Cityscape Abu Dhabi to present top investment options

With an impressive roster of new and returning companies exhibiting a broad spectrum of local, regional and international property investment offers, the upcoming Cityscape Abu dhabi  (CSAD) is gearing up to be a show that investors and buyers should not miss.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the show will also host seminars and forums to discuss market trends, regulations, home finance and property management options.

The three-day fair, which begins on Tuesday, will have more than 130 exhibitors, including property developers, brokers, bankers, real estate professionals and service providers from across the globe, providing thousands of visitors with investment options in the region and overseas. Organisers say the ninth edition of the event will unveil several property projects as well as updates and exciting schemes from the UAE as well as other countries, including Jordan, Turkey, Russia, the US and the UK, catering to the requirements of local and foreign investors.

Among the regional players, Abu Dhabi’s largest de veloper, Aldar Properties, is expected to reveal plans for its new projects. “We will showcase some of the new developments that will be launched this year as the next phase of our development cycle, which includes up to 7,300 units across existing destinations over the next five years,” says Talal Al Dhiyebi, Chief Development Officer of Aldar Properties.

“We [will] have exciting news about Yas Island, Abu Dhabi’s leading destination for retail, entertainment and leisure and Shams Abu Dhabi, the most sought-after residential community.

“These two key destinations in the city reflect the demand for world-class homes, shops and leisure facilities in Abu Dhabi.”

Saadiyat Island will be the focus for regular participant Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), which will highlight the flagship project and its key development milestones, including the launch of a new residential project.

Ahmad Al Fahim, Executive Director - Marketing, Communications, Sales and Leasing at TDIC, says, “TDIC’s portfolio encompasses a wide range of projects across various sectors, such as hospitality, residential, cultural and educational. We will be offering investors and potential homeowners the opportunity to register their interest in our latest residential project on Saadiyat, with the sales day to be announced in the near future.”

Market outlook

Last year, CSAD attracted more than 17,000 visitors, a 15 per cent year-on-year increase, says Wouter Molman, Director of the Cityscape Group at Informa Exhibitions, organiser of the show. Molman expects a similar growth trend this year.

“The latest research and statistics from Abu Dhabi indicate that there is renewed confidence in the property sector, with construction visibly moving again,” says Mol-man. “Rental rates are expected to continue to rise at a steady pace throughout the year, as demand for housing still increases due to the low availability across the board, in particular for quality stock on the secondary market.”

Reflecting the steady growth in the market, Molman says CSAD has increased space to 18,000 sq m, occupying an additional hall at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

Organisers say the emirate is an important destination for a major property event as it is fast growing into one of the world’s leading cities. Al Dhiyebi says the government’s successful diversification strategy has resulted in significant growth in non-oil sectors such as finance, education, tourism and health care.

“This stable path of economic development is creating significant real demand for high-quality residential, retail and commercial property and we can expect this trend to continue over the long term,” says Al Dhiyebi. “The capital’s population has risen by 50 per cent in the last five years, resulting in a strong increase in demand for quality housing across the emirate.”

Experts say the growth in Abu Dhabi’s international workforce has led to a high demand for quality housing, but it remains to be seen how developers will respond to the market gap. The sustainability of building quality housing across different price points will be the main subject at Cityscape Abu Dhabi’s Market Overview Forum. The half-day forum, hosted in collaboration with JLL and supported by Masdar City, will highlight the emirate’s latest trends and initiatives, while a panel discussion will look at how supporting differentiation can assure the current market sustainably grows.

A series of networking events will also take place at the show. David Dudley, Regional Director of JLL and headline speaker at the forum, will address industry professionals and visitors on supply and demand trends and their impact on performance across sectors of the property market.

“A sustained market recovery is very much dependent on government maintaining a healthy balance between demand and supply, which is based on the extent to which annual demand growth [largely driven by government spending plans] outstrips annual supply completions,” says Dudley.

“The future outlook depends on the extent to which government maintains its spending plans in spite of a decline in oil prices and the extent to which annual supply completions remain at sustainable levels. I will be analysing this in detail at the forum.”

Key players

Local developers, realty firms and banks, including Al Forsan, Bloom Properties, Manazel, Mubadala, Al Qudra, Wahat Al Zaweya, Eshraq, Reem Developers, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Masdar, TMKN, are among the exhibitors. There will also be new entrants such as Eagle Hills Properties.

The show will also have a strong presence from Turkish and Jordanian companies. “Turkey has been one of the most exciting investment destinations for Gulf investors in recent years,” says Molman. “The country has recorded remarkable economic growth over the past decade, tripling the size of its economy to $813 billion [about Dh2.98 trillion] last year, making it the 16th-largest economy in the world.

“With the change in the reciprocity law in 2012, Turkey has witnessed a strong and growing demand from foreign real estate investors, in particular from the Middle East.”

Other countries represented at the expo include Cayman Islands, Egypt, Kuwait, Latvia, Nigeria, Portugal, Serbia, Thailand, the UK and the US.

Bob Clarke, Managing Director of Herald Land Real Estate Brokers, who will be launching a new project at the show, says, “The UK is a growing market. Over the years there has been a drastic rise in investment purchases from the region because investors in the Middle East see the UK as a secure region for long-term investment. Buyers from the UAE now represent more than 18 per cent of such property deals to foreign investors.”

Abu Dhabi’s Urban Planning Council will present an update on the progress of the government’s Vision 2030 plan.