It’s all our fault
Who would you blame for the property crash? The hordes of greedy, over-ambitious property developers, or Kipp? If you said Kipp, it’s the right answer (apparently).
October 11, 2010 4:02 by Eva Fernandes
It seems everyone’s favourite scapegoat has yet another cross to bear. A recent statement from a RERA official has blamed irresponsible reporting by the media for the “damage” suffered by Dubai’s real estate industry.
Speaking at a conference, RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Agency) official Marwan bin Ghalita said, “The real estate sector in Dubai has been hurt by the journalists and media publishing incorrect data on the market. The media is blamed for rising real estate prices… as correct data has never been published… They did not check the accuracy… did not get the correct information which is one of the prime foundations for making any decision. Journalists did not approach official sources to get the right picture.”
Ironically, Ghalita’s comments come amidst reports of four companies suing Nakheel subsidiary The World on account of a breach of contract. Construction of The World, one of Nakheel’s most expensive and ambitious projects that consists of reclaimed islands built to resemble a map of the world, has stalled since the financial crisis. The claims filed against The World by three Sharjah based companies (Global Realty Partners, Gulf Developers and Frontline Developers) amount to a total of $15.3 million (Dh56.19m).
I find it interesting that, in light of court cases like this, some still see fit to blame the media for the mess that is the Dubai property sector. Perhaps the unrealistically ambitious and greedy property developers could take a smidgen of the blame as well?
I remember the days when huge construction projects were being announced on a monthly basis. In fact at the peak of the real estate boom, Emirates 24/7reports Dubai had over 850 registered developers; a figure that has slipped down to a more sober 500 over the past couple of (humbling) years. In addition to the overabundance of developers, we clearly had too many projects. Emirates 24-7 observes that the Government of Dubai’s bond prospectus, filed at the London Stock Exchange, suggests that a total of 495 registered property projects have now either been cancelled, are in the process of being cancelled, or have work which has been otherwise stopped.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the media can claim to be completely innocent (we were too eager to believe in the Dubai dream, and too timid to question the crazy growth), so we aren’t that surprised with RERA’s convictions. But after the judicial, legislative and executive branches, the media has been accused of being the fourth branch of the government (thanks to its softly-softly approach to the Dubai economy and government). If anyone believed that, the ease with which we now shoulder the blame should make them re-think.
The media constantly comes under fire for pretty much everything: the Iraq War, the onset of teenage depression, the status of woman’s body image, to name just a few. The slow speed at which paint dries is probably our fault somewhere along the line as well. Often these accusations are welcome, as they are maliciously motivated and imply we are (to some degree) fulfilling our role of watchdog. But for RERA, there are surely more productive ways it can invest its time.