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Is Dubai acting smart?

Is Dubai acting smart?

Rera’s CEO has just denied media reports of property project cancellations, adding that Dubai’s success, like a movie star’s, is prompting critics to spread false rumors.

February 12, 2009 12:29 by

“Dubai is like a movie star, and just like a movie star everyone is looking at us, adding more pressure.”

That’s what Marwan Bin Ghalita, the CEO of Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) told Emirates Business, explaining that the city’s success is leading to incorrect media rumors about cancellations of property projects in the city.

A recent report by HSBC said that $75 billion worth of projects are being cancelled in the UAE, but a Morgan Stanley report put the number at $263 billion.

Rera’s CEO, however, says the authority is still “studying the market at present.” He rubbished a list that is doing the rounds, telling Al Bayan that “The list was not accurate and not true simply because it was not issued by Rera, Department of Lands or any official relevant body. Those behind the list are only seeking to raise fears and panic so as to make narrow gains.”

“We understand the feelings of worry resulted from the impact of the global financial crisis but we are against the unjustifiable panic, exaggeration and hitting under the belt by some for the sake of making illegitimate ends,” he added.

While the list is possibly inaccurate (Kipp did try to ascertain some projects earlier, but was unable to confirm the status of several projects), it has been more than three months since the effect of the economic slowdown began to be felt in Dubai’s real estate sector.  Hundreds of people have been laid off from their jobs in the property sector, with developers blaming it on postponement or cancellation of projects; and financial houses like HSBC and Morgan Stanley have already come out with their lists.

Rera will be releasing “accurate data next week that would show the true picture of Dubai’s real estate market.”

“We didn’t announce any cancellation of projects especially those sold to investors, and this is a stabilizing factor which can contribute to further boosting confidence in the vibrant real estate market in Dubai,” Ghalita told Al Bayan. “We want to send a clear message that we have confidence in the city,” he told Emirates Business.

Well, Kipp isn’t sure how confident investors are of the movie star’s talents.

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  1. Deepika on February 12, 2009 1:30 pm

    Such implausible statements are very amusing and entertaining. Of all the GCC, Dubai will be severely and the worst impacted by this global economic crisis irrespective of what is said or done. After all the public cannot be fooled.

  2. Dubai Critic on February 12, 2009 10:05 pm

    Yeah say that to my husband who was made redundant today as the project he was working on was cancelled.

  3. Amer on February 15, 2009 7:31 am

    Dubai is living in ‘Denial!” Always coming up with pathetic excuses to cover up.

  4. Tom Roy on February 15, 2009 8:45 am

    While there’s no denying that there is a downturn (not just Dubai, but globally), there’s a lot of negative press about Dubai at the moment. The recent article in NY Times seemed fairly biased towards negatively hyping Dubai. Yes, there are job losses, yes the markets are down, but to rubbish all that’s been positive about Dubai in one fell swoop is being overly judgmental and pessimistic. There should be a light at the end of this tunnel. For the world, and yes, for Dubai as well.

  5. Sreedhar on February 15, 2009 9:12 am

    True!! Dubai, time in memorial is inexplicably shying away from the logic that always leaves an expat wondering, frustrating and reeling! But, let’s accept the truth! Who in the world is not doing that and why we should talk tough only to Dubai. Truth that was never said and actual conditions were never exposed until they become unmanageable.

    Already the consumer is hiding in the shell that was built upon greedy markets then and the negative sentiment now will only increase the inevitable damage. If the news reporting channels have enough of moral fiber to pure journalism, then proving anything I think wouldn’t be such a task. Let’s hope Dubai pulls-off a miraculous survival and prevail upon the current conditions.

  6. rnb on February 15, 2009 10:59 am

    We all choose to be here, no other city is so dynamic, in my opinion, but having set our stall out(note the collective “our”), we must be prepared to accept criticism, as the progress is delayed.
    Dubai’s problem is of “news management”, alternatively a case of “too many cooks, spoiling the broth”!

    RERA’s recent Index was three months out of date!
    So what faith can one have for updated data, regarding current situation?

    One week The National posts a story about full Police car compounds, no reaction locally.
    A week or so later “Times of London” reports 3,000 cars left at Dubai Terminal 1. (Incidentally that story was similar, if not plagiarised, from one in an Asian paper.)
    Next day Dubai Chief Of Police announces, to an Arabic language paper, that only 11 vehicles have been impounded from Dubai airport in past year!

    As Nasser Al Sheikh now seems to be Dubai’s economic spokesman, possibly we need to have one UAE National appointed to act as a Spokes person for Dubai, with controlled output and reaction.

  7. mohamad on February 15, 2009 12:39 pm

    RERA is clearly taking the sides of big investors such as Emaar who are not being transparent in their actions. Why would any big developer announce that a project is cancelled when he can take the investor money not build anything and consider the investor in default for not making additional payment while still doing nothing in terms of construction and get away with it because of the support of RERA which is supposed to be balanced and protect the interests of both investors and developers. RERA insteads issues Law 13 in August which states that if the investor is in default the developer can keep 30% of the money paid by the purchaser and then after the crash issues an adminstrative cirrcular in November that is aimed at explaining Law 13, which is perfectly clear, but actualy changes Law 13 in this so called circular that states that the developer can keep 30% of the contract price + 30% of the money paid in addition by the purchaser. This is why Dubai is getting negative publicity.

  8. Grahame on February 15, 2009 1:02 pm

    well we all said that the Dubai bubble would burst and now it has but we willnever know the true story as so many things are covered up or surpressed by the Government but thats typical of the whole UAE

  9. labolts on February 15, 2009 2:01 pm

    “Dubai is like a movie star..” Very amusing… how can we take any official seriously with a quote like that?


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