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Archive for December 10th, 2008

UAE: Delayed, Downsized or Scrapped!

Posted by 7starsdubai on December 10, 2008

UAE: Delayed, Downsized or Scrapped!

05 December 2008Dubai –

Several major construction projects in Dubai have been delayed while others could be cancelled altogether, as the credit crisis forces developers to reconsider budgets.

Announcements that Nakheel Trump International Hotel and Tower and Meraas’ Jumeirah Gardens project are to be postponed come after months of speculation about what effects the global recession would have on the construction industry.
“I think a number of development projects have been put on hold rather than cancelled altogether,” said Ronald Hinchey, resident partner at property consultants Cluttons.

“I think the authorities will take steps to inject liquidity into the market, which is what this problem has been caused by in the first place.”

Hinchley added that off-plan residential developments, especially in areas such as Jumeirah Lake Towers and the Marina, were especially vulnerable to cancellation.

Those which were in the process of being built stood a much greater chance of being completed, he pointed out. A government seminar will be hosted by Minister of Public Works Shaikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan on December 24 to discuss the implications of the financial crisis on the construction sector.

The industry accounts for 20 per cent of the UAE economy and represents the major thrust of the initiative to diversify the economy away from oil.

However, according to a report by Al Mal Capital, growth in the industry will slow from 20 per cent to 15 per cent next year, and 13 per cent by 2010.
But these problems may not have been unforeseen.

Shortly after the announcement of the Dh350 billion Jumeirah Gardens at Cityscape in October, investment bank EFG Hermes wrote in a briefing note: “While these projects received a lot of attention due to their scale, we believe their timing cannot be considered to be ideal given the reduced appetite for new projects as a result of the global crisis.

“Moreover, the tighter liquidity picture raises the question of funding, which was not particularly addressed.”

Khaleej Times took a closer look at a few of the major projects here which have been delayed, downsized or could be cancelled amid the new climate.
Construction Company Could Lay Off 5,000 Workers

DUBAI – Up to 5,000 jobs could be cut in a Dubai-based construction firm, a senior source in the company said.

In addition, at least three major projects run by the company have been cancelled, as well as a number of other smaller projects. The job cut would reflect a 10 per cent cut in the companyís staff which, as one of the Middle Eastís largest construction companies, has nearly 50,000 workers.

The senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that uncertainty had gripped the workforce.

Up to 150 jobs have already been lost in one project, and the work force is also being reduced in the other projects, the source said.
A new wave of job cuts was expected around December 10, he added.
“I’ve been working for the company for less than a year and it could be a case of last in, first out”, he said, adding that both senior and lower levels of the workforce were being affected.

“Banks are tightening lending, so some developers are unable to pay for the construction costs and jobs are being cancelled,” he said.

An official spokesman for the company was unavailable for comment at the time of going to the Press.

Jumeirah Gardens Announced at September’s Cityscape exhibition, Jumeirah Gardens promised to be one of the largest developments in Dubai’s history with a cost-estimate of Dh350 billion.
The timing of the development, which covers residential districts as well as the kilometre-high ‘One Dubai’ tower, was questioned shortly after its announcement.
Despite doing away with some of the streets in Satwa, unconfirmed reports suggest that the project may have already been scrapped.
Several senior staff at project developer Meraas have been laid off.

“In a worldwide economic downturn, any corporate must analyse the market and ensure that its business strategy is aligned to make the most of new opportunities,” an official spokesman for the company said.

Porto Dubai It was announced as a residential offshore development that would offer direct views of the Burj Al Arab from the villas built on ‘tiers’ cut into the island. However, the current design of Porto Dubai is already a smaller one from that originally conceived by consultants two years ago.
Asteco Property Management acted as an adviser on the initial stage of the project but stopped work after it ‘changed size and shape’, a source said.

Industry insiders claim that construction at the site may have halted altogether and that 200 staff have been cut from the parent group.

However, the CEO of Zabeel Properties, Robert Norton, who spoke to Khaleej Times denied both accusations, adding that views of construction site have just been obscured by a huge mound of sand.The Palms Nakheel’s Palm Deira is the largest of the three Palm developments and is expected to house one million people. However last month, the developer announced that dredging work was to be scaled back on the project.

