Cityscape Global kickstarts in Dubai to understand changing real estate market

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Cityscape Global, the largest property event in the region, will begin today in Dubai in the wake of challenging market conditions caused by COVID-19.

The event, which was seen in the past as a leading indicator for the property market in the region, is being held against a volatile global economic backdrop this year.

Cityscape Global will take place at the Dubai World Trade Centre on 16 and 17 November and will explore the current state of the real estate sector in the Emirates, as developers shift to a reshaped market and investors look to Expo 2020 next year to offer a boost to the market.

The pandemic has hurt the real estate sector, exposing challenges, but it has also presented opportunities, according to analysts. “While market actors wrestle with the short-term threats, it is critical to take a step back and take a fresh look at real estate as an investment class.”

The economy has been tipped into its worst recession since the 1930s due to COVID-19, which has affected more than 54 million people worldwide. This year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects global output to shrink by 4.4% and to rebound only modestly in 2021.

Dubai’s real estate sector

A vital contributor to the Dubai economy is the real estate market. According to a recent report published by the Dubai Land Department (DLD), the sector accounted for 7.2 percent of the emirate’s gross domestic product (GDP) last year and generated an added value, which was up 3.3 percent in 2019 compared to 2018.

In 2019, the volume of real estate transactions increased annually by 2.1 percent, driven by a rise in transactions and mortgages. The value of real estate sales grew by 5%, while real estate mortgage prices rose by 4%, the report from the DLD said.

In the first quarter of 2020, transactions continued to rise, with revenues increasing 5 percent. In the second quarter, the pandemic slowed activities significantly, with transactions declining by 41 percent compared to the previous year. But in the third quarter, they rebounded.

According to listings site Property Finder which helps compile the real estate index of the emirate with the DLD, the number of deals during the quarter increased by more than 55 percent to 8,675,

Despite the rise in transaction activity, however, prices remain stagnant due to continuing concerns about oversupply. In the third quarter, average selling prices were 9 percent lower than in the same period last year.

The challenges and opportunities faced by the property sector in the region will be the focus of the Cityscape Real Estate Summit, which will take place today.

Developers and investors will have the opportunity to hear from top Dubai government officials including Sultan bin Mejren (Director General of the DLD), Helal Saeed Al Marri (Director General of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing) and Sami Al Qamzi (Director General of the Department of Economic Development).