Dubai property has bottomed out: Alabbar

Current prices will drive another phase of growth, says Emaar chief

Dubai's real estate sector has reached a bottom and the market oversupply is expected clear in 20 months, the chairman of Emaar Properties said on Monday.

He told conference delegates he believed the Dubai real estate market has “bottomed out without a doubt” and that he is optimistic about the future.

"The market needs time to balance itself. Values [property prices] now are very reasonable and will drive another phase of growth," Mohammed Ali Alabbar told a conference in Dubai.

Alabbar said Dubai's real estate market is still oversupplied but values are now at levels that will provide a platform for future growth.

"We have just gone through a very big bump and it was a hell of a workout. But we will come out smarter, more resilient and more educated to do bigger things," he added.

In recent years, Dubai put itself on the world map through a six-year real-estate boom during which it built palm-shaped islands and the world's tallest building.

"We're still going through challenging times," Alabbar said. "The market has to manage itself. It's all about confidence. When demand comes, the market will naturally balance itself and this will bring confidence to investors."

Alabbar said the company has no intention of returning to the debt markets anytime soon. Emaar in September successfully placed up to $500 million in convertible notes due in 2015.

"No, we have no intention of doing this [tapping bond markets] again," said Alabbar.

He also said there are no plans afoot for the Dubai government to cut its stake in the developer. The Dubai government currently owns about 30 per cent of Emaar.

"There are no plans to sell another stake to the public or to reduce the government's stake in Emaar," Alabbar told reporters Monday.

Emaar’s stake in Islamic mortgage provider Amlak Finance "it's up to the government to decide on the fate."

Alabbar also told a conference in Dubai he saw "great opportunities" in Algeria, without elaborating.

Emaar is the UAE’s largest listed property firm and the developer behind the world's tallest tower.

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