By Andy Sambidge
UAE predicted to lead growth in new buildings, infrastructure over next decade - EC Harris
A new report tracking the value of built assets worldwide has predicted that the Middle East is likely to be the fastest-growing region in terms of new building wealth created over the next decade.
Along with Singapore and Brazil, the EC Harris Built Asset Wealth Index said the UAE is expected to be the highest climber over the coming decade as built asset wealth is expected to grow by two percent to $1.69trn, moving the UAE up two places to 23rd in the global rankings.
EC Harris said over the next 10 years, the stock of built assets in the Middle East is set to rise by 63 percent to $8.7trn.
The report also said that while Qatar currently ranks among the countries with the lowest building wealth (currently estimated at around $300bn), it has the fourth-wealthiest level of per capita building wealth at $143,000 - behind Singapore ($156,000), Japan and Australia.
The report also said the Gulf state had the fastest-growing market per capita last year at 8.4 percent.
Regionally, built asset wealth per person in the Middle East is $30,676, ahead of Asia ($25,848) but behind Latin America, Europe and North America.
However, the average built asset wealth per person across Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE is $112,842.
Conducted in conjunction with the Centre for Economic and Business Research, the Global Built Asset Wealth Index quantifies the accumulated wealth of 30 countries' built assets - encompassing all the property and infrastructure that contributes to economic productivity - to present an alternative indicator of economic health and growth potential.
The top ten nations on the EC Harris Global Built Asset Wealth Index did not include any countries from Middle East nations, with Saudi Arabia coming in 20th position, UAE in 25th and Qatar 30th.
The list was topped by the US ($39.7trn), followed by China, Japan, India and Germany.
Terry Tommason, head of property and social infrastructure, Middle East at EC Harris, said: "Given the relative size of countries like Qatar and the UAE compared to countries like the USA and China, it's no surprise that the Middle East does not currently have the highest value of built asset stock on the global stage.
"However, what is striking is that the Middle East is set to outpace its global rivals when it comes to the pace of projected growth; and it already outshines much of the rest of the world on built asset wealth per person.
He added: "In the Middle Eastern nations, we are seeing additional investment in the built environment as a social as well as an economic enabler.
"Where some countries have neglected the development of social infrastructure such as housing, education and hospitals, Qatar is committed to developing this sector to ensure its development as a nation is sustainable for the long term future benefit of its population."
Infrastructure should not be a separate asset class. Investors either own it as equity or hold its debt. http://alfidicapitalblog.blogspot.com/2013/09/infrastructure-as-separate-asset-class.html