Thursday, April 22, 2010

Residential rental property and retail sectors identified as having greatest investment potential during executive debate at Cityscape Abu Dhabi confe

Stability returning to real estate market

Residential rental property and retail sectors identified as having greatest investment potential during executive debate at Cityscape Abu Dhabi conference

A sense of stability is returning to the real estate investment market supported by a government-led infrastructure programme but it will take time to become fully established, according to senior executives of three of the top Abu Dhabi master developers with multi-billion dollar projects on their books.

Mid-range residential rental and the retail property sectors were identified as having the greatest investment potential during a high level investment and finance panel debate at the Cityscape Abu Dhabi conference.

On the panel were: John Bullough, CEO of Aldar Properties, responsible for projects such as Yas Island, Al Raha Gardens and the Ferrari World theme park; John Thomas, Executive Director of Mubadala Real Estate and Hospitality, with key projects such as Sowwah Island, Arzanah and the Mina Zayed Waterfront; and Gurjit Singh, Chief Operating Officer of Sorouh Real Estate, with projects that include Lulu Island, Shams Abu Dhabi and Al Ghadeer on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai border.

Some of the most comprehensive and open debates on the future of real estate investment regionally and internationally are taking place at the conference alongside Cityscape Abu Dhabi, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre until Wednesday 21 April 2010.

Singh said government investment in infrastructure including rail and transport links, logistics, oil and gas and energy projects will have a beneficial effect on the property market in Abu Dhabi.
“These investments are going to bring more employment creation which will bring more demand for real estate both for residential and commercial projects,” he added.

Asked about future investment opportunities in Abu Dhabi, Bullough told the conference he saw future demand coming from a wide spectrum of the Abu Dhabi real estate market but singled out the retail sector as the “unsung opportunity” with the UAE capital having relatively low retail space per capita.

Singh identified mid-range residential rental sector as a future investment opportunity. “If developers are able to zoom into this sector, they will be in a good position to capitalise. That is what we are doing – it is a substantial element of the market.” Singh added that the return of stability to the Abu Dhabi market was ongoing but the “speculator activity of the past still has to be absorbed.”

Bullough added: “We have all felt the pain. The last 18 months have been cathartic for the market. We now need to give investors solid future prospects and that is a long-term play. This isn't a quick win. Property is a long term investment.”

Thomas said it will never be possible to totally eradicate the speculative element in real estate but governments can bring in measures to control the speculators. “Times are different now and there is a new maturity level,” he added.

The Cityscape Abu Dhabi event includes an exhibition, conference, investor round tables and other related events that bring together regional and international investors, developers, government and investment authorities, leading architects, designers, consultants and senior professionals involved in the design and construction of real estate, the organisers added.

Running alongside Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2010 is CityBuild Abu Dhabi, an international trade show for the building and construction industry bringing together suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, architects, engineers, importers and procurement decision makers.

Headline sponsor of Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2010 is Mubadala Real Estate and Hospitality. Platinum sponsors are Al Qudra Real Estate, Al Maabar and Aldar Properties. Associate sponsor is the Abu Dhabi Department of Municipal Affairs.

Showing respect to Arabic cultural tradition and Islamic values and by special request, Cityscape and CityBuild Abu Dhabi have announced that the exhibitions will be open to ladies’ only from 3 until 8pm on Wednesday 21 April.

For more details about Cityscape Abu Dhabi and links to other Cityscape events please visit

Photo caption:

Pictured from the left are: Gurjit Singh, Chief Operating Officer of Sorouh Real Estate; John Thomas, Executive Director of Mubadala Real Estate and Hospitality; and John Bullough, CEO of Aldar Properties.

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