Developers at Dubai show are offering special packages and flexible payment plans to end-users and investors
Property deals galore at Cityscape Global in Dubai this week
Property buyers from around the Arabian Gulf and beyond are gearing up for a three-day deal bonanza in Dubai as developers, for the first time in years, are allowed to sell properties at Cityscape Global, the region’s premier property showcase and an annual barometer for the health of the emirate’s real estate sector.
The move in July by the emirate's authorities to allow sales at the event, running from September 11 to 13 at Dubai World Trade Centre, is a sign of increasing confidence in the property market and will be well received by the investors, analysts say.
Developers have been busy since receiving permission to sell their properties in the UAE and are offering flexible payment plans, fee waivers and guaranteed rental yields to end-users and investors. In total, about 300 exhibitors are vying for investors’ attention, offering exclusive deals at the show.
“From buyers’ perspective it is good as they will be able to compare their options with everyone under the same roof. It is quick decision making,” said Tariq Qaqish, the managing director of asset management at Menacorp. “The buyers should expect incentives and competitive offerings from the developers as they will try and do as much business as they can.”
Some of the big-name real estate firms such as Dubai-listed Damac Properties, Deyaar, Tiger Properties Jumeirah Golf Estates, RKM Durar Properties and Asteco have put tother special offers for prospective buyers of luxury and affordable housing units. Abu Dhabi’s Aldar Properties, the biggest listed developer in the emirate, is also kicking off sales of its Dh2.4 billion Water’s Edge development, its second mid-market project this year, at Cityscape. A variety of new project launches from local and international companies such as Azizi Developers, Bloom Properties, Binghatti, Compass Real Estate, Garanti Koza and Tebyan are also expected over the course of the event, according to Cityscape organisers.
The big name that is missing from this year’s show however, is the UAE’s top publically-traded developer, Emaar Properties. While Cityscape Global has been a significant platform to showcase property developments in the country, the firm is not participating in the event “as part of the strategy to move the complete marketing strategy on digital platforms”, a company spokesperson told The National.
The property market in the UAE, especially Dubai, had recovered well after the 2008 financial crisis but has faced headwinds in the past two years amid an economic slowdown and the oil price slump that has dented investor confidence. Values and rental yields have remained under pressure and the UK consultancy Cluttons expects Dubai rents to end the year about 5 to 7 per cent lower than last year. There are fears of oversupply in the market by 2020. According to the property consultancy Core Savills' latest annual survey, eight out of 10 respondents do not believe the sector has fully recovered.
However, the resilience of Dubai’s economy, which grew by 2.9 per cent in 2016 and is expected to expand by 2.7 per cent in 2017 and 3.4 per cent next year, is a big confidence booster for investors. While Dubai’s economic diversification programme is helping economic growth, the Government’s huge spending plan for Expo 2020 is also expected to support the demand for properties in the emirate.
“Confidence is returning to the residential property market in Dubai and this is underpinned by a variety of factors,” said Taimur Khan, a senior analyst at Knight Frank. “The residential property market in Dubai, where in the 12 months to August 2017 we have seen prices fall 1 per cent, a year earlier prices were falling by around 3 per cent. Owner-occupiers and investors are recognising Dubai's growth potential.”
Direct sales at Cityscape were discontinued in 2008 as authorities wanted to curb speculative buying and practice of "flipping" - buying a property and then selling on to make a fast profit. However, the market and buyers have matured over the years given the softer market conditions and speculators are rare nowadays, according to Lukman Hajje, the chief commercial officer at Propertyfinder Group.
''The sales ban was implemented to stop short-term speculative flipping frenzies, which were unhealthy for the market. Buyers are now more informed in today's market,” he said.