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Banks lending more to property buyers in UAE

Noor Islamic Bank reported that its mortgage business is 40 to 50% up on the start of the year. Dubai Islamic Bank has announced it would offer 90% financing on properties in the United Arab Emirates.

'Things have improved from last year, it's a stable situation. The market has improved,' said Fahd Reaz senior product manager in personal and home finance for Noor Islamic Bank.

Anecdotal evidence has shown over the last three months that liquidity is returning to the banking system. In March HSBC increased its loan to value ratios to 75% and 70% on villas and apartments.

But there is still some reluctance to lend to off-plan properties. Reaz admitted the bank was 'apprehensive' about lending to buyers of off-plan properties, which some suggest has fallen up to 50% in Dubai in the wake of the global crisis.

Charles Neil, chief financial officer at Dubai-based broker Landmark Properties, said 30% of the group's total transactions were mortgage financed in May this year, compared to just 17% between January and April.

Neil said it was critical for mortgage availability to increase otherwise prices could continue to fall hurting the UAE property market further. But he predicted no substantial increase in home loan financing in the next two years and predicted house prices would not rise before 2011.

Dubai Islamic Bank is also offering re-financing solutions for properties that are already completed.

'Property buyers in the UAE are seeking easy home financing solutions. At DIB, customers are our top priority and we are pleased to open new doors for them by offering up to 90% finance,' said Adnan Chilwan, Chief of Retail and Business Banking, DIB.