Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi’s real estate sector has grown 4.6 per cent over the last five years, with the emirate’s property market forming a key pillar of Abu Dhabi’s drive towards a more diversified economy, said a leading official at the opening of the 11th International Real Estate and Investment Show (IREIS) on Wednesday.
Taking place from the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, the three-day event is aimed at attracting investors into Abu Dhabi’s real estate sector, with several leading government organisations taking part in this year’s event as they look to showcase some of Abu Dhabi’s latest regulations that have made it easier for real estate investors to enter the market.
“When we talk about the real estate [sector] it is part of the vision of the UAE and Abu Dhabi, we have a very clear vision and a very clear strategy to diversity the economy away from oil, and there are non-oil sectors that we rely on,” said Rashid Abdul Karim Al Balooshi, Undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.
“Today, when we look at the last five years we have experienced a growth of 4.6 per cent in real estate, so in the last five years it is growing,” he added.
“If we go back to 2018, we see the real estate and construction [sector] contributed 14.4 per cent of the GDP, and if we dig down into the non-oil GDP we see the portion of the real estate and construction counted 28.2 per cent [of the GDP],” he said, highlighting the real estate’s growing importance to the local economy. For his part, Majid Ahmad Al Jaberi, acting executive director, Real Estates Sector at the Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities (DPM), said the group’s involvement at the event was to be able to meet with potential investors and to raise awareness about Abu Dhabi’s property market and how they can invest.
“Our participation in IREIS 2019 is in line with our strategy to advance the Abu Dhabi real estate sector and raise awareness of its many strengths and leading nature, both regionally and internationally.
“DPM’s participation in IREIS will be themed around providing essential information for investors, real estate developers and landowners. We are aiming to reach out to our stakeholders and advance the transparency of Abu Dhabi’s real estate’s business environment,” he added.
Commenting on Abu Dhabi allowing foreigners to own freehold property — a new regulation that was passed this year — Chris Taylor, chief executive officer at Abu Dhabi Finance, said the new rule would bring in several benefits to the local property market including foreign direct investments (FDI).
“As a financier [there are] three aspects — firstly, it means Abu Dhabi is now on par with Dubai in terms of the regulations which means that’s no longer a conversation when someone is deciding where in the Middle East to look — Dubai or Abu Dhabi,” he said. “That allows Abu Dhabi to leverage its geography which for me has always been the most amazing thing about the emirate, it has a natural geography,” he added.
“Third, when you’re trying to attract FDI, for example when I talk to a rating agency about my mortgage portfolio — whether I can refund or sell it — one of the questions we always get from an SNP or a Moody is well talk to me about the rules and regulations that underpin all of this.
“Two years ago I couldn’t have a sensible conversation in Hong Kong, Singapore or London, and now I can have that conversation and so in the long run it will better the flow of FDI,” he added, explaining how the right to freehold property will boost the property market.