Category Archives: Cityscape

What now for the Dubai Property Market?

After all of the hype has receded following a bustling Cityscape Global exhibition filled with announcements and project launches, where is the Dubai property market heading?

Many developers used the platform to launch, or in some cases re-launch projects which had been stalled over the past four years or so. Time will tell if these can move at pre-2008 pace to be completed on time and in budget. Meydan, Sobha Group and Falcon City of Wonders were among many who all stepped forward with their master developments, which will start construction next year.

Serviced apartments also proved to be a big draw during the show, with both Emaar and DAMAC Properties showcasing their latest offerings in this sector. The general feeling from the show was positive, with a more sensible ‘cautious optimism’ displayed by senior executives throughout the exhibition.

While the developers were taking all of the limelight there was also some key new regulation announced which will have a positive impact on the Dubai property market. Dubai Land Department revealed plans for a real estate arbitration centre to resolve property disputes.

The Dubai Real Estate Arbitration Centre will work to impartially resolve property disputes and will hire internationally recognized real estate arbitrators. The draft law has been sent for approval and once enshrined in the legal framework; the new policies will provide further confidence and trust in the system.

The Dubai property market is set nicely for resurgence through the final quarter of the year and following the announcements of projects the focus will flip back to delivery as contractors are appointed and they start to break ground. The industry certainly appears united towards the same goals at the moment and if this can drive a strong real estate market, it will have benefits for the growth of Dubai in general.

What was your memorable moment from this year’s Cityscape Global? What projects caught your eye and what is your view on the market in general? We would love to read your thoughts and comments below.

Don’t forget to also join us on Twitter @dxbpropinvest

Cityscape Global – Day Two Highlights

It was another busy day in the halls of Dubai World Trade Centre yesterday as the serious business of Cityscape Global 2012 was conducted.

After all of the media hype and rush to get announcements out and steal the limelight on the opening day, things settled down as the high level meetings got underway.

Much of the attention turned to the Cityscape conference, where international executives discussed the latest strategies and development programmes in their respective countries.

One that caught the eye was the Iraqi Minister of Construction and Housing, Mohammed Darraji, who told delegates that the country needs to build 150,000 homes a year to satisfy current demand. It is only managing to develop around 60,000 through its own resources and is currently in conversations with a number of the leading UAE developers to encourage them to begin development in Iraq.

He added that according to a study by McKinsey and Co, the construction and infrastructure projects in Iraq would reach US$ 10.4 billion in 2013 alone. He added that Iraq also has the highest annual construction output in the region with an annual growth rate of 15 percent.

In the halls and corridors there was a lot of talk about the return of the speculator. With Emaar announcing it had sold out the The BLVD on its opening day launch, a number of senior executives were wondering if many of them were speculators looking to make a fast return. However they also added that speculators were part of any maturing property market: “Speculators in the market make it work,” Nick Maclean from CBRE told Gulf Business.

So, today will be the final chance to check out the latest projects, speak with the senior executives on the stands and see what is coming up in the Dubai property market over the next twelve months. We will be continuing to bring you the latest news and pictures from around the show on our twitter feed: @dxbpropinvest.

Cityscape Global 2012 is open

Cityscape Global 2012 – Day One Review

There was a bustling, vibrant atmosphere on the opening day of Cityscape Global, the largest real estate exhibition in the Middle East, which opened at Dubai World Trade Centre yesterday.

The packed halls and serious business meetings across the stands was visual proof that the Dubai property market is seeing steady growth and there are keen investors ready to inject cash into the right projects at the right time.

It was Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, who officially inaugurated the 11th edition of Cityscape with an expected crowd of visitors ready to head into the halls. And they weren’t disappointed.

Major announcements across the day included a number of new projects, including two from the Meydan Group, developer of the Meydan Racecourse. Hadaeq Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid is a new 190,000m2 housing scheme in Nad Al Sheba which will feature canals and lagoons, incorporating English, French and Japanese landscaping. The company also re-launched its stalled 72-storey Meydan Tower in Sheikh Zayed Road which will contain homes, offices, shops and hotels.

The focus was also, as expected, on serviced hotel apartments with leading developers drumming up strong support for this relatively new investment vehicle.

