Prices of most construction materials in Abu Dhabi fell in 2009 with steel leading the declines after plummeting nearly 44 percent, latest figures released by Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi have showed.

The fall in prices of most types of building materials were as a result of the impact of the global economic crisis, SCAD said.

Construction of residential units in the UAE, and especially Dubai, slowed dramatically last year and house prices fell in Dubai by up to 50 percent in the downturn that swept the world in the fourth quarter of 2008.

However, the average price of aggregate and sand bucked the trend and registered a rise of 6.7 percent in 2009 in the UAE capital compared to 2008.

The continued upward movement in Abu Dhabi was due to the large scale road development projects that continued in the emirate despite the slowdown.

The SCAD figures also showed that cement prices declined by 6.6 percent against its level in the year 2008. The drop compared to a 19.8 percent rise in 2008, compared to 2007.

SCAD statistics revealed the average price of concrete declined by 13.5 percent in 2009 compared to 2008, following a steep rise of 61.4 percent the previous as the global downturn took its toll.

The price of steel was the worst hit by the global crisis as it plummeted 43.9 percent, with high tensile steel registering the largest drop of 50.7 percent.

More than 400 projects with a total value of over $300bn were placed on hold or cancelled in the UAE, according to a report on the construction sector by research company Proleads last year.

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