We’d just finished off another round of Cityscape here in Dubai, an exhibition that was the highlight of the decade that was the 2000s. When 2008 struck, Cityscape was almost forgotten about. No one wanted to be reminded of how much Dubai’s real estate sector had fallen. Anyone who visited the event this month may have been forgiven for thinking that the downturn never happened. We were bombarded with news about how good everything is looking; one executive from Dubai-based executive Damac claimed there had never been a property bubble to begin with.
All the good news hasn’t been without incident. An announcement at the beginning of this month revived plans to build a canal, this time linking Dubai’s Business Bay waterway system out to the Gulf at what is now Jumeirah Beach Park (Alex McNabb wrote an excellent blog piece about the news which you can read here). Other reports have focused on stalled projects which have neither been revived or cancelled, basically locking in investor money (the law here in the UAE requires projects to be cancelled before any collected monies can be returned to investors), and the proposed establishment of a body that would help return funds to those who invested in projects which never got off the ground.
While there’s no doubt that the boom is back and that Dubai is again one of the leading lights when it comes to global real estate, is enough being done to ensure not just investors but ordinary people out there, the likes of you and me, that mistakes which were made in the past will not be repeated?
If you’re an Arabic speaker listen to this interview at Cityscape with the CEO of Damac Ziad El Chaar.