Dubai and Miami Compared by Middle East Observers

Here we have a comparison of Miami’s real estate market to Dubai’s. The comparison comes from Arabian Business Services Middle East. I find it interesting how they consider Miami’s market to be mature in comparison to Dubai’s. Miami is actually a new city when comparing it to other American cities and definitely other major International metropolises. The author goes on to tout the relative stability of Dubai’s real estate sector in comparison to Miami’s. Dubai is trying to transcend its finite oil bearing roots to become a secondary home for the rich of the Orient. In the long term its oil-rich economy will flounder as the black gold runs dry, so they need an alternate economic basis in order to progress into the 21st Century, hence all the new massive construction. On the other hand, Miami’s progress, contrary to what the article’s author states, rests not just on “sunshine and tourism”, but on banking, international trade, and hemispheric immigration. The author’s dismissive description of Miami in this respect indicates ignorance about Miami’s economy and hemispheric political role. This diminishes the credibility of the author’s claims regarding the stability of Dubai’s real estate market versus Miami’s.

The claim about Dubai’s market stability ignores the instability that has plagued the region for generations and the current lack of stability: Iraq War, Crisis with Iran, the Saudi fight against Wahhabism and Al Qaeda. The UAE is not exempt from the problems surrounding it, and stability cannot be tightly controlled under such precarious geopolitical conditions that can easily and unpredictably spill over into the UAE. One more war in the Middle East and Dubai construction will plummet along with the economy—especially in consideration of the high level of foreign investment in the city. In the Middle East, a city under going progress one day can quickly melt into a crisis the next; take Beirut, for example, which until the Israel-Hezbollah conflict, was booming more than anytime after the Civil War in the 1980’s.

The UAE is situated on the Persian Gulf, borders Saudi Arabia and Oman, and is neighbors with Iran. Dubai is in a much more precarious geopolitical position than Miami will ever be–even considering Cuba and a potential exodus subsequent to Castro’s imminent death. This is important considering how some of Miami’s most high end developments are actually competing with Dubai for the same ultra-rich international buyers.

Miami, like Dubai, is seeing an increase in major global corporations establishing regional headquarters. Dubai draws energy-oriented and international banking corporations while Miami is drawing major corporations looking to business in Latin America. Still, Dubai observers have Miami on the radar and are drawing some serious comparisons. Apparently, no other city comparison deserves as much attention as Miami’s to Dubai. Many have come to recognize the parallel development tracks that the climatically similar cities are taking. In the Middle East, stability is not as easy to come by as Dubai observers think, and Miami isn’t exactly going bust. Miami and Dubai are racing ahead; time will tell which one of the two has the most endurance.


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Filed under BoB Articles, Economy, The Big Picture

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