Dubai's real estate watchdog canceled as many as 217 registered property projects over the past two years after the burst of the property and asset bubble, according to information in a prospectus for Dubai's planned bond issue.
The properties were unlikely to be completed, the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) determined, after a review of 450 projects in the emirate. It also said 237 were expected to be completed in due course.
Dubai is planning a benchmark sovereign dollar issue in the coming days, partly to fund its deficit as it scrambles to restore its finances since the 2009 debt crisis. The unrated emirate has set up a new $5 billion Euro Medium Term Note (EMTN) program.
Dubai's total value of real estate sale transactions dropped to 119.4 billion dirhams ($32.5 billion) last year compared with 152.9 billion dirhams in 2009.
Dubai's property sector has been hit hard by the downturn, with billions of dollars worth of projects put on hold or canceled, while property prices slumped as much as 60 percent.
Land sales also dropped by 14.9 percent in 2010, according to data from Dubai's Department of Land and Properties. The prospectus said only 129 projects have been completed since the beginning of 2009.
High-profile projects that Dubai has put on hold or canceled as a result of the downturn include Dubai Properties' Tiger Woods residential and golf course project and developer Nakheel's
($1=3.673 Uae Dirham)
(Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Reed Stevenson)