The exhibition will introduce investment assets that are relatively new in Abu Dhabi Image Credit: Supplied

Set against the backdrop of Ghadan 21 (Tomorrow 2021), the Abu Dhabi government’s economic stimulus package that allocates Dh20 billion this year and a total of Dh50 billion over three years, this year’s edition of Cityscape Abu Dhabi opens next week with organisers seeing an upsurge in development confidence resulting from various game-changing government policies. “Recent government initiatives, including the Tomorrow 2021 plan to energise the economy, are aimed at attracting investment in the full range of sectors, with real estate being a key contributor to economic diversification,” said Chris Speller, exhibitions group director at Informa. “Other government initiatives to strengthen the real estate sector include reviewed building regulations, new commercial licence rules, consolidation of real estate players, reduced costs for developers and new visa and foreign ownership rules.”

More than 75 exhibitors, including names such as Aldar, Imkan Properties, Arada, Bloom Holding, Wahat Al Zaweya and Baniyas Investment and Development, will be taking part in the exhibition, which will run from April 17-19 at Adnec. “This year the range of exhibitors and visitors will span the full spectrum of the emirate’s real estate industry,” said Speller. “Cityscape Abu Dhabi serves as a networking platform and investment conduit to seek our opportunities and partners.”

Student housing

This year’s exhibition will feature a number of novel offerings, including student housing, which will be an entirely new type of real estate investment opportunity for many investors. Developer Arada will be presenting a student housing complex called Nest in its lifestyle megaproject, Aljada.

“It allows investors to purchase directly into this lucrative asset class for the first time here in the region,” said Ahmed Alkhoshaibi, CEO of Arada. “Student housing has already proved incredibly popular elsewhere in the world, with $10 billion being spent in this asset class in the US alone during 2018.”

Post-handover payment plans

While showcasing its international projects comprising residential, retail, hospitality and commercial ventures, Imkan will also introduce payment schemes that are new in the Abu Dhabi market. “We are the first developer in Abu Dhabi to introduce post-handover payment plans that are available up to nine years,” said Walid El Hindi, CEO of Imkan Properties. “Both our Nudra and Pixel projects were the first on Saadiyat Island and Reem Island respectively to offer a post-handover payment plan for an off-plan development.”