Dubai’s property boom, which has fuelled double-digit growth for five years, is showing signs of turning to bust.

'It’s been ten times worse than expected. The liquidity is absolutely frozen. There’s no money. It’s just gone. If the Government doesn’t act really quickly, we’ll slip into an Indonesian-style bust,' said one of Dubai’s leading bankers, who did not want to be named. He was echoing a growing consensus in the region. 'These last six weeks have changed the face of the Earth,' he said.

Dubai’s property boom was fuelled largely by investors who bought properties off-plan. Most had no intention of ever living in the buildings, intending, instead, to sell them on and collect a tidy profit. Most also used borrowed money to finance their payments, according to analysts, intending to use a cut of their profits to pay back their loans.

The Times