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Wed 3 Dec 2008 03:23 PM

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Kuwait real estate sales plummet 56%

Property sales slump for seventh successive month year-on-year in October, official data shows.

Kuwait's real estate sales plunged 56 percent in October, the seventh month of decline after the government restricted private firms from trading in residential property to curb inflation, official data showed on Wednesday.

Real estate sales were down 40.95 percent in September and 45.20 percent in August, compared with the same period last year, the data obtained by newswire Reuters showed.

Residential sales, the biggest proportion of total sales, fell 74.44 percent year-on-year to 32.08 million dinars ($116.5 million) in October, from 36.13 million dinars in September and 42.22 million dinars in August.

Commercial property fell about 33 percent in October to 22.35 million dinars, compared with the same period a year earlier, after 61.33 million dinars in September and 12.87 million dinars in August.

Investment property sales slowed 45.23 percent in October to 40.06 million dinars, after 26.51 million dinars in September and 33.86 million dinars in August.

Earlier this year, the government introduced regulations barring private firms from buying and selling residential units to try to restrain real estate prices.

Kuwait, the only Gulf Arab state without a dollar peg, is fighting record inflation hitting 11.64 percent in August, mainly on a 13.15 percent rise in housing costs.

The central bank has urged the government, which owns more than 90 percent of land, to give away more lots to citizens to curb inflation. (Reuters)

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