(Source: Dow Jones Newswire)

Cityscape Dubai’s 2009 version starts today but the usual euphoria surrounding it is missing – and for a good reason.

For years, Dubai’s four-day property extravaganza was a magnet for the region’s biggest property developers, contractors, interior designers and investors.

But all that changed in 2008, with the world tottering on the edge of an economic collapse. In many ways, last year’s event marked the beginning of the end of the property boom in the city-state.

Not that Dubai went down quietly. Despite the global woes, on the eve of that event it launched a kilometer-tall skyscraper as part of a $38 billion project.

That project, along with many others, has now been put on hold. By some estimates close to $300 billion worth of construction is either delayed or canceled. Real-estate prices have fallen by more than 50% and the city-state and its companies are struggling to service debt north of $80 billion.

While global economic conditions have improved since then, we are definitely not out of the rut yet.

Read Nikhil Lohade’s full article “Cityscape Dubai More A Wake Than A Party” in Zawya (October 6, 2009).

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