Thoughts on Dubai

Old Mar 10th 2009, 7:42 pm
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Default Thoughts on Dubai

I've browsed this forum for a long time and was close to accepting a job in Dubai, which would have started this last January. I declined it as the deal wasn't quite there, but since I work in the construction industry.....how lucky am I?

But over the last two years, I've made a number of business trips to the region (mainly Dubai) and had a couple of holidays there, including last week.

A few thoughts and points.......

One of the dailies said that $53bn of construction work has been put on hold or cancelled. I know that construction companies were recruiting one week, and firing the next.

On my last trip a few months ago, I got 7 Dirhams to the pound....last week I got 4.7. That meant a meal that cost me £40, was around £60 and a pint of Bud cost somewhere between £6-£7.

The papers claimed that shopping in the malls was 'brisk', but they have to be talking rubbish? The prices in the malls were about the same as the UK, whereas many electircal items were previously cheaper.

Rents have not dropped at all, and I assume that it's because many people are still locked into 6-12 month agreements? After rejecting a job because the deal wasn't sweet enough, i saw jobs advertised for fairly senior positions, paying nothing like the salary I was offered. I can only assume they are targetting anyone but British/Australian/American expats?

I think Dubai is in serious trouble, and it will be compounded by the fact that they are doing their best to pretend sh*t isn't happening. I'd agree with others, that hotels are far from full and if I hadn't had airmiles I wanted to use, the exchange rate would have put me right off going. I went on the basis that I'd got a free flight (apart form £100 tax) and that saved me money. Without the tourists that they desperately want to attract, it will add insult to injury.

I'd still like to work in Dubai one day. yes, it's one big building site but I love the place. But for now (and maybe forever??), I'm counting my blessings that I didn't take that position, that may well have fallen through before I even started.

I hope all goes well for you guys out there. I've seen my own company slash the workforce out there and it looks like there's worse to come. So good luck to you all.

I think Dubai is in serious trouble.
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Old Mar 10th 2009, 7:59 pm
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Default Re: Thoughts on Dubai

Originally Posted by stormcooper View Post
I've browsed this forum for a long time and was close to accepting a job in Dubai, which would have started this last January. I declined it as the deal wasn't quite there, but since I work in the construction industry.....how lucky am I?

But over the last two years, I've made a number of business trips to the region (mainly Dubai) and had a couple of holidays there, including last week.

A few thoughts and points.......

One of the dailies said that $53bn of construction work has been put on hold or cancelled. I know that construction companies were recruiting one week, and firing the next.

On my last trip a few months ago, I got 7 Dirhams to the pound....last week I got 4.7. That meant a meal that cost me £40, was around £60 and a pint of Bud cost somewhere between £6-£7.

The papers claimed that shopping in the malls was 'brisk', but they have to be talking rubbish? The prices in the malls were about the same as the UK, whereas many electircal items were previously cheaper.

Rents have not dropped at all, and I assume that it's because many people are still locked into 6-12 month agreements? After rejecting a job because the deal wasn't sweet enough, i saw jobs advertised for fairly senior positions, paying nothing like the salary I was offered. I can only assume they are targetting anyone but British/Australian/American expats?

I think Dubai is in serious trouble, and it will be compounded by the fact that they are doing their best to pretend sh*t isn't happening. I'd agree with others, that hotels are far from full and if I hadn't had airmiles I wanted to use, the exchange rate would have put me right off going. I went on the basis that I'd got a free flight (apart form £100 tax) and that saved me money. Without the tourists that they desperately want to attract, it will add insult to injury.

I'd still like to work in Dubai one day. yes, it's one big building site but I love the place. But for now (and maybe forever??), I'm counting my blessings that I didn't take that position, that may well have fallen through before I even started.

I hope all goes well for you guys out there. I've seen my own company slash the workforce out there and it looks like there's worse to come. So good luck to you all.

I think Dubai is in serious trouble.
Sorry but... what are you bringing new to the forum? We all read the newspapers.

And rent are going down... down... down.
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Old Mar 10th 2009, 8:06 pm
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Default Re: Thoughts on Dubai

Sorry....what are you bringing to this thread? If you have nothing to say, then don't post. It's very simple really!!

