Dubai house prices will spike higher again in the autumn
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Dubai house prices will spike higher again in the autumn

Dubai house prices will spike higher again in the autumn

A seasonal pattern exists in the Dubai housing market, and analysts have noted an annual spike in prices in September/October over the past few years. This is when the summer holidays are over and the wealthiest expatriate families return to town. It is also when new expatriates are most likely to choose to arrive and business activity picks up.

    The summer slowdown in the booming Gulf States is of course nothing like it used to be in the old days. Then you could pack your bags and head to Europe in late May and return in mid-September and not have missed a thing.

    Now business activity continues over the summer, with most expatriates on contracts that only allow for a month of holiday, and a good deal of planning work gets done over the summer. In the real estate business too, people do buy and sell property over the hot months.

    But there is a point when rushing around with documents in almost 50C temperatures does become rather wearing for all but the most dedicated, and the big decision makers tend to be absent. The argument for waiting until cooler weather returns then looks very attractive.

    Sleepy summer

    The result is therefore that the real estate market cools down over the summer months and then tends to burst back into life in the autumn. More buyers mean that prices tend to go higher, after a few 'distressed sales' over the summer months, and sellers who can wait for this moment generally do just that.

    In the heat of the summer there are always a few sellers whose patience or finances run out and for the real bargain spotter this can be a good time. Indeed, flipping on properties bought in the summer into the buoyant autumn season is a clever trade.

    Why should it be any different in the summer of 2008? There are some concerns that the Dubai property market is overheating, although new project launches are sharply down on a year ago and the new escrow account system is working well.

    The cancellation of one project on the Palm Jebel Ali by Damac Properties has caused some ripples in the local market. But pessimists about Dubai real estate are always with us, and have been proven wrong so far.

    Autumn price spike

    Surely this autumn the prospects for renewed interest in local real estate, and another autumn price spike are better than ever. Local interest rates are falling, and with high inflation there are negative real interest rates in Dubai. That means the local economy is effectively paying real estate investors to buy property.

    Meanwhile, the supply of property 'particularly in the affordable category' is well below demand from the constant flow of new expatriates into the booming emirate. And on the basis of international comparisons Dubai real estate remains cheap, albeit with prices now rising sharply.

    With the local and global stock markets delivering negative returns for investors this year, and deposit accounts paying miserable interest rates, Dubai property stands out as one of the few asset classes with upside potential, and money usually flows to where it will achieve the best returns.

    AMEinfo Staff

    AMEinfo staff members report business news and views from across the Middle East and North Africa region, and analyse global events impacting the region today.

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