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Brace yourselves

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July 8, 2007 10:00 by



In the Spring of last year, Trends magazine canvassed the bosses of some of Dubai’s biggest real estate players to get some idea of where things were going in the property market. While mostly bullish - as you’d expect - two predicted a “softening” around February this year. Supply, they said, would finally catch up with demand, to an extent at least, and a correction could well be on the cards. Other analysts I spoke to were less optimistic. By October, according to some, a crash was imminent.

Well, February has come and gone, and there’s been nary a “correction,” never mind the kind of crash that your average hard-pressed (and non-property owning) expat has been hoping for. What’s happening? Was everyone mistaken? If the latest research is anything to go by, absolutely not. The supply-demand crunch has merely been subjected to the same thing that frustrates so many off-plan buyers in the region: construction delays. A correction is coming, and it could be a lot, lot bigger than anyone was expecting.

According to the latest figures from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), Dubai’s population is expected to grow by 430,000, from 1,413,000 to 1,845,000, between 2006 and 2010. However, some 70 percent of these new arrivals will be lower income workers, for whom the lofty heights of the latest developments in Lakes Towers or the Marina will be permanently out of reach. That leaves just 130,000 people with the means to buy into the Dubai Dream



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