Saudi Steps On To World Property Stage
Participation by Saudi Arabian property developers at Cityscape Dubai has leapt by a massive 110 per cent, in just one year. The organisers of the world’s largest international B2B real estate event are said to be overwhelmed by the response from Saudi Arabia as a rapidly emerging investment opportunity in the worldwide property market.
Rohan Marwaha, Group Development Director, Cityscape Dubai, commented: “At Cityscape 2005 we had 1,200 square metres of space booked by Saudi companies. This year the figure has jumped to a massive 2,500 square metres, with around twenty majors player from the Kingdom participating.”
Cityscape Dubai, which is being held at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre, on 4-6 December 2006, is attracting Saudi heavyweights such as Dar Al Arkan, Jiwar RE Management, Marketing & Development Co, Tanmiyat Group, SG Holdings, SNASCO, Emaar Saudi Arabia, Ketaf and Almoary Real Estate Co., Arriyadh Development Authority and Cayan Investment & Development .
Determined to get its fair share of the escalating Middle East property market, Saudi Arabia is capitalising on strong oil prices which are providing massive budget surpluses. The Saudi British Bank has estimated that Saudi Arabia’s 2006 budget surplus will be almost US$ 30 billion. The Saudi stock market index (TASI), is by far the region’s largest and most influential, despite market corrections since March earlier this year.
Over US$27 billion worth of business was announced during Cityscape 2005 and Saudi Arabian companies accounted for more than 25 per cent of that figure. One of the most spectacular announcements was made by Al Hanoo, who within a few hours of the opening ceremony had sold 20 per cent of the AED 18 billion Nujoom Islands development project.
The kingdom is witnessing a period of unprecedented progressive development. King Abdullah Economic City, near Jeddah is being developed by Emaar Properties at a cost of US$26 billion. The most recent scheme to be announced was an $8 billion project for Hail – the Prince Abdulaziz Bin Mosad Economic City. Local and regional investors, including those from Kuwait and Bahrain took stakes in a new company, Rakisah Holding, to further the scheme.
The Saudi government has pledged to provide every Saudi citizen with a home. The country has one of the fastest growing populations in the region, now estimated to be over 26 million, of which 77 per cent are now Saudi nationals. In addition, The Ministry of Education has announced a US$ 4 billion plan to build 4,000 schools. The Saudi government also plans to upgrade and expand the country's electricity network and water supplies, the construction of which will cost an estimated US$ 700 million out of the public purse.
“Saudi investors, both public and private, as well as developers have an incredible strength. The increased participation this year is a barometer for the current state of the Saudi market. It’s robust, dynamic and open for progressive development,” added Marwaha.
© 2006 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)