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Why UAE realtors will do well to take the reception of the Emaar's The Address The BLVD sales with a pinch of salt.

September 23, 2012 11:57 by

I remember interviewing a UAE real estate veteran during the heart of the crash. Our conversation was gloomy, punctuated with depressingly hopeless statements like “we’ve put this project on hold” or “we’ve cancelled that development.” The only time his eyes lit up was when he was talking about boom-time. Sitting upright with something of a dreamy look over his face, he told me of a time when investors were keen to get a slice of the pie: “There were long queues out of the head office. If you don’t believe me, just ask any of our staff.” It was tragically nostalgic.

Since then, things have sure started to pick up. Last quarter, Emaar enjoyed a whopping 82 percent surge in its profit with Nakheel posting an increase of as much as 40 percent in profits.

Last week Emaar Properties announced its plans to build a new hotel, The Address The BLVD, which was to have 200 rooms and 542 serviced apartments. The hotel would be Emaar’s third project this year and the Chief of Emaar Retail was very optimistic about the development: “The hotel we’re launching today represents an opportunity to capture the interest we’re seeing fromDubai, (the Gulf), Middle East, Indian subcontinent, China and Europe,” said Arif Amiri. Sales for the hotel, which is to be built in downtown Dubai, began yesterday-and what a fantastic reception it got.

According to The National, from 6am in the morning, lines that grew to 400 people, formed outside the Emaar headquarters. Using construction workers as placeholders, property agents and investors ensured a presence after attempts to get in queue on Thursday failed. Such enthusiasm has rarely been seen since the crash and pundits may be quick to herald it as the comeback of the Dubai real estate market.

Mindful of the crashing drop circa 2008, such kind of fervour is hardly desirable. Renewed appetite is excellent but inflated over hyped interest is not just silly, but also scary: it bares too much of a resemblance to the pre-crisis Dubai for my liking. If Dubai’s bruised investors aren’t able to learn from past mistakes, then RERA should step in to sober the mood. Instead of pumping air into a dangerous volatile monster, real estate developers and brokers should encourage sensible sales; failure to do so may derail the real estate revival.

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