to create one big giant establishment. TamweelTamweel’s investments are totally localised, whether it comes to who we lend to or the properties we lend to. We have come together to create one big giant lending corporation.

David Savage: Managing Director, Al Habtoor Leighton

Our business is not being affected by the global crises. The impact will be on smaller developers but it will be far less than the international markets.

Aaref Hejres: Chief Executive, Diyar Al Muharraq, Bahrain

Stock market and property investors in the Gulf need not worry about the current market situation and sub-prime crisis in the United States and financial meltdown in Europe because we are following a different business model in the region.

As far as the property market is concerned, investors such as Diyar Al Murarraq and Kuwait Finance HouseKuwait Finance House are bullish because there is a shortage of housing units in the Gulf. Despite the current crisis affecting property prices in the US, property prices in the region are going up. We have strong control over speculators.

Abdul Azis Glenjawi: Managing Director, Manchester Real Estate

Sheikh Mohammed’s statement that the economy of Dubai and the UAE is strong came at the right time. He pointed out that investors in the UAE realise the ability of the local economy to remain firm through the crises that the global economies are going through. He expected that the rate of new investments in Dubai will increase to take advantage of opportunities that are still available.

So far, there is no sign that the local economic situation has been affected by the global crisis, especially in the real estate sector, which still generates big revenues. What has happened on stock exchanges cannot be considered an index of the economy, because stock markets are the most fragile and are affected more quickly than other sectors.

BR Shetty: Chief Executive, NMC Group

Trust, trust and only trust can protect you from this global crisis. Have trust in the local market, and have trust in the leadership that develops policies for the sbaility of the economy. We have trust and therefore are doing good business with 40 per cent annual growth.

Some greedy people have been withdrawing their investments and money due to lack of trust in the local economy. With my own experience of business in the country, the UAE is the safest place to invest. We see more and more foreign investors entering into the market. We see more and more joint venture companies and projects taking place in the UAE. this is because the country is safe for investors, thanks to the leadership.

Mohammed Ali Yasin: chief Executive, Shuaa Securities

The statement of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is very important and will have a positive effect on sentiment. The government has been quiet on the issue of the crisis gripping Western Banks, with most comments locally coming from either businessmen or the Central BankCentral Bank.

A side effect has been the withdrawal of foreign liquidity from our markets, which has stretched our financial system, but the economy remains very strong. Banks do not want to lend to each other and further measures have to be taken to get liquidity moving again. Once this happens, people’s fears will be calmed and the focus can return to maintaining the present economic cycle.

Robert Burnett: Vice-President, Hill International

I am not sure if the economic crisis that began in the United States and set off a global chain reaction was entirely due to financial reasons or due to fear. The market has reacted irrationally even to the support provided to the banks and a lot of it is a pure panic scenario. I do not think that it will affect the UAE in the same way.

A reasonable number of major developers who have their projects on hand will continue to go ahead. Also, UAE developers who have announced projects outside the country will continue to go ahead. A few projects might be held up or stopped but I think that the currect crisis is not as serious as the past market scenarios that we have seen such as the dot.com crash.

KV Shamsuddin: Director, Barjeel Geojith Securities

My business experience in the UAE in the past 38 years shows Dubai has witnessed and overcome several global crises, especially September 11 and the Middle East war. From all these crisis situations, Dubai has got some opportunities for growth and development and emerged stronger. I fully welcome His Highness Sheikh Mohammed’s statement. There are sceptics but very soon they will be proved wrong. In my view, India, Brazil, Russia and the GCCGCC countries will emerge stronger as a powerful economic block. And in the GCCGCC, Dubai will be the leader and the centre that others will follow.

Kamal Vachani: Director, Al Maya Group

I am extremely happy about this statement from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed. It reiterates the fact that investors like us are putting their money in safe hands.

Dubai has always been different from other markets and even if there is any problem, Dubai will get out of it smartly. I believe everything will go smoothly and the markets are bound to recover from the assurance of Sheikh Mohammed. We have invested a lot of money in the property market and our confidence in the market has once again been reiterated.

By Yazad Darasha

© Emirates Business 24/7 2008

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Swift action gets an equal and rapid response from UAE Inc

Sermon cautions against communicating by e-mail – The National Newspaper

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 12, 2008


Sermon cautions against communicating by e-mail – The National Newspaper

Rasha Elass

Last Updated: October 11. 2008 9:03PM UAE / October 11. 2008 5:03PM GMT

ABU DHABI // Muslims have been cautioned about the dangers of communicating by e-mail because the lack of facial expression and body language can lead to misunderstanding.

Sheikh Jihad Hashim, speaking at the Mariam bint Sultan mosque, was elaborating on a government-issued sermon which reminded worshippers that it was the duty of Muslims to help bring an end to conflict and reconcile differences in a spirt of forgiveness.

It was a sin for two Muslims to be in conflict for longer than three days, the sermon said.

“God has facilitated all ways that can reach to reconciliation and absolved the facilitator of peace from the sin of lying.”

“The Prophet said: ‘It is forbidden for a man to abandon his brother for longer than three days … and the better one among them is he who initiates peace’.

“The Prophet also said: ‘He who reconciles differences between people cannot be a liar’.”

The General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments issues the Friday sermon weekly. Individual imams can expand the message to suit their congregation.

Sheikh Hashim, who preaches to an English-speaking congregation of predominantly educated professionals, said: “The reconciler between people has a good intention. What does he do? He stretches the truth just a bit in order to plant a good seed where the land is barren. He encourages people to think differently because often our assumptions about each other are wrong.”

While encouraging his congregation to use technology, he warned that e-mail can cause a great deal of misunderstanding.

“The worst way to exchange communication is e-mail because there’s no facial expression or body language to put words into emotional context. One person might be more stressed than what comes through in e-mail, and then becomes upset saying, ‘Why haven’t you done what I’ve asked?’”

Using emoticons, symbols that represent the emotional content of a message, “does not make things better”, he said. “Every time we rely on digital technology to communicate on our behalf, we become one more step detached from each other.”

One of the worst things a Muslim can do is to offend or mistreat a fellow Muslim, because God resents those who mistreat believers close to Him.

“This is the definition of sainthood in Islam. We call them wali, someone who is close to God. A friend of God – implying loyalty, not necessarily friendship.

“And God said whoever shows animosity towards a wali, He will declare war against them.

“The whole point of Muslim sainthood is that we don’t know who they are. So be careful about who you deem unworthy.”

relass@thenational.ae

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UAE guarantees banks and deposits – The National Newspaper

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 12, 2008


UAE guarantees banks and deposits – The National Newspaper: “UAE guarantees banks and deposits”

Bill Spindle

Last Updated: October 12. 2008 2:19PM UAE / GMT The Government moved aggressively to underpin the country’s banking system, guaranteeing all banks and deposits as part of a sweeping financial package.

The decision, released by the government news agency WAM, was accompanied by a statement from Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, saying that the economy is strong and the local financial sector is efficient.

