Dubai, Abu Dhabi are the most transparent real estate markets in MENA

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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US-based global real estate services firm, JLL consultancy revealed that Dubai and Abu Dhabi found top spots in the global ranking of the most transparent real estate markets in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), thanks to the government initiatives.

Dubai, the business and trading center of the Middle East, jumped three spots to 36 and retained its status as the most open market in the Middle East, while Abu Dhabi jumped to 48th position, becoming one of the top performers globally.

Thierry Delvaux
Thierry Delvaux
JLL – MEA region

“Our GRETI (Global Real Estate Transparency Index) report this year is being launched at a time of massive economic and societal disruption. As governments and businesses recover from the impact of COVID-19, questions around transparency and trust have been bought into even sharper focus. During times of such uncertainty, the need for transparent processes and accurate, timely data becomes more important than ever. The findings of our report provide reasons for optimism with the current disruption forcing the pace of change.”

As per the report, the most important initiative started in 2019 and the main contributor to the ranking of Dubai was the establishment of the Dubai Land Department’s official residential transaction-based index, Mo’asher, which is built in collaboration with a private sector entity.

Dana Salbak, head of research at JLL MENA said, “Mo’asher constitutes a potentially important step forward for Dubai, as it means the establishment of a single index that is widely used by all market participants.”

Abu Dhabi has emerged as a top performer internationally, focusing positively on the overall ranking of openness and future investment outlook, driven by the launch of measures to encourage corporate and real estate sustainability.

“Among the many initiatives introduced, the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment signed a pledge with the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), a financial free zone, to embed sustainable finance policies in the UAE, contributing to the emirate’s ranking. The policies cover all forms of corporate and investment financial services which yield environmental, social, and economic benefits,” added Ms. Salbak.

The setting up of the first Green REIT by Masdar at the ADGM in early 2020 and the announcement by the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority of a new data-centric platform and sharing eco-system are the other factors that contributed to Abu Dhabi’s impressive ranking.

According to the JLL report, Saudi Arabia aims to maintain a deep commitment to introduce significant reforms to develop the economy and its real estate market.

“The government rebranded its publicly available central database – The General Authority for Statistics – and has continued to collate more data from government agencies,” the report said.

More micro-level indicators have also started to be published by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) on a monthly and quarterly basis. The data from the Ministry of Justice has also been a reliable measure of transactions and results in commercial and residential real estate.