Frank Jeuniaux, area manager, of Belgium-based Dredging International, said he expects contracts to be much less readily available in future.

Infrastructural work on parts of Palm Jebel Ali which are not due to be populated until 2011 and 2012 will also be scaled back.

Delays would also occur on Palm Jumeirah at Frond N villas and Gateway Towers.
A spokeswoman for Nakheel said: “Work on Palm Deira is currently being directed to complete reclamation in areas closest to the shore, so that once these areas are complete we can undertake progressive land sales and development.”Trump International Hotel and Towers Located on the trunk of the Palm Jumeirah, the 62-floor, split tower development was expected to offer access to a private beach and yacht club. However last week officials announced that the joint project between the Trump Organisation and Nakheelhad been delayed.

Bloomberg reported on Monday that Nakheel had promised to cover all costs for the Al Habtoor Leighton , whose subsidiary Al Habtoor Engineering is building the project.

Nakheel is delaying long-dated infrastructure work on some of our projects in order to ensure that our business model is aligned to meet market demand,” a spokesman for the company said. “We have the responsibility to adjust our short term business plans to accommodate the current global environment.”

Hydropolis Originally billed to be completed in 2009, the Jules Verne-inspired underwater hotel was about being as extravagant as they come.
The architectural marvel included a giant retracting roof that would enable open sky events to take place in the main ballroom.

The project, which is the brainchild of developer Crescent Hydropolis, was several years ago valued at Dh1.6 billion and construction began in the summer of 2005.
However, a source at SIBC Industrial Building Consultants, who were initially charge of managing the project, said that the company had not heard anything from the developer for a while.
“I’m pretty sure it won’t be completed by 2009,” he said.

CEO of Crescent Hydropolis, Uwe Hohmann said: “I cannot disclose anything at present. We will meet with our shareholders next week and a decision will be made then.”Arabian Canal Billed as the world’s longest man-made canal, the Limitless project is anticipated to stretch 80km from Dubai Marina to Palm Jebel Ali and includes a variety of residential and commercial developments.

However, the Dubai World company announced that it was reviewing the pace of development of the project with respect to market conditions. The project is a two-stage development expected to be completed by 2025, and a spokeswoman for the company said the first stage is continuing at a ‘torrid’ pace.
It is believed that any delay would be over when subsequent stages would be completed.

Reports have suggested that the company had put on hold the selling of property that would come as a result of the development, but a spokeswoman denied that anything had been formally put up for sale.


By Martin Croucher
© Khaleej Times 2008

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on UAE: Delayed, Downsized or Scrapped!

Dubai Property poker

Posted by 7starsdubai on December 10, 2008

original published:wordpresstitle2



by Rob Corder This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it  on Tuesday, 09 December 2008

For what some might call semi-professional property speculators and others might call amateur gamblers, the game is up.

Flipping properties – the business of buying villas and apartments off-plan and then selling them before they are built – has made millions for the professionals, but is about to cost the amateurs their shirts.

The problem, as with most gambling, is that it becomes addictive and destructive. The value of money changes as you win it. The descent into dangerous addiction for many of these flippers has gone something like this:

They took a punt on their first property around three-four years ago. The earliest property pioneers, who might have bought a luxury apartment off-plan on Palm Island for less than the price of a granny flat in their home country, watched the value of their investment double, treble, quadruple over the first two years.

These were typically high net worth individuals with diversified portfolios who were well-judged in taking a punt on embryonic real estate laws and a visionary development.

Word spread that easy money was being made and the amateurs poured into the market. Conditions were perfect: the market was rising fast; disposable incomes were high thanks to relatively cheap living costs at the time (yes, they really were low four years ago); and banks were ready to lend money to anybody with a reasonable salary certificate.

A gambler would probably have started relatively small, perhaps a modest apartment in Jumeirah Beach Residence. But when that property doubled in value before the tower’s foundations were laid they borrowed again from the bank using the paper profits from their first apartment as collateral.

The banks were even more willing to lend because the punter had a tangible asset as security. Now the player could double-up.

A year or two later, nerves began to set in about the Dubai property market. There was a lot of talk of bubbles bursting and it seemed a good time to cash in those chips. A lot of this profit taking went on at the beginning of 2008, heralding the first signs of a correction.