The move comes amid unprecedented turmoil in the global financial system. Heads of the developed economies of the world, along with the International Monetary Fund, are meeting in Washington, DC to come up with measures to stem the haemorrhaging in markets.

Local banks have steered clear of many of the problems plaguing lenders elsewhere. But the impact of the global financial crisis has hit here in recent weeks as money has rushed out of the country’s banks and financial markets amid the larger crisis. That has sent equity markets plunging and constrained bank lending as deposits have shrunk and borrowing from abroad has become markedly more expensive or impossible for many banks.

Last week, countries around the world started a round of historic, but piecemeal, attempts to protect their financial sectors and economies as panic spread. Several countries, including Ireland, Germany, the UK and Japan, have moved to protect all consumer deposits or raised the limits on deposit protection. Meanwhile, pressure has grown for big economies, including the US, to begin nationalizing banks, as Iceland did last week.

Many banks in the UAE are already owned in part by the government, so many investors and depositors had long assumed the government would stand behind them. But the announcement was the first explicit moves the government has taken to do so.

bspindle@thenational.ae

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UAE central bank chief in US for crisis talks – Banking & Finance – ArabianBusiness.com

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 11, 2008


UAE central bank chief in US for crisis talks – Banking & Finance – ArabianBusiness.com

The Central Bank of the UAE announced on Saturday that Governor Sultan Nasser al-Suweidi was in Washington to discuss the global liquidity crisis at meetings with world leaders.

Suweidi will attend meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to mainly discuss the liquidity crunch and financial markets turmoil, especially in industrialised nations, the bank said in a statement.

Suweidi said national and foreign banks are in a “strong financial position” and that the majority of their assets are in the UAE, according to the statement.

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on UAE central bank chief in US for crisis talks – Banking & Finance – ArabianBusiness.com

Kippreport » Kipp’s Blog » Who is going to live in all those houses?

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 11, 2008


Kippreport » Kipp’s Blog » Who is going to live in all those houses?: “Who is going to live in all those houses?”

original published http://www.Kippreport.com , October 9th, 2008

Cityscape Dubai is huge, and Kipp was really impressed with the creativity and the effort put into making the stands.

But the first question we were tempted to ask was: Who’s actually going to live in these houses? While it is true that people are pouring into the city (according to official data last year, some 292,000 more people became Dubai residents in just one year), just skimming through the exhibition makes you realize that the city’s property builders are hoping to house thousands more.

As one show-goer asked us on the way back from the exhibition, once the real estate boom is over and people stop flipping properties, who is going to live here?

Any ideas?

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Kippreport » Kipp’s Blog » Who is going to live in all those houses?

Dubai property on red alert

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 9, 2008


Dubai property on red alert: “Dubai property on red alert”

The Dubai government likes to use the annual Cityscape real estate exhibition to build confidence in the emirate and build interest in its property market. Massive schemes are announced and ever-more ambitious plans are hatched.

But this year’s exhibition has come amid falling local stock markets – Saudi Arabia fell 10 per cent on Monday – and growing concerns that the international financial crisis will bring about a correction to what is widely viewed as a frothy market.

True to form, NakheelNakheel, which is owned by the government of Dubai, at the weekend launched a Dh140bn ($38bn) project to build the world’s tallest tower and inland harbour. On Monday another government company, Meraas Development, said it would redevelop a swath of the city over 12 years in a Dh350bn project to be called Jumeira Gardens. The intention is that this scheme too should include another of the world’s tallest towers and reclaimed islands off the coast.

“Dubai has always reinvented itself and maintained growth,” Sina al Kazim, chief executive of Meraas, said.

Whereas in years gone by retail investors have tried to gain access to what is supposed to be a business to business event, this year the organisers had no trouble in keeping the public out.

One locally-based real estate broker admitted that there was “a good deal of nervousness” among exhibitors as to whether Dubai’s growth story of the past six years was coming to an end.

Dubai is the most exposed of the local economies because its local real estate market is supported by foreign investment and because, as an emirate, it has little in the way of natural resources. A home-grown credit squeeze caused by excess lending and insufficient deposit taking has added to the disquiet.

On Monday, as the real estate announcements came, property stocks led falls in the UAE’s two main stock markets. EmaarEmaar, Dubai’s main developer, fell 10.7 per cent, while TamweelTamweel, a mortgage lender that is to be merged with AmlakAmlak, was down 10.5 per cent. In Abu Dhabi, AldarAldar, the emirate’s leading developer, fell more than 9 per cent.

One banker described the situation as “belated panic”.

Credit default spreads on Dubai debt, especially real estate linked borrowing, have ballooned as institutions bet that the pace of growth in the property market will not be maintained.

But Dubai developers sought to assuage concerns.

Mr Kazim said he had a positive reaction in initial talks with local institutions about funding his development, which has caused controversy as it is forcing out local families and expatriate labourers from villas in Satwa and Jumeirah, some of the most established parts of the fast changing city.

Dubai Properties, a developer owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Dubai ruler, also said publicly that its credit lines were secure. Jade al Khalil, marketing manager, said he believed confidence in the Dubai market could be sustained.

TamweelTamweel, the troubled Islamic mortgage lender that has been at the centre of corruption investigations, which have done so much to harm Dubai’s reputation, said that it was joining other lenders in raising the deposit that investors must put down in order to secure financing.

Analysts said that the government linked property developers are fundamentally sound and will be backed by state funds if they get into trouble. They added that UAE authorities could intervene if they felt the market was in danger of crashing.

Some economists predicted a controlled slowing down rather than a sharp correction, which would be healthy given the steep increase in prices this year, as well as speculative trading.

“I don’t think it’s going to jeopardise or derail the economy,” Marios Maratheftis, head of research at Standard Chartered, said.

“I think we could have a couple of years of slow growth, a couple of years of underperforming markets as well, but I don’t think it will derail what will happen here in the future,” he said. “Having a mild correction will probably be beneficial for the economy and if the market is going to price in some risk in the decision making, especially in real estate, that will be beneficial.”

Others, however, were anticipating a sharper correction and greater consolidation in the real estatesector.

“I think that some kind of sharp correction has to happen because of the way prices have gone up and the fact that global credit conditions are very tight. The big issue is how fast the recovery comes,” said another banker, who asked not to be named. “The stock markets are a barometer of the real estate market – it’s telling you investors are very concerned right now.”

He said that there would have to be consolidation because “some of the more aggressive developers don’t have the cash flow to build what they have sold”.

Another banker said real estate companies in the UAE have been seeking advice from banks about potential merger and acquisitions.

By Simeon Kerr in Dubai and Andrew England in Abu Dhabi

© Copyright The Financial Times Ltd 2008. Privacy policy.

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Dubai property on red alert

Consolidation on the cards – Real Estate – ArabianBusiness.com

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 9, 2008


Consolidation on the cards – Real Estate – ArabianBusiness.com: “Consolidation on the cards”

Thursday, 09 October 2008 by Andrew White
original published Arabina Business

There was an air of unreality at last week’s Cityscape event. No change there, you might think — we have long got used to the fantastical models of contorted towers, billion-dollar figures tossed around like confetti, and outlandish announcements in which every project is declared ‘unique’ and ‘iconic’.

