Damac chief stays bullish on future of Dubai real estate

Ziad El Chaar had pledged to “go on TV naked” if property prices drop further in 2016

Damac Properties’ managing director has defended bold comments he made last week about the state of the Dubai property market, and forecast that levels of supply and demand will remain stable throughout 2016.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Ziad El Chaar had pledged to “go on TV naked and resign” if the worst predictions about Dubai’s property market are realised this year.

The previous week, real estate consultancy JLL had predicted that local prices would fall by between 8 and 10 percent in 2016, and rents by a more gradual 3 percent.

Speaking to Arabian Business after the developer announced its 2015 annual results on Thursday, El Chaar said he stood by his comments on the strength of the market.

“We stand by the fact that we have a very attractive market here, a very promising market, a stable market and if all of the other developers in Dubai continue to promote Dubai globally it will always be a resilient market,” he said.

“The attractions driving demand for real estate in Dubai are obvious: you have economic growth, security, society, tourism – 7.5% growth in tourism last year – and some of the best infrastructure in the region.”

He did not respond directly when asked whether he was confident he would not have to strip naked on TV this year, but said: “Again, I tell you we are very much confident of the supply and demand factors in Dubai and what Damac is contributing towards that.”

He said he expected “the same levels of supply and demand in the market as in 2015”, and insisted that previous calculations that between 28,000 and 32,000 units were in the pipeline for Dubai were incorrect.

“How could this be, when the two biggest real estate developers in the market [including Damac] were going to complete close to 4,000 units each and the other 50 percent the same – so actually the number should have been 8,000, which is what Damac ended up with.

“We expect the same number in 2016, which means we expect demand to surpass supply towards the end of 2016/early 2017.”

El Chaar would not be drawn on whether Damac has given further consideration to its relationship with US presidential hopeful Donald Trump following controversial comments he made about Muslims last year, and insisted the developer’s business relationship with the Trump Organisation remains intact.

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