Is this how you treat new posters on this forum? Is this one of those forums that has lots of members, but only around 6 of them post regularly...and if you're not part of the clique, you may as well not bother?

Or is Klaus the resident village idiot?
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Old Mar 10th 2009, 8:35 pm
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Default Re: Thoughts on Dubai

I actually enjoyed that post. As someone currently negotiating a possible move to the UAE, it was a useful read.
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Old Mar 10th 2009, 8:45 pm
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Default Re: Thoughts on Dubai

ignore Klaus, he's not exactly part of the clique on here..
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Old Mar 10th 2009, 8:49 pm
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Default Re: Thoughts on Dubai

Originally Posted by harrywebb View Post
I actually enjoyed that post. As someone currently negotiating a possible move to the UAE, it was a useful read.
Thanks Harry.

There seemed to be plenty of posts from those already in Dubai, and plenty from those who are considering moving to Dubai. I thought this would give an insight from someone who's wanted to move there for 2 years, finally got the chance and turned it down.

It may be possible that rents are starting to drop, i don't know? But i read the papers and checked the rents daily during my stay, and i saw little change from when i was looking seriously around September last year. Agents are even advertising for properties, telling prospective landlords that they have tenants waiting. I would have thought that the redundancies from my company alone would have flooded the market for the next few months.
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Old Mar 10th 2009, 8:51 pm
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Default Re: Thoughts on Dubai

Originally Posted by admon View Post
ignore Klaus, he's not exactly part of the clique on here..
Cheers Admon......I've enjoyed reading the forum for a couple of years now and I'll continue to do so. It's a great place to get a reality check on working abroad.
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Old Mar 10th 2009, 9:12 pm
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Default Re: Thoughts on Dubai

Originally Posted by stormcooper View Post
Thanks Harry.

There seemed to be plenty of posts from those already in Dubai, and plenty from those who are considering moving to Dubai. I thought this would give an insight from someone who's wanted to move there for 2 years, finally got the chance and turned it down.

It may be possible that rents are starting to drop, i don't know? But i read the papers and checked the rents daily during my stay, and i saw little change from when i was looking seriously around September last year. Agents are even advertising for properties, telling prospective landlords that they have tenants waiting. I would have thought that the redundancies from my company alone would have flooded the market for the next few months.
Sorry, I did not expected you to take it personally. I am sorry. BTW, I think calling someone an idiot as you did should not be permited, even online.

(Of course, except if you are Admon who has license to insult everyone and to even open personal threads to insult people).

Also, Springs 2 bedroom: 140K May 2008, 180K Sept 2008, 200K November 2008... now as low as 100K. Can give you similar example for properties in the Palm, Marina, Discovery Gardens, etc.

Again, I apologize as I was rude.
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Old Mar 10th 2009, 9:34 pm
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Default Re: Thoughts on Dubai

It´s actually a rather good summary of your first impressions I think.

Construction in Dubai is squeezed by a number of factors, hence the fact that activity is shrinking fast by Dubai standards.
But..and I like to stress this, Dubai is just a part of the country and there´s plenty of activity in Abu Dhabi (just two hours by car from Dubai), if we look outside the UAE we got Qatar, Saudi and yes even Oman at times having a "business as usual" activity level with few exceptions right now.

If we just look at Abu Dhabi they have earmarked $208bn for their ten biggest projects, all of which are to be completed ahead of 2030..and Abu Dhabi still have a very positive cashflow despite lower crude prices and a global crisis meaning that few doubt that they will cancel any of these projects so don´t just look at Dubai for work, look around...

The beauty of it is of course that the former construction boom in the area created companies that now are expanding into the whole MENA region as business is drying up at home.
Meaning that being hired by say a typical Dubai company like Emaar or Arabtec might mean that you will be placed in north-africa or wherever they have a project..
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Old Mar 11th 2009, 1:05 am
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Default Re: Thoughts on Dubai

Originally Posted by stormcooper View Post
I've browsed this forum for a long time and was close to accepting a job in Dubai, which would have started this last January. I declined it as the deal wasn't quite there, but since I work in the construction industry.....how lucky am I?

But over the last two years, I've made a number of business trips to the region (mainly Dubai) and had a couple of holidays there, including last week.

