Ajman to list scrapped real estate projects, says watchdog

Analysts say Dubai should follow move to name cancelled property developments
Ajman to list scrapped real estate projects, says watchdog
Scores of investors in Ajman’s real estate industry were hit when the emirate’s offplan market collapsed
By Elizabeth Broomhall
Sun 18 Sep 2011 12:46 PM

Ajman’s property
watchdog has pledged to reveal a list of the emirate’s scrapped real estate
projects by early-2012, a move industry analysts say should prompt Dubai to follow
suit.

ARRA executive
director Yafea Eid Al Faraj said Sunday that the regulator planned to publicly
list the names of its cancelled offplan projects and release a progress report
on ongoing sites.

“We are doing this to give the market more transparency,” Al
Faraj told Arabian Business. “So far we’ve put [together] the names” but the
list is pending board approval.

“We are waiting [until the end of] this year to see if
developers will come back and continue projects. That’s why we for waiting
until next year.”

Scores of investors
in Ajman’s real estate industry were hit when the emirate’s offplan market
collapsed in late-2008, sending prices tumbling. In the $15bn Emirates City development
alone, more than a dozen projects are on hold, affecting hundreds of buyers.

Analysts said the
list would allow buyers to either pursue court action against the developers or
attempt to secure a refund against their initial investment.

“It will increase the level of transparency and market
information and will assist developers and investors in making more informed
decisions about the Ajman market,” said Craig Plumb, head of research at
property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle.

 “At the end of the
day, the amount of new supply coming on to the market has its own implications.
If half the projects are cancelled for example, for supply and demand this has
pretty big implications,” said Mathew Green, head of UAE research and
consultancy at property analysts CB Richard Ellis.

“It’s also important to understand which developers seem to
be most at risk. It all helps to build up a picture of what is happening in the
market now and where it’s likely to go.

 “Given what we have
seen in Dubai, it would be reasonable to assume that Ajman will have a
relatively high number of cancelled projects as well.”

But Plumb warned
the move would also put added pressure on Dubai’s property watchdog RERA to publish
a full list of the city’s cancelled construction projects.

“ARRA has been modelled on the Dubai regulator, RERA, who
has also announced the official cancellation of up to 200 projects in
Dubai.  To date, the list of these projects has not yet been released and
this makes it more difficult to accurately predict future supply levels,” he
said.

Dubai, the Middle East’s worst performing property market,
saw billions of dollars worth of projects suspended or scrapped after the
downturn wiped 60 percent off the city’s house prices.

Speculators caught with multiple properties and little
chance to turn a profit fled the market and defaulted on purchases, sparking an
emirate-wide property collapse.

Some $170bn worth of construction projects were cancelled
and delayed in the UAE by August 2011, Citigroup said earlier this month.

RERA said in May that up to 500 real estate developments in
Dubai would face the axe if deemed financially unfeasible under new rules. The
emirate has also pledged to keep a tighter rein on offplan projects in a bid to
avoid the speculator-driven bubble created after 2006.

 

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