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Tue 7 Oct 2008 04:00 AM

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Two weeks

Demand gives poor processes a success they do not deserve.

Two weeks
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There's talk afoot of transparency. Pressure is being exerted on property executives via the long arm of the law and this is sending the message that greater transparency is needed.

If it eventuates it will certainly be better for investors and may even encourage international players and the more risk-averse to try out the GCC property market.

But is there any motivation to make the changes required? Apart from a few high-profile arrests and questionings, the market isn't exactly calling for change.

On the investor side, money continues to come in, either through commercial-scale purchases, investment funds or share sales. Consumers too can't seem to get enough, with high returns attracting investment buyers, who then become the avaricious landlords the remainder of the buying public are trying to avoid.

These consumers put up with a lot to get their little slice of sand castle. Where else in the world would it be standard practice to spend the best part of a year telling a buyer their new home will be ready in ‘just two weeks'? Or, when there's two weeks left until hand over, casually mention that it may be another year?

Greater transparency is needed at all levels of the property investment chain, from the corporate transaction to the individual purchase.

Why? Well, eventually, supply will catch up with demand. When it does, only the developers with transparent transactions will continue to thrive.

No investors will expose themselves to the unnecessary risk of obscure corporate governance if a clear and open option is available. And a consumer with a choice certainly wouldn't bother with the current nonsense.

Stuart Matthews is the senior group editor of ITP Business' construction and energy magazines.

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