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Banks Said to Ask For 30-Day Delay as U.A.E Seeks Mortgage Caps

Banks in the United Arab Emirates plan to ask the central bank to delay by 30 days implementing new caps on mortgage lending that were announced at the end of last year, according to two bankers familiar with the plan.

They also plan to speak with the central bank on new loan- to-value lending limits required for both citizens and foreigners, the bankers said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private. Chief executive officers of U.A.E. banks that are part of the Emirates Banks Association met in Dubai late today to discuss the rules, they said. A spokesman for the association could not immediately be reached.

The central bank issued rules on Dec. 30 that restricted mortgages for expatriates to 50 percent of the value of the property for a first home and to 40 percent for the second. Banks may lend up to 70 percent of value to U.A.E citizens for the first dwelling and up to 60 percent for a second. Previously, there were no loan-to-value limits and some banks lent as much as 90 percent of the value of properties.

The restrictions follow a recovery in home prices in parts of Dubai and new government plans for projects including a district boasting the world’s biggest shopping mall and five theme parks. The plans evoked the debt-fuelled drive to turn Dubai into a regional tourism and financial hub before property prices crashed more than 65 percent during the global recession, bringing the emirate to the brink of default.

The U.A.E., the second-biggest Arab economy, comprises seven sheikhdoms including Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Foreigners make up about 80 percent of the population.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stefania Bianchi in Dubai at sbianchi10@bloomberg.net Arif Sharif in Dubai at asharif2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net

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