Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Dubai, 'freehold' and market contagion

Dubai released a new property law on the 14th of March. Details(pdf) of the law, which was first shown only to lawyers, have since trickled out.
 
Curiously, the first two articles - where one would expect to find the definitions of key concepts, not least the contentious Dubayyi interpretation of 'freehold' (actually much more like a leasehold - so far as I can tell, you couldn't knock down your villa and build a new one on the plot, and it is far from clear that you could even add a conservatory or knock out an interior wall) - are omitted from the version of the law that has been circulated. Instead, there's a bunch of stuff about registration of title - which is all well and good and important and useful, but doesn't clear up the essential question of what you have a title to.
 
Dubai's stock market tanked on the 14th of March. Do you reckon that the government published a half-finished law and told people to report it positively to prevent contagion of a property market blatantly overheated by flipping and other kinds of speculation? Nah - they'd never do that, would they?

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