Major Middle East property expo to be much subdued this year

Cityscape Dubai, the Middle East’s flagship property expo where ambitious property development projects are usually launched amid a fanfare of glitz and glamour is expected to be a much lower key affair this year because of the global financial crisis.

The region is still suffering price and rent decreases and a complete lack of confidence has led to real estate investors stopping payments, developers cancelling or delaying projects and no real signs of recovery.

Indeed a number of grandiose projects launched at last year’s property expo event have now been cancelled delayed including Nakheel’s one kilometre tall tower and Meraas Development’s $95 billion city, Jumeirah Gardens.

Now organisers of Cityscape Dubai said they are expecting a huge drop in both visitors and exhibitors this year. The event’s managing director Rohan Marwaha said he expects the real estate exhibition, which less than a year ago drew record crowds, to be down by between 25 and 30%.

‘Considering the global economic turmoil, it would be unrealistic for anybody to assume that the event will be as big or attract as many visitors as last year. Based on forecasting models we expect the exhibition to be approx 25 to 30% smaller than last year with a similar drop in participation numbers,’ he said.

Despite the drop, he said figures were ‘extremely encouraging’ given the economic downturn. But Marwaha said he didn’t expect any grandiose announcements at this year’s event. ‘The objectives for many of the companies exhibiting this year have changed so no one should expect to see billion dollar projects being launched or investors announcing major finance deals. The focus for many will be to show the world that the negative press attention Dubai has received over the last year has for the most part been unwarranted,’ he said.

Leading real estate expert Donald Trump Junior is to deliver the keynote presentation at the four day property expo event which starts on October 1. He will address a wide range of real estate issues including his forecast for recovery and the existing market opportunities.

Trump, the son of famed real estate developer Donald Trump and Executive Vice president of the Trump Organization says it will be 2010 before real estate prices bottom out but the world will only fully recover from recession when the US is out of the red.

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