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Dubai Needs to Get Back to Basics Says Veteran Developer

(DUBAI, U.A.E.) -- In tough times, some people advise dramatic remedies. Others retreat and wait. One of Dubai's leading developers has another solution. "Dubai must return to the basics which first put it on the map," says Mohammed Nimer, CEO of MAG Group Properties that is responsible for construction projects worth USD 817.5 million in the UAE.

Nimer recalls that "Dubai was hugely successful before the real estate bubble" and "led the region in declaring a tax-free, business-friendly environment, attracting outside investment and a large highly skilled expatriate population."

Moreover, the emirate's geographical position is one of its greatest assets as "the primary hub connecting Asia to Europe," Nimer explains. "It also connects Asia to Eastern, Western and Southern Africa, as well as becoming a gateway from Asia Pacific to South America." 

To these natural advantages, Dubai has added "infrastructure cannot be bettered by anywhere else in the Middle East."

That infrastructure includes the Jebel Ali free zone with the world's largest man-made harbour, the biggest port in the Middle East and 5,500 companies from 120 countries and Dubai international airport the sixth busiest in the world by international passenger traffic and one of the busiest by cargo.

Today, Nimer admits, it's a buyer's market with an oversupply of new residential and commercial property for rent or sale. He suggests that rents and prices need to drop further in order to reduce the supply and "only then will the Dubai property market be stable."

He advocates more transparency and tougher regulations to protect investors in real estate in the future.

To continue to attract expatriates, "we need to ensure that the UAE remains a safe and secure community and that its tax-free and business-friendly environment is strengthened," Nimer says and concludes, "solid fundamentals like these which lead to a sustainable recovery and affordable - not speculative - housing whether owner-occupied or rented, lie at the heart of the solution."

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