Optimism hallmarks Cityscape Jeddah

March 16, 2019
File photo of Cityscape Jeddah. — Courtesy photo
File photo of Cityscape Jeddah. — Courtesy photo

JEDDAH — Major moves within Saudi Arabia’s real estate sector, which is being revitalized by government initiatives and Vision 2030 economic diversification plans, are to come under the spotlight at Cityscape Jeddah 2019 — the largest trade show for the development segment within the Kingdom’s commercial capital.

Cityscape Jeddah, which runs at Jeddah Centre For Forums & Events from April 5-7, is expected to be a weathervane to transformative change within the sector and the Kingdom as the government looks for major improvements in real state performance to aid the sector’s overall economic contribution.

The Saudi government has stated its aim of increasing the property sector’s GDP contribution from 5% to 10% by 2020, reducing the average waiting period for citizens to obtain housing financing from 15 years to five, and increasing the household ownership ratio from 47% to 70% by 2030. The government agenda comes as a recent report by international brokers Knight Frank forecasts positive signs for investors, including greater transparency, improved corporate governance and better-quality portfolios among real estate investment trusts (REITS).

Mohaned Yaman, exhibition manager of Cityscape Jeddah, believes the sector’s optimistic outlook is reflected in the presence of both local and international developers at this year’s show. The participating entities will leverage the show to roll-out major new projects to investors and buyers who represent over half of the visitor turnout, which is predicted to top 8,000.

The exhibitor profile includes some of the biggest names within the local, regional and international segment including Aldar Properties, this year’s Principal Sponsor, Arada Development LLC, Architecture & Planning Group (APG), Arton Capital, Top Capital Investment, MSQ Property and the prestigious Aston Martin Residence.

“Interest in the show and its associated workshop and awards program is spiking thanks to government initiatives spurring the sector, high levels of confidence emanating out of the Vision 2030 economic plans, a revitalization of private sector participation, and our new Saudi branch office, which Informa Exhibitions has opened to more actively service this important market place,” explained Yaman.

The Cityscape Jeddah Workshops — supported by Arton Capital, the event’s Global Citizenship Partner, and Gold Workshops Sponsors: JLL and Kohler Middle East — which runs on April 7, have been designed to offer participants unrivalled insights into the government’s strategic objectives. “We anticipate in-depth debate among the leading developers, experts, investors, architects, financiers and government officials who are due to attend,” explained Yaman. “Among workshop topics billed are updates on the economy and the real estate market, specifically looking at understanding supply and demand performance of key market sectors, non-industry factors affecting the real estate market, and mitigating current risk.”

Dedicated panel discussions will look closely at economic diversification and delve into KSA’s tourism and hospitality agenda in line with Vision 2030. The regulatory component, White Land Tax and upcoming PPP schemes will also be major talking points.

“While the government is leading the way, the private sector is waking up to the opportunities for those nurturing the real estate sector,” explained Yaman. “Last year the government launched five housing programs and allocated more than 105,000 residential and financial products. As part of its Sakani program, the government committed to building 19,359 residential units. It’s encouraging to see the Kingdom launching new initiatives and reforms to boost the market.”

Speakers and panelists include representatives of JLL and Mott MacDonald; Amir Lababedi, Managing Director of Development, MENA, Hilton Group; Ahmed Bin Madhi, Director of Asset Management, Rua Al Madinah Holding Company; and Morgan Belsher, Principal Technical Advisor, Infrastructure Finance, Mott MacDonald.

“Over the last few years, Cityscape Jeddah has been the barometer for the Saudi real estate industry and 2019 could prove to be a tipping point for the sector as initiatives take hold. The event has been responsible for fostering partnerships that drive development and investment across the Kingdom, while stimulating discussion around the central factors impacting its real estate sector. This year more than any other, Cityscape’s role of connecting people, cities and ideas will be heightened,” added Yaman.

This year also sees the return of the Cityscape Jeddah Awards, supported by Gold Awards Sponsor JLL, which celebrate excellence in real estate development and architecture across 16 categories for both Built and Future projects with the winners being announced on April 7.

“These awards are a reflection of the advancing maturity of the marketplace,” explained Yaman. “They offer international architects and leading real estate developers a prestigious platform to collaborate and share their vision for the future, from culturally integrated city skylines to sustainable urban communities. They also present an unparalleled opportunity to network with key investors, architects and developers, as industry VIPs converge upon Jeddah to recognize the innovators and initiators behind some of the country’s most high-profile projects.” — SG

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