On the surface Dubai seems to have it all... buildings unrivaled anywhere in the world... beautiful beaches... and bling, bling, bling.
But around the edges you can see this city is feeling the heat.
While December-January daytime temps hover around 80 degrees it's much cooler on the real estate front with investors no longer buying and flipping properties on a daily basis.
U.S. Citizen Alejandra Tokoph originally from Texas lives and works in Dubai. She says her stylish, 12-hundred square foot apartment overlooking the Dubai Marina was purchased for 150-thousand dollars years ago. It's now worth a cool two million. But comparable units once fetched prices five times more than that.
Tokoph says, "They've declined like they have all over the world. The rumor is they have fallen 100 percent twice."
Tokoph opened a swank boutique called Luxcouture three years ago and has done well. She's in the midst of opening a second store later this year, but is cautiously optomistic now that business is no longer booming.
Tokoph adds, "I have a bunch of local customers, a lot of royal clients with the royal family who aren't coming in either now. Everybody has cut their spending."
Even with the economic downturn Tokoph says she's staying put. And that's the sentiment of many others expatriates who are trying to make their mark here.
Economic experts say they'll have to adjust to a totally different landscape... One where banks won't lending, projects are shelved, and layoffs and foreclosures are common.
Some predict the worst is still to come when many will lose their properties.
This Middle East playground dotted with mosques, five-star resorts, and Palm Islands is down, but the ruler of Dubai says it's not out. Sheikh Maktoum promises to shore up a government shortfall by significantly boosting spending.
The goal is to keep this glitzy spot a melting pot of nationalities and continue attracting folks from around the globe.
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