Dubai creates corporation for government real estate

Dubai has established a commercial corporation to own and manage all properties registered in the name of the government, state-run news agency WAM said on Sunday.

Dubai Real Estate Corporation will have financial and administrative independence, WAM said, will be able to contract with third parties, and will be open to sue and be sued.

The entity will be responsible for all development, purchase, sale, lease and management of these properties, the agency said, citing a decree from Dubai ruler HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum.

“The Corporation aims to own and manage the properties… including the ownership, reconstruction, investment and the use and exploitation of land…” the agency said.

No details were given on the properties to be managed.

Dubai, the worst-hit property market in the Gulf, saw house prices more than halve in late-2008 as the financial crash wiped out project funding and brought a halt to its real estate boom.

Real estate sales have plummeted since the days of Dubai’s property bubble, when speculators frequently bought yet-to-be- built homes and sold them at a profit before a single brick was laid.

State-owned developer Nakheel, which is seeking to restructure $10.9bn in debt, is expected to be carved out of parent company Dubai World this month.

Dubai said earlier this month it had scrapped 217 real
estate projects in the emirate as of May 31, and expected a further 237
developments to be completed “in due course”.

The total value of property sale transactions plunged to
AED119.5bn at the end of last year from AED152.9bn a year earlier, it said.

Global analysts remain divided on the state of the trade and
tourism hub’s real estate market, with many suggesting house prices have
further to fall.  

Deutsche Bank said this month that Dubai property prices
continued to slide and that political instability in the Middle East had failed
to give the market an expected boost.

“Despite talks of renewed interest in real estate following
regional unrest, there is no visible sign of an improvement,” analysts wrote.

By contrast, London consultancy Knight Frank said last week
that Dubai’s real estate market had seen house prices rise 2.1 percent since
October, with a modest 0.6 percent increase in Q1.

“The Middle East provides an improving picture,” said Liam
Bailey, head of residential research at Knight Frank. “Dubai has seen price
growth regain positive territory in the last six months and the consensus is
that the market is stabilising following the volatility observed in 2008-2010.”