Friday 3 February 2023

New-look Cityscape Dubai aims to accelerate property investment

DUBAI, November 15, 2022

By R Sushil Nair
Cityscape Dubai, the UAE's leading property event which kicks off next week in Dubai, will sport a new look with organisers shifting strategy to accelerate major local, regional and global investment into the emirate’s booming property market. 
“The experience at Cityscape Dubai 2022 has been altered to better connect individual buyers, consultants and private property investors with leading developers and real estate brokers,” says Alex Heuff, Exhibitions Director at Cityscape Dubai, in an exclusive interview with TradeArabia/Gulf Construction Online. 
Cityscape will open its doors on November 21 at the Dubai World Trade Centre connecting homebuyers with leading developers and providing visitors endless opportunities to invest in the region's booming real estate market over the three-day event. 
The real estate landscape in the UAE is consistently evolving. Over the past year, there has been a huge demand for off-plan properties as well as recreational and entertainment spaces across the UAE. The commercial real estate space is also in big demand, so 2023 could be a big year for that sector as well, says Heuff.
Excerpts from the interview:
It is reported that Cityscape Dubai will have a new look this year. What are the changes visitors can expect? 
The objective of the strategy shift is to continue increasing the quantity and value of real estate transactions in Dubai as buying a home, especially your first, is a big moment – and it is clear more and more people are living that moment in the emirate. With a fresh approach to this year’s edition, we are providing practical support to help homebuyers make informed decisions courtesy the expert financial and homebuying advisors that will be present to offer professional advice. 
With some of the region’s leading real estate developers already signed up, we will showcase the latest projects – both off-plan and ready-to-live – that are ready to purchase there and then.
Also, usually an invite-only event, this year the ‘Cityscape Intelligence Talks’ will be open to the public, encouraging all visitors to engage with key speakers from government organizations, prominent real estate companies, and industry analysts to learn more about the market, prior to purchasing a property. 
In addition to all of this, Cityscape will offer visitors an opportunity to relax and network over a beverage as the event will see a licensed bar for the first time ever.  
What are the key focus areas of the show conferences? 
This year, the Cityscape Intelligence Talks will take place on the show floor giving all visitors access to industry experts. The Talks will highlight sustainability and the region’s efforts to achieve their Net Zero targets, share insights into the region’s market trends, introduce CityscapeWIRE: Women in Real Estate discussing the importance of women in the board room and how to strengthen relationships between women in the industry and Dubai’s 2040’s Urban Masterplan discussing the growth and regrowth strategies. 
How is the response for the show from exhibitors? How do you see visitor numbers this year? 
Compared to previous years, our exhibitor line-up is exceptional. Not only do we have an influx of local developers, but we are also seeing an increase in the number of international companies vying to attend the exhibition this year.  Four countries – Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey, and Azerbaijan – are to mount country pavilions at the show. Turkey hopes to consolidate its profile as an investment destination of choice with its pavilion participants including some of the country’s most respected developers including Ems Yapi, D Vizyon and Areas Insaat. Pakistan meanwhile is looking to ride a wave of positive forecasts for its real estate sector which analysts predict will benefit from a renewed focus on sustainable urban development. Key Pakistan exhibitors are Premier Choice Giga GRO and DCC Developments.
Visitors attending Cityscape Dubai 2022 will be coming from all over the world as Dubai is a cosmopolitan city with a heavy focus on expats. For this year, our key visitor markets include India, UK, Russia, China, Ukraine, Turkey, Canada, Pakistan, Italy, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Germany. 
For both exhibitors and visitors, we are tracking extremely well and are on target against previous editions. 
With Cityscape events happening across the region, how do you differentiate between Cityscape Global and those editions?
In the past Cityscape Dubai followed the same route as Cityscape Global but with the current local market landscape, the 2022 edition has shifted gears to cater to the demands of the public and market. 
Cityscape Dubai focuses specifically on the UAE and domestic expat market with a predominant focus on business to consumer. Visitors will have the opportunity to browse, identify and purchase properties from key developers directly at the exhibition. Other regional Cityscape event still very much cater to the business to business and business to investor markets.
What are the current challenges and opportunities for the regional real estate market today? 
As markets across the world are still seeing levels of high volatility, one of the biggest challenges we continuously face is inflation. The increased inflation makes it more expensive for potential homebuyers to take home loans and decisions are delayed until inflation and home loan rates reduce. We have also witnessed difficulty in supply, particularly in the luxury real estate sector. 
That being said, there is incredible opportunity for the industry. Recently, the UAE government has introduced the investment visa where potential investors can purchase a residential property worth AED 1 million which results in a visa that can also be used to sponsor other dependents. The recently instated law has opened doors to the world and Cityscape Dubai will provide the perfect platform for local and international investors to meet with key developers.  
What are the major trends you see going into 2023 and beyond? 
The real estate landscape in the UAE is consistently evolving. Over the past year, we have already seen a huge rise in demand for off-plan properties. There has also been a spike in the growth and focus on the recreational and entertainment spaces across the UAE. We expect these trends to pick up in 2023 and are excited to see how these trends impact and evolve the current real estate landscape. The commercial real estate space is also becoming more in demand, so 2023 could be a big year for that sector.
Will Cityscape Global be both in-person and virtual elements?  
As live events have been re-introduced to the market over the past 18 or so months, Cityscape Dubai 2022 will be a pure face-to-face event. Feedback from both exhibitors and visitors is that being able to engage with developers or potential customers is so important. Also, potential homebuyers like to see off-plan models up close and browse at their own leisure.
How do you see disruptive technologies such as AI, blockchain, 3D printing, impacting the real estate sector? 
Rather than seeing these technologies as disruptive threats, the development of Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, 3D printing and so on are opportunities that the real estate industry is slowly capitalising on. 
AI has opened doors to online brokers as it enables their customers to view and gain access to upcoming projects from anywhere in the world. Three-dimensional printing has also changed the architecture and design industry, allowing architects to become more creative and increasing accuracy. 
This has invariably impacted real estate in a positive manner. Depending on how blockchain is implemented, it could be more of a midterm threat, but ultimately we need to see how it develops. We’ll have to keep an eye out to see how it truly impacts the real estate sector. 
Is there a focus on sustainability in real estate sector at Cityscape? 
Sustainability has become a focus for Cityscape in recent years and you can see this translate through our Cityscape Intelligence Talks. This year we have included a specific section addressing sustainability topics such as technology being crucial to achieving global sustainability goals and a closer look at the biggest contributors to global emissions. 
We will also have experts look at how Dubai is accelerating the journey towards Net Zero in the region. Lastly, we will also be encouraging visitors to take an Informa Pledge in line with the city’s sustainability goals to outline how they can and will make a difference.


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