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Impact of Expo 2020 on the Real Estate Market in Dubai

The government of the kingdom calls Expo 2020, yet keeps the same name as original for branding purpose, “the largest event ever happened in Middles East stretching for 173 days long, hosting 190 countries and attracting millions of visitors around the world. Showcasing the multiple themed shows promoting innovation technology and sustainability not only in the region but of the world.”

Yes, a long awaited expo is finally taking place in UAE this October. Back in 2013, The general assembly of The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) in Paris appointed Dubai with a prestigious right to organize the top global event Expo 2020. Expo 2020 (Arabic: إكسبو 2020‎) directed by Reem Al Hashimi with a theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” initially was scheduled for 20 October 2020 – 10 April 2021. However, it was postponed rather than canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic globally, having stated the new dates are 1 October 2021 – 31 March 2022 now. The organizers have decided to keep the name for marketing concerns, in spite of being postponed, have set the main site of Expo 2020 located between Dubai and Abu Dhabi in an area spanning 438-hectare master planned by an American firm HOK.

Dubai has made humongous investments in Real Estate and has announced a world’s biggest Solar Power Project set to start this year. Thus major highlights of the event’s purposefulness will be investments in real estate and economic growth as well as public affairs. Apart from bringing money, the country is keen on focusing on world’s sustainability and environmental change. Which is why the whole event has been sub-themed in three groups namely Sustainability, Opportunity and Mobility.  

Expos in the past have drastically changed the host countries, so is being forecasted to occur in Dubai this year. Billion dollars cost in effort to showcase such event, the organizers expect at least 20 million visitors both from overseas and domestic visitors to the site. Ernst & Young noted in their latest assessment that Expo is expected to create 49,700 full-time jobs this year and contribute AED 122.6 B to the Dubai’s economy.

In 2020, the property market in Dubai saw the most transactions as there was a considerable decline in the prices of sales and rents. Towards the end of 2020, the off-plan segment had a massive decline whereas secondary market shifted upwards. Many projects slowed down the new phases due to its decline, conversely many developers are hoping for nothing but a positive growth in demand with the help of Expo 2020 coming up and followed by 50th National Day in December 2021. However, as from S&P Global Ratings, it states new launches by developers led to remain minimal throughout the year while transaction volumes kept robust as the affordable rates are persisted.

Staffs are resuming to the office in Dubai quicker than in the rest of the financial hubs, stated by S&P Analysis repost published on 1st March 2021. Previously, the rental and sales of office spaces has seen a huge decline given the current situation where large companies are deferring their offices and the trend of working from home amongst most of the professionals. On the contrary, ecommerce and logistics enterprises have been enjoying the boom in the market demand, consequently, warehouses and storage setups are top sellers in the market now. And many more businesses are opening on online basis from the data of Department of Economic Development in Dubai, as its quite easy to obtain a eTrade business license as an expat. Also Expo 2020 is likely to create a large number of job openings for residents across few sectors including hospitality, architecture, service sectors and infrastructure development sectors.

Dubai’s economy is predicted to maintain 3.8% to 4.6% growth over the next 5 years, stated in London based Capital Economics organizations published papers. There is no doubt that Dubai’s property market is buoyed in a gradual upslope by the much anticipated Expo 2020. A lot of investors are willing to have their base in UAE, as the rules and infrastructure are promising fascinations as any other major cities in the world. Atif Rahman, Director of Danube Properties mentions, “It is the right time to invest in this market because its return yield is glamorously 10-12% this year where investors are able to clock anywhere else in the world averaging between 5 to 6%. Rather than conventional buying and selling, this is about the time for investment for everyone”.

Favorable payment plans and amplified flexibility in loan repayment as well as visa terms for investors are some of the main factors impacted on the rise of Dubai’s real estate market. The policy reforms of past few years and a long awaited Expo are finally dragging investors back to the kingdom. By the data shown on Gulf News, solely for this year, there are total of 19 thousand foreign investors in Dubai with a sum of over AED 35 Billion worth of investments that have been disclosed. The list of foreign investors is being led by Indian investors with Chinese followed being second top investors and the list continues with British, French and Pakistani financiers.

The World Expo 2020 is expected to have a positive and a far-reaching impact on Dubai’s real-estate market. 25 million guests are anticipated to take part in Dubai for the world’s renowned event and 70% of them will be outsiders. This number will surge not only the tourism industry but also larger demand for rental apartments. Apart from many changes in the rules and regulations implementing in the nation, stabilizing the relations with Israel, and normalizing the ties of four Arab countries with Qatar, should directly boost travel and property investments to Dubai.

Final Thoughts

Investments in Dubai real estate industry is vastly projected before, during and after the expo, that will stay to witness the development of high-end residential projects. To conclude, Dubai is all set to experience the growth and welcome the Expo 2020 to watch the devices that extracts water from air, concrete that generates solar power, and the most sensitive radio telescope ever made during the event. The visitors will get to see the ideas of most inspiring architectures and witness the structures that produce electricity, spaces that change shape, buildings that send messages to space while enjoy the world’s greatest entertainment.