Dubai bets on Expo 2020 to boost property sector

Dubai

Dubai’s glitzy property market, hit by a three-year downturn, is regaining momentum as the emirate prepares for its Expo 2020 trade fair, analysts and developers say.
The six-month event, the first World Expo to be staged in the Middle East, is expected to attract up to 300,000 visitors a day when it opens in October 2020.
Officials are hoping it will breathe new life into Dubai’s property market, under pressure from weak demand and low economic growth since a 2014 slump in oil prices. “Our real estate market is preparing for a new phase of growth in the run-up to Expo 2020,” Sultan Butti bin Mejren, director general of Dubai Land Department, told a press conference. Undeterred by lower rents and sale prices, developers launched new projects worth tens of billions of dollars at a Cityscape Global property show which ended on Wednesday.
Top property developers including Emaar, Nakheel and Deyaar reported strong sales at the three-day event, attended by 300 firms. Some claimed to have sold out.
Sales of properties in Dubai rose rapidly in the years after the market was opened to foreigners in 2002. Prices soared as investors piled in, but when the global financial crisis hit the debt-laden emirate in 2009, it sent them into free-fall.
A recovery led by tourism, trade and transportation pushed prices up again between 2012 and 2014.
But in 2014, a glut in oil production slapped down the price of crude, hitting the Gulf economies that underpin Dubai’s real estate sector.
Prices for homes in Dubai have since dropped by over 15 percent and rents have fallen even more.
Faisal Durrani, partner-head of research at Cluttons, a property consultancy, said that prices in most parts of Dubai had now stopped falling.—AFP

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