By Andy Sambidge

Ratings of developers in the Gulf region fell on average by between five and 10 percent during the 2009 downturn, FutureBrand’s Gulf Real Estate Study said on Tuesday.

Compared to the figures for 2008, the average grade for developers fell from a B to a C+/B-, the report noted.

The image of developers across the region was judged in 19 categories from the quality of construction to its financial standing, from pricing to environmental issues.

Emaar Properties was ranked first in 18 out of 19 categories, and joint first alongside Aldar Properties in the customer service response category.

On the key area of pricing for units, Emaar received four points out of a possible five to head Dubai Properties (3.8), Saudi’s Dar Al Arkan, Qatar’s Barwa and Nakheel (all 3.7).

On value for money, Emaar topped with 4.1 points, followed by Aldar and Dar Al Arkan (4), and Nakheel and Damac (3.8).

On the issue of customer service, Aldar tied with Emaar at the top, scoring 4.2 points, followed by Dar Al Arkan and Nakheel (3.8) and Damac (3.7).

The FutureBrand report said: “Perhaps not surprising, given the downturn-fuelled events of 2009, ratings of developers across measures have declined, typically by 5-10 percent.”

It said the headline stories of 2009, which were reflected by the research, were the continued decline of the Nakheel brand, the dramatic fall of Damac’s brand and the rise of non-Dubai developer brands including Aldar, Dar Al Arkan and Barwa.