But the gambler was now hooked. The original investment of 500,000 dirhams had been turned into five million dirhams, and the money was burning a hole in his pocket.

The Dubai market looked like cooling a little, but Abu Dhabi was still red hot. The time for the big play had arrived. Five million dirhams used as a down payment on off-plan property in Abu Dhabi meant the same trick he pulled a few years earlier in Dubai could be repeated in the UAE capital.

If Abu Dhabi followed the same trajectory as Dubai, reasoned the gambler, five million could be turned into 20 million or more.

Then September hit. With hindsight we might now call it the Ramadan Rout. Credit markets seized, making it impossible for property developers to find finance for future projects and individuals unable to borrow money for a mortgage or even a rent cheque.

Confidence evaporated overnight. It was impossible to track the rate property prices were falling because no transactions were taking place. Worst affected was the off-plan market because nobody wanted to buy property that might be worth less when built than it was on paper.

The loss of confidence was not contained to Dubai. Abu Dhabi was hit too. The gambler was suddenly in a cold sweat. When the developer building his properties completes the construction, he will have to find a mortgage to cover the outstanding balance of the price he paid.

But the banks are no longer lending. The properties could already be worth less than he paid for them and the banks do not want to take the risk of lending against a depreciating asset.

If he can’t secure a mortgage, the gambler is sunk and the properties will be repossessed by the developer. The only remaining hope is to sell at a fire sale price before the building is completed.

This is the picture that is being repeated across half-built real estate developments throughout the GCC, and it explains why prices have fallen so far and so fast. Thousands of speculators have to dump their properties before they are completed.

There is no short term fix that will reverse the trend. There is only a hope that prices will eventually fall so far that bottom-feeding investors return to snap up bargains.

The irony is that the same professional property dealers that made a killing on the first off-plan developments will be back to make another killing at the end.

Between times, the amateur gamblers have been on an exhilarating ride, but now many are left to rue one big bet too many.



Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Dubai Property poker

Dubai Immobilien – Krise heilt die Scheichs vom Goessenwahn

Posted by 7starsdubai on December 10, 2008

original published: http://www.spiegel.de/ Germany

09. Dezember 2008, 11:02 Uhr

Krise heilt die Scheichs vom Größenwahn

Von Bernhard Zand

Aus die Sause: In nur zehn Jahren hat sich Dubai von einer kleinen Hafenstadt zur Immobilienmetropole gewandelt. Doch damit ist jetzt Schluss – die Finanzkrise erreicht auch die Scheichs und zerstört ihre Träume von Wolkenkratzern und Kunstinseln.

Dubai – Plötzlich waren sie da. Von ihren teuren Villen aus konnten die Bewohner von Jumeirah Beach die acht Baggerschiffe sehen, die Tag und Nacht buddelten, Felsbrocken im Meer versenkten und Sandfontänen in den Himmel steigen ließen. Und das, obwohl die Kunst-Archipele “The Palm”, “The World” und “The Universe” alle weitab vom vornehmen Jumeirah liegen. Was also wurde hier nun wieder aufgeschüttet?

Auf einer Immobilienmesse Anfang Oktober ließ der Scheich von Dubai das Geheimnis lüften: Ein neuer Stadtteil entstehe, genannt Jumeirah Gardens, ein “Venedig am Golf”, eine Fantasiestadt aus Inseln, Wolkenkratzern, Parks und künstlichen Kanälen. Halb an Land, halb ins Meer hinaus gebaut. 70 Milliarden Euro teuer.

Was waren Anfang Oktober schon 70 Milliarden Euro in Dubai?

Anfang November verschwanden die Bagger-Schiffe so plötzlich, wie sie gekommen waren. Wieder rätselten die Strandbewohner – bis vorige Woche die staatliche Entwicklungsfirma Meraas mit einem Geständnis herausrückte, das in Dubai noch von keinem Bauherrn zu hören war: Die Jumeirah Gardens werden “einer Revision unterzogen”, Teile des Projektes wohl “verschoben”. Mit einem erst im Oktober angekündigten 1000-Meter-Wolkenkratzer, einem zusammen mit dem US-Tycoon Donald Trump zu errichtenden Hotelkomplex und einem ganzen Areal von Luxusvillen auf der Palmeninsel werde es vorläufig nichts, gab der Entwickler Nakheel zu. Und kündigte sogleich 500 seiner 3300 Angestellten.