DAMAC Properties, the Middle East’s leading luxury developer, announced it would have 4,000 units under development or management by the end of next year at that its first serviced apartment project, Burjside Boulevard would complete mid-2013. The company boldly stated it was taking a leadership role in bringing hotel apartments to the fore in Dubai.

On a lighter note there were a few projects announced which reminded us of the heady days back in 2007/8.

The Taj Arabia project, which was first announced more than five years ago is now set to be become a reality according to the developers of the 3.8 million sqm Falcon City of Wonders. The ‘city’ is also looking bring many other replicas from around the world, including The Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

While there was some of the glitz and glamour of old, it was much more subdued and there was much more a feeling of serious, long-term strategy to provide investors with a sustained growth rather than a fast buck.

More is expected today and you can keep up to date with all of the news from the show here and on Twitter @dxbpropinvest


Dubai Property Market Continues Upward Trend

Less than 24 hours before the opening of Cityscape Global in Dubai, the much anticipated Jones Lang LaSalle Q3 reports for the Dubai and Abu Dhabi property markets have been released. And they support recent research which supports Dubai’s continued growth.

The main headline to come from the Dubai report is that apartment sales have increased four percent year-on-year and is now just eighteen percent lower than the market peak in the third quarter of 2008.

It also states that rents are up seven percent year-on-year as of August 2012, with apartment rents up five per cent compared to August last year.

The report goes on to state that the REIDIN Residential Sale Indices show the overall residential market has seen average prices increasing 14 percent year-on-year.

While it is really important to not get blown away by positive numbers and news of strong growth, this latest report is another fillip to a market which is witnessing a sustained revival.

With all eyes on serviced hotel apartments at Cityscape Global the report also contains good news for this sector. Occupancy levels are up to 77 percent from 74 percent in the same period last year. This also means Average Daily Rates (ADR) is up too – an eight percent increase to take prices to US$ 224. This stat though is beaten by the RevPar rate which is up 13 percent over the same period in 2011, reaching US$ 172 for the year to August 2012.

As developers continue to push the hotel serviced apartments opportunities to us, this number support the pitch that this is the place to invest your property portfolio funds in the coming months and years.

It must be said here that the Abu Dhabi report by Jones Lang LaSalle is less bright, but there are shoots of growth to be found. The impression is that the Abu Dhabi market has reached, or is at least very close to reaching, its bottom prices, with any declines in small percentage figures.

On a brighter note, the results of the Abu Dhabi Economic Outlook report for 2012-2016 by the Department of Economic Development have been released. The report forecasts that Abu Dhabi’s real GDP will grow by 3.9% during 2012, before expanding more rapidly (by 5.7% pa) between 2013 – 2016, with the non-oil sector being the major contributor to this future growth.

The Abu Dhabi hotel sector is also seeing an upturn with more than 1.3 million guests visiting the capital during the first seven months of 2012, representing a seven percent increase over the same period in 2011.

All in all this is a good boost ahead of three packed days of business and announcements at Cityscape Global. We will be there throughout the exhibition with news and reviews of the Dubai property market.

Please leave us your thoughts and comments on the current state of the industry, what your predictions are for the rest of the year and all things Cityscape. We look forward to hearing from you.

Dubai Property Market Price Boost

On the eve of Cityscape Global, the major exhibition for the Dubai property market, a Q3 report has been released which supports the sentiment that prices are increasing across the Emirate.

Real Estate experts Cluttons state that apartment prices have increased by 4.9% across the first nine months of 2012 and the company predicts that the trend is set to continue into the new year.

The numbers were supported by news in the report that rental values had also increased, by as much as 6.8% across the board.

There has been a growing confidence in the Dubai property market throughout 2012 and this is expected to peak at Cityscape Global taking place from 2-4 October at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Many of the leading Dubai developers are expected to announce progress on projects across the Middle East with a big focus on the serviced apartment sector. In line with this, DAMAC Properties, one of the leading luxury developers in the region, has announced it will have 4,000 units under development or management by the end of next year.

