DUBAI, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- Farouk Soussa, chief economist of Middle East at Citigroup in Dubai, expected the real estate rush to continue in the sheikhdom, but warned in a study published Thursday of possible imponderables.
Soussa said that Dubai showed no signs of tempering its latest property boom, adding that more ambitious projects which were recently announced provide a positive catalyst for growth in the near term.
However, Soussa said that Citigroup believes that the swathe of new developments "will potentially aggravate existing over-supply in the real estate market, and may lead to renewed speculator activity in the market."
Property prices in Dubai rose sharply in 2012 as the sheikhdom strengthened its position as the Middle East's first business and tourism hub. According to property consultant Cluttons, average villa prices rose by 27 percent in 2012.
Dubai's first developer Emaar said at the end of January that its net profit in 2012 was up 18 percent year-on-year, amounting to 2.119 billion Emirati-Dirham (577 million U.S. dollars).
Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum ordered in December last year the construction of a "city within the city" named after him. The City, which Soussa called a "mega-development, " shall harbor the world's largest shopping mall, once completed.