Wolkenkratzer aus Petrodollars

Tatsächlich geht in Dubai ein Immobilienboom zu Ende, wie ihn die Welt noch nicht gesehen hat. In gut zehn Jahren ist aus einer kleinen Stadt, die neben einem Hafen und ein paar Fünf-Sterne-Hotels lediglich einen geschäftigen Flughafen aufweisen konnte, eine Monster-Kommune geworden, die sich mit amerikanischen Millionenstädten messen kann. Die Scheichs bauten und ließen bauen, als ginge jeden Augenblick der Weltvorrat an Zement, Stahl und Glas zu Ende.

Jetzt aber ist es der Weltvorrat an Geld, der zu Ende geht: Dubai ist hoch verschuldet, und die Finanzkrise trifft das Emirat mit einer Wucht, die vor ein paar Wochen noch keiner wahrhaben wollte.

Denn die Wolkenkratzer von Dubai sind mit Petrodollars gewachsen. Nicht mit denen, die das kleine Emirat für die paar tausend Barrel bekommt, die es selbst fördert. Sondern mit den Milliarden, die im Nachbar-Emirat Abu Dhabi, in Riad und sonst am Golf eingenommen, dort aber nicht angelegt wurden. Dubai hatte, im Gegensatz zu diesen Städten, eine Vision zu bieten, in die reiche Araber gern investierten: ein modernes, schrilles und überdrehtes Touristen-, Bank- und Handelszentrum, das es an Prestige und Lebensqualität mit Hongkong, Singapur und den großen europäischen Touristenstädten aufnehmen kann.

Deshalb die Sucht nach Superlativen, daher die klimatisierten Swimmingpools, die Ski- und Eislaufhallen in der Wüste – und daher auch die Schadenfreude, mit der mancher nun der Stadt das Totenglöckchen läutet: “Die Party ist vorbei”, titelte vorige Woche die “Sunday Times” – nach er rauschenden Eröffnungsfeier für das Hotel “Atlantis”, bei der 20 Millionen Dollar verpulvert wurden, unter anderem für ein gigantisches Feuerwerk.

Dabei haben die Immobilienhändler von Dubai nur das getan, was die Scheichs aus Rücksicht auf islamisches Recht bis heute nicht erlauben: Sie haben aus dem Markt ein riesiges Spielcasino gemacht. Wer noch im Oktober auf der Baumesse “Cityscape Dubai” nach einer einzelnen Wohnung fragte, die er selbst kaufen, finanzieren und bewohnen wollte, der wurde lächelnd an einen jüngeren Kollegen weitergereicht.

Die Meister ihrer Branche verkauften lieber etagen-, türme-, wohnanlagenweise – und zwar Gebäude, die nur auf dem Papier bestanden. Ihre Kundschaft waren Spekulanten, die sich im sogenannten Quick-Flip übten: Fünf oder zehn Prozent Anzahlung zur Grundsteinlegung, und dann so schnell und profitabel wie möglich raus aus dem Vertrag. Das Problem: Der Bau-Entwickler verließ sich vielfach auf das Geld der Spekulanten, die wiederum hatten sich ihr Geld oft billig geliehen – ebenso wie die zweiten, dritten und vierten Käufer in diesem Pyramidenspiel, die alle auf den Letzten in der Reihe hofften, der Dubai so unwiderstehlich findet, dass er am Ende jede Miete zahlt.

Banken verschenkten zuletzt Kredite

Die Profite, die damit erzielt wurden, waren beträchtlich: Wer 2003 etwa 500.000 Euro für eine Villa auf der Palmeninsel zahlte, wurde sie diesen Sommer für drei Millionen los. Die Mieten, stets ein Jahr im Voraus bezahlt, waren astronomisch. Seit Oktober aber gehen die Preise drastisch zurück: Mehr als zwei Millionen Euro, sagt der Immobilienhändler Josef Kleindienst, seien die Palmen-Villen im Moment nicht wert. Eine Prognose, wie tief es noch bergab gehen könnte, wagt er nicht. Und wer wie tief in der Kreide steht, weiß keiner – denn eine Kreditaufsicht, die ihren Namen verdient, nimmt dieser Tage erst ihre Arbeit auf.

