x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 February 2018

Dubai government to stage annual real estate show in challenge to Cityscape

Inaugural Dubai Property Festival will be held in April to market completed projects

Dubai plans to launch a three-day real estate expo in April, said Mr Sultan bin Mejren, director-general of Dubai Land Department. Reem Mohammed/The National
Dubai plans to launch a three-day real estate expo in April, said Mr Sultan bin Mejren, director-general of Dubai Land Department. Reem Mohammed/The National

The government of Dubai said on Monday it will launch its own three-day real estate exhibition to promote the sale of completed and distressed properties across the emirate and attract more overseas investors.

“This initiative is part of our ongoing efforts to support the real estate sector and help more buyers, investors and tenants benefit from overall economic growth,” said Sultan Bin Mejren, the director-general of Dubai Land Department (DLD).

“The festival will be instrumental in attracting and encouraging more buyers, providing them with access to new homes, and helping them obtain a comprehensive perspective of availability."

The three-day Dubai Property Festival, which this year will run from April 9-11 and include an auction of distressed real estate assets, is being staged in partnership with the Dubai-based events company, International Property Show (IPS), according to its organisers.

Dubai’s real estate market has been subdued in the past two years, with sales and rental prices declining in most segments amid sluggish economic conditions and muted demand. However, analysts have predicted the market could bottom out by the middle of 2018 and witness some recovery on the back of stabilising oil prices and a more buoyant business environment.

The new expo will rival other established real estate exhibitions in the UAE, most notably the annual Cityscape Global conference, organised by Informa exhibitions and staged in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in April and September respectively.

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However, Cityscape has traditionally focussed on showcasing and selling off-plan properties. The DLD reported that sales of off-plan properties at last year’s Cityscape Dubai totalled more than Dh870 million ($236.8m), with more deals expected in the months following the show.

A total of 45,500 participants attended Cityscape Dubai over the three days, up by almost 20 per cent year-on-year from 2016.

DLD and the event organisers have initiated talks with banks to discuss potential new mortgage solutions and payment plans that could be offered at the show, said Dawood Al Shezawi, head of the Dubai Property Festival Organising Committee. The aim is to help a large number of tenants shift to own their own homes.

“On average, a Dubai tenant can own his home by spending eight years of rental expenses in his property instead of paying them to a landlord,” Mr Al Shezawi said.

“[The festival] will help end-users make such a transition by encouraging property developers and brokers to offer the best deals and help tenants to buy properties instead of continuing to rent.”

Most of Dubai’s residential stock of 448,000 homes are leasehold properties, according to DLD, with the majority owned by UAE and GCC nationals rather than foreign expats.

The total value of real estate transactions in Dubai rose 16.8 per cent to Dh132bn in the first half of 2017 compared with Dh113bn in the year-earlier period, DLD figures show.

A total of Dh151bn was invested by foreigners in the Dubai property market in the 18-month period to August 2017, according to DLD figures. Emiratis accounted for the highest amount of investment transactions (including domestic ones), followed by Indian, Pakistani, Saudi Arabian and British investors.

Majida Ali Rashid, assistant director-general and head of the Real Estate Investment Management and Promotion Centre, the investment arm of the DLD, told The National Dubai’s property market is becoming increasingly mature and there is scope to increase levels of foreign investment “significantly”.