Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cityscape 2008 witnessed more visitors, lesser sales

The five-day extravaganza, Cityscape 2008, ended on Thursday, at the World Trade Center, Dubai. According to the organizers about 70,000 to 80,000 visitors had turned up during the event, although only 60,000 visitors were anticipated, thereby confirming its position as the world's biggest business-to-business real estate investment and development event.

This year's Cityscape has seen everything, starting from the one-kilometer tall tower, to hanging gardens, mergers, royal visits and an island museum.

The event saw the participation of about 150 countries. According to the Managing Director of Cityscape, Rohan Marwaha, the opening hours of the event was extended by an hour each day due to exceptional public demand.

He said that this indicates the uniqueness of Cityscape Dubai, as it is not a retail event where people gather to buy individual properties. Rather, it is an investor-level, international business-to-business show.

A major strength of Cityscape is that it offers access to few of the wealthiest and most liquid property investors in the world, he added.

However, although the Cityscape organizers claim that there has been more interest this year from investors, compared to last year, the property sellers reveal that potential buyers are scared of investing.

A sales executive of RAK Properties, who spoke to Gulf News, said that sales in Cityscape 2008 were a little low compared to last year.

Mansoureh Ghezipour, a property consultant, Best Homes Emirates Real Estate said that although people trusted the market last year, this year they are hesitant to invest, although the number of visitors are more.

According to Sikander Aziz, Sales Executive, Bonyan International Investments Group, interest of visitors is high, but buying is low. This could be due to global liquidity conditions, he added.
Ian Albert, Regional Director, Colliers International, said "Investors this year are more cautious, and there has been greater degree of diligence. An air of cautiousness is seen seeping in from the general feelings of the international market."

The event ended on a high note, with a visit by H.H. Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

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