AME Info - 30/4/2006
Over US$ 27 billion worth of new projects were announced during Cityscape 2005 and Saudi Arabian companies accounted for more than 25% 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 half of the AED 18 billion Nujoom Islands development project.
Rohan Marwaha, Exhibition Director, Cityscape Dubai, commented,
'Representation from the Kingdom has grown steadily at Cityscape year after year. However due to the amazing amount of new projects that were announced at Cityscape 2005, they have now committed to this year's event in a big way. With eight months still to go, we are confident of further gains from the Saudi market.'
Leading the way to Dubai are major Saudi organisations such as Tanmiyat Group and Dar Al Arkan, who between them have confirmed over 650 square metres of exhibition space, whilst Al Hanoo Holding, Saudi Oger, Jiwar, SNASCO, Diyar Najed, Al Suwadani, Osus and Saudi Amjad make up a total currently exceeding 2,400 square metres.
Mazen Fayed, Corporate Communications Manager of the award-winning Saudi Oger Group, one of the Kingdom's premier construction companies stated. We have increased the size of our stand to 120 square metres and along with other Saudi companies are reaping the benefits of exhibiting at Cityscape. Investors, engineers, developers, brokers and real estate development companies from around the region and beyond, all come together for three days under one roof. Last year's show was astonishing at one stage, billion dollar projects were being announced almost as a matter of routine!'
Due to booming oil prices, the Saudi British Bank has estimated that Saudi Arabia's budget surplus this year will be almost US$ 30 billion. The Saudi stock market index finished 2004 with a massive 76.23% increase and market capitalisation was up 110.14% year on year at US$ 157.3 billion, the region's largest stock market by far. However it remains to be seen just how much of these surplus funds will be committed to real estate projects and where. Traditionally Saudi investments are diverse, covering projects not only in the Middle East, but in USA, Western Europe and throughout Asia.
Record oil revenue has also provided the Saudi government with the means to fulfill their pledge to provide every Saudi citizen with a home. Currently it has one of the fastest growing populations in the region, now estimated to be over 26 million, of which 77% are now Saudi nationals.
Analysts expect development plans for family sized houses alone will be worth approximately US$ 85 billion over the next ten years, other estimates put the number of new dwellings required to meet the projected housing demand over the next 15 years at almost five million, whilst the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce has estimated that the Kingdom requires at least a million new homes within the next five years.
In addition, The Ministry of Education has announced a US$ 4 billion plan to build another 4,000 schools. The Saudi government also plans to upgrade and expand the country's electricity network and water supplies which are mammoth tasks in their own right and just the construction element will consume an estimated US$ 700 million out of the public purse.
However, on the mega-project front, the mother of all Saudi projects must be the King Abdullah Economic City, near Jeddah which is being developed by Emaar Properties at a cost of a cool US$26 billion. Not to be left out, UK construction giant Bovis and top UK architect Foster & Partners, have been linked to plans to develop a new city of 750,000 new homes with a price tag of US$16 billion.
'This not only demonstrates the exceptional strength of Saudi investors (public and private) and developers, it also underscores the buoyant mood throughout the regional market. The premiership status of Cityscape 2006 is undeniable,' claimed Marwaha.
Due to the overwhelming success of Cityscape 2005, IIR the organisers, had already doubled the amount of exhibition space to accommodate increased demand. The total size of this year's event is over 16,000 square metres, of which over 80% has already been sold.
'At this rate all exhibition space will be sold by the summer, guaranteeing another record-breaking show,' added Marwaha.