Low earners shouldn't live in Burj Khalifa, says DAMAC boss

Top property executive urges residents to lower expectations amid market recovery
Low earners shouldn't live in Burj Khalifa, says DAMAC boss
By Daniel Shane
Wed 11 Dec 2013 01:44 PM

A senior executive at real estate firm DAMAC Properties has urged Dubai residents to stop complaining about rising rents, specifically those who live in luxury developments that are above their pay-grade, such as the Burj Khalifa.

Speaking to 7Days newspaper, managing director Ziad El Chaar said it was “impossible” for someone earning AED15,000 ($4,083) per month to live in an apartment in the world’s tallest building and urged these renters to move to “a decent building with good surroundings" elsewhere in the emirate.

"We need to understand that we have different areas in Dubai that are not built for everybody," he told the newspaper.

Rents in Dubai have risen by approximately 20 percent this year according to some estimates as the emirate recovers from the 2008-2009 property crises that saw prices slump by as much as 60 percent.

El Chaar described these increases as a correction, with current rates reflecting true market value, and said that those who were being priced out of the premium segment should set their sights lower.

"Now a person will go on the street and say 'Dubai is becoming very expensive, I cannot afford my apartment in Burj Khalifa '," El Chaar said, describing the emirate’s Downtown district as the “Manhattan of Arabia”.

"But I say to that person: You were not supposed to be living in Burj Khalifa . Because if you were working in London, at your salary, which falls in the average salaries of London, can you live in Knightsbridge? You cannot. You will take the tube, live half an hour away from the city and commute - just like all the employees,” he added.

DAMAC was one of the real estate developers hardest hit by Dubai’s real estate crash and saw many of its high profile projects ground to a halt.

This year the company has announced a number of new developments, including a Donald Trump-branded golf course and villa project. This month DAMAC also launched an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange, raising close to $350m.

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