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Wed 14 Oct 2009 02:58 PM

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Cityscape Dubai visitors down 50% on 2008

UPDATE 2: Property show organisers say they are not surprised by big decrease.

Visitor numbers at the post-downturn Cityscape Dubai fell by around 50 percent on the previous year, organisers said on Wednesday.

Around 38,000 people visited Dubai's premier property show over the four days earlier in October while the number of exhibitors were down from 340 to 218.

Rohan Marwaha, managing director of Cityscape Dubai, said he was not surprised by the turnout and claimed that Cityscape held up well by international standards.

"We saw a shift back to market fundamentals at Cityscape Dubai this year. The speculators and other amateur investors were conspicuous by their absence as were any hint of unrealistic or dazzling developments. The mood was sober and professional. However compared with other real estate events in Europe and Asia, Cityscape by comparison was very well supported," he said.

He added that international participation increased as a year-on-year percentage, with stands from Sudan, Angola, Paris, and companies from Canada and Australia, complemented by a healthy regional presence which extended across the GCC and Iraq.

Marwaha said the changing dynamics of the industry may well lead to further changes to Cityscape in the year ahead.

"We will continue to tailor this event to meet the requirements of real estate professionals, whether locally, regionally or internationally," he said.

With no high-profile launches that have characterised previous exhibitions, the main themes were realism and transparency as Dubai has suffered under the strain of the global economic crisis.

Property prices in the emirate have fallen by up to 50 percent from their 2008 peaks and many developers who exhibited at Cityscape believed prices still had further to fall.

The Cityscape Intelligence Focus On Dubai Report stated 472 commercial, residential and hospitality projects have been cancelled or on put on hold - but it also found the UAE retains "an extraordinary level of construction activity across all sectors and the total value of UAE projects in the study comes to around $900 billion".

Jones Lang LaSalle, which released its MENA Real Estate Investor Sentiment Survey, identified Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Saudi Arabia as the first real estate markets to bounce back regionally "due to their strong economic fundamentals and visionary government initiatives".

John 9 years ago

Totally full marks for Cityscape for being open and honest, and let this candour set the tone for future property discussions. The reality is not pretty, but spin and dishonesty seem to be finding they are unwanted in the current climate of open discussion. They could have cancelled Cityscape but they didn't and for that there is a load of respect due. Clearly the organisers lost money, but their credibility is intact, and next year is next year, a long time in property.

Maninder Pal Singh 9 years ago

Economic History is a proof.No Country(particularly US, Singapore,Japan and others) has witnessed boom within 1-2 years after Property Crashes all round the world, It took them 5-10 years to revive their property markets. And i donot Understand How Dubai govt. is predicting boom next year in property. Dubai has a very good vision but no planning approach.

Omar 9 years ago

This confirms my previous comments. 50% is still OK (C but not F). Jon - What money lost??? They just make money!They lose from their profits only!!!! We are the poor ones!They have been making BILLIONS so a few millions only this year with this GLOBAL crisis is not the end of the world! I saw their employees partying in Madinat Jumeirat after the event! One comment last time was very sharp: It's not how many people visitied but rather how many deals closed: I can say that very few most probably but this year CS was a test / show and even for that exercise, it's still money / productive / important! Real estate market in Dubai is going through the down turn. Yet, Dubai will not be a ghost town like some predict / anticipate! The demand will remain and grow on the long run and for genuine investors, the long term factor is the most important unlike small agents who got used to the last year's crazy daily transactions! It was those small agents who brought problems to the market! In brief, CS 09 was a good test for Dubai and it was a C by all business standards! Well done organizers!You are really professional! Well done Sheikh Mohammed who had a wise decision to have Emaar and Nakheel back to CS after their decision to omit CS09. Hope that CS10 will see an improvement. How much improvement: Time will tell!

Paolo C 9 years ago

Dubai will become hub of developing countries, not part of a modern world. Investors rights are pure farce.

Omar 9 years ago

I permit myself to comment bcz i speak Italian and used to live there! 1- What modern world Signore?UAE is ahead of Italy in terms of least corrupt coutntries as per the UN classification. 2- Thank God UAE does not have such a turbulent political and judiciary system like Italy. No elections yet stable government is indeed much better than a yearly government! 3- Do not you know that MILLIONS of Italians leave Italy bcz of its hopeless system and that thousands of them are here in UAE!That's why Alitalia flies daily to Dubai using large planes instead of the previous Airbus 321! 4- You can not compare Italy to Dubai. Apple to Orange! Italy is one of the world's oldest countries while UAE is just 37 years old. Yet, UAE is achieving a lot! 5- Go around in Italy an dsay i come from Dubai and see how people will salute you! 6- Even top Italians like Armani and Versace are considering UAE as one of their global centres! For Armani, Dubai is the 1st location for his hotels! Sending random comments like that would just show how vague opinions are! Grazie Mille!

billhicks42 9 years ago In a down market, prices should be adjusted to maintain sales.

Jon 9 years ago

you know, i see your name now and just skip to the next comment. i don't bother reading your one sided drivel anymore - and I'm sure I'm not the only one..

Jonny Jones 9 years ago

Those amatuer investors the organiser talks about were the ones that kept Dubai afloat during its boom by buying property, with a huge amount sitting very pretty now on large cash sums made from the market. Although Cityscape claims to be a 'trade show' it never has been and any visitor who has attended will see that.....let us all hope these 'amatuer' investors return soon as it will show the market is recovering, if only all those professionals out there including Cityscape organisers and its information service had predicted the slump? Aren't they the amatuers?

Paolo C 9 years ago

This article is not about a comparison. It's about the fact that the interest for your country has dropped drastically. Let's be onest, it has disappeared almost completely from western countries. Why? Because the crisis has showed the real face of a community, which is not mature enough to face the task it had in mind. You cannot build a future based on a facade and on promises (which in fact are not kept). Dubai has some extraordinary things to show, but they are not build from you, engineered from you or manufactured from you. Self appraisal helps you stand up, but education and culture gets you walking alone.