A few thoughts and points.......

One of the dailies said that $53bn of construction work has been put on hold or cancelled. I know that construction companies were recruiting one week, and firing the next.

On my last trip a few months ago, I got 7 Dirhams to the pound....last week I got 4.7. That meant a meal that cost me £40, was around £60 and a pint of Bud cost somewhere between £6-£7.

The papers claimed that shopping in the malls was 'brisk', but they have to be talking rubbish? The prices in the malls were about the same as the UK, whereas many electircal items were previously cheaper.

Rents have not dropped at all, and I assume that it's because many people are still locked into 6-12 month agreements? After rejecting a job because the deal wasn't sweet enough, i saw jobs advertised for fairly senior positions, paying nothing like the salary I was offered. I can only assume they are targetting anyone but British/Australian/American expats?

I think Dubai is in serious trouble, and it will be compounded by the fact that they are doing their best to pretend sh*t isn't happening. I'd agree with others, that hotels are far from full and if I hadn't had airmiles I wanted to use, the exchange rate would have put me right off going. I went on the basis that I'd got a free flight (apart form £100 tax) and that saved me money. Without the tourists that they desperately want to attract, it will add insult to injury.

I'd still like to work in Dubai one day. yes, it's one big building site but I love the place. But for now (and maybe forever??), I'm counting my blessings that I didn't take that position, that may well have fallen through before I even started.

I hope all goes well for you guys out there. I've seen my own company slash the workforce out there and it looks like there's worse to come. So good luck to you all.

I think Dubai is in serious trouble.
Hey mate

I had exactly the same issue, I had accepted a job and got a call from the HR department in the company asking when I wanted my flights booked as the had all my visas etc, as I was arranging it I said thank goodness this is all done (it took about 3months from start to finish) I just mentioned to the girl whom I had been dealing with and negotiating with over the last few months that I would buy her a drink when I arrived as she is from NZ, she said well maybe not as they have just paid 250 people off!

Wow that was like a bombshell we had booked movers everything, yet they still wanted me to go? I asked how many other people were moving over in Jan 09 she said none we have retracted all offers except yours.

I immediately asked for 1years salary upfront and a 1years notice period, she laughed, but I was deadly serious, she then went and asked her the GM who called me to ask what the issue was, when I told him about me coming over with my family in tow, he still tried to talk me into it.

Luckily I made the right choice to stay where I am, I had already handed my notice in and had been made a counter offer which was a 35% wage increase and a huge jump up the company, so thank you Leightons for making me see sense and that wonderful girl you had working for you in your HR Dept who was very very honest.

Now that was a close call, as you have said I too would like to go and work there one day, but a good bit in the future, we'll see!
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Old Mar 11th 2009, 3:55 am
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Default Re: Thoughts on Dubai

No, I agree, a valid 'outside' view with balance. Yes, rentals have dropped, in some areas quite amazingly. I was talking to a chap at the weekend who had been paying 900,000 for some signature villa on the Palm (not an average punter I agree), but has just agreed with his landlord that 400 is a more realistic now - or let the cockroaches take over. Last night I viewed a property on my development with a view to a possible move for more space reasons. Yes, it is 20% less than friends who are moving out were paying when they moved in last August. Reality is creeping in. Personally I now only shop in UAE for immediate consumables. Plenty people mooching around the malls, but only carrying supermarket bags if you look. Out of curiosity at the weekend I looked in at a Levis store to price up a pair of 501s. AED 485. That is 90 quid'ish!!!! I have just checked on line to see if I am deluding myself, but I see I can have the same product for less than half in UK. No wonder every Levi store I have since passed is full of assistants folding and re-folding stock! Sevens Rugby, Cirque Soleil, all things I would have gone to without a second thought last year.....hmmmmmmmm....sit in with a beer and watch something good on BBC iplayer - because I've just ditched Orbit Sat too!
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Old Mar 11th 2009, 4:08 am
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Default Re: Thoughts on Dubai

I agree with Bear's sentiment. Rents have dropped, and very noticeably in many areas. Now, I came in the summer of 2008 so I don't have a fair understanding of what rents were like in January 2008, but between October and March, rents have easily dropped 30% and look to drop even more.

