Cityscape Abu Dhabi to start amid improving sentiment
More than 100 real estate developers are expected to showcase projects at the Cityscape property exhibition in Abu Dhabi this week, as recovering oil prices and a slower rate of price declines rejuvenates investor sentiment.
“We are confident that the attendance figure will exceed last year’s 17,549 participants,” Carlo Schembri, exhibition manager at the annual conference that takes place in Abu Dhabi from today to Thursday and in Dubai later this year, told The National. “A significant number of new exhibitors taking part this year come from Sharjah and Dubai, which is a promising sign that Emirati-led companies are playing a role in the show’s growth.”
Among the five biggest projects on show at Cityscape are Sharjah developer Arada’s $6.5 billion Aljada mega-community, and the 18-hectare Makers’ District in Abu Dhabi, whose developer Imkan will market Pixel, the scheme’s first mixed-use destination on Reem Island.
Aldar will market at Cityscape the first phase of its planned Dh10bn Alghadeer master plan that it unveiled yesterday. Other projects to be showcased at Cityscape include Binghatti Developers’ Dh400m Millennium Binghatti Residences along Dubai Water Canal in Business Bay, and Azizi Developments’ Meydan Avenue, a mixed-use scheme close to the 4.36-million-square-metre freehold scheme, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City and Meydan Racecourse.
Last year’s Cityscape Abu Dhabi was a “fruitful” event for exhibitors, Mr Schembri said, although he declined to reveal the estimated value of deals conducted during the show. Listed real estate developer Aldar Properties sold out homes in the first two towers of its The Bridges scheme at last year’s event, with a total value of Dh400m, while Sharjah’s Tilal Properties said it achieved around Dh8m of sales.
The 2017 post-show survey showed that 63 per cent of visitors “expressed interest in making a purchase from an exhibitor within the next 12 months”, he said.
The UAE property market has slowed in recent years, but increased interest from investors in the first few months of 2018 suggests a more optimistic sentiment, even if this has yet to have an impact on property prices, analysts said, and this is likely to provide a boost to activity at this year’s Cityscape.
“Prices have been softening for a while now, but it appears they are starting to plateau,” said Faisal Durrani, head of research at real estate consultancy Cluttons.
“At the top of the market – let’s take Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island, which remains the most expensive place to buy residential property in the emirate – residential sales prices have seen no [downward] movement for two quarters, indicating some price stabilisation. We are starting to see a return of purchasing activity as a result.”