Middle East property investments outside region rise in H1: CBRE

Updated 10 September 2015
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Middle East property investments outside region rise in H1: CBRE

DUBAI: The value of Middle East investments in real estate outside the region surged 64 percent to $11.5 billion in the first half of 2015, although two deals by sovereign funds accounted for nearly half this year’s total, consultants CBRE say.
The splurge came despite a 44 percent drop in USlight crude oil prices in the 12 months to June 30.
The CBRE said sovereign wealth funds accounted for $8.3 billion of the spending in the first six months of this year — almost quadruple their outlay of $2.27 billion in the prior-year period.
“The size of the region’s foreign investment makes the Middle East the third-largest source of cross regional capital globally as Arab investors look for brighter investment prospects internationally,” Nick Maclean, CBRE Middle East managing director, said in the statement.
This year’s spending includes Qatar’s $2.5 billion investment in Maybourne Hotels and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority’s (ADIA) $2.4 billion purchase of a 50 percent stake in three Hong Kong hotels.
These deals helped make London, with $2.75 billion, and Hong Kong, with $2.4 billion, the top destinations for Middle Eastern property investors. New York was third with $1.1 billion and Milan’s $990 million placed it fourth.
In terms of sectors, hotel investments rose 437 percent to $6.75 billion — or 59 percent of total Middle East spending — while office acquisitions fell by nearly half to $1.99 billion and retail purchases dropped 40 percent to $708 million.
Other buys, which include residential property, jumped 144 percent to $1.66 billion.
“Hotels (are) growing in importance as sovereign wealth funds and high-net-worth individuals focus on real assets that generate long-term revenue,” said Iryna Pylypchuk of CBRE Global Research.
Property purchases by non-sovereign wