Are They Also Victims of Dubai Crashes?

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THE DUBAI PROPERTY MARKET was once a center of world attention. Not surprisingly, many world-renown figures bought property assets in that country. Several years ago, when Dubai was still so popular, world celebrities came there and bought property, just like buying candies.

Most buyers came to The Palm Jumeirah. Renown footballers like David Beckham, Michael Owen, Ashley Cole, David James, Joe Cole, Wyne Bridge, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes each bought 6-room villas at around £800,000, then a special price.


Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan also bought a villa at The Palm Jumeirah, which is a vast, palm-tree shaped island made from sand dredged from the seabed. World Islands, another artificial peninsula in the Persian Gulf, also was an attractive real estate area. There, Hillary Swank bought an “Aquitainia” villa at US$1.493billion while ex-Formula 1 champ Michael Schumacher also bought a “Antarctica” villa at £5 million. Renown designer Armani also made investment in Burj Tower, an upmarket residential and commercial establishment.

Many other public figures put their money into real estate projects or bought property assets in Dubai. Brad Pitt was said to have planned to build an environmentally friendly hotel in Dubai. Other celebrities investing in Dubai’s property sector were Michael Jackson and British cricket champ Andrew Flintoff, and world-class golfer stars Tiger Woods, Colin Montgomerie, Ernie Els, Greg Norman, Sergio Garcia, Pete Dye and Vijay Singh.

Those buying property assets in Dubai several years ago saw skyrocketing prices of such assets. At the moment, however, they witness a drastic fall in their property prices because the Dubai property sector also has been shaken by the global economic crisis. Since last October property prices in Dubai have declined 50 percent. Jack Whisker, an agent of Property Dubai, said, “The Dubai market has fallen off a cliff. The credit crunch hit us suddenly because all the foreign investors lost confidence.

It has hit the higher-value properties the hardest. Four-bedroom villas worth £3 million a couple of months ago are now being sold for £1.5 million.” World celebrities owning property assets in Dubai have suffered losses of around £80,000 or about US$110,000 per week. But, since they have big incomes, are such amounts really big losses to them? Nobody knows. (JR)

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