Pandemic 'puts new development projects on hold'

Emaar chairman Mohamed Alabbar offers market assessment at UAE-Israel Future Digital Economy Summit in Dubai

Dubai sky line with traffic junction and Burj Khalifa. Getty Images
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Emaar Properties has placed new projects on hold to try to improve the market in Dubai, the company's chairman said.

“The government entities decided to stop new developments almost a year back but Covid definitely put the brakes on," Mohamed Alabbar told a UAE-Israel Future Digital Economy Summit held as part of the Gitex technology exhibition

A higher committee for real estate led by Dubai Deputy Ruler Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed was established in September last year to rebalance a market where concerns of oversupply have pushed prices lower in recent years.

The committee was formed to ensure that semi-government property companies did not compete with the private sector and to develop a strategic plan across the emirate for the next 10 years.

This year the chairman of Damac Properties, Hussain Sajwani, said new property launches had come to a halt this year.

But Mr Sajwani said he expected it to recommence when Dubai's Expo 2020 event begins in October next year.

A report on Dubai's property market published by Valustrat on Monday said prices were 13.8 per cent lower in November than in the same period last year.

It said there were "positive exceptions", with prices rising in established villa communities.

Transaction levels for completed homes are continuing to grow, Valustrat said.

Overall transactions increased by 14.4 per cent month on month, which was largely the result of higher sales of completed homes.

Annually, sales of ready homes are up 14.4 per cent but off-plan sales are 51.5 per cent lower.

JLL's third-quarter UAE Real Estate Market report said about 26,000 new homes were scheduled for completion in the final quarter of this year.

The total stock at the end of the third quarter was 585,000 homes, the consultancy said.