Yet while everybody was busy looking at the sky, craning their necks upward to the tip of Nakheel’s new mega-tower, the markets on which the Gulf’s economic foundations are set were dropping through the floor.

Over the course of a week intended to celebrate the strength of the Gulf real estate market and reassure investors spooked by the collapse of housing markets in the US and Europe, hundreds of millions of dollars was instead wiped off the market capitalisations of the region’s property players.

By the end of trading on Wednesday, shares in Emaar, the Middle East’s largest real estate company by market capitalisation, had dropped 29 percent so far that week, and 63 percent year-to-date.

In Saudi Arabia, Dar Al Arkan Real Estate was down 23 percent that week and 50 percent year-to-date, while Qatar’s Ezdan Real Estate finished down 56 percent from its early May high.

The Gulf’s five biggest publicly-traded real estate firms were down an average of 40 percent in 2008, and Cityscape week — the supposed highlight of the Gulf real estate calendar — ended up as one of the bloodiest on record.

It was reported last week that some of the scale models used at shows such as Cityscape cost real estate clients as much at $272,000 a pop.
As the markets continued to tank, the suspicion dawned that some of those scale models might actually represent a better long term investment than the towers they are meant to symbolise.

Looking forward, we may be on the cusp of a new wave of consolidation in the Gulf property market. In any other region, the Gulf’s real estate giants would be prime targets for a takeover, yet the Gulf’s strict foreign ownership rules eliminate that possibility.

Rumours of a merger between two of the UAE’s largest real estate developers surfaced last Monday and have not died away despite noncommittal shrugs from the two parties. And nor will they as long as the Gulf’s real estate titans continue to shed weight so dramatically.

In these uncertain times, investors are looking for a clear sign that such a critical sector is able to adapt to the shifting global economic climate. Even Gulf developers will be unable to reach for the sky, without first planting their feet firmly on the ground.

Andrew White is the deputy editor of Arabian Business English.

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Consolidation on the cards – Real Estate – ArabianBusiness.com

Bacteria Fears Force Part of Jumeirah Beach Closure

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 9, 2008


Khaleejtimes , October 7, 2008

read more here:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=/data/theuae/2008/October/theuae_October152.xml&section=theuae

and Gulf News
http://archive.gulfnews.com/opinion/editorial_opinion/nation/10247978.html

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Bacteria Fears Force Part of Jumeirah Beach Closure

Interest rate cuts too late for regional markets – The National Newspaper

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 9, 2008


Interest rate cuts too late for regional markets – The National Newspaper

Andrew Foxwell

Last Updated: October 08. 2008 7:17PM UAE / GMT Six central banks around the world – including the US Federal Reserve, The European Central Bank, and the Bank of England – cut interest rates by half a percentage point today in a bid to halt sliding stock markets. China’s Central Bank followed suit, cutting its rate by 27 basis points. The other central banks to act were Sweden’s, Switzerland’s and Canada’s.

Shares rallied on the news, although the move came too late to save Gulf markets, which were closed prior to the cuts, with the Dubai Financial Market down 8.43 per cent and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange down 6.43 per cent. The Saudi Tadawul lost 6.12 per cent today, while Kuwait was down 1.41 per cent, Doha down 8.75 per cent, Muscat down 7.21 per cent and Nahrain falling 2.70 per cent.

The move has had a positive effect on other stock markets, however, with the British, French and German markets all recovering after their large earlier losses.

The Central Bank of the UAE will cut interest rates in line with the Fed’s decision because the dirham is pegged to the dollar, leaving the rate in both countries at 1.5 per cent.

Despite the move, one economist in the country said the move will have little effect, calling it an “aspirin and not a panacea” when much more radical action is needed.

afoxwell@thenational.ae

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Interest rate cuts too late for regional markets – The National Newspaper

Banks cut mortgage lending limit by up to 25% – Banking & Finance – ArabianBusiness.com

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 9, 2008


Banks cut mortgage lending limit by up to 25% – Banking & Finance – ArabianBusiness.com

by Amy Glass , Arabian Business, October, 08, 2008

UAE banks and home finance firms have cut their loan to value ratios by as much as 25 percent as the global credit crunch continues to tighten its grip on regional markets.

Tamweel and Amlak, the biggest Islamic mortgage lenders in the UAE, have both dropped their loan to value ratio in the last two weeks. Tamweel has lowered its maximum amount from 90 to 75 percent while rival Amlak has dropped its loan to value ratio from 90 to 65 percent.

“The base case has always been between 70-80 percent and anything in the 90 percent range was on a promotional basis, we have now stopped the promotion,” Nabil Alwan, head of marketing & product development at Tamweel told Arabian Business.

The deepening global credit crisis has forced governments to bail out banks as liquidity dries up. Last week the US approved a $700bn plan to prop up its financial institutions while the UK today announced that its own banks would get an $87bn lifeline. Last month the UAE central bank pumped $13.6bn into the UAE banking system in a bid to ease the impact of the liquidity crunch.

Lenders are lowering mortgage rates as credit tightens and home price growth slows.

In September HSBC Middle East lowered its loan to value ratio from 80 to 70 percent. Lloyds TSB, which currently lends a maximum of 80 percent against villas and 70 percent against apartments, is also expected to lower its rates next week, according to one of its mortgage advisors.

Emirates NBD, the Gulf’s largest lender by assets, on Wednesday announced it would offer fewer large loans and long-term repayment schemes in a campaign to encourage responsible lending after the global credit crunch.

“Large loan amounts and long repayment periods that can place a considerable strain on the borrower will be minimized through this process,” the bank said in a statement on its website.

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Banks cut mortgage lending limit by up to 25% – Banking & Finance – ArabianBusiness.com

UAE commercial property market slowdown – Real Estate – ArabianBusiness.com

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 9, 2008


UAE commercial property market slowdown – Real Estate – ArabianBusiness.com

Wednesday, 08 October 2008

Commercial real estate markets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi witnessed a slight slowdown during the third quarter, with trading in August and September relatively flat, realtor Better Homes said in a report on Wednesday.

Better Homes put the lack of activity in the markets down to a seasonal slowdown and the Dubai government’s ongoing corruption probe, which it said had “tainted a negative picture on the real estate market”.

Better Homes said sales had also been affected by a new mortgage law that had made it harder to obtain finance and restrictions on immediate resale of properties by certain developers, which was “starting to push the speculative investors out of the market”, it said.

Demand for office space in Dubai outpaced Abu Dhabi during the quarter – especially in areas such as Meydan, Jumeirah Lake Towers and Dubai Waterfront – but Dubai was starting to show signs of distress among short-term investors, Better Homes said.

It pointed to an example of a commercial building in Nakheel’s Dubai Waterfront development being sold for a negative premium and warned of these sales were likely “as global markets squeeze liquidity and local banks reign in access to debt finance”.