What's perhaps ironic is that while there are mass redundancies and widespread rent decreases, the prices of almost everything else seems to have gone up! Food is a bit more expensive than it was last fall, restaurant meal prices have increased, rather sharply in some cases, and don't even get me started on how expensive clothes and electronics are in the stores here when compared to similar items back home. A case of business owners trying to squeeze one last buck out of the remaining people here in Dubai?




Originally Posted by B Bear View Post
No, I agree, a valid 'outside' view with balance. Yes, rentals have dropped, in some areas quite amazingly. I was talking to a chap at the weekend who had been paying 900,000 for some signature villa on the Palm (not an average punter I agree), but has just agreed with his landlord that 400 is a more realistic now - or let the cockroaches take over. Last night I viewed a property on my development with a view to a possible move for more space reasons. Yes, it is 20% less than friends who are moving out were paying when they moved in last August. Reality is creeping in. Personally I now only shop in UAE for immediate consumables. Plenty people mooching around the malls, but only carrying supermarket bags if you look. Out of curiosity at the weekend I looked in at a Levis store to price up a pair of 501s. AED 485. That is 90 quid'ish!!!! I have just checked on line to see if I am deluding myself, but I see I can have the same product for less than half in UK. No wonder every Levi store I have since passed is full of assistants folding and re-folding stock! Sevens Rugby, Cirque Soleil, all things I would have gone to without a second thought last year.....hmmmmmmmm....sit in with a beer and watch something good on BBC iplayer - because I've just ditched Orbit Sat too!
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Old Mar 11th 2009, 4:37 am
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Default Re: Thoughts on Dubai

Last week I paid Dhs5.95 per Kg for broccoli...today at the same store it's Dhs.23.65 per Kg...bloody ridiculous, so bought caulliflower at Dhs.6.95 per Kg instead. Sometimes retailers in Dubai have simply no idea about pricing policy...and don't get me on to the price of fresh fish.:curse:
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Old Mar 11th 2009, 5:34 am
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Default Re: Thoughts on Dubai

Originally Posted by lionheart View Post
Last week I paid Dhs5.95 per Kg for broccoli...today at the same store it's Dhs.23.65 per Kg...bloody ridiculous, so bought caulliflower at Dhs.6.95 per Kg instead. Sometimes retailers in Dubai have simply no idea about pricing policy...and don't get me on to the price of fresh fish.:curse:
that is because the 5.95 were from Oman and the 23.65 were from Holland if I remember rightly. (LULU).

Yes the rents at long last are dropping and dropping quite dramatically I have to say. In my mind there are two recessions going on here in Dubai, the one in new Dubai which is big and the one in old Dubai - Satwa and surrounding areas which isn't seeing such a huge drop in rental prices. New Dubai was built for the 'new' industries in Dubai, mainly Construction, Media etc, they are the ones who are suffering and making redundancies hence the large amount of empty properties in the Springs/Meadows area. There are very little properties becoming available on the market in Satwa etc as the majority of the people living in that area are Emiratees, Asians (non construction) and Engineering. Jumeirah is slowly but surely dropping too, this is as I see it, the Senior Expat Management are leaving either due to the recession or retirement etc.

Dubai is no longer the tax free haven people used to scream and shout about 10 years ago, it is a fully functioning City (debateable at times) which has attracted alot of investment from all over the World. However they did it too quickly and now things are falling apart. In time Dubai will recover from this recession but it will never be the City it is aiming to be.
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Old Mar 11th 2009, 5:56 am
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Default Re: Thoughts on Dubai

Originally Posted by stormcooper View Post
After rejecting a job because the deal wasn't sweet enough, i saw jobs advertised for fairly senior positions, paying nothing like the salary I was offered. I can only assume they are targetting anyone but British/Australian/American expats?
from the magic kingdom's perspective, there's plenty of scuttlebut that companies here are taking advantage of "the west's" instability and offering packages far below what they were offering this time last year. (average seems to be about 33% less). the unfortunate thing is that with accomodation calculated on monthly salaries, the limited availability of places, and that prices keep going up, expats seem to think the magic kingdom is a good place to hide from the financial troubles, not realizing that they're experience here will be far from comfortable.
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