Lucky 13 ahead for Cityscape Global 2014

Entering its 13th year, the event is attracting growing visitor numbers as it returns to a more local focus.

Last year’s show attracted 32,500 visitors, with even more expected this week. Marwan Naamani / AFP
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The number of companies showcasing property at this year's Cityscape has increased by a quarter on last year.

More than 280 exhibitors will be present, according to the event organiser Informa — a 25.5 per cent increase on the 223 which rented stands a year ago.

Informa said that this year’s exhibition will also take up 24 per cent more space than the previous year with exhibitors filling 31,000 square metres of the Dubai World Trade Centre halls rather than the 25,000 sq metres of a year ago.

The news comes despite reports that property price growth in the emirate is slowing.

The number of visitors Informa expects to attend the show is also set to increase from 32,500 last year to more than 35,000 in 2014.

The growth means that on whatever basis you measure it, the show — the 13th in its history — will be the largest for five years.

“We are seeing a healthy increase in all the key indicators compared with last year,” said Wouter Molman, the director of Cityscape Group.

“There is no doubt that price growth in the first half of 2014 has been less than that of 2013, but we think that is a good thing because the previous growth levels were unsustainable. Certainly there has been an increase in the people wanting to take stands at Cityscape and we currently have a waiting list of people wanting to take space,” he added.

Last week Colliers reported that house price growth in Dubai was stabilising with average prices increasing just 3 per cent in the second quarter of 2014, down from 5 per cent at the end of 2013 and the start of 2014 following the introduction of strict new mortgage lending caps late last year.

“Dubai’s property market made world headlines this year with residential property prices increasing by 20 per cent year-on-year,” said Ian Albert, regional director at Colliers International. “The pace of growth over the last quarter has slowed considerably to a more modest level.”

DTZ estimates that prices grew 2 per cent during July and August to an average price of Dh16,050 per sq metre — a 34 per cent increase on a year earlier.

Fears that Dubai’s property market could be overheating have drawn startling parallels with Cityscape 2008, when thousands of visitors flocked to the exhibition to slap down deposit cheques on off-plan property.

However, Informa said that this year’s exhibition will still be about half the size of the show that year, when 81,162 visitors attended, which took up 74,240 sq metres. That included all of the Dubai World Trade Centre exhibition halls apart from the Sheikh Maktoum Hall, which had not been built then.

After that, as prices tumbled, Cityscape scaled back drastically. By 2011 just 17,000 visitors were registered to attend the show and the emphasis was shifted to include more overseas exhibitors.

As Dubai’s property market showed signs of recovery in 2012 Cityscape numbers have increased steadily and the show has again taken on a more domestic focus.

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