In Abu Dhabi, Better Homes said the sharp increase in office rates during the second quarter post Cityscape Abu Dhabi did not continue into Q3 and prices were mainly flat for the quarter.

It said demand had shifted from Al Reem Island to Al Raha Beach, where premiums offer more upside potential.

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on UAE commercial property market slowdown – Real Estate – ArabianBusiness.com

UAE warned over banks’ real estate exposure – Banking & Finance – ArabianBusiness.com

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 9, 2008


original published Arabian Business Octobe 08. 2008

http://www.arabianbusiness.com/533552-uae-warned-over-banks-real-estate-exposure

Morgan Stanley on Wednesday cautioned UAE lenders over their exposure to the real estate sector and said the central bank may have to reconsider allowing lenders to set up real estate subsidiaries.

As the real estate market in the UAE matures over the next two years “it may be necessary to evaluate the extent of the banks’ exposure to this sector”, the US bank said in a report on the UAE economy.

“The supervisory authorities may need to rethink the current rules governing the exposure of banks to the real estate sector,” it also said.

Morgan Stanley said the central bank may have to reconsider “the merits of the March 2007 Central Bank resolution that allowed UAE banks to establish real estate subsidiaries”, and establish “clear guidelines for the classification of loans exposed to the real estate sector”.

Morgan Stanley said this might be necessary because of the difficulty in assessing banks’ claims on quasi-public companies that are heavily involved in the real estate market “given the lack of transparency on the magnitude of this exposure”.

However, it stressed the potential risks to banks from a mild correction in the real estate sector should not be overstated.

Morgan Stanley said much of the concern in the market about the affect of a correction in the real estate sector could be put to rest “through the provision of more timely, consistent and comprehensive data on the monetary and banking sector”.

“…the need for greater market transparency on the part of market participants and regulators cannot be overemphasised at a time of considerable uncertainty in global financial markets,” it said.

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Industry corruption – Construction & Industry – ArabianBusiness.com

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 9, 2008


ArabianBusiness
Wednesday, 08 October 2008

Recently in the UAE there have been several reports in the media of senior personnel in a number of companies who are being investigated for corruption or worse.No doubt this being part of the government’s continuing initiative and resolve to fight corruption and punish those that are guilty of it.

The World Bank has estimated that bribery costs the world approximately US $1 trillion each year. Such a sum can only adversely affect the economic growth of developing countries, which can ill afford such cost.

The Emirate of Dubai has set up the Dubai Ethics Centre in order to train employees to be able to guard against and be aware of all forms of corruption. On a Federal basis, the UAE in 2006 signed the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

Moreover, the UAE has continued to support the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in its initiative to combat corruption and in April 2007 announced that the UAE was joining forces with the OECD to strengthen tax co-operation between the countries of the Middle East and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and between those countries and the OECD countries.

It is therefore not surprising that with these actions and initiatives the World Bank reported in July 2007 that the UAE scored 83.5% in its World Wide Government Indicators, the highest score not only in the GCC countries but also within MENA.

Corruption might be defined as “one party providing inducements to another party to get them to do, or refrain from doing, some act differently from what they would otherwise have done.”In the construction and engineering industry this does not have to be the type or magnitude of corruption which grabs headlines but could be far more modest yet still effective and worse, still corruption. Examples of these could be putting someone on a bid list who might otherwise have not been included. Leaving someone off a bid list who in other circumstances should properly have been included.

Providing details with budgets, which to potential bidders can be information that is invaluable in the bidding process as well as during the negotiation stage. Giving price details of other bidders, giving an obvious unfair advantage to the recipient and making a nonsense of the bidding process.Frequently contracts are awarded on a lowest price basis, but even if they are not, the bid which is lower than those of other bidders will give the bidder an advantage over the others.One area in the construction and engineering industry that features high on the list of likely areas of corruption is the awarding of contracts. It does not have to be a major contract, it could be any contract including a supply contract or services contract, and of any value.The acceptance of a requested variation or claim can for a contractor or supplier make the difference between loss and profit, and sometimes considerable profit if accepted.Corruption does not necessarily flow from the contractor or supplier it could also be directed against the consultant in order that the consultant rejects the request for variation or claims, in which case the contractor or supplier loses but the employer gains.

Nine actions to avoid corruption and enhance good business practice

1. Always investigate complaints. If an allegation of corruption is made do not dismiss it, no matter how unlikely it may appear.

2. Require tenders to be prepared with separate commercial and technical submissions. This ensures that at the outset at least, different persons within the organisation review the submissions.

3. Open tenders together. If it is a public opening ensure that all persons who wish to attend are able to attend, including some without any interest in the outcome. Where it is a private opening then ensure that it is carried out with witnesses who can attest to the correctness of the bid opening procedure.

4. Rotate bid teams. The changing of personnel within the bid review teams is good practice in any event, especially where there are tenders for specific scopes, which may require specialist input.

5. Control entertainment and gifts. Many companies have strict policies as to what can be spent under the heading of “business development”. Moreover, the acceptance of a gift no matter how innocent can be misinterpreted. If no such policies exist then ensure that approval is sought before incurring the cost of entertainment or accepting the gift.

6. Require conflict of interest declarations. Indeed require such declarations to be in writing and signed by all those who are involved in the bid review process.

7. Control contact with bidders. Contact should not be encouraged; it should where possible be limited to communications in writing and when questions are asked by bidders, the answers should be circulated to all bidders. Care should also be taken not to discuss with bidders the subject matter of the bid, particularly where there is already an existing contractual relationship with the bidder on another contract or project.

8. Secure data. Always ensure that information that might be commercially sensitive is kept secure, to avoid it being made accessible to others who are not entitled to see or have access to it. 9. Audit trail on decisions. Whether in a bidding process or other part of a project development or construction where decisions are made, ensure that the decisions made are recorded in writing and where approvals are sought, the person giving such approvals also records the approval in writing.Dennis Brand is senior legal advisor with HBJ Gateley Wareing.

Email:Dbrand@hbj-gw.com

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Interest rate cuts too late for regional markets – The National Newspaper

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 8, 2008


Interest rate cuts too late for regional markets – The National Newspaper

Andrew Foxwell

Last Updated: October 08. 2008 7:17PM UAE / GMT Six central banks around the world – including the US Federal Reserve, The European Central Bank, and the Bank of England – cut interest rates by half a percentage point today in a bid to halt sliding stock markets. China’s Central Bank followed suit, cutting its rate by 27 basis points. The other central banks to act were Sweden’s, Switzerland’s and Canada’s.

Shares rallied on the news, although the move came too late to save Gulf markets, which were closed prior to the cuts, with the Dubai Financial Market down 8.43 per cent and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange down 6.43 per cent. The Saudi Tadawul lost 6.12 per cent today, while Kuwait was down 1.41 per cent, Doha down 8.75 per cent, Muscat down 7.21 per cent and Nahrain falling 2.70 per cent.

The move has had a positive effect on other stock markets, however, with the British, French and German markets all recovering after their large earlier losses.

