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World Cup host Qatar used ex-CIA officer to spy on FIFA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The tiny Arab nation of Qatar has for years employed a former CIA officer to help spy on soccer officials as part of a no-expense-spared effort to win and hold on to the 2022 World Cup tournament, an investigation by The Associated Press has found.

It's part of a trend of former U.S. intelligence officers going to work for foreign governments with questionable human rights records that is worrying officials in Washington and prompting calls from some members of Congress for greater scr ..

The AP's investigation found Qatar sought an edge in securing hosting rights by hiring former CIA officer turned private contractor Kevin Chalker to spy on rival bid teams and key soccer officials who picked the winner in 2010. Chalker also worked for Qatar in the years that followed to keep tabs on the country's critics in the soccer world, the AP found.

The AP's investigation is based on interviews with Chalker's former associates as well as contracts, invoices, emails, and a review 

 

The surveillance work included having someone pose as a photojournalist to keep tabs on a rival nation's bid and deploying a Facebook honeypot, in which someone posed online as an attractive woman, to get close to a target, a review of the records show. Operatives working for Chalker and the Persian Gulf sheikhdom also sought cell phone call logs of at least one top FIFA official ahead of the 2010 vote, a review of the records show.

Chalker also promised he could help the country "mai .. he could help the country "maintain dominance" over its large population of foreign workers, an internal document from one of Chalker's companies reviewed by the AP shows. Qatar - a country with a population of 2.8 million, of whom only 300,000 are citizens - is heavily reliant on foreign-born labor to build the stadiums and other infrastructure needed for the tournament.

Qatari government officials did not respond to requests for comment. FIFA also declined to comment.

 

 

 

  Source-economictimes.indiatimes.com

 

Dubai realty bets on sustainable recovery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dubai property prices will sustain an upward trend next year after posting strong recovery in 2021 despite a challenging environment worldwide in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, experts say.

 
 

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Industry specialists and executives said Dubai real estate market sustained a price appreciation since November last year due to strong demand from the end-users and investors across the globe.

Referring to latest report released by ValuStrat, they said the citywide residential value price index (VPI) improved 12.6 per cent year-on-year basis as it witnessed accelerated monthly growth from 0.7 per cent in January to 1.8 per cent in October.

“The recovery continued in both villas and apartments this year as prices in few villa areas soared as high as 30 per cent when compared to October last year. Most of the apartment submarket also continued to improve, albeit at a slower pace,” according to the ValuStrat report.

Last week, the Dubai Land Department (DLD) said the year-to-date total sales reached 48,651 valuing Dh177.44 billion, reflecting a 38.34 per cent year-on-year growth in terms of transactions and 63.4 per cent in terms of value during the first 10 months of 2021. The emirate recorded best October in past eight years as investors poured Dh13.12 billion in the property sector through 5,352 deals.

Strong double-digit growth seen

 

 

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Haider Tuaima, head of Real Estate Research at ValuStrat, said residential market is expected to grow at 15 per cent this year.

“Villas will lead recovery in real estate market with strong 25 per cent increase in prices this year while apartments are likely to grow at five per cent. Some villa locations are expected to grow above 30 per cent due to strong demand from end-users and investors,” Tuima told Khaleej Times.

In reply to a question, he said this positive momentum will continue in post Expo period next year as well.

 

“Yes, the momentum is expected to stay in positive territory but at a slower rate. This is because of pending supply due next year,” he said.

 

“The villa segment that saw an exceptional growth this year may have reached their saturation ceiling, therefore it would either stabilise or see marginal improvement by the end of 2022,” he added.

Capital values surge

The ValuStrat report indicated that all 13 villa locations and all 21 apartment areas monitored by the VPI have seen their capital values either stabilise or improve when compared to the previous month.

For villas, the highest annual capital gains continued in older gated communities such as Arabian Ranches (31 per cent), Jumeirah Islands (30.9 per cent), The Lakes (27.9 per cent) and The Meadows (26.7 per cent).

