UAE projects worth $12bn resume construction

Projects valued at more than $12bn have resumed construction work in the UAE over the past 18 months with more expected to get the green light this year, according to a new study.

The pace at which stalled projects resumed construction activity has increased since Dubai won the right to host the Expo 2020 as positive sentiment returned to the UAE real estate market, MEED Projects said in a statement.

It said it expects there to be $23bn worth of construction projects awarded throughout 2014, with more than $5bn having been awarded during the first quarter of the year alone.

It said more than $23bn worth of projects were awarded in the construction sector last year, 55% of which were for mixed-use or residential developments.

The volume of projects awarded made 2013 the second best year for project awards since 2008, a sign of the UAE’s strengthening economy, it added.

Its figures showed that more than $1.8bn hospitality projects were awarded last year – the highest since 2010 while over $800mn retail projects were awarded, the highest for five years.

Julian Herbert, director of MEED Projects, said: “2013 showed some of the most promising growth in the construction sector since 2010, with especially strong figures in the residential and mixed-use sector of the industry.

“This is a positive sign of increased investment in the UAE’s economy, both from developers and from property investors – the large number of residential project awards alone demonstrates that there is a rising demand for such buildings, indicative of a growing population.

“The UAE is well on track to returning to the levels of investment last seen in 2008, with 2014 expected to be even better.”

The report said Habtoor Leighton Group has dominated the UAE real estate construction sector from 2008-2014, having secured close to $10bn worth of real estate construction contract awards.

Arabtec has won upwards of $5.5bn worth of contracts, with other top contractors within the same period being Al Jaber Group, Arabian Construction Company and Al Futtaim Carilion.

MEED Projects is an online business development and market analysis tool which provides project data from across the Middle East and North Africa.

In January, research showed that construction projects worth $69.91bn were completed in the GCC in 2013.

Conducted by Ventures ME, the research also estimated that 2014 would see a 17.4%rise in completed projects at $83.41bn and $82.2bn worth of projects will be awarded during the year.