The Central Bank of the UAE will cut interest rates in line with the Fed’s decision because the dirham is pegged to the dollar, leaving the rate in both countries at 1.5 per cent.

Despite the move, one economist in the country said the move will have little effect, calling it an “aspirin and not a panacea” when much more radical action is needed.

afoxwell@thenational.ae

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Interest rate cuts too late for regional markets – The National Newspaper

UAE liquidity squeeze driven by real estate fears – Banking & Finance – ArabianBusiness.com

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 8, 2008


UAE liquidity squeeze driven by real estate fears – Banking & Finance – ArabianBusiness.com: “UAE liquidity squeeze driven by real estate fears”

The UAE’s liquidity squeeze is being driven by fears over the real estate sector rather than the global financial crisis, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) said on Wednesday.

The ratings agency said in report tightening liquidity was “only slightly related” to the global credit crunch and was mainly driven by country-specific factors including speculative investor activity surrounding the dirham’s peg to the US dollar, concerns over the real estate sector and rapid domestic growth.

S&P said economic growth could be hit by developers struggling to find funding for future projects.

However, a slowdown in growth was “not necessarily a bad thing” as it would alleviate infrastructure and resource pressures, while preventing a real estate oversupply, the ratings agency said.

S&P said that while financing conditions were becoming more challenging, it did not expect the credit-worthiness of rated domestic entities to be affected.

“Refinancing risks will be contained, and the willingness and ability of the government to provide implicit or explicit support in the event of serious financial distress remains strong,” the ratings agency said.

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on UAE liquidity squeeze driven by real estate fears – Banking & Finance – ArabianBusiness.com

Industry corruption – Construction & Industry – ArabianBusiness.com

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 8, 2008


ArabianBusiness
Wednesday, 08 October 2008

Recently in the UAE there have been several reports in the media of senior personnel in a number of companies who are being investigated for corruption or worse.No doubt this being part of the government’s continuing initiative and resolve to fight corruption and punish those that are guilty of it.

The World Bank has estimated that bribery costs the world approximately US $1 trillion each year. Such a sum can only adversely affect the economic growth of developing countries, which can ill afford such cost.

The Emirate of Dubai has set up the Dubai Ethics Centre in order to train employees to be able to guard against and be aware of all forms of corruption. On a Federal basis, the UAE in 2006 signed the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

Moreover, the UAE has continued to support the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in its initiative to combat corruption and in April 2007 announced that the UAE was joining forces with the OECD to strengthen tax co-operation between the countries of the Middle East and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and between those countries and the OECD countries.

It is therefore not surprising that with these actions and initiatives the World Bank reported in July 2007 that the UAE scored 83.5% in its World Wide Government Indicators, the highest score not only in the GCC countries but also within MENA.

Corruption might be defined as “one party providing inducements to another party to get them to do, or refrain from doing, some act differently from what they would otherwise have done.”In the construction and engineering industry this does not have to be the type or magnitude of corruption which grabs headlines but could be far more modest yet still effective and worse, still corruption. Examples of these could be putting someone on a bid list who might otherwise have not been included. Leaving someone off a bid list who in other circumstances should properly have been included.

Providing details with budgets, which to potential bidders can be information that is invaluable in the bidding process as well as during the negotiation stage. Giving price details of other bidders, giving an obvious unfair advantage to the recipient and making a nonsense of the bidding process.Frequently contracts are awarded on a lowest price basis, but even if they are not, the bid which is lower than those of other bidders will give the bidder an advantage over the others.One area in the construction and engineering industry that features high on the list of likely areas of corruption is the awarding of contracts. It does not have to be a major contract, it could be any contract including a supply contract or services contract, and of any value.The acceptance of a requested variation or claim can for a contractor or supplier make the difference between loss and profit, and sometimes considerable profit if accepted.Corruption does not necessarily flow from the contractor or supplier it could also be directed against the consultant in order that the consultant rejects the request for variation or claims, in which case the contractor or supplier loses but the employer gains.

Nine actions to avoid corruption and enhance good business practice

1. Always investigate complaints. If an allegation of corruption is made do not dismiss it, no matter how unlikely it may appear.

2. Require tenders to be prepared with separate commercial and technical submissions. This ensures that at the outset at least, different persons within the organisation review the submissions.

3. Open tenders together. If it is a public opening ensure that all persons who wish to attend are able to attend, including some without any interest in the outcome. Where it is a private opening then ensure that it is carried out with witnesses who can attest to the correctness of the bid opening procedure.

4. Rotate bid teams. The changing of personnel within the bid review teams is good practice in any event, especially where there are tenders for specific scopes, which may require specialist input.

5. Control entertainment and gifts. Many companies have strict policies as to what can be spent under the heading of “business development”. Moreover, the acceptance of a gift no matter how innocent can be misinterpreted. If no such policies exist then ensure that approval is sought before incurring the cost of entertainment or accepting the gift.

6. Require conflict of interest declarations. Indeed require such declarations to be in writing and signed by all those who are involved in the bid review process.

7. Control contact with bidders. Contact should not be encouraged; it should where possible be limited to communications in writing and when questions are asked by bidders, the answers should be circulated to all bidders. Care should also be taken not to discuss with bidders the subject matter of the bid, particularly where there is already an existing contractual relationship with the bidder on another contract or project.

8. Secure data. Always ensure that information that might be commercially sensitive is kept secure, to avoid it being made accessible to others who are not entitled to see or have access to it. 9. Audit trail on decisions. Whether in a bidding process or other part of a project development or construction where decisions are made, ensure that the decisions made are recorded in writing and where approvals are sought, the person giving such approvals also records the approval in writing.Dennis Brand is senior legal advisor with HBJ Gateley Wareing.

Email:Dbrand@hbj-gw.com

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Industry corruption – Construction & Industry – ArabianBusiness.com

A list of Dubai Lawyers

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 8, 2008


Extract: Lawyer Dubai

http://www.dubaivision.info/menu/infoservice/kategorien/adressen/rechtsanwaelte/info.pdf

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on A list of Dubai Lawyers

Emaar may take over Lagoons project – Real Estate – ArabianBusiness.com

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 6, 2008


Emaar may take over Lagoons project – Real Estate – ArabianBusiness.com

Emaar Properties may take over Sama Dubai’s $17.7 billion Lagoons development in the wake of delays to the project and the arrest of several senior Sama Dubai executives.

Sama Dubai, part of state-owned conglomerate Dubai Holding, is currently in talks with Emaar over “transferring some of the development responsibilities” for its flagship development,

UAE daily The National reported on Wednesday, citing three sources familiar with the talks.The Lagoons consists of seven manmade islands in Dubai Creek.