The first serviced hotel apartment project to be run under the luxury DAMAC Suites & Spa management arm will be Burjside Boulevard which overlooks the Burj Area and Dubai Mall. The project is expected to complete mid-2013.

Emaar Properties also recently announced its own serviced apartment offering in the same region – The BLVD which will start construction shortly and be ready my mid-2015.

As projects move again and the completion of many projects are set before the end of the year, Cluttons believes that as many as 24,000 units could hit the market in the next few months, tempering somewhat the strong increases that has been experienced in the first three quarters of this year.

According to Dubai government published figures, foreign investors buying real estate were responsible for acquisitions of AED 28.3 billion (USD $7.7 billion) in the first half of 2012, up 36% from the same period last year, giving a strong indication of improved business confidence in the Emirate from global investors.

Dubai Hotel Rates Jump Nearly 60%

Revenue Per Room, or RevPar, in hotels in Dubai has jumped 59.9% in August as international confidence in the emirate continued.

Revenue climbed to US$109.29 as international visitors returned in strong numbers due to the temperature drop and a post-Ramadan resurgence.

The average daily rate (ADR) of a room during August also increased strongly, up 23.7% to US$184.23 according to data just out by STR Global.

“The holy month of Ramadan ended earlier this August compared to August 2011, and performance metrics were positively impacted because of it, showing a 19.6 percent RevPar increase across the Middle East,” Elizabeth Randall Winkle, Managing Director of STR Global told Khaleej Times.

Dubai’s tourism remains a very stronger driver of growth for the Emirate, with 577 hotels in Dubai creating a total number of rooms and serviced apartments at 75,171 according to Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing. The STR report states that occupancy in the hotels was running at 82.3 %, the highest in the region.

Occupancy and RevPar rates are expected to remain strong for the rest of the year as the peak exhibition season gets underway, driving international business with tourists coming or pre-Christmas shopping when the weather is at its best.

As reported on this site on 17 September, the serviced apartments sector is set for strong growth in the coming years as Emaar announced its latest project in Downtown Dubai. The BLVD is already reporting strong uptake with the first tranche of properties sold out on the opening day again reflect the interest that remains in the Dubai property market.

With Cityscape underway next week, we expect the serviced hotel apartments sector to take centre stage as a number of the big name developers are expected to announce their managed properties at the show. With many projects coming on line in the early to mid part of next year, there is going to be strong competition for this growing sector.

With the investment opportunities and revenue generation a serviced hotel apartment can generate, especially through high-end, luxury managed properties in prime locations, it’s hardly surprising that there remains huge interest in this sector.

Emaar launches serviced apartments in Downtown Dubai

Just a few days after we put the spotlight on the investment opportunities in the hotel apartments sector in Dubai, Emaar Properties has launched its offering.

‘The Address The BLVD’ is described as a five-star premium hotel and serviced residences featuring 200 hotel rooms and 542 serviced apartments. ‘The Address the BLVD’ will overlook the Dubai fountain, Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall.

The hotel is expected to be completed in early to mid 2015 the developer announced, with sales of the studio, one, two and three-bedroom serviced residences launching on 22 September.

The 63-storey hotel will be 340 metres high and will become the second tallest building in the area.

Speaking at the launch, Arif Amiri, Chief Executive of Emaar Retail, said: “The launching of this project is underlining the positive growth of Dubai’s property sector and the robust gains recorded by the city’s tourism and hospitality sectors.”

The announcement falls a couple of weeks before the region’s largest property and real estate exhibition of the year, Cityscape Global, which takes place from 2-4 October 2012 at the Dubai International Exhibition and Conference Centre.

It is expected that other developers will confirm their serviced/hotel apartments products at the show, with many towers already well under construction in the Burj Area and likely to handover their serviced apartment offering to the market early in 2013.

This means that the five-star luxury serviced apartment offering will have been on the market in the same area for more than two years before ‘The Address The BLVD’ will handover to clients.

There is certainly a gap in the Dubai market for serviced apartments with Dubai Tourism stating there were just 200 properties offering this product in the Emirate.

Serviced apartments allow investors to either live in the property themselves, or pass it onto a management company who will rent it out as part of a pooled programme. Owners can choose to live in the property for certain times of the year and rent it out for the remainder making the sector a flexible and lucrative option for investors.

