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Get real, Part I

Get real, Part I

With the grinding halt of the real estate rollercoaster, exhilaration at the prospect of a ‘fast buck’ is over. What’s next for the industry? Part I.

October 27, 2009 3:15 by

His next stop was Qatar where, in May 2008, he joined the Land Real Estate Investment and Development Company as managing director. Unfortunately for Orth, business went from brisk to bust within a few months. “It wasn’t a small aberration. From October of last year to this past January, there were zero sales,” he says. The company scaled down operations in Dubai, Jordan and Bahrain. The company considered all development staff in Doha to be redundant. Orth was out.

Now back in Dubai and freelancing as a real estate development consultant, Orth takes his new status with a pinch of salt. But when he gets into analysis mode he finds more questions than answers. He particularly rues cases of real estate developments, especially in Dubai, that were launched with little or no feasibility studies. “There were even occasions when projects were announced despite internal advice to the contrary,” he says.

That was to be just one of the several tragic flaws that triggered the collapse of the once booming real- estate and construction industry in Dubai and elsewhere in the region, drawing curtains on an estimated 759 construction projects collectively worth billions of dollars. Now in the lull after the storm come the questions. Where do things stand? When and whence will good news come? Have we learned any lessons from the debacle?

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