Four senior executives of Sama Dubai, including CEO of the Lagoons project Abdulsalam Almarri, were arrested in August over allegations of bribery and mistrust, newswire Zawya Dow Jones reported, the latest in a string of executives caught up in the Dubai government’s crackdown on corporate corruption

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Gulf bourses tumble on global concerns – Financial Markets – ArabianBusiness.com

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 6, 2008


Gulf bourses tumble on global concerns – Financial Markets – ArabianBusiness.com

Dubai Sunday, 5th october 2008

Gulf Arab bourses fell on Sunday as investors rushed to sell stocks after a $700 billion US rescue plan failed to ease qualms over global financial turmoil.

Many foreign investors also fled stock markets in the world’s top oil exporting region as global worries over the health of the world economy escalated.”Retail investors are panicking because of what is happening in global markets. The rescue plan failed to comfort investors as they believe it will take a couple of months for its effects to be felt,” said Adel Nasr, broker at United Securities brokerage.

Real estate stocks led the drop in the United Arab Emirates, with Emaar Properties posting its sharpest one-day decline in at least two years and Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate both falling more than 9 percent.

News of a proposed merger between Dubai-based Islamic mortgage lenders Tamweel and Amlak Finance pushed the shares of the rival firms lower as investors awaited more clarity on the move. “One view is the merger [talks] between Tamweel and Amlak is negative becuase it is not clear why they are doing it now, especially when we have mortgage problems globally and there is a liquidity problem in the UAE and banking sector,” said Sherif Abdelkhalek, institutions accounts manager at Beltone Financial.Banks led Kuwait’s and Qatar’s benchmark to their biggest single-day drop in three weeks.”

The $700 billion move has resolved the issue only for the short term and for the US.

It has done nothing for the rest of the world,” said Mohamed Yasin, managing director of Shuaa Securities.”

The problem we’re facing today is not an equity problem but a liquidity problem across the banking system around the world and the Gulf Arab region is part of that… the money pumped into the system is not enough.

“Saudi Arabia’s market was closed for a holiday.

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Gulf bourses tumble on global concerns – Financial Markets – ArabianBusiness.com

ATLANTIS The Palm Dubai’s new dream hotel has a nightmare opening week – The National Newspaper

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 5, 2008


Photo: 7starsdubai – 25.Sept.2008-1001 Sunbeds Atlantis The Palm

ATLANTIS Dubai’s new dream hotel has a nightmare opening week – The National Newspaper

Gregor McClenaghan
Last Updated: October 04. 2008 11:06PM UAE / GMT

DUBAI

The Atlantis hotel on Palm Jumeirah was swamped by visitors and plagued with complaints in its opening week, as staff turned away diners from packed restaurants and the taps ran dry in guest rooms. At one point much of the hotel was without water for more than seven hours when the resort’s main water intake valve ruptured. Guests refused to check out of their rooms until they could shower and change, leaving hundreds of new arrivals stranded in the lobby.

“This is not a situation you want to be in when you are opening a resort of this size,” said Alan Leibman, the resort’s managing director. The water problem, like the fire that caused an estimated Dh128 million (US$34.8m) worth of damage to the hotel’s lobby just weeks before it opened, was “just one of those things that happens”, he said. The two problems were unrelated.“We have perhaps the finest development team in this country, and they are now looking at putting a second valve in there to prevent something like this happening again. You don’t want this. It was unexpected and it shouldn’t happen.”

By opening over the Eid al Fitr holiday, the hotel was overwhelmed with visitors. There were significant delays on the approach to the resort, while day visitors were turned away from restaurants to give priority to hotel guests.However, Mr Leibman said, initial problems were being worked out and the huge number of people wanting to visit the Aquaventure water park, Lost Chambers aquarium and restaurants was a positive sign.

The aquarium had been expecting 350 daily outside guests – up to 500 on a busy day – and instead got more than 1,100. “With Aquaventure, one of the things that has caused some pretty significant delays to people getting in is that it is just so popular. People want to come and try it out,” he said. “We’ve had two or three thousand calls coming into the resort every day to book restaurant reservations and find out about the hotel, and we are responding as quickly as possible to add more resources to make sure we can respond.”

Some visitors complained that service throughout the hotel was slow and inefficient, but Mr Leibman said things were improving. “In a new resort this size there are going to be challenges,” he said.

“We have a lot of new employees who are fantastic and friendly and they are getting better every day as they take care of servicing the guests.”The hotel has offered a free room to anyone whose stay in the first few days was disrupted, but that may not be enough to tempt back some of them.

Writing on the website Journeyetc, a reviewer said his stay was a “nightmare from start to finish” and that it would be his last visit to the hotel.“The staff are obviously very inexperienced at such a high profile location and most of them had no idea who to report to when identifying problems … all in all a bad experience for me,” he said.

Meanwhile, one of the biggest attractions at the Lost Chambers aquarium is in for an extended stay. The four-metre juvenile whale shark was captured by staff from Atlantis off the coast of Dubai. Although it was reported that the shark would only be kept until it had recovered from an unspecified medical problem, Mr Leibman said there were no plans to release it.

“I’m not sure where that statement came from,” he said. “We have probably the most talented marine science people in the industry monitoring it and making sure it is well.”

mailto:well.”gmcclenaghan@thenational.ae

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Emaar, Mazaya lead declines in UAE markets – Financial Markets – ArabianBusiness.com

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 5, 2008


Emaar, Mazaya lead declines in UAE markets – Financial Markets – ArabianBusiness.com

Markets in the Gulf were depressed on Sunday as investors returned from a five-day holiday across the Gulf Arab region following a global selloff across US, European and Asian markets last week

.Real estate companies led the declines with Emaar Properties (11 percent) and Mazaya (14 percent) among the high-profile losers in Dubai – with the index down by more than seven percent at just before 1pm (Dubai time).

In Abu Dhabi, Sorouh was down by 10 percent as the exchange fell by more than three percent.”

The $700 billion move has resolved the issue only for the short term and for the US; it has done nothing for the rest of the world,” said Mohamed Yasin, managing director of Shuaa Securities.”
The problem we’re facing today is not an equity problem but a liquidity problem across the banking system around the world and the Gulf Arab region is part of that … the money pumped into the system is not enough.”

News of a proposed merger between Islamic mortgage lenders Tamweel and Amlak Finance also did little to boost confidence as investors await more clarity on the move.”

One view is the merger (talks) between Tamweel and Amlak is negative becuase it is not clear why they are doing it now, especially when we have mortgage problems globally and there is a liquidity problem in the UAE and banking sector,” said Sherif Abdelkhalek, institutions accounts manager at Beltone Financial.

Kuwait’s exchange was also down by nearly three and a half percent, Qatar by more than six percent and Oman by more than two and a half percent.

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Emaar, Mazaya lead declines in UAE markets – Financial Markets – ArabianBusiness.com

Gulf bourses tumble on global concerns – Financial Markets – ArabianBusiness.com

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 5, 2008


Gulf bourses tumble on global concerns – Financial Markets – ArabianBusiness.com

Dubai Sunday, 5th october 2008

Gulf Arab bourses fell on Sunday as investors rushed to sell stocks after a $700 billion US rescue plan failed to ease qualms over global financial turmoil.

