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Saturday 10 December 2016

The days of queuing investors are gone - but the building boom goes on in Dubai property

Stefania Bianchi

Published 07/09/2015 | 02:30

Dubai has suffered the biggest fall in home prices among 56 residential markets tracked
Dubai has suffered the biggest fall in home prices among 56 residential markets tracked

Emaar Properties PJSC is offering hundreds of new luxury homes in Dubai that could sell for as much as 3.8 million dirhams (€900,000) each just as the city's residential real estate market posted the world's biggest price decline.

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Creekside 18, with 480 apartments spread across two towers, will hit the market next Saturday, according to Emaar's website. Creekside will be part of the Dubai Creek Harbour project, a 6.5 million square-metre district it's building with Dubai Holding. The multi-billion dollar development will have a marina, yacht club, hotels and stores.

Dubai's housing market, the biggest and most volatile in the Middle East, is in the doldrums as falling oil prices, weaker currencies in Europe and Russia and an abundance of properties on the market dampen demand.

Home prices dropped by 12.2pc in the 12 months through June, the biggest decline among 56 residential markets tracked by broker Knight Frank.

"Gone are the days where we see queues of potential investors lining the streets waiting for their opportunity to buy," said Matthew Green, the Dubai-based head of United Arab Emirates research at CBRE.

Over the past decade, Dubai's property sector has swung from boom to bust and back again. At the peak of the market in 2007, long lines of investors would often queue outside Emaar's office to snap up homes at its latest development. That was before a property crash in 2008 wiped 65pc off home values as speculative demand dried up.

"Demand for Emaar's projects in Dubai continues to be robust, with serious interest from end-use home-owners and international investors," Emaar said. "We manage our supply pipeline carefully and we see a strong opportunity for a new project launch, particularly in Dubai Creek Harbour."

The cost of renting a two-bedroom apartment in Dubai Marina, Emaar's first waterfront development in the city, amounts to €3,150 to €3,600 a month, according to property portal propertyfinder.ae.

"There is no comparable development" along Dubai Creek, home to the city's only wildlife sanctuary for birds including flamingos, Emaar said. The new towers are close to Dubai airport and, according to the developer, offer "compelling views" of the skyline.

Price gains in Dubai in the two years through 2014 recouped much of the losses incurred in the 2008 collapse that pushed the city to the brink of bankruptcy. Then, prices started falling again this year amid oil's slump and weaker currencies in Russia and Europe. Regulators also introduced caps on the size of mortgages and doubled transaction fees to deter speculation.

"The off-plan market is currently driven by payment plans," said CBRE's Green.

"Plans which offer low initial deposits, longer payment schedules and lump-sum payments after completion have become increasing popular as developers look for new ways to encourage investment."

Bloomberg

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