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    • Criminal Complaint filed against Al Fajer Properties Sheikh Maktoum
      Criminal Complaint filed in Germany against Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Juma Al Maktoum CEO of Dubai Developer Al Fajer Properties The Dubai Sheikh who mislead and extort a German Couple  Germany – Dubai 2011 A German elderly couple , today 80 + 50 years old who have been Dubai Tourists since a decade, bought in 2005 an apartment at Nakheel´s Dubai Residen […]
    • UAE: Human Rights Blogger, Sorbonne Lecturer Charged With ‘Humiliating' Officials
      source Human Rights Watch www.hrw.org (Beirut) - The United Arab Emirates attorney general should immediately drop all charges against five pro-democracy activists to halt their trial, Human Rights Watch said today. The charges of "humiliating" top officials relate solely to the defendants' peaceful use of speech to criticize the UAE governmen […]
    • Nakheel Dubai Sunland Case
      June 5, 2011After 21 hearings, Chris O'Donnell, the Australian chief executive of Dubai's major developer, Nakheel, came to the defence of his former colleagues Matthew Joyce and Marcus Lee. Mr Joyce and Mr Lee are accused of profiting from the sale of land that had been earmarked for a colossal high-rise development, which was to include the futur […]
    • Dubai Nakheel CEO decided to leave the company
      Dubai June 7, 2011 Nakheel said on Wednesday that its CEO Chris O'Donnell had left the company "after completing his contract terms". O'Donnell, an Australian who joined the developer in 2006, said he had decided to leave Nakheel following five years spent with the company, the statement added. O'Donnell has overseen a traumatic time […]
    • Owner of Dubai Developer Damac Hussain Sajwani files case against Egypt corruption ruling
      Dubai property developer Damac said on Tuesday it had filed an international arbitration case against Egypt over a land dispute and the conviction of its chairman and owner, Hussain Sajwani.A Cairo court last week sentenced Sajwani in his absence to jail and ordered him to pay a $40.5 million fine in connection with his 2006 purchase of land at Egypt's […]
    • Dubai Palm Jumeriah - Investors plan to take legal action
      Investors in Dubai Palm Jumeirah’s Golden Mile complex will this week serve the developer behind the project with a legal ultimatum to hand over their units or issue them with a refund.Up to ten investors in the luxury complex plan to issue Souq Residences with legal notice in a bid to force a resolution to a dispute that has been ongoing for more than a yea […]
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Archive for November 23rd, 2008

First came a boom, then fireworks, but is Dubai’s property market in trouble? – Times Online

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 23, 2008


First came a boom, then fireworks, but is Dubai’s property market in trouble? – Times Online

For a few hours, the glitz and the glamour, the red carpet and, above all, the astonishing fireworks disguised the reality that is dawning over Dubai – but only for those few hours. Not even the £13.5 million extravaganza that launched the £1 billion Atlantis Resort could hide the fact that Dubai’s property boom, which has fuelled double-digit growth for five years, is showing signs of turning to bust.
“It’s been ten times worse than expected.

The liquidity is absolutely frozen. There’s no money. It’s just gone.

If the Government doesn’t act really quickly, we’ll slip into an Indonesian-style bust,” said one of Dubai’s leading bankers, who did not want to be named. He was echoing a growing consensus in the region. “These last six weeks have changed the face of the Earth,” he said.

Dubai’s property boom was fuelled largely by investors who bought properties off-plan. Most had no intention of ever living in the buildings, intending, instead, to sell them on and collect a tidy profit. Most also used borrowed money to finance their payments, according to analysts, intending to use a cut of their profits to pay back their loans.

But in recent weeks credit has virtually evaporated, with international and local banks tightening credit. International investors have grown nervous as local economists have downgraded Dubai’s economic outlook. And demand for properties has fallen into a slump, with job losses and the cancellations of new developments adding up.

A striking example of Dubai’s old and new realities was apparent last Thursday. As celebrity guests were whisked away by private helicopters from the Atlantis resort, residents on The Palm Jumeirah, the artificial island that is home to the hotel, were left to digest bad news. The value of their properties has fallen as much as 40 per cent since September, according to estate agents, as buyers struggle to secure mortgages. When the development, built by the state-owned Nakheel, went on to the market seven years ago, its luxury villas were snapped up by the likes David Beckham and Michael Schumacher for up to £5 million.
Today Nakheel estimates that British buyers own nearly a quarter of the villas on the Palm.

Last week Amlak, the country’s largest lender, said that it would suspend new loans completely because of a lack of funds, a move unprecedented in this market. Yesterday the Government merged Amlak and Tamweel, the country’s other top lender, into the federally owned Real Estate Bank in an effort to loosen lending by pooling resources.

“People have really begun to fear a crash in the market,” Chris Dommett, chief executive of John Charcol Dubai, a mortgage advisory firm, said. “Banks aren’t suspending loans because of a lack of demand, they’re doing it because they don’t have any liquidity. Transactions have just stopped and everybody is holding their breath, waiting to see what will happen.”

According to new data from HSBC, property prices fell last month by 4 per cent in Dubai and 5 per cent in neigh-bouring Abu Dhabi. The credit squeeze is having a devastating effect on existing buyers, who no longer are able to meet payments on their existing investment properties. “Anybody who’s bought into this market to flip property and make a quick profit – they’re all getting crucified,” another banker said, adding that several of his clients were trying to “wriggle out” of their contracts with developers for properties that they had bought off-plan.

Brokers are reporting a sharp increase in panic-selling. Last week the Dubai-based Elysian Real Estate sent a text message to up to 40,000 mobile phones advertising distressed property sales. The text offered a luxury six-bedroom, six-bathroom villa in Dubailand, a multibillion-dollar luxury theme park on the outskirts of the city-state, at an advertised cost of about £3.86 million – about half its original price. Robert Macnair, Elysian’s sales director, told The Times: “We have had a sharp increase in clients who are looking to sell because the market has done what it’s done. There is a new urgency to these sales.

“The market has slowed dramatically.

On a number of occasions, these investors or speculators actually can’t afford to make the next payment.”

Developers are also feeling the pressure. Damac, one of Dubai’s leading developers, cut 200 jobs last week. Nakheel has also said that it will scale back construction plans for its next man-made island, the Palm Deira.

Dubai is considering stronger measures to restore lending, but analysts say the market lacks the maturity to embrace them. Banks, for example, have been unwilling so far to tap into billions of dollars of emergency funding made available by the Government in recent months as the international economy heads for global recession.
Economists say that the Government needs to take a tougher stance. If credit does loosen, some predict a quick rebound.

Simon Williams, HSBC’s Middle East economist, said: “Real estate markets anywhere in the world are volatile . . . but they tend to work themselves out as the real economy tends to perform well, as it does in the Gulf.

“I still see very low vacancy rates across the UAE and rents are high. Those two key variables suggest that the property market will endure.”

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