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Dubai property prices reach bottom phase

Published:Tuesday | February 23, 2010 | 12:00 AM

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP):

Dubai's battered real-estate prices have nearly bottomed out and should start to recover, but probably not until at least next year, the head of one of the troubled emirate's most prominent property developers said Monday.

Prices in the Mideast sheikdom dropped by half in less than a year from their peak in late 2008 as overseas buyers, many of them speculators relying on easy credit, fled the market.

The unexpectedly steep plunge led to widespread job cuts and contributed to Dubai's financial problems by depriving many local developers the cash they needed to pay the bills and cover debts racked up in a torrid building boom.

Deyaar Development Co, Dubai's second biggest listed developer, was among those hurt by the downturn.

Recovery?

CEO Markus Giebel told reporters Monday that while he does not expect a dramatic recovery in Dubai's property market, prices are unlikely to fall significantly further.

"Dubai has reached a bottom phase," Giebel said. "I cannot tell you if it goes five per cent up or down. But I'm very certain it will not go 20 or 30 per cent up or down in the next year."

Giebel said he expects prices will fluctuate in a narrow range before possibly starting to recover in 2011.