For VPI monitored apartments, top annual performers in terms of double-digit capital gains were found within established beachfront communities in Palm Jumeirah (14.6 per cent), and Jumeirah Beach Residence (12.1 per cent). However, some areas such as Jumeirah Village apartments (-6.3 per cent), Dubai Sports City (-2.8 per cent), and Dubai Production City (-2.6 per cent) saw negative annual performance.

Expo 2020 a major catalyst

Ata Shobeiry, chief executive at Zoom Property, said the positive trend in the market is certainly welcoming, particularly for property developers and investors.

“With the third quarter witnessing a substantial growth in apartment and villa prices, the trend is expected to continue in the fourth quarter and beyond.

In reply to a question, he said Expo 2020 is a major catalyst to drive boom in the real estate market.

“If we look back at the past world fairs, most host nations witnessed a significant increase in the real estate sector post the event. We can expect the same for Dubai, even more because Dubai is following a more sustainable approach as the Expo 2020 site will be converted into District 2020, a mixed-use community,” Shobeiry told Khaleej Times.

 

Big ticket deals

“October saw 19 transactions valued over Dh30 million and such transactions were concentrated in Dubai Hills Estate, Downtown Dubai, Business Bay, District One, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Emirates Hills, and Palm Jumeirah,” according to the ValuStrat report.

The report further said that properties developed by established players were in more demand as buyers preferred Emaar (30.2 per cent), Nakeel (5.4 per cent) and Dubai Properties (4.3 per cent) over other developers.

“The Valley (14.9 per cent), Business Bay (12.7 per cent), Dubai Harbour (8.2 per cent) and Arabian Ranches phase 3 (6.3 per cent) were top off-plan locations transacted in October 2021 while most transacted ready homes were located in Dubai Marina (8.1 per cent), Business Bay (7.9 per cent), Jumeirah Village (7.5 per cent), Akoya Oxygen (seven per cent), and Jumeirah Lake Towers (4.7 per cent),” according to the ValuStrat report.

 

 

 

  Source- www.khaleejtimes.com

 

Dubai’s economy grows faster than expected

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dubai’s economy is rebounding faster than expected, as property sales are rising and restaurants are busy, at a time when Europe is experiencing a surge in Covid cases and tightening restrictions again, Bloomberg reported

“The recovery has been faster than we expected,” said Scott Livermore, chief economist for Oxford Economics Middle East in Dubai.

“Expo has played a role in that but also the success Dubai has had in avoiding a Delta wave that has allowed the domestic economy to pretty much get back to normal,” he added.  

Around 90 percent of UAE’s population is fully vaccinated and high-risk individuals are provided with boosters. 

Another big contributor to Dubai’s economy is the rise of oil prices. 

“Many factors might have contributed to Dubai’s upturn: High oil prices have created a boom in the region, a receding virus and the Expo have boosted tourism and a recovery in the real estate market has improved sentiment. It’s all looking great now although some of these tailwinds could fade over time,” chief emerging markets economist, Ziad Daoud, explained. 

 

  Source-www.arabnews.com

 

Dubai Aims to Attract 25 Million Tourists in 2025

 

 

 

 

 

(REUTERS) - Dubai plans to merge the departments of economy and tourism and hopes to attract 25 million tourists in 2025, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai's Crown Prince, said on Twitter on Saturday.

Sheikh Hamdan added that Helal Al Marri will be appointed as a general director of the new department.

Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said the new department's main objectives include increasing the added value of the industrial sector by 150% over the next five years, expanding foreign export markets for local products by 50%, and increasing the number of tourists by 40%, his media office said.

He added that the Emirate also wants to attract 100,000 companies in 3 years, 400 global economic events annually by 2025, and encourage private sector companies and family businesses to list on the financial markets and stock exchanges in Dubai.

