Dubai's real estate market is looking vulnerable again

Uae dubai bubbleREUTERS/Caren FirouzAn advertising sign for a real estate company reading

Dubai’s property market looks like it has hit a peak.

Residential real estate sales fell by 69% in the first half of 2015 compared to the same period the year before, according to a report released by the country’s Land Department.

This after the IMF warned the Dubai government that it could be facing another property bubble due to “unsustainable price dynamics and an eventual correction” in May of 2014.

What worried the IMF? Property prices climbed 32% from the first quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2014.

In response, the government tightened lending and doubled sales duties to discourage speculation.

Property prices have started to fall. Residential property prices have fallen between 1%-2%, according to reports by property developer JLL and surveyor/consultants Cavendish Maxwell respectively.

That is likely to just be the beginning. Standard & Poor’s wrote in a recent report that it’s only a matter of time before this drop off in sales takes a toll on price.

“Additional supply and lesser demand on the UAE property market this year is likely to result in a moderate 10% to 20% correction in Dubai residential real estate prices — much less than what led to the Dubai crisis in 2009,” it said.

“Retail and office commercial real estate should prove more resilient than hospitality given the sizable supply of hotel rooms expected in anticipation of Expo 2020.”

Dubai’s property market previously peaked in 2009. The crash that followed leading to a number of multi-billion dollar restructurings.

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