Mon, Oct 24, 2016 - Page 14 News List

Worst is over for Dubai property as buyers return

KNOCK-ON EFFECT:An economic slowdown in Gulf nations, caused by a slump in crude oil prices, caused property sales to fall as much as 30 percent in Dubai


Dubai’s property market is bottoming out as buyers return to the market and the emirate offers an alternative to investors worried about the UK’s Brexit vote, Nakheel PJSC chairman Ali Rashid Lootah said.

“I think the worst is over,” he said in an interview in Singapore. “Dubai is growing, we are seeing signs of more inquiries — serious inquiries — and I think that is a sign of recovery. The market is maturing, we are seeing more serious, cautious investors, not speculators.”

Real-estate sales in the emirate fell about 30 percent by value in the first seven months of the year, according to data from the Dubai Land Department, as a slump in oil prices led to an economic slowdown in Gulf countries.

Analysts see either a flat market or a further slowdown next year, with Jesse Downs, managing director at real-estate consultant Phidar Advisory, predicting a 10 percent drop in values after a 7 percent slide this year.

Lootah is visiting Singapore to market Nakheel’s Palm 360 and Palm Tower projects to overseas investors. About half of the 504 apartments in the 52-story hotel and residential Palm Tower have been sold since they went on sale two years ago. The building’s first 18 floors are to be a luxury hotel operated under the St Regis brand.

Nakheel’s largest share of buyers are from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries that include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. The next largest group is Indians followed by the British.

Investors looking for alternatives to UK property following the nation’s referendum to exit the EU might consider Dubai, Lootah said.

“Brexit could be a positive thing,” Lootah said. “People looking for the best return on their investment will have to pick and choose and may look for other opportunities. Because of Dubai and UAE relations with the UK, we are an obvious alternative.”

The Palm 360 project, a twin-tower hotel and residential development, will start sales in the first quarter of next year, Lootah said.

It will also house two 55-room boutique hotels in each tower, he said.

The project is to include 252 high-end serviced apartments and six duplexes.

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