Real estate analyst warnings provoke strong response from property boss Ziad El Chaar
The head of Damac has threatened to “go on TV naked and resign” if the worst predictions about Dubai’s property market are realised this year.
Ziad El Chaar, the Dubai developer’s managing director, made the comment in an interview with the Sunday Times.
Damac is one of the emirate’s largest developers, and is building several large mixed use projects in the city, including the 42 million square foot Akoya by Damac, which is being built in Dubailand.
US presidential candidate Donald Trump is planning to operate a Trump International Golf Course at the site, although the partnership with Damac has come in for criticism following Trump’s controversial remarks about Muslims.
El Chaar’s comments come as the Dubai real estate market continues to soften, hurt by the strong dollar and weakening investor sentiment.
Average residential property prices fell by 10 percent last year, and will drop further this year, Deloitte warned earlier this month.
Consulting firm JLL predicted last week that local prices would fall by between 8 and 10 percent in 2016, with rents falling by a more gradual 3 percent.
However, some analysts are hinting at even more dramatic falls. Jesse Downs, the managing director of Phidar Advisory, told the newspaper that prices could fall by “up to 20 percent over the next one to two years” if all the residential projects announced by developers are built on time.