The demand for good quality housing across all price points is fiercer than ever, say industry experts, as a rapid growth in the international work force has seen a 50 per cent population increase in UAE capital in the last five years.
The sustainability of such momentum however, is still under debate and will be one of many topics discussed at the upcoming Abu Dhabi Market Overview Forum, taking place on the first day of Cityscape Abu Dhabi, which runs from 21-23 April at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
The three day event is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
The half day Forum, hosted in collaboration with JLL and supported by Masdar City, will draw attention to the Emirates’ latest trends and initiatives, while a dedicated panel discussion will tackle how supporting differentiation can assure the current market continues to grow at a sustainable rate.
David Dudley, Regional Director of JLL and headline speaker at the Market Overview Forum will reveal the recent performance of each real estate sector for the first quarter of 2015 to key industry players. “End-user demand for housing has principally been driven by new job creation as the government continues to invest in major infrastructure and economic diversification projects,” he said.
“These various initiatives represent multi-billion dollar spending which will ultimately flow through to property market demand across each sector. We do, however, expect there to be a reduction in government spending this year due to the recent decline in oil prices which will slow down the annual demand growth rate overall. Employment creation and residential demand growth will be sustained from projects commenced while the oil price was high, albeit at a slower pace. Given the current shortage of affordable housing, rental growth will still continue, but at single-digit growth rate, rather than the double-digit rates we saw from 2013 to 2014,” he added.
Anthony Mallows, Director of Masdar City and a panellist at the Market Overview discussion will highlight the cost-effectiveness of sustainability and how cities such as Masdar are able to distinguish their community from others in Abu Dhabi and the UAE. For a long time, building sustainably was prohibitively costly, particularly in the GCC region where there was a short supply of low-carbon, sustainable building materials,” said Mallows. “Now, architects, developers, investors and urban planners have access to better resources, new technological advances and support from the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, and our ‘greenprint’, to ensure they can be as sustainable as possible. These make it possible to construct high-performance buildings such as Masdar City’s Siemens LEED Platinum building and the 4-Pearl IRENA headquarters, the first office building in Abu Dhabi to achieve this certification.”
After a successful launch edition last year, the Abu Dhabi Market Overview Forum is a significant feature of the 9th edition of Cityscape Abu Dhabi, where more than 130 exhibitors from around the world will come together across 18,000sqm of exhibition space.
Talal Al Dhiyebi, Chief Development Officer, Aldar Properties, another panellist at the Market Overview Forum will discuss why the UAE capital is a key hub for global investment. “Abu Dhabi is an important market for local and international property investors. The government’s successful diversification strategy has created a strong, stable environment for investment,” he said.
“Iconic destinations such as Shams Abu Dhabi and Yas Island have put Abu Dhabi on the map and resulted in significant foreign interest in the capital as an international real estate market. According to the Dubai Land Department, foreign investors accounted for nearly half of all real estate transactions in the UAE in 2014. Abu Dhabi is developing into one of the world’s great new cities, with strong economic growth coming from non-oil sectors such as finance, education, tourism and healthcare. Property guidelines have been successful in stabilising the market and therefore investors are eager to invest as they feel that they can rely on the government to safely regulate the market when required,” he added.
Cityscape Abu Dhabi is supported by Strategic Partner Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA), Platinum Sponsor Wahat Al Zaweya, Silver Sponsor Farglory, Official VIP Sponsor Ejadah Asset Management Group and Official Mortgage Provider Abu Dhabi Finance.