January 7, 2019 / 9:43 AM / 3 months ago

Dubai residential prices could fall by up to 10 percent in 2019: Savills

The skyline is seen with the Burj Khalifa as ships dock at Port Rashid, in Dubai May 26, 2013. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

DUBAI (Reuters) - Residential real estate prices in Dubai could fall by 5 to 10 percent in 2019, weakened by new supply, a strong dollar and lower oil prices, the Middle East chief executive of Savills (SVS.L) said on Monday.

Dubai’s over-supplied property market has steadily fallen since a mid-2014 peak, hurting earnings of the emirate’s top developers and forcing construction and engineering firms to cut jobs and halt expansion plans. [nL8N1YL05Y]

While the latest fall in house prices has not come close to the more than 50 percent plunge seen in 2009-2010, which pushed Dubai itself close to a debt default, residential prices fell by 6 to 10 percent in 2018, Savills’ Steve Morgan said.

And this drop could be repeated in 2019, he added.

The United Arab Emirates, which Dubai is part of, is experiencing its latest real estate slump along with other parts of the Middle East, largely due to oversupply, although a strong dollar and lower oil prices are also a factor.

The UAE dirham is pegged to the dollar, making the country more expensive for those holding other currencies, while oil is a major driver of regional wealth.

Morgan said he was “bullish” that Dubai was heading towards the bottom of its property market downturn, although cautioned he had thought the market touched bottom a year earlier.

S&P Global Ratings’ analysts said last year the market could decline by 10 to 15 percent in 2018 and 2019 before stabilizing in 2020 at the earliest.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell

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