Middle East North Africa real estate in good shape: report


Dubai : The demand-supply dynamic in the real estate sector in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region remains positive, according to a report by a leading real estate consultancy.

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According to the “Q4 2008 MENA Real Estate Overview” released by Colliers, the demand-supply dynamic in the MENA region would remain positive despite the global credit crisis.

However, because of the turmoil in the global financial markets, regional investor sentiment would lean towards a more cautious approach, Colliers said Monday in a statement following the release of the report.

“We believe that the MENA region remains an area of strong potential for real estate investment comparative to other global markets,” Ian Albert, Colliers regional director, said in the statement.

“However, we do foresee a return to fundamentals, especially in the more advanced markets, where strongly differentiated developers with a view to the end-user able to satisfy the market will be best placed to deal with any market correction,” he added.

According to the report, investment activity will shift in focus to properties where quality of product, location strength, supporting leisure and commercial amenities and effective facility management meet end-user requirements.

The report provides comparative key performance indicators across 10 markets in the MENA region – Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Cairo, Doha, Muscat, Amman, Damascus, Khartoum and Tripoli.

“Despite differences in socio-economic, demographic and regulatory factors between the markets, the overview highlights common themes: economic diversification funded by petrodollar liquidity, improvements in regulatory and institutional frameworks, developments shifting from public municipalities to individual (though often government-owned) developers, and the increased demand for and supply of leisure and high-end developments,” the Colliers statement said.

“Across the regional property markets, we’ve seen a case of ‘bandwagon investment’ where secondary tier developers seek to replicate the success of first movers by building similar products en masse,” Albert said.

“In the current climate, market segmentation and product differentiation will be key. We expect those developers that establish themselves as strong brands and deliver quality products should outperform their competitors,” he said.

Common risks, according to the report, include a focus on premium products, an increasing scope for a supply glut caused by copy-cat developments, inflated market speculation and barriers to end-user participation which include entry level prices and access to finance.

The Colliers report was released ahead of the Cityscape 2008 real estate exhibition, which got under way here Monday.

Around 1,500 exhibitors from 150 countries are participating in the event.