Abu Dhabi is limiting construction to avoid the housing glut and price declines that battered the real estate market in neighbouring Dubai, Aldar Properties chief executive John Bullough said.

The Emirate has a shortage of 15,000 to 20,000 units and the government will let the 'rope out on development in a measured way,' Bullough, whose company is the United Arab Emirates’ second-biggest developer, said in an interview. 'There will be, in our view, a lag between supply and demand.'

Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital and holder of 8% of the world’s oil reserves, controls development from homes to offices and transportation links under 'Plan 2030,' devised in 2007. The plan foresees the population growing to as much as 5 million by 2030 from an estimated 1.6 million in 2008.