Monday, April 28, 2014

GCC Invests Heavily In Turkish Real Estate

Demand for luxury residences in upmarket districts of Istanbul continues to rise, fueled by buyers from the Middle East who are also attracted by investment opportunities presented by developments in the city’s growing suburbs, said Turkish property agency Spot Blue International Property in April.

In March 2014 alone, foreigners bought 478 properties in Istanbul, out of a nationwide total of 1,362, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute. Istanbul accounted for 20 percent of all property transactions in Turkey during March. Evidence suggests that districts such as Bebek and Nişantaşı on the European side of the city, and Başdat Street on the Asian side are helping to drive foreign sales, as they attract an increasing number of wealthy citizens from the Gulf Nations. Sales to foreigners are further boosted by Middle Eastern investors targeting buy-to-let opportunities in residential developments in the suburban districts of Bahcesehir, Sariyer, Beylikduzu, Arnavutkoy and Esenyurt.

“The Gulf-Turkish affair is gaining momentum,” said Julian Walker, director at Spot Blue International Property. “Only this month, Istanbul hosted an investment summit during which Turkish President Abdullah Gul invited investors from Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to come to Turkey. Earlier in the year, a Turkish delegation was in Qatar promoting Turkey while a Kuwait Turkish Real Estate Forum will take place in Kuwait at the end of April. At Spot Blue we have seen a rise in interest from Kuwaitis and Qataris in particular in recent weeks. For Gulf investors, Istanbul is an attractive stepping stone between the East and West, as well as a place to be seen.”

Confidence in Istanbul’s property market has been boosted by a series of infrastructure projects set in motion by the governing AK Party, including a new mega airport and improved transport links between the Asian and European sides of the city, as well as an extension of the underground. In addition, $50 Billion has been committed to re-developing entire districts to ensure all buildings are earthquake proof. Construction is currently Turkey’s biggest industry sector.

Growth in Istanbul’s real estate market is unmatched by European markets, most of which remain depressed, and price growth is occurring at similar levels to London. “Typical buy-to-let investments are in the $150,000 to $200,000 bracket,” continued Julian Walker. “The market is moving quickly though. Our representative in Istanbul reports that new apartments in prime areas of Beylikduzu that were on the market six months ago for $80,000 could be worth circa $100,000 once the development is completed later in the year.”

Complementing Istanbul’s growing status amongst the international jet set is its increasing appeal to tourists. The city was voted the best place to visit in the world in this year’s TripAdvisor Awards, while 35 million people visited the country as a whole last year, a 10 percent increase over 2012, according to the country’s Culture and Tourism Ministry.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

$4 Trillion Construction Boom In MENA Region!

With more than $40bn worth of new contracts awarded in the six-nation GCC alone in the first quarter, the projects markets of the Middle East are set to enjoy a record-breaking year in 2014.

So far, the high profile projects that have been awarded include the $12bn Kuwait National Petroleum Company’s Clean Fuels Project; Qatar’s Ashgal has so far awarded over $3bn for the Expressway and LRDP projects; Abu Dhabi’s Musanada has awarded over $1bn worth of contracts for the Mafraq-Ghuweifat Road Development project; Qrail has awarded $700mn worth of contracts for the Elevated Section of the Doha Metro’s Red Line South project; and Al Reem Island in the UAE has awarded the main contract with a value of $705mn.

MEED's (Middle East Economic Digest's) latest forecast is that new contract awards in the GCC will approach $150bn in the year ending 2014 compared with about $135bn in the previous 12 months. The project boom encompasses all six markets and extends across all sectors.

Confidence is being further lifted by the irresistible rise in project spending in Iraq where oil production last year reached an all-time high of more than 3m b/d. At least $20bn of new contracts are expected to be placed in Iraq by the end of 2014 in a capital investment program that will establish the country as one of the most exciting prospects in the world for the local, regional and global construction industry.

Figures compiled by MEED Projects show that a total of almost $2.5 TRILLION worth of contracts are planned or under way in the GCC. A further $500bn worth of projects are at a similar stage in Iraq. For the MENA region as a whole, more than $4 TRILLION worth of projects are planned or under way.

This vast, varied and challenging opportunity will be comprehensively reviewed in MEED’s annual Arabian World Construction Summit (AWCS) which opens in the Sofitel Hotel on Palm Jumeirah on 12 May.

More than 60 speakers representing all high-growth Middle East construction markets and the region’s largest  project sectors will address the event.

Among the highlights of the summit includes a keynote session on developing “Solution-based Delivery Strategies for the Region’s Complex Construction Projects. Dr. Faysal Alaquil, Director, Department of Business Development & CSR, Construction Products Holding Company (CPC) of Saudi Arabia, a Strategic Partner of the event, says the complexity of the Mega Projects either underway or in the pipeline requires contractors to design and execute to the highest quality standards available. “We will share a number of building solutions that will help transform these projects from concept and design to physical realities that are not only of the highest technical standards, but conform to sustainable and environmental practices.”

Across the region, there is a greater need for social and housing capacity. In the past six years, according data collated by MEED Projects, residential projects comprised 29 percent of total construction projects awarded during the period, followed by mixed use projects at 18 percent.

With real estate opportunities back to pre-bust days, meeting the growing demand for private residential and social housing developments will be of paramount importance. Imad Ghantous, Managing Director-Property, Hyder Consulting Middle East, says “rapid population growth will be a key driver of this continued growth in the construction sector, with a particular focus on residential and social infrastructure projects.” Experts currently estimate that the region’s population is expected to grow to more than 600 million by 2030, from around 340 million today.

Saudi Arabia, the Middle East’s biggest project market which is expected to witness more than $70bn of projects awarded in 2014, will once again be at the heart of the conference. Speakers will review the trends in the Kingdom’s construction industry and evaluate the opportunities in energy, water, rail, port and real estate markets. Special attention will be paid to the remarkable King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Rabigh where one of the world’s largest new ports started operations earlier this year, and progress on the Jeddah Kingdom Tower, the world’s tallest building, and the supporting development. A special presentation will be delivered by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), the largest new airport client in the Middle East.

The UAE will get special attention as investment in the federation starts in the race to the opening of the World Expo in Dubai. More than $100bn worth of new projects are on the agenda for the Emirate which expects 25m people to visit the six-month expo. The conference will review some of the largest real estate developments in Dubai including exciting projects being developed by Meraas Holdings.

Other markets to be reviewed will include Oman, Bahrain, Iraq and Egypt where 40 Mega Projects worth more than $500m are planned or under way.

The challenge of delivering complex, multi-component Mega Projects will be one of the key themes of AWCS 2014. Regional and global experts in Mega Project delivery and the role high-level program management can play in bringing Mega Projects in on time and budget will be among the primary topics of the event.

“The AWCS was launched in 2007 and is established as the premier annual event for major clients and senior construction industry executives working in the Middle East Mega Project market,” says MEED Events Chairman Edmund O’Sullivan. “This year, the delegates will learn about the widest range of new projects and construction opportunities since the first AWCS opened seven years ago. I’m confident they will leave inspired to intensify their efforts across the region.”

As the premier construction event in the region, AWCS has been able to enlist the support of CPC and HSBC as Strategic Event Sponsors; Hyder Consulting and Six Construct as Gold Sponsors; Projacs, AGIS and Mashreq as Silver Sponsors; Drake & Scull, Hill International, Zurich and AKSA as Conference Sponsors; Deloitte as Knowledge Partner and EC Harris as Lunch Sponsor.

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