For Dubai’s major real estate developers, the UAE is no longer big enough. MEED’s list of the Gulf’s 100 biggest property developers may focus solely on the GCC market, but the largest companies on the list are now exploring opportunities outside the Gulf.
Qatari Diar is ploughing billions of dollars into Egyptian projects including the $1bn Nile Corniche in Cairo, Abu Dhabi’s main developers - Aldar, Al-Qudra, Reem and Sorouh - have teamed up to work on the Abu Dhabi plaza in Kazakhstan’s new capital city, Astana.
For the majority of the Gulf’s developers, however, the local market is still providing enough opportunity.
As a project-specific company, the UAE-Saudi venture Emaar, The Economic City does not have a diverse portfolio. But the work required to deliver its $27bn King Abdullah Economic City near Jeddah will occupy it for years to come. Similarly, Dubai Properties’ success has been in responding to domestic real estate needs - its current portfolio of projects is valued at $95bn.
But with the Gulf project market already overstretched and overheating, it will not be long before these young real estate companies also look overseas for growth, both in the form of projects outside the Gulf, and through acquiring weakened Western real estate developers.