Will Dubai real estate prices spike in September?
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Will Dubai real estate prices spike in September?

Will Dubai real estate prices spike in September?

Each year for the past three or four years this column on AME Info has posed the same question about prices in September. There is always a fear that after the summer break this might be the year house prices falter. But then again a trend is usually your friend until it is not, indeed this year there is every reason to expect house prices to fire up stronger than ever for the autumn season.

    That might appear odd when housing markets from the US to the UK and Spain are in deep trouble.

    But these markets are also a reminder that housing booms move in distinctive phases.

    Markets move from a depressed stage slowly into higher levels of activity and moderate price increases.

    Then the momentum builds, house prices accelerate and eventually something happens to prick the price bubble.

    In the UK and Spain it was the sub-prime crisis last summer and the subsequent mortgage famine that finally undid a spectacular 14-year run of rising prices.

    This was about a year behind the US where prices first started to show weakness after a big run up in prices and endless TV shows on how to buy property by maxing out credit cards.

    US monetary policy

    It was this fall in US prices that precipitated the sub-prime crisis.

    And the US Federal Reserve has responded by undoing its monetary policy tightening, lowering interest rates to 2% and allowing inflation to rip across consumer prices while bailing out the banking sector.

    Dubai property is in a very different phase of the cycle.

    Indeed this six-year old property market spent the first three to four years catching up with global markets in terms of pricing, and arguably still has some way to go.

    With rental yields on villas and apartments substantially higher than cities in the US and UK, it is hard to argue that Dubai property is over-priced.

    That might well change this autumn if the turbo-charged price changes of the past six months are repeated, and nothing has happened to slow price rises down.

    Indeed, the Fed's low interest rates, designed to lessen the impact of a recession in the States, have added fuel to an economy benefiting enormously from the same high oil prices that are reaping havoc in the consumer nations.

    Money is pouring into the Middle East, and with real interest rates negative then high-yielding and speculative real estate is a highly attractive investment option.

    Dubai real estate to remain the same

    Why should this change this autumn? It is not as though the Dubai real estate market is that big yet in terms of unit numbers.

    Most property developments are also running horrendously late and supply is short. Thus the upward price pressure on available, completed accommodation is strong.

    Where a speculative blow-off, or even crash, is possible in the future is in the off-plan sector, although risks there have been considerably reduced by the creation of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority last July and its implementation of compulsory escrow accounts.

    In fact, what surely lies on the immediate horizon for Dubai property is the impact of a further reduction in US interest rates as a response to a collapse in US capital markets.

    That might just provide the final spur to Dubai property prices before a correction. But as in the US, UK and Spain the real estate sector could boom for much longer than expected, even by seasoned observers.

    We want your views on the housing sector in the UAE. Take part in AME Info's annual survey on Buying Property in the UAE and tell us what you think.

    See also:
    Dubai prices likely to see correction 'by 2010'
    Dubai homeowners face impact of increased charges
    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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