x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Chaos as crowds scuffle on hopes of getting hands on off-plan Dubai property

It was a scene reminiscent of the heady days of 2007 and early 2008 as a crowd of at least 50 men and women jostled in an attempt to get their hands on off-plan Emaar property.

The chaos in yesterday's Emaar sale of off-plan property was reminiscent of the heady days of 2007 and early 2008 when investors leapt into a surging UAE property market. Razan Alzayani / The National
The chaos in yesterday's Emaar sale of off-plan property was reminiscent of the heady days of 2007 and early 2008 when investors leapt into a surging UAE property market. Razan Alzayani / The National

A crowd of at least 50 men and women jostled and scuffled in an attempt to get their hands on off-plan Emaar property at the first day of Cityscape Global in Dubai today.

The potential investors pushed and shoved outside a meeting room, just upstairs from the Cityscape exhibition halls, as Emaar officials sought to restore order.

An official standing on a chair allowed small numbers of investors into the room while shouting at the growing crowd to queue in an orderly manner.

Emaar officials eventually came and put up barriers for the crowds to queue around as the numbers increased.

It was a scene reminiscent of the heady days of 2007 and early 2008 when investors leapt into a surging UAE property market.

Officials at today’s scene told The National that Emaar was selling new and old residential and commercial units. These included a Dh2 million flat from the company’s Fountain Views project, one from its Burj Vista scheme, offices in Burj Khalifa, furnished serviced apartments in Burj Khalifa which were being sold at as much as Dh4.8 million, and a few townhouses from phases 2, 4 and 5 of Emaar’s Mira scheme.

Some of the investors present said that they did not even know which properties were being sold.

Others said that they were queuing to buy off-plan flats in Emaar’s The Greens complex. Still others said that they thought Emaar was selling 300 units from various developments including flats in the company’s flagship Downtown Dubai project.

“There are less than 50 people here. A group of this size could be organised very quickly if Emaar wanted to do it,” said one potential investor who identified himself as S  A T from Saudi Arabia. “I have been at the Emaar stand since 10 o’clock this morning and there has been no information from the company. They have been saying they will release some units but there has been no information about what they will be selling.”

“These are not end users,” said another man who asked not to be named. “Most of the people in this crowd are real estate agents who buy to re-sell.”

Cityscape’s organisers declined to comment on the crowds, which could be heard arguing from the nearby press room.

Emaar, the Burj Khalifa developer, was showcasing its Opera district project in Downtown Dubai at the exhibition today at the Dubai International Convention Centre. The scheme is to include a 2,000-seat performing art centre as well as luxury hotels and flats.

Less than a week ago, the property broker Asteco reported that apartment prices in Dubai rose 42 per cent over the first nine months of the year while villa prices increased 26 per cent over the same period.

This is not the first time this year that Emaar has caused controversy through an off-plan sales launch in Dubai. In mid-August, police were called to quell crowds gathering to buy off-plan townhouses which the company announced it was selling for less than Dh1 million.

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