Five minutes with…Tom Rhodes, exhibition director at Cityscape Global

The annual property exhibition in Dubai will hold its 16th edition in September



1. What can we expect from Cityscape Global in Dubai this September?

This year’s Cityscape Global is set up to be another great event, with returning exhibitors such as Al Marjan Island, Azizi Developments, Binghatti Developers, DAMAC properties, Dubai Holding, Nakheel and Union Properties showcasing a vast array of new projects alongside first time and returning exhibitors; NorthAcre, IGO, Jumeriah Golf Estates, Oriental Pearls, and Imkan Properties. There will also be projects on show from across the globe, highlighting a wide selection of investment potential.

Kicking off the week on the September 10th will be the Cityscape Conference which will welcome over 1,000 delegates representing leading global real estate organisations and GCC government offices.

Under the theme ‘Changing the Industry’, we will see key topics addressed such as the Legacy Plan for Expo 2020, an update on the regulatory landscape in Dubai by RERA CEO Marwan Bin Ghalita, as well as a live interview at the beginning of the day with Naguib Sawiris, executive chairman of OTMT Investments.

2. Developers with UAE projects have received approval to sell directly from their stands at the event this year. What kind of an impact will the move have?

Cityscape is the region’s meeting point for the real estate market and has been so for the past 16 years, generating opportunities to create future business and brand awareness in a highly competitive market.

Working closely with RERA, we are now delighted to allow onsite sales to take place for UAE registered projects in accordance with local authority guidelines.

We anticipate several offers will be on show, giving visitors to the exhibition an opportunity to avail special rates/payment plans that are currently not out in the market. We strongly encourage everyone looking at a new property purchase, investment, or looking for industry updates to attend the event and benefit from this new opportunity.

3. Market reports claim residential property transactions in Dubai have dropped this year. Is the market set to soften further? Where do you feel it is headed?

We have seen recent reports indicating that the real estate market in Dubai is set to turn. Following a couple of years of softening prices, recent reports suggest we may be coming to an end of this period, with data from REIDIN showing that house prices in the three months leading up to May 2017 declined by 0.14 per cent, compared to 5.75 per cent in the last two years. However, with new supply set to come into the market in the coming years, this will need to be monitored closely to ensure the market doesn’t become flooded.

However, properties in Dubai offer a strong yield to investors – touching 7.5 per cent in most apartment areas, and 5.5 per cent in the mid-market housing market, as revealed in certain reports. This is a great proposition for those looking to invest, or buy their own property.

I feel the trend will continue towards the mid-income market. We are looking forward to seeing what our developers will be showcasing this year, and what attractive payment plans will be on offer.

4. Coming back to the event this year, do you see a greater focus from exhibitors on affordable housing in Dubai?

With around 65 per cent of Dubai residents representing this segment, it is clear that many of our developers are incorporating a more affordable product into their projects.

As well as developers who are already established in this segment, we are seeing companies such as Aldar launching projects with great success at the mid-income market.

Already we have attractive options from Azizi Developments, Danube, Dubai South, MAG PD, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Sobha Group, Deyaar, and Union Properties with projects targeting this section of the market and we look forward to announcing more projects in the run up to the exhibition.

5. Also, are you seeing more international participation?

We will see strong participation from Bahrain, Cyprus, Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt, and the UK this year, with 23 countries in total currently being represented by exhibitors. Our visitor base has always given a strong international mix with participants from 86 countries attending in 2016. This is a number we expect to reach and surpass this year as we see Cityscape Global generate wider international recognition.

The strongest attendance is still from the UAE, which we expect due to the positioning of the show, and the strong exhibitor base from the region supporting the event.

6. Lastly, what are your future plans for Cityscape Global?

Cityscape Global continues to support the market and create connections within real estate, bringing a global investor base closer together under one roof. We have gone to great lengths to improve the show offerings, making the show a ‘smart event’ with the implementation of Konduko, a lead generation system allowing our clients to offer a ‘digital handshake’ to create much stronger post-show lead information.

We will continue to invest in our online offering – Cityscape Online – which facilitates constant interaction between real estate developers, brokers, investors, homebuyers and other stakeholders.

Gulf Business is the media partner of Cityscape Global, which takes place from September 11-13 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Click here for more details

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