Many foreign investors also fled stock markets in the world’s top oil exporting region as global worries over the health of the world economy escalated.”Retail investors are panicking because of what is happening in global markets. The rescue plan failed to comfort investors as they believe it will take a couple of months for its effects to be felt,” said Adel Nasr, broker at United Securities brokerage.

Real estate stocks led the drop in the United Arab Emirates, with Emaar Properties posting its sharpest one-day decline in at least two years and Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate both falling more than 9 percent.

News of a proposed merger between Dubai-based Islamic mortgage lenders Tamweel and Amlak Finance pushed the shares of the rival firms lower as investors awaited more clarity on the move. “One view is the merger [talks] between Tamweel and Amlak is negative becuase it is not clear why they are doing it now, especially when we have mortgage problems globally and there is a liquidity problem in the UAE and banking sector,” said Sherif Abdelkhalek, institutions accounts manager at Beltone Financial.Banks led Kuwait’s and Qatar’s benchmark to their biggest single-day drop in three weeks.”

The $700 billion move has resolved the issue only for the short term and for the US.

It has done nothing for the rest of the world,” said Mohamed Yasin, managing director of Shuaa Securities.”

The problem we’re facing today is not an equity problem but a liquidity problem across the banking system around the world and the Gulf Arab region is part of that… the money pumped into the system is not enough.

“Saudi Arabia’s market was closed for a holiday.

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Gulf bourses tumble on global concerns – Financial Markets – ArabianBusiness.com

Emiratis fear being swamped by expats – survey – Culture & Society – ArabianBusiness.com

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 5, 2008


Emiratis fear being swamped by expats – survey – Culture & Society – ArabianBusiness.com

byJames Exelby on Sunday, 05 October 2008

UAE Nationals say the fast-growing expatriate population is the greatest threat to national identity, while expatriates cite rampant consumerism, according to a survey published on Sunday.

The survey found that 60 percent of Emirati Nationals questioned felt a sense of isolation as their cultural identity became increasingly diluted by the influx of large numbers of expatriates, the UAE daily The National reported.

This compared with 71 per cent of western expatriates who felt that the biggest threat to Emirati culture and identity was the country’s “highly materialistic and consumerist society“.

Despite these concerns, however, 81 percent of the 628 respondents – Emirati and expatriate – said they “belonged in the UAE” with more than half saying that the country’s safety record was the main attraction, the survey conducted by the market-research company YouGov Siraj found.

Most of those surveyed agreed that a sense of national identity could be developed by creating a “consolidated vision across the emirates that all citizens and residents can relate to equally” and by communicating traditional values, the paper said.High rents, traffic and inflation emerged as the three main gripes with life in the UAE.

Traffic was considered the biggest problem in Sharjah, where 56 percent of those surveyed said it reduced the quality of their lives, it added.The survey found that Nationals were the most likely group to say the UAE is a good place to raise a family.
A fifth of all Asians questioned cited discrimination as a key complaint, the paper added.
Most Western and Asian expatriates said their inability to speak Arabic had not been a hindrance in their career, it said.

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FT.com / World – Tourists bring in money – and a cultural clash

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 5, 2008


FT.com / World – Tourists bring in money – and a cultural clash

By Simeon Kerr

When the airline Emirates was ramping up its business in the 1990s, management suggested to Dubai’s rulers that they should build hotels on its pristine beachfront. The rulers, it is said, scratched their heads and wondered why anyone would pay to come to a harsh, desolate desert.

More than a decade on and Dubai has led the charge in developing itself as a tourism destination. As the emirate has realised that its limited oil reserves will soon dry up, tourism now accounts for a third of the city-state’s economy.

But as the summer heat grips the Gulf, hotels are slashing rates in a bid to fill rooms as cities turn into ghost towns. A week-long package at a top beach hotel is now cheaper than a scheduled return flight. Packs of bejewelled men from northern Europe now prowl the shopping malls sporting football tops. Local wags, playing on a British word for such downmarket types, dub it the summer chavalanche.

Even if Dubai’s “luxury lifestyle” has become more affordable for aspirational British holidaymakers, hoteliers say this summer is one of the worst in recent years.
Occupancy and room rates are way down, they say.

Many Gulf tourists have fled to Beirut as political tensions have eased.

Geneva and London are thronging with increasingly wealthy Arabs escaping climates such as Dubai’s for the temperate climes of Europe.

Oman is chasing upmarket tourists who want to experience the mud forts of “real Arabia”, or those who would rather trek across craggy mountain ranges than wander Dubai’s malls. Abu Dhabi and Qatar are ploughing their hydrocarbon billions into art and architectural marvels, hoping to elevate their emirates into destinations for the culturati.

Even Saudi Arabia has said it will also develop a tourism industry albeit one catering specifically for Muslims, although stringent visa regulations hamper any meaningful growth beyond the Hajj pilgrimage and business travellers.

It is easy for tourism to seduce governments. States find quick returns on their investment and can rapidly develop their non-oil sectors, a barometer for economic sustainability. Local landowners, including ruling families, see real estate values sky-rocket. Oil companies may drive an economy, but they do not necessarily employ many people. In 2000 BP was one of the biggest investors in Algeria but the Algiers Sheraton hotel directly employed more locals than the oil company.

Only Oman has had much success corralling its nationals into tourism jobs. Bahrain is battling hard to fight a cultural resistance that sees families dissuade their children from working in hotels. Such a disinclination is not surprising. Many of Dubai and Manama’s three-star hotels are thought of as fleshpots, besmirching the reputation of the Gulf’s hospitality industry. Little wonder that Sharia- compliant, alcohol-free hotels are cropping up all over the region.

Dubai’s tourism vision is the grandest – and the most risky as it seeks to double the number of tourists who visit the emirate by 2015. The Palm Jumeirah has just opened, with dozens of resorts rising up on its fronds; two more Palms are set to follow, along with offshore islands and inland canal developments aiming to lengthen Dubai’s limited beachfront.

Then there is Bawadi, a development that is trying to portray itself as Las Vegas without the gambling. Dozens of geographically themed hotels, including the world’s largest, are planned in the desert. Next door, numerous theme parks, celebrating characters from Bob the Builder to the Marvel comic heroes, are targeting tourists from India, Pakistan and central Asia, as well as Europe.

To fill these rooms, a relentless drive downmarket is likely, as occupancy levels rather than margins rule the day. The effect is likely to be an uncomfortable clash of two very different cultures.

Dubai’s minority nationals are increasingly uncomfortable with the pace of change and the growing sense that they are strangers in their own land. The recent, highly publicised arrest of two Britons caught in flagrante delicto, following an alcoholic Friday brunch, is a graphic example of the excessive behaviour which breaks the taboos of a conservative local society.

The emirate has thrived through its adoption of that old Field Of Dreams wisdom: “Build it and they will come.”

But does the emirate really want them to come?

Do Dubai’s rulers understand what they are unleashing?

