“We started selling property in Forbidden City recently. We usually sell over 100 villas a day but now we are selling about 30 a day,” said Sulayem, speaking to an audience of bankers in Dubai on 30 October.

“This indicates that it is not speculative buyers any more, it is end users buying the units, so for me it is ok.”

He said he was not expecting to see real estate prices in Dubai decrease, and pointed to the recent sales of villas on Palm Jumeira facing the Atlantis hotel as evidence that appetite for Dubai real estate remained strong.

“I don’t see a reduction in prices,” he said. “The appetite is there, it is just the financing that is not.”

Forbidden City is a 4,000 unit development by Nakheel, a subsidiary of Dubai World, within the International City real estate project.