Abu Dhabi's ruler has issued a decree to regulate and improve transparency in the emirate's real estate sector, requiring brokers and developers to be licensed and introducing rules to protect buyers of projects that are not yet completed. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who is also president of the United Arab Emirates, said Abu Dhabi would bring in rules governing property advertising and marketing and a means for complaints to be submitted and resolved, according to a statement on official news agency WAM. Residential prices across the UAE capital's freehold markets rose about 24 per cent last year after an increase of 31 per cent in 2013, consultancy Cluttons estimated, predicting the oil slump was likely to cool the property market this year. According to the decree, all real estate developments must be registered with the government along with sales transactions listing the buyer. Developments could not be promoted or sold until they received government approval, the decree said. For unfinished projects, payments by buyers will be held in a separate, ring-fenced account, while brokers will not be allowed to represent more than one party in a single transaction.