The writer is the FT’s Gulf business correspondent, based in Dubai
simeonkerr@gmail.com

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008

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70% ‘are being priced out of Dubai property market’

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 1, 2008


70% ‘are being priced out of Dubai property market’

by Soren Billing Tuesday, 30 September 2008

A correction in Dubai’s real estate market could be exacerbated by a mismatch between demand and supply, with the bulk of demand being for more affordable properties than the ones that are coming on stream.

“Currently the supply is geared more towards the high end segment in an environment where prices have appreciated rapidly, so it’s like a double whammy,” Shuaa Capital real estate analyst Roy Cherry said.“

Seventy percent of Dubai’s population has been priced out and there are very few products that do target the low and mid income segment, which is effectively where the bulk of demand is.”

The city will continue to offer opportunities for developers who are able to target those income brackets.“
Not everyone in Dubai can afford a four million dirham property,” he said.Shuaa Capital is forecasting a correction in Dubai property prices, beginning in 2009 and continuing into 2010.Cherry distinguishes between the Dubai and Abu Dhabi market, with the former being “more complicated” due to the mismatch in supply and demand and project delays that have helped inflate prices.Abu Dhabi is currently a more predictable play: demand is soaring and is likely to outstrip supply over the next three to four years, although negative sentiment in Dubai could have a contagion effect.

Both markets have seen a lot of speculative activity in recent years, but with less supply coming on stream, the impact of a correction will be smaller in the capital.The emirate is also making significant investments in affordable housing.

The Abu Dhabi government has recently granted Aldar over 10 million square metres of land for low income housing projects.“I think overall the Abu Dhabi market is a healthy market…and I think Abu Dhabi companies will continue to do well. Not only because of the excess demand, but also because companies like Aldar Properties are already initiating work on low income housing projects with government encouragement,” Cherry said.

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Gulfnews: UAE takes a stand against poverty

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 1, 2008


Gulfnews: UAE takes a stand against poverty

Dubai:

On three days next month, people all over the world will literally stand up to draw the attention of world leaders to the plight of people living well below the poverty line.

The End Poverty 2015 Millennium Campaign aims to create awareness by getting people to literally stand up for a cause on October 17, 18 and 19.

This year, three days will be dedicated to beat last year’s record which mobilised 43.7 million people in 127 countries.

In the UAE alone, 100,000 residents took part and pledged to do their bit to help end world poverty.

Under the patronage of UN Messenger of Peace Princess Haya Bint Al Hussain, wife of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, non-government organisations International Association for Human Values and Art of Living, are giving residents the chance to Stand Up and Speak out in October.

The United Nations Environment Programme, UN Development Programme and International Humanitarian City are officially supporting the campaign.

The focus of the UAE’s campaign is to ensure environmental sustainability.
Princess Haya said: “This year, our ‘Stand Up and Take Action’ commitment is not only about mankind, it is also about our planet. Why? Because reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development must be done in conjunction with a healthy planet, and because climate change must be addressed as a humanitarian emergency, the ‘environmental sustainability’ goal is the focus of our campaign this year.”.

All over the world people will stand up simultaneously to pledge to make sure leaders follow through on the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
The plan has eight points with measurable targets and deadlines to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and develop a global partnership for development.

The Mission Green Earth encourages people to plant a tree to reach a target of a 100 million planted trees.

The International Association for Human Values encourages people to plant trees because they reduce global warming, protect biodiversity and promote a clean and green environment.
The challenge is to plant trees to address the issue of sustainable development in a realistic manner.
Environment: Plant the right tree

The star of the campaign is the Simarouba tree, which is also the most environment-friendly species to plant.

Most species of trees used for landscaping are neither endemic nor suited to local conditions. Growing such plants requires lots of water, fertilisers and pesticides.

According to the International Association for Human Values, trees such as the Iva imbricate, borrichia arborescens and the laguncularia racemosa use only a third of water required by the most commonly used species.

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Ramadan 2008 a very commercial touch – Ramadan ‘business’ booming in Dubai – Middle East Times

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 1, 2008


30
30 days ACI Real Estate as WELCOME to the Ramadan Tent at the JUMEIRAH Beach Hotel

RAMADAN Co Branding 2008

Ramadan ‘business’ booming in Dubai – Middle East Times

DUBAI (AFP) Restaurant and hotel owners in Dubai are in hot competition during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan to attract a top-notch clientele to “tents” that have proved a hit in the bustling Gulf emirate.

“Dubai has over the years become one of the most cosmopolitan places and I have an international clientele,” said Rami Shehada, who runs one of around 35 Ramadan tents strewn across the city state.

“Ramadan sets the right atmosphere for our business and we take advantage of it,” he told AFP, adding that he was one of the first to bring the tents concept to the United Arab Emirates from places such as Egypt and Lebanon.

For Shehada and other restaurant managers, it is perfectly normal that the holy month should be yet another occasion to make money in a city driven by a business ethos and basking in ostentatious luxury.

Shehada’s tent, set up in a park surrounded by brand new buildings, can accommodate up to 600 people for the sundown fast-breaking meal known as “iftar.”

Customers pick and choose from an Oriental buffet and spend the evening with friends for around 100 dirhams (27 dollars, 19 euros) per head.

But they usually run up much higher bills as they select their favourite dishes from a separate menu and puff on hubble-bubbles, which are increasingly popular in Dubai despite government efforts to reduce smoking.

Tents set up aboard cruise ships charge as much as 600 dirhams (163 dollars) per person, providing a stark contrast with free iftar meals offered by religious associations, philanthropists and big firms in the city streets and around mosques.

A handful of dates, a plate of rice with meat or chicken and juice make up the menu of the charity iftars.
“I sometimes have to turn down clients, especially over the weekend,” said Shehada, boasting that his tent, sponsored by a property developer, is “the most elegant in town.”

With music blaring out of flat television screens, his customers relax on spotless white couches in the air-conditioned tent festooned with plants.
The ambiance is similar at an even more luxurious tent in a nearby five-star hotel. There, the tent has been erected around a swimming pool surrounded by some of the skyscrapers that have mushroomed in Dubai over the past few years.

The 300 available places have been booked throughout the fasting month, which began on September 1, by firms hosting iftars for their staff or clients.
The menu is even richer, with Japanese sushi and Indian curry dishes complementing an assortment of Lebanese hors d’oeuvres.

“I didn’t expect to do so well,” said Ashok Subba, the tent’s Indian manager.

“We are fully booked from iftar until suhur,” the dawn meal preceding the start of the daily fast, he said as a band prepared to play Arabic classics and waiters scurried to serve the 300 guests of a leading property developer.

Ramadan is high season for restaurants, confirmed Hamad Mohammad Hareb, an Emirati owner of a restaurant chain.

“Business is better this year despite the rise in the price of foodstuffs,” he said, attributing the success of Ramadan tents to the fact that “Dubai keeps attracting people, meaning potential customers.”

Hareb was more worried by competition than by the possible impact of the global financial crisis.
“Would you believe that 180 restaurants are going to open in the commercial centre being built around Burj Dubai alone?” he said, referring to the famous tower which has already become the world’s tallest building.

© 2008 Agence France-Presse

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