12 November 2008

* Property prices in Burj tower tumble up to 50%

Property prices in Downtown Burj Dubai, Emaar Properties' flagship development, have fallen at least 22 percent, while prices in the Burj Dubai tower itself have tumbled as much as 50 percent, UAE daily The National reported on Wednesday, citing brokers.

UK-based property consultants Sherwoods said prices, excluding the tower, had fallen from an average of 3,500 dirhams ($952) per square foot to 2,700 dirhams in Downtown Burj Dubai, according to the newspaper.

The National did not say over what period prices fell. The newspaper did not detail what prices had fallen from and to in the Burj Dubai itself.
Brokers said Downtown Burj Dubai had seen some of the biggest price drops in Dubai because prices had previously risen so quickly.

Figures from international real estate agency Hamptons show prices in the development rose by an average of 88 percent in the year to September, the newspaper said.

Vincent Easton, the head of sales at Sherwoods, told Arabian Business property prices had fallen in Downtown Burj Dubai, as they had across the city, but stressed fundamentals in the area "are very strong".

Easton said the recent "sharp correction" in prices had been caused by short-term speculators fleeing the market, but that the medium- to long-term outlook was still very healthy.

"If you're looking to invest in property over the next five to 10 years you cannot go wrong," he said. "We are telling our clients that if you can, hold [onto your properties]."


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Lebanon Time-Line

Introducing Lebanon

Coolly combining the ancient with the ultramodern, Lebanon is one of the most captivating countries in the Middle East. From the Phoenician findings of Tyre (Sour) and Roman Baalbek's tremendous temple to Beirut's BO18 and Bernard Khoury's modern movement, the span of Lebanon's history leaves many visitors spinning. Tripoli (Trablous) is considered to have the best souk in the country and is famous for its Mamluk architecture. It's well equipped with a taste of modernity as well; Jounieh, formerly a sleepy fishing village, is a town alive with nightclubs and glitz on summer weekends.

With all of the Middle East's best bits - warm and welcoming people, mind-blowing history and considerable culture, Lebanon is also the antithesis of many people's imaginings of the Middle East: mostly mountainous with skiing to boot, it's also laid-back, liberal and fun. While Beirut is fast becoming the region's party place, Lebanon is working hard to recapture its crown as the 'Paris of the Orient'.

The rejuvenation of the Beirut Central District is one of the largest, most ambitious urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. Travellers will find the excitement surrounding this and other developments and designs palpable - and very infectious.

Finally, Lebanon's cuisine is considered the richest of the region. From hummus to hommard (lobster), you'll dine like a king. With legendary sights, hospitality, food and nightlife, what more could a traveller want?

Introducing Beirut

What Beirut is depends entirely on where you are. If you’re gazing at the beautifully reconstructed colonial relics and mosques of central Beirut’s Downtown, the city is a triumph of rejuvenation over disaster.

If you’re in the young, vibrant neighbourhoods of Gemmayzeh or Achrafiye, Beirut is about living for the moment: partying, eating and drinking as if there’s no tomorrow. If you’re standing in the shadow of buildings still peppered with bullet holes, or walking the Green Line with an elderly resident, it’s a city of bitter memories and a dark past. If you’re with Beirut’s Armenians, Beirut is about salvation; if you’re with its handful of Jews, it’s about hiding your true identity. Here you’ll find the freest gay scene in the Arab Middle East, yet homosexuality is still illegal. If you’re in one of Beirut’s southern refugee camps, Beirut is about sorrow and displacement; other southern districts are considered a base for paramilitary operations and south Beirut is home to infamous Hezbollah secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah. For some, it’s a city of fear; for others, freedom.

Throw in maniacal drivers, air pollution from old, smoking Mercedes taxis, world-class universities, bars to rival Soho and coffee thicker than mud, political demonstrations, and swimming pools awash with more silicone than Miami. Add people so friendly you’ll swear it can’t be true, a political situation existing on a knife-edge, internationally renowned museums and gallery openings that continue in the face of explosions, assassinations and power cuts, and you’ll find that you’ve never experienced a capital city quite so alive and kicking – despite its frequent volatility.