(Reporting by Moataz Abdelrahiem; Editing by Giles Elgood)

 

  Source- money.usnews.com

 

UAE property market to see strong rebound in next 18 months, experts say

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a "true rebound" in the UAE’s property market, driven by government initiatives with the market momentum expected to sustain for the next 12 to 18 months as more people buy homes, according to industry experts.

“There is a lot being done in Dubai and in the UAE to ensure longevity of residency and that’s very important for us as developers and that’s really underpinning the real estate recovery that we’ve seen,” Alexander Davies, the chief commercial officer of the Dubai Holding Real Estate told the Cityscape Global Summit on Sunday.

“This is a true rebound and there are very good fundamentals underlying it.”

 
The sentiment so far is very positive
Dounia Fadi, chief operating officer of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Gulf Properties

Over the past year, the UAE government has introduced a number of measures to support the economy, including visas for retirees and professionals working remotely and the expansion of the 10-year golden visa initiative.

The UAE government also overhauled its commercial companies' law and annulled the requirement for onshore companies to have an Emirati shareholder to attract foreign capital.

 

Property markets in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have rebounded strongly, as pent-up demand and supportive stimulus measures offered by the government boosted economic activity.

Dubai recorded 37,537 sales transactions worth Dh88.12 billion ($23.99bn) in the eight months of this year, up 22.61 per cent compared with the whole of last year, according to the listings portal Property Finder.

ABU DHABI - UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - 12SEPT2012 - Icon properties villas ready for rental behind Gava hotel on Defence Road in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Residential property prices in Dubai increased 4.4 per cent on average in the first eight months of the year, registering the highest annual growth since February 2015, according to real estate consultancy CBRE.

Average residential prices in Abu Dhabi increased 2.2 per cent in the year to August, the CBRE report said. The UAE capital registered Dh16.2bn of property transactions during the third quarter of 2021.

“The sentiment so far is very positive,” Dounia Fadi, chief operating officer of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Gulf Properties, told The National.

 

“It is not only the sentiment but the numbers as well, which have been rising since the fourth quarter of 2020 and so far it has been really sustainable growth. It didn’t really shoot up to crazy numbers and in tune with the demand we are seeing.

“We have a lot of people within the country looking for properties … the mortgage rates are promising and in the next 12 to 18 months the market will be on the rise,” she said.

The demand is driven by “how Dubai and the UAE government has handled the pandemic and a lot of people are relocating from Europe, the US, India and South Africa. People are moving here because they feel safe and because the pandemic is under well control”, she added.

The UAE, the Arab world’s second-largest economy, has been recording less than 100 coronavirus cases every day for the past few weeks. The country also accelerated the vaccination programme to prevent the pandemic from spreading.

According to official data, more than 21.3 million vaccine doses have been administered since the start of last December.

 

Ms Fadi also underscored the importance of sustainability in new projects and said there is only one development in Dubai, which is based on renewable energy and “there is a huge demand for that”.

“We do need more supply in that segment (sustainability) and after Cop26 summit, all governments have taken the pledge to do more in that segment,” she said. She also said the Dubai 2040 urban master plan is step in the right direction to boost green space in the emirate.

Earlier this year, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, set forward a plan to overhaul the emirate's urban landscape, dramatically increasing community, economic and recreational areas, as well as nature reserves, by 2040.

As per the plan, areas for economic and recreational activities will grow by one-and-a-half times and the length of beaches will increase by 400 per cent over the next 20 years.

 
 

  Source-www.thenationalnews.com

 

Dubai’s property market is again buzzing to the theme of ‘dare to create’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

What a difference a year makes. This time last year, the writing was on the wall. It was all but decided that the property market was a spent force, on the verge of being wiped out by the great pandemic. Its residents should have succumbed to nerves from the fearful haze of pain that the downturn had brought ashore.

