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04 June 2023

Dubai's largest developer bans property agents from flipping off-plan until handover

By Parag Deulgaonkar

Emaar Properties, Dubai’s largest developer, has barred local real estate agents (registered/unregistered) from selling any off-plan property, purchased under their names, until handover, Emirates 24|7 can reveal.

In an email sent to property agents, the developer said:  “For off-plan property, purchase shall be as per PAS policy. Property will not be subject to transfer until handover.”

As for ready property, Emaar says real estate agents can purchase only after the unit has been in the general inventory unsold for a minimum of 14 days. However, there will be no restriction on resale, the company said.

In May, Emaar Chairman Mohamed Alabbar said the company was doing all it could to control flipping of properties in the market.

“We are trying to control flipping,” he said, stating. “We have a mainframe [computer] system that is incredible - if you buy and you flip within 30 days, the system will never allow you to come and buy with us again.

“But people are very smart - they bring in their friends the next time and it goes on and on. These guys buy an apartment and sell it after two weeks - so you have to watch it.”

Earlier in October, Dubai doubled property registration fee from 2 per cent to 4 per cent of the property value to control flippers or quick sales, which has been blamed for the property price crash of 2008/09.

The UAE Central Bank too issued the new mortgage lending rule, restricting banks to providing loans of 80 per cent of the property value to Emiratis and 75 per cent to expatriates for the first purchase. The move was aimed at cooling down the market, which has seen prices shooting up by over 21 per cent in the past 12 months.

But Goldman Sachs Group has stated that fears of Dubai’s real estate market experiencing a bubble are “exaggerated".

The US-based investment bank says property prices are 36 per cent below their 2008 peak even after rising by about a-third from a low in the second quarter of 2011.