Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Desperate in Dubai - desert dream turns to dust for property investors

A gathering storm? - Overseas - Times Online
"Dubai's glittering skyline may look great in the brochures, but many British homebuyers regret their decision to invest there.
John Arlidge The Sunday Times

The view from the 41st-floor terrace of Grosvenor House hotel in Dubai is the oddest - and most optimistic - anywhere. To the right, towering cranes outnumber palm trees. To the left, lines of half-built skyscrapers snake into the shimmering desert haze. Out to sea, 300 sand islands form a map of the world. It is no surprise estate agents bring clients here to sell the dream of desert living.

"Impressive, isn't it?" says Michael Grant, of Cluttons Dubai, as he points out the lagoons and skyscrapers of Dubai Marina, whose residents include the comedian Jim Davidson. Cluttons has been hired to sell Miramar, a luxury tower block to be built in the marina in which flats start at £670,000 and rise to £2m. "Frankie Dettori and Vinnie Jones are buying into the development because they believe it represents the best that Dubai has to offer," Grant gushes.

Sun, sand, celebrities and hard sell: a typical morning in a country that likes to describe itself as 'the eighth wonder of the world'. But there is another Dubai, where life is anything but wonderful. It is a place Laurie McWhan knows all too well.

McWhan is standing in the shadow of the Grosvenor House hotel, on a patch of wasteland next to a low-rise apartment block. "I shouldn't be here getting covered with dirt; I should be sitting up there on my terrace, enjoying a glass of wine in the sun," he says, pointing to the seventh floor.

McWhan’s desert dream has turned to dust. The 44-year-old from Islington, north London, and his wife, Marie, bought an off-plan flat in the Waves development in Dubai Marina two and a half years ago for £127,000. The developer, Damac, said it would be ready last May. It is still not finished.

“They now say it will be ready this spring, which means I can move in next summer at the earliest,” says McWhan. “Three years after I made my investment, I don’t have my house, a year’s potential rent of £12,000 is down the drain, and all they have offered me is a few thousand pounds in compensation. It’s scandalous.”

McWhan wishes he had never invested in Dubai, and he is not alone. British residents at Jumeirah Islands, a development of 800 villas and lagoons in the desert, are so incensed at what they term “shoddy workmanship and poor management” that they have written an open letter of complaint to Dubai’s new ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum."

Check out the rest of this article

Why is no-one warning of the risks of investing in Dubai. Even without the current problems this must be one of the most problematic places to invest in property. There's just no 'reason' for the existance of developments on this scale in this patch of sand. Stay away - if you're already invested get out while you can.

Chris Bell



At 3:42 pm, Blogger manek d said...

Dubai desert Safari one of the best thing where you can enjoy.


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