Mass hysteria is a terrible force - and yet Dubai has always managed to escape it by some margin: it even managed to scale the sky during the depths of the last depression. The city has always managed to meet confusion and panic with grit. It is almost as if the city provides its residents with massive doses of a supplementary vitamin: the sense of belonging to something unique, cosmopolitan, mighty and unparalleled.

 

Today, the verve and the groove is back. Lines outside every restaurant - prosperity, it seems, creates its own breadlines - state what is obvious to the resident. Dubai is nothing like Paris, or New York or London. Its physical majesty serves as a magnet for the world’s best and brightest, but look closer, and the city’s evolution across its various districts signify the development of an expanse that is virtually like no other.

A collection of neighbourhoods

The city is literally a composite of tiny neighborhood units. There are, of course, big districts like the Downtown, Business Bay, Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Village, as well as Emirates Living, each of which has some characteristic. But the curious thing about Dubai is that each large geographical unit is composed of countless small neighborhoods, each of which is virtually self-sufficient. South Marina houses a different feel, District 13 of Jumeirah Billage has a more “partyesque” atmosphere, whilst the local coffee shops of Al Quoz talk of a more somber and academic zeitgeist.

Each area is a city within a city within a city, testifying to its entrepreneurial verve, not merely just in the financial sense, but more holistically, where people no longer feel that the city is one large construction site but rather an agglomeration of an indestructible force. The Expo is already cementing the status of the city as a force of creativity, diversity and opportunity, setting the stage for others to scramble to create opportunities that Dubai has already long surpassed.

 

A solution for any headwind

As exhibitions return and tourism proliferates, the backbone of the city (which is its infrastructure and real estate), serves to accommodate the legions of people entering its gates, ready to imbibe ideas and infuse it with its local cultural flavor to create an admix of output virtually unseen anywhere else on the planet.

Much has been written about the slew of reforms put into place over the last two years to revitalize the city anew, but Dubai has always possessed the magic dust that it sprinkles on its edifice every time headwinds occur. The city - known for its citizen, commuter, tourist and resident/expat - has sought to blur the distinctions in recent years and as it has done so, has created opportunities anew , at all ends of the market strata, stimulating activity where commentators thought none existed.

Conversations once again are dominated by capital gains and multiplying values, but these animal spirits never really left the citizen or the resident, the ranks of which have multiplied over time, giving the city its sense of invulnerability and poise. As the gates of Cityscape open to welcome the world again, gone are the lamentations of oversupply and despair, replaced by limousines and millionaires jockeying for their places in the race that the city provides once again for those willing to dare to create.

This race - the race between opportunity and security, between optimism and creativity is one of symbiosis - perfectly illustrated by the city. The riddle of in steel and stone is one that Dubai has managed to navigate successfully, showing that brotherhood is as lofty an ambition as the one to create skyscrapers. It is rapidly becoming the capital of opportunity and mobility, housing the deliberations that will shape the world anew.

  Source-www.gulfnews.com

 

AED4.9 bn of weeklong real estate transactions recorded in Dubai

 

 

 

 

DUBAI, 28th October, 2021 (WAM) -- A total of 1,254 real estate transactions were valued at AED4.9 billion during this week, according to the Dubai Land Department (DLD).

 

The DLD weekly report said 174 plots were sold for AED920.4 million, along with 1080 apartments and villas sold for AED2.18 billion.

 

The top three transactions were a plot of land in Business Bay worth AED69 million, followed by two for AED47 million each in Mohammad Bin Rashid Gardens.

 

The top three transfers for apartments and villas were an apartment was sold for AED69 million in Nad Hessa worth AED69 million, followed by two transactions in Burj Khalifa worth AED50 million and AED44 million each.

 

The Business Bay came on top in terms of volume and value, recording 155 transactions worth AED170 million.

 

The sum of the amount of mortgaged properties for the week was AED1.64 bn. In addition, 79 properties were granted between first-degree relatives worth AED179.81 million.

