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08 | NEWS ANALYSIS WORDS | Adrian Bishop

Dubai is back on top W

hen it comes to amazing buildings, Dubai stands tall in the world.

The emirate has so many innovative

world-class constructions that I don’t have the space here to list them. In fact, Dubai boasts more completed or topped- out skyscrapers over 0.25km than any other city and has been named by website Ultrapolis as the world’s tallest city. Emaar Properties’ Burj Khalifa

(Khalifa Tower) in Dubai, currently the world’s tallest building at 829.8m (2,722 ft), is set to lose its crown to the 1km-tall Kingdom Tower, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, that is currently being developed by Prince Alwaleed. Not to be outdone, UAE-based

Emaar plans to build a higher tower, its Chairman and CEO Mohamed Alabbar, has indicated. The same sort of impressive

comeback is being exhibited by Dubai’s property industry.

From 2002-2008, Dubai’s property

prices almost quadrupled, with such ambitious projects planned and constructed as Jumeirah Garden City, Dubailand, The Lagoons, Palm Jumeirah, and The World, which together were estimated to cost more than USD 200 billion.

Then came the economic crisis

and property sector crash, which saw residential property prices plunging by more than half, forcing Dubai to obtain a USD 10 billion bailout from Abu Dhabi. But now there has been a dramatic

turnaround and Dubai is on top of the world again, with some property indexes putting them at number one when it comes to annual price rises. The latest data, for Quarter 1, 2013, from agents Cluttons, says ‘budget-priced’ villas have increased by an average of 20.2% year-on-year. A similar survey, this time from property company Asteco, puts yearly price rises of apartments even higher, at 27%. One sign of the high demand for property has been the fact that leading developer Emaar closed registration for The Address Residence Sky View in Dubai after less than an hour, due to record online interest from investors in

more than 75 countries. Emaar Properties said there had been “phenomenal interest” for one to four-bed residences and serviced apartments in its new Downtown Dubai development. Overseas investors are driving much of the demand for Dubai property with buyers from India featuring prominently at all levels, according to some reports. At the luxury end of the market, investor interest is coming from a number of overseas property investors, including those from India, Pakistan, the UK, Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia, according to the Knight Frank Global House Price Index. When it came to price rises, Dubai enjoyed annual rises of 19%, just behind top-dog Hong Kong at 23.6%. “For several years as the ‘yo-yo’ of

the rankings, the Dubai market is fi nding its feet. Stalled developments are being resurrected, sales volumes are rising and the level of market transparency is improving,” the report explained. One factor that is also growing in Dubai, but seemingly not fast enough, is the number of real estate transactions

“Overseas investors are driving much of the demand for Dubai property”

being made by women. A total of 5,434 women spent

Dh13.3billion (USD 3.62billion) on property in Dubai last year, 23% of the emirate’s real estate market and 1% more than in 2011, according to data from the Dubai Land Department (DLD). Another area where a turnaround in prices is also predicted, but this time in Europe, is Portugal. As exclusively revealed by OPP Connect, Portugal’s Algarve property market has bottomed out and prices and agents’ confi dence is on the up. Seven out of 10 Algarve property agents believe the market has hit a low and is now rising, according to the latest 10-10-10 Algarve Residential Tourism

Survey 2013. The survey, which is published

every four months, researches market confi dence, performance and trends from agents across the Algarve using a detailed questionnaire. The latest fi ndings reveal consumer market confi dence, offers and transactions were all up in 2012 compared to 2011 and there were plenty of reasons for optimism.

Andrew Coutts, Chief Executive of

the ILM Group that draws up the survey along with Algarve surveyors Property Lynx, told OPP Connect, “After four or fi ve years of market turmoil, these are the fi rst signs, according to the survey fi ndings, that clearly say that we are coming out of the bottom – but only in certain parts. “Calling the bottom of the market is very important and then generally the more pioneering come in and are confi dent because they believe it is the bottom.” With gradually recovering economic conditions, prices in the UK are set to hit a record in 2014 to GBP 227,000 (around USD 350,000), 2.3% higher than the 2007 average, says the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) and within fi ve years they should rise 20.4% to GDP 267,000.

On the other side of the world,

NEWS |MAY 2013

Positivity is ripe in the property market of late, with Dubai back at the top for annual price rises. Meanwhile, Portugal’s Algarve has seen a turnaround in prices, and in the UK, the US, New Zealand and many other markets worldwide, property prices are hitting record levels. OPP’s Adrian Bishop tells us more...

The land of luxury | Motor Yachts at Dubai Marina, United Arab Emirates

homes in Auckland, New Zealand, are already hitting record levels, at least for one agent. Barfoot & Thompson said the average

price reached NZD 645,928 (USD 552,500) in March, 2.9% higher than the previous record of NZD 627,721 (USD 537,000) achieved in November last year. The agency also had an exceptional month in March, selling 1,430 homes – the highest total for almost a decade. The fi gure is 6.9% higher than

February’s average price and was boosted by a shortage of property for sale and an abnormally high number of sales above NZD 1million (USD 860,000). Managing Director Peter Thompson says, “While we expected to see a major lift in the average price between February and March, as it is a trend evident in our sales statistics since 2010, the most critical factor in the price increase was undoubtedly the number of homes that sold for in excess of NZD 1 million.” In early April, a week-to-week fall

of 60% in residential property sales in Shanghai, China, is being blamed more on property cooling measures, including the leadership’s instruction that local authorities impose Capital Gains Tax at 20% instead of the 1% often levied in practice, rather than panic caused by the deadly outbreak of a new strain of bird fl u.

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