Cityscape Global Directer Walter Molman on this year's show

In Depth – We Speak with Cityscape Global Director, Wouter Molman

With just a couple of weeks to go until Cityscape Global opens its doors at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre spoke with the shows Director, Wouter Molman in detail about the changes to this year’s show, what we can expect and how the industry has changed in the past few years.

How has Cityscape Global evolved over the past three years since the downturn in the market?

On the exhibition side, over the past three years Cityscape Global has gradually been attracting an increasing amount of international exhibitors looking to tap into the Gulf region for potential investors. This year, nearly 50% of the exhibition space will be occupied by international exhibitors, with pavilions from countries including Turkey, Russia, Egypt, Iraq, Qatar, UK and India.

This transition toward being a more global real estate event is following the repositioning strategy two years ago. Cityscape Dubai was rebranded to Cityscape Global to recognize international appeal of the event, and we are now really seeing the results.

This repositioning has allowed Cityscape to constantly keep abreast of the changing international real estate market and launch new initiatives alongside the show ensuring the event keeps the ‘fresh’ feel. 2012 has seen the introduction of the Country of Honour where Turkey have been positioned to emphasise their growing dominance in  the real estate market due to the recent reciprocity law attracting keen attention from international investors. This new initiative allows Cityscape Global to evolve with the market highlighting new regions of grown and interest to our event participants.

Having said that, confidence in the local real estate market is also increasing, and this is reflected by the amount of UAE based developers participating at this year’s show looking to showcase their most recent real estate project updates and launches – watch this space.

As a result, the Cityscape Global exhibition has grown by over 50% this year, which is a testament to the strength of the Cityscape brand as well as the growing confidence in Dubai as a leading business hub for emerging markets globally.

There have also been some significant developments over the past three years for the Cityscape Global conferences. Cityscape Global will host three dedicated conferences that reflect the changing dynamics of the current global real estate market.

The Global Real Estate Summit, Retail City, and the World Architecture Congress will spotlight the latest news, analysis and insight on the world’s foremost real estate markets, involving the most influential and respected leaders in the industry.

All of the big players in the UAE market, DAMAC Properties, Emaar and Nakheel have remained big supporters of the show. What role do they play in the industry and how important is it to support them while also expanding globally?

UAE developers, both big and small players alike will continuously play a crucial role in the development of Cityscape Global and of course their participation in the show is always highly valued.

Within the local real estate sector, it is important that the big names continue to propel the industry forward, as they set the benchmark and are essentially the measuring barometer of how well the industry is performing. 

While Cityscape Global is become more popular with international exhibitors, it will still always remain a ‘Dubai’ show and is the ideal platform for local players to drive growth in real estate investment and development both in emerging markets within the Middle East and globally. In that sense, supporting local players whilst also expanding globally go hand in hand, with the local developers benefiting from this further widespread awareness generated from the international investors looking to the event as a ‘shop window’ for international real estate investment opportunities.

How would you explain the importance of exhibitions at a time when more business is going online. How do you stay relevant?

While online commerce continues to gain traction, the face-to-face element of events will ensure it will always continue to have a unique benefit over any other means of conducting business.  Having said that, Cityscape Global embraces the online and digital age and we have incorporated several online campaigns in our communications strategies with exhibitors and visitors including business matching services, and native mobile applications.

We look to integrate these new technologies that become available with Cityscape events to further enhance our participant’s experiences, promoting further business interaction before the start of the event, and long after the doors close.

2012 will see the launch of the new Cityscape Global business matching service myCityscape, connecting exhibitors to pre-registered visitors allowing them to network and arrange their time during the event in a much more effective and efficient manner, by pre-scheduling meetings online with potential clients and investors.

To support this initiative, we have also introduced a mobile application allowing the audience to download a specific Cityscape app to their phone. The app lets users connect with each other during the show, keeping constant contact for organising and rescheduling meetings whilst in the exhibition halls. Directly linked to the business matching service, the app ensures participants take full advantage of the business opportunities on offer at Cityscape Global 2012.

What key developments are needed at UAE Government level to ensure the Dubai property market remains strong?