 

  Source- .bignewsnetwork.com

 

Dubai Realty Sector Offers Sustainable Growth

 

 

 

There is now a renewed interest in Dubai’s real estate sector, which experts believe is heading towards the path of sustainable growth. That Dubai’s realty sector is doing well reflects in the Dh.16.2 billion transactions witnessed last month, making September the best month on record in the past eight years.

Saleem Mohammed, a Kochi-based property developer who was part of Dubai’s realty sector for over a decade opined that Dubai’s real estate is much more insulated from major fluctuations compared to earlier days. “That is my reading. I believe the current phase of growth is sustainable, but I expect stability only post-Expo,” he said.

Expo-2020 is expected to attract 25 million visitors from across the world and experts say it will result in a surge in economic activities leading to over ..3.5% growth in Dubai’s GDP. Any growth happening in the realty sector is expected to benefit Dubai in a big way since it accounts for 42% of the ongoing projects in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

It is true that Dubai is now focused on knowledge-based economy and emerging technology. “But you cannot ignore the real estate sector. It is still the key to the growth of Dubai’s economy, said Nilesh Agarwal, Managing Partner of Pune-based Excellaa Builders which besides participating in Expo-2020 is in the process of setting up an office in Dubai.

Long-term visas and new rules relating to ownership, he said, are helping in the sector’s recovery. These measures, Agarwal said, enhance people’s confidence, who want to live, work or trade in Dubai. Excellaa, according to him, has also been receiving enquiries from Dubai for its Pune properties. He sees it as a definite sign of recovery and sustainable growth.
“We want to make use of this opportunity and that is why we wanted to be part of Expo-2020 with a dedicated office in Dubai,” Agarwal said. This year till September, the value of real estate transactions was about 24% more than 2020 as a whole, with total value exceeding Dh100 billion. Mohammed expects this growth to stabilize eventually.

“It is safe to invest in Dubai property because you come to own a property, perhaps for a lesser price and better rentals compared to Mumbai or Delhi in a world-class city which offers infinite opportunities to grow your business. If my son wants to buy a flat or villa, I would advise him to put the money in there for this very reason,” said Mohammed.


 




 


 

  Source-economictimes.indiatimes

 

Expo 2020’s impact on Dubai property to be evident in Q4 2021 onwards

 

 

Residential property prices in Dubai are still shy of one-fourth of their previous market cycle peak of 2014 with Expo 2020’s positive impact becoming more visible in Q4 this year or early next year, which is accelerating recovery in the sector, say industry executives.

 

 

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Zhann Jochinke, chief operating officer of Property Monitor, said the Dubai property market’s recovery continues as prices rose for the eleventh month in a row, albeit with the pace of the recovery slowing. In September, prices climbed 1.2 per cent to stand at Dh968 per sqft.

“We are now 19 per cent away from the peak of the previous market cycle. Should the recovery slow to smaller and sustainable monthly price increases, there is a greater likelihood of the recovery lasting longer and the possibility of hitting a new market peak in the current cycle,” he said.

Despite the recovery in prices over the last few quarters, property prices in the emirate are still one of the most affordable when compared to major cities around the world due to a persistent decline in rates over the years.

The International Monetary Fund’s latest data on global real estate

showed property prices in the UAE dropping nearly four per cent in 2020 — one of the highest in the world, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. But the recovery in the real estate sector is accelerating as new coronavirus cases dropped to around 100 per day, boosting confidence among consumers and investors.

Property Finder’s data for September revealed that real estate transactions in Dubai crossed the Dh100 billion mark in September as the growth of the monthly sales transactions and their values leading up to Expo 2020 has been phenomenal, thanks to the presence of a good number of international investors in the market.

 

 

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Property Monitor said the effect of Expo opening has not yet been felt in the market, but will be a positive influence on the last quarter of 2021 and the first half of 2022 as new buyers discover the Dubai market and its relative affordability compared to other major capitals and financial centres.

