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Worst is over for Dubai property as buyers return

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[SINGAPORE] Dubai's property market is bottoming out as buyers return to the market and the emirate offers an alternative to investors worried about the UK's Brexit vote, according to Nakheel PJSC Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah.

"I think the worst is over," he said in an interview in Singapore. "Dubai is growing, we are seeing signs of more inquiries - serious inquiries - and I think that's a sign of recovery. The market is maturing, we are seeing more serious, cautious investors, not speculators." Real estate sales in the emirate fell almost 30 percent by value in the first seven months of the year, according to data from the Dubai Land Department, as a slump in oil prices led to an economic slowdown in Gulf countries. Real estate analysts see either a flat market or a further slowdown in 2017 with Jesse Downs, managing director at real estate consultant Phidar Advisory predicting a 10 per cent drop in values after a 7 per cent slide this year.

Mr Lootah is visiting Singapore to market Nakheel's Palm 360 and Palm Tower projects to overseas investors. About half of the 504 apartments in the 52-story hotel and residential Palm Tower have been sold since they went on sale two years ago. The building's first 18 floors will be a luxury hotel operated under the St Regis brand.