Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

GCC’s Real Estate Market Sees Fastest Growth Worldwide | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world, is seen lit up in blue, white and red, the colours of the French national flag, following the Paris attacks, in Dubai November 15, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Dubai – Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha have emerged as the top three real estate markets in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, said a real estate report. The industry is touted to grow about 10% annually on average, driven by a prospering property market in Dubai and Qatar, ahead of Expo 2020 and the FIFA World Cup 2022 respectively.

The real estate review report issued by Al-Masah Capital showed that the GCC Facility Management market is projected to reach USD66 billion by 2020.

The report reaffirmed that the GCC markets are still gaining a lot of investor attention as prices are relatively stable, which reflects the real estate market’s maturity and the improved regulatory environment in the wake of plummeting oil prices. Despite oil price fluctuations, unstable stocfk market and geopolitical uncertainty, the sector remains resilient and is expected to register growth at a slow pace in 2017 and beyond.

According to the report, property markets in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Qatar have ranked among the strongest markets in the region due to the global projects, flow of foreign investments, and growing population. The industry of facility management has also shown a significant growth and excellent capacities driven by higher infrastructure spending across the region.

The rapid real estate and urban infrastructure development in terms of airports, roadways, ports and railways have resulted in increased demand for facilities management industry, it stated. The report showed that the Expo 2020, which is set to be held in Dubai – and the World Cup 2022 which will be hosted by Doha – play a major role in supporting a global-level infrastructure along with the establishment of many exclusive comfort and luxury outlets.

Concerning real estate services, the contribution of this sector has grown over the past decade due to the strength of the property market in the region. The real estate sector comprises the management of facilities and properties, which are still in their promising phases in the GCC compared with the advanced market like in Europe and North America.

The report suggested that the tourism sector is likely to help accelerate growth of the real estate market in the GCC, especially for the UAE. While hospitality, residential and office lease markets remain advancing in the GCC, the retail segment is expected to continue its significant expansion in the coming years.

Dubai Land Department’s (DLD) annual report reveals that the total amount of real estate transactions recorded in the Emirate last year exceeded AED259 billion (USD70.6 billion) divided into sales transactions (AED103 billion) and mortgage transactions (AED128 billion).

The DLD report also showed that the sum of real estate investment transactions for the year exceeded AED91 billion from more than 42,000 investors; the leading investors were UAE nationals from across the GCC, Arabs, and foreigners, for their investment of nearly AED22 billion from over 7,000 investors.

Investors from Qatar and Kuwait approached AED2 billion mark, from 1,006 and 770 investors respectively, followed by nationals from Oman (301 investors) and Bahrain (244 investors), who contributed up to AED1 billion.

Arab investors from outside the GCC contributed over AED12 billion to the real estate market last year, from 6,416 investors of 16 nationalities.

Foreign investment in the Dubai real estate market in 2016 approached AED44 billion, from 22,834 investors of 136 nationalities. Indian nationals rank highest in terms of volume and value, making AED12 billion worth of property transactions across 6,263 investors, followed by Pakistan contributed AED4.4 billion worth of property transactions across 3,372 investors, while British investment totaled AED5.8 billion from 3,372 investors.

DLD’s report identifies Dubai’s top five sales areas for 2016, revealing that the Business Bay area benefited from a high level of interest, with 3,508 investments worth AED6.2 billion followed by Dubai Marina, Jebel Ali 1, Burj Khalifa and Warsan 1.