The recovery in the Dubai real estate market has, thus far, been powered by the strong performance of the villa and townhouse segments, especially in traditionally sought-after locations.

 

2021 looks likely to be the best year in a decade in terms of residential investments, as September transactional volumes already exceeded all annual totals since 2010, said real estate consultancy and advisory firm ValuStrat.

It said residential capital values saw gains of nearly 10 per cent annually to reach 72.5 points in the third quarter of 2021 as compared to 100 points in January 2014.

However, as inventory dries up amid strong demand for villas, a widening buyer-seller expectation gap regarding pricing is now conspicuous. Aggressive pricing by sellers and their brokers after blockbuster months for sales have led to overpriced properties staying in the market as buyers explore other options rather than indulge property owners’ demands, said Property Monitor.

“We, therefore, expect apartments to carry forward the recovery from here on, given multiple options available in the market and the greater headroom they have for price appreciation,” said Jochinke.

 

  Source- .khaleejtimes.

 

Expo 2020 Dubai lifts demand for ready-to-move-in properties

 

 

Dubai has commenced with all its glory, and visitors have started to pour in from every part of the world. This has resulted in a higher demand for ready properties in the emirate.

 

 

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Reports from several property portals in Dubai show that ready properties in several communities were reportedly fully or partially booked even before the event started on October 1.

Georges El Hachem, commercial director of Select Group said the Expo is going to offer visitors a fantastic opportunity to sample the innovative and forward thinking nature of Dubai.

"The city is already a must visit tourist destination, and is emerging as one of the most important business hubs in the region. Whether it’s tourists looking for short term holiday rentals or professionals looking to relocate to take advantage of Dubai’s arrival as a truly global destination, the ready to move market is drawing huge interest from investors and home owners alike,” he said.

While the focus of tourists and expo visitors is on rental properties in the proximity of the Expo-2020 site, investors and end-users are preferring properties for sale in Dubai. Emirati residents with long-term, renewable visas are also capitalising on this opportunity.

The comparatively low property prices in Dubai is providing them with a lucrative option to earn high ROI, as the market is on the route to recovery, and the pace of recovery is further accelerated by Expo 2020.

 

 

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“The market was already showing signs of recovery prior to Expo-2020. However, it picked up pace as the exhibition was nearing, with August 2021 showing double-digit growth in the villa market,” Ata Shobeiry, CEO at Zoom Property, said

Speaking about the long-term impact of Expo on the Dubai property market, a representative from Elysian Real Estate said Expo 2020 is going to certainly bring a lot of focus on Dubai.

"We will start seeing the demand created by the expo coming in the next two years after people have visited the city and fallen in love with it they will then look to relocate here as the opportunities and way of life is hard to ignore!”

Top reason for high demand

While Expo 2020 is said to be the biggest catalyst for the rising demand for ready properties in the market, many other factors have also influenced the shift in the demand curve.

For starters, the timely implementation of successful strategies by the emirate to handle the global pandemic played a major role in bringing foreign investors back. It also allowed new investors to enter the market and assisted in creating a stable property outlook.

The latest visa reforms by authorities, including the introduction of renewable, 10-year golden visas, also led to increased activity in the property sector. Other than that, expatriate-friendly policies, such as 100 per cent company ownership, are said to have impacted the demand for properties in Dubai.

Lastly, lower property prices as compared to other international cities, such as the major US, Chinese and UK cities, is a major attraction for foreign investors.

Arjumand Niazi, director of Turn Over Properties, said the main reason of high demand of ready properties during the last two quarters is due to the confidence of investors and end-users in the UAE as a long-term base for residence and business after amendments in personal and business laws to accommodate wider demographic lifestyle preferences.

He also believes that planning to manage Covid-19 and increased requirements for bigger spaces due to the work from home culture also led to the rising demand for ready properties.

  Source- gulfbusiness.com

 

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