The regional property market is eagerly anticipating the Cityscape Global (formerly Cityscape Dubai) real estate fair, due to take place from 2-4 October.
The real issue at stake is whether recent promises of resurging real estate values in Dubai will allow the trade show to reconnect to the vibrant mood that saw the fair expand rapidly from its inception in 2002 until the 2008 financial crash.
After disappointing during the 2009 and 2010 crisis years and showing cautious optimism in 2011, Cityscape Global this year has been preceded by a flurry of project deliveries in Dubai and Abu Dhabi as well as new project announcements by major UAE-based developers.
The fair this year features Turkey as the “2012 Country of Honor,” meaning panel discussions and investor roundtables will focus on real estate development in the country, and it also has the largest international pavilion at this year’s show.
Other focal points of Cityscape Global 2012 are real estate opportunities across the Middle East and North Africa, in particular Iraq and even in East Africa. The conference program features the logistics sector as one of its themes.
Executive asked three experts to give us their opinions on what to look out for this year.
Ahmet Kayhan, Chief Executive Officer, REIDIN.com – the Dubai-based real estate information provider specialized in emerging markets
“Cityscape announced this year as Turkey year. Having opened its real estate markets to Gulf nationals – through freehold and individual title deeds, etc. – Turkey is the hottest topic for a while. That Cityscape has [the focus on Turkey] also proves that there is not much going in this part of the world; it’s a more settled market in Dubai. Other markets such as Abu Dhabi, Doha, etc. unfortunately have their own negative issues.”
Matthew Green, Head of Research & Consultancy UAE, at CBRE Middle East, a unit in global commercial real estate services firm CBRE
“In recent years Cityscape has returned closer to its roots as a business to business event rather than simply an opportunity for developers and agents to sell off-plan property. This year, Cityscape will offer a forum for established developers to showcase their wares, promote their successes and potentially launch some new projects.”
“It is important to remember that the event now has a global focus so this is really an opportunity for Dubai to promote its status as a global commercial hub and for the international community to see the significant progress that [the emirate] has made in establishing this.”
Craig Plumb, Head of Research – MENA at global real estate services company Jones Lang LaSalle
“The market certainly does not need speculative new schemes right now and I suspect that many announcements are just that – announcements that will go no further. I would expect the mood at Cityscape to be marginally more buoyant than last year (which was totally moribund), but far from exuberant. [It will be] more of the same really – with a focus on B2B [business to business] networking, with few new launches or project sales.”