There has been a lot of talk about introducing a long term property visa, and this certainly wouldn’t harm investor confidence in the Dubai property market, however there have been some mixed views on how strong the impact of such a regulation (once implemented) will be.

The market is also now awaiting a new set of regulations to be implemented by the Dubai Land Department, which will protect investors from delays and unilateral changes to the real estate projects they have invested in, allowing them to get their money back when developers violate the terms and conditions. This will further improve transparency and investor confidence in the Dubai real estate market.

Can you share some statistics on how the market is currently?

According to the Jones Lang LaSalle’s Dubai Real Estate Market Overview Q2 2012, the signs are that Dubai’s real estate sector is set for double digit growth in the next three years, due to a constant stream of fresh project handovers across the commercial, residential and hospitality sectors.

In the residential sector, 6,000 units were completed in the first six months of 2012, bringing the total number of residential units in Dubai to 344,000.  A further 24,000 residential units are expected to be delivered for the remainder of 2012, while another 15,000 units should be ready for handover in 2013 and 2014, presenting a supply increase of 11 per cent from the current amount of stock.

Office space in Dubai is also expected to increase by 24 per cent by the end of 2013, reaching 7.2 million square metres. The emirate is likely to add an extra 1.1 million sq m to the current 6.1 million sq m, though it must be mentioned there is currently 2.2 million sq m of office space currently on hold.

Meanwhile, the hospitality sector in Dubai continues to show no signs of slowing down, with the opening of Millennium Plaza on Sheikh Zayed Road, the Rixos The Palm, and the Melia Bur Dubai in the first half of this year adding a further 850 hotel rooms to Dubai’s booming tourism industry, amounting to a total of 54,300 rooms. Another 11,300 rooms are expected to be injected by the end of 2014, up 20 per cent from the current amount of rooms.

Residential, hospitality and retail sectors all are generally expected to have bottomed out, with villas and apartments showing a double digit growth on 2008 levels. Over the first half of 2012, the Dubai Land Department reported just under 19,000 land transactions totalling US$ 1.7 billion, up 21 percent on the same period last year.

Cityscape Global takes place from 2 – 4 October 2012 at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Dubai Property Invest will be at Cityscape all three days bringing the latest news and updated from the developers

Visitors to Cityscape Global

Cityscape a Month Away – What Impact on the Dubai Property Market?

So, with just over a month to go until Cityscape Global opens its doors in Dubai, we ask what impact the region’s premier real estate exhibition will have on the Dubai property market and what investment opportunities will be on show.

Cityscape logo

Cityscape takes place at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, Dubai from 2-4 October 2012

Formerly Cityscape Dubai, and now Cityscape Global, with three mad days of business, presentations, and ‘exclusive’ announcements, is almost upon us.

The show has grown and shrunk in line with the real estate industry in Dubai but is back this year with predictions of a 25% increase in delegates on the 2011 attendance of 17,133.

The 2008 peak of 40,000+ delegates is still a couple of years away, but organizers are certainly talking up this year’s show, which will be further boosted by an increase in international participants.

International pavilions are set to take up 50% of the show for the first time in the exhibitions 11 year history. Delegations from Turkey, Russia, Qatar, Egypt, the Americas, India and Iraq will be among the countries participating all looking for Gulf money to invest in their latest projects.

What of the UAE developers? All of the big boys will be in attendance including DAMAC Properties, Emaar Properties, Dubai Properties Group and Nakheel showcasing what Dubai and the UAE has to offer.

Reports suggest that there could be a few new projects launched this year and there is a lot of talk in the forums that an announcement on an expansion into new areas for the ‘big four’ is expected.

With sentiment in the Dubai property market as high as it has been in the past couple of years, there is certainly a feel good factor going into Cityscape Global this year.

One key sector to keep an eye on will be the banks. Mortgages are being offered again, many with fewer than 5% interest, and we expect the banking sector to announce even more support for the Dubai property market during the show.

While the days of clients buying off-plan properties on the stand are behind us, Cityscape Global still remains the litmus test for the Dubai property market and we wait with eager anticipation for this year’s edition.

Cityscape Global runs from 2-4 October 2012 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.