Dasselbe gilt auch für die Banken, die Kredite zuletzt geradezu verschenkten – bei einer Inflation von zwölf Prozent und Zinsen von etwa neun Prozent. Inzwischen aber sind sie furchtbar knauserig: Wer früher zehn Prozent auf eine Wohnung anzahlte und sich den Rest pumpte, zahlt heute 50 Prozent an und kriegt, wenn er Glück hat, den Rest finanziert.

Vor allem aber wusste bis vor kurzem keiner, wie viele Schulden sich bei der Regierung selbst angehäuft hatten – was zu wildesten Gerüchten führte: Das Hotel Burj al-Arab, das Wahrzeichen Dubais, sei längst versilbert. Der Hafenbetreiber Dubai Ports World, ja selbst die Fluggesellschaft Emirates Airlines stehe vor dem Verkauf. Bis vor zwei Wochen Mohammed al-Abbar, Vertrauter des Scheichs und Chef des halbstaatlichen Immobiliengiganten Emaar, vor die Presse trat und, zur Überraschung seines Publikums, konkrete Zahlen nannte.

Die Regierung sei mit zehn Milliarden Dollar verschuldet, die von ihr kontrollierten Unternehmen mit noch einmal 70 Milliarden. Dem aber stünden Vermögenswerte von zusammen 350 Milliarden Dollar gegenüber, weshalb zur Beunruhigung kein Anlass sei. Die Geschäftsleute am Dubai Creek hörten die Botschaft wohl – was diese Zahlen aber wert sind, kann im Moment noch keiner sagen. Es wäre schließlich das erste Mal, dass die Scheichs sich wirklich in die Bankauszüge schauen lassen.

Aber tatsächlich könnte es dem Emirat gelingen, die Weltfinanzkrise zur längst überfälligen Bereinigung seines Immobilienmarktes zu nutzen. Denn vieles spricht noch immer für den Standort am Golf – trotz der geplatzten Blase.

Da sind zunächst die sechs anderen Emirate, mit denen Dubai in einem Staat verbunden ist. Vor allem mit Abu Dhabi hat Dubai eine grundsätzlich sinnvolle Arbeitsteilung: Dubai ist das Dienstleistungszentrum, über das Länder wie der Irak, Iran und Saudi-Arabien noch immer einen großen Teil ihres Handels und ihrer Finanzgeschäfte abwickeln – während das Nachbar-Emirat auf Ölreserven sitzt, die größer als die von Russland oder Venezuela sind. “Abu Dhabi hat kein Interesse daran, dass Dubai untergeht”, sagt denn auch Eckart Woertz vom Gulf Research Centre.

Davon abgesehen ist in den Jahren, in denen Dubai aufstieg und sich – wenn auch auf Pump – als Wirtschaftshauptstadt etablierte, in der gesamten Region so viel Geld verdient worden, dass die Golf-Araber der Weltfinanzkrise noch relativ gelassen ins Auge blicken können. “Wohin mit unseren Ersparnissen?” fragte, deutlich abweichend von den Trends in Europa und den USA, vor drei Wochen das Wirtschaftsmagazin “Arabian Business”. Auf dem Titelbild war ein Bett zu sehen, aus dessen Matratze die Dollarbündel quollen.

“Am Ende läuft in Dubai alles auf eine Frage hinaus”, sagt der Immobilienhändler Kleindienst: “Brauchen wir die Häuser, die wir gebaut haben, oder brauchen wir sie nicht?”

Eine gute Frage. Die 1,6-Millionen-Einwohner-Stadt Dubai, hat die Rating-Agentur Colliers ermittelt, wird 2009 weitere 5,6 Millionen Quadratmeter Bürofläche zur Verfügung haben – genauso viel Shanghai mit seinen 18 Millionen Einwohnern. Allerdings wachsen auch die Emirate: Laut den ersten öffentlichen Zahlen lebten 2004 noch 3,8 Millionen Menschen in dem Golfstaat, heute sind es 6,5 Millionen.

Die meisten Zuwanderer sind nach Dubai gekommen – und brauchen Häuser.

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Dubai Immobilien – Krise heilt die Scheichs vom Goessenwahn

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