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View Dubai’s Disappointing RE Market

A filmmaker uses her camera for the entire world to see what happened to Dubai.

Lauren Greenfield takes us to Dubai as she captures the troubled luxury real estate market with her camera. Weeks after the state announced that it will delay paying off its debts and eventually shaking the global stock exchanges, Greenfield searches for images that will speak about the current situation in Dubai. Click here for a multimedia presentation by the New York Times.

The NYT states, “But Dubai offered Ms. Greenfield, 43, the opportunity to further explore wealth and the effects of unbridled materialism. So after several months of research, she spent two weeks photographing there. She photographed Plastik, a flamboyant club that bills itself ‘Exclusively For The Filthy Rich And Aesthetically Perfect,’ and out-of-work foreigners afraid of being thrown into debtors’ prison. There were new cars abandoned by fleeing expatriates and three-year-old housing developments being torn down to make room for even newer housing developments.”

But does this speak so much about the crisis?

We highly doubt it does. Refer to the photo where a palm tree has died in front of a villa in Palm Jumeirah or the convoy of sewage trucks. It does speak about difficulty but we can hardly judge the extent by these shots alone. We believe that there are still developments in the state that are still in good financial standing. The larger projects however are eclipsing the others mainly due to their inability to generate ROI.

The property crisis is looming brought about by excessive indulgence in affluence and record-breaking feats. Greenfield even comments, “I call the story an improbable fairy tale. Anything that could be fantasized could be built. It really was the land of opportunity. It’s more Las Vegas than Las Vegas.”

That’s where the similarity ends. It’s more Las Vegas because it does have larger plans of development. But unlike in Sin City, the real estate investors in Dubai believe that their oil revenues can cover much of their expenses and that their loans can be paid easily. In Las Vegas, many property owners who secured mortgages but are now underwater believed that they could pay their loans even if they knew it was impossible.

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