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Cityscape closed with a whimper but Dubai property industry looks to future

Almost 70% of respondents to an Arabian Business poll said they thought this week’s Cityscape Dubai would be failure. Indeed there was none of the razzamatazz of last year, no celebrities, an absence of glitzy parties and the organisers admitted before the event that numbers would be down.

Only 1.1% of people said the real estate exhibition would be as successful as last year, while just 4.3% said it would be the biggest show yet.

The majority of people who took part in the poll, some 68.6%, blamed the effects the global economic crisis has had on the emirate’s property market.

Indeed it opened to continued doom and gloom with various reports in recent weeks indicating that a recovery in the Dubai’s real estate market is unlikely this year.

Some 400 projects worth more than $300 billion have been postponed or cancelled and property prices have fallen by up to 50%.

This year plans were subdued and concentrated on the number of projects developers hope to complete this year and next.

Gone were the star-studded million dollar development announcements.

 Indeed, Khalid Esbaitah, chief executive officer of developer Al Mazaya probably summed it up correctly when he said that this years Cityscape was not the right time to make major announcements but to consolidate and network.

‘This year’s Cityscape Dubai presented an invaluable opportunity for participants to get in touch with their clients, support the property market, review the latest project updates, and answer numerous questions concerning project and market status, rather than a stage for them to launch new projects as has been the norm previously,’ he said.

‘We believe, as do many investors and developers, that the market is still full of opportunities that could lead to mega projects with new visions and services that cater for the needs of the market. Companies are simply waiting for the right time to make new announcements,’ he added.