The UAE has around $1 trillion of built assets, which are projected to further grow by two per cent in the coming decade, according to a survey by consultancy firm EC Harris.
The Global Built Asset Wealth Index quantifies the accumulated wealth of 30 countries’ built assets. Built assets include all the property and infrastructure assets that contribute to economic productivity, and are an alternative indicator of economic health and growth potential.
The stock of built assets across the Middle East is set to rise by 63 per cent to $8.7 trillion by 2022, the survey said.
The Middle East has a built asset wealth per person of $30,676, placing the region ahead of Asia but behind Latin America, Europe and North America.
The average built asset wealth per person across Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE was found to be $112,842.
Despite being the smallest country in the index, Qatar comes fourth in the global rankings with an estimated built asset wealth of $143,000 per person. The country also recorded the highest rate of growth in the built assets wealth per person between 2011 and 2012.
The UAE has an estimated built asset wealth of $122, 809 per person while Saudi Arabia has $72,861 per person.
In the global rankings of countries with the most built wealth assets, Saudi Arabia came 20th, with the UAE in 25th and Qatar in 30th.
“Given the relative size of countries like Qatar and the UAE compared to countries like the USA and China, it’s no surprise that the Middle East does not currently have the highest value of built asset stock on the global stage,” said Terry Tommason, head of property and social infrastructure, Middle East at EC Harris.
“However, what is striking is that the Middle East is set to outpace its global rivals when it comes to the pace of projected growth and it already outshines much of the rest of the world on built asset wealth per person.”
Tommason said that current trends in the global economy indicate that Eastern countries, which have large cash reserves, are investing in their built environment at an unprecedented rate. Western countries, on the other hand, have an ageing built environment but are cash strapped to update it.
“In the Middle Eastern nations, we are seeing additional investment in the built environment as a social as well as an economic enabler,” said Tomasson.
“Where some countries have neglected the development of social infrastructure such as housing, education and hospitals, Qatar is committed to developing this sector to ensure its development as a nation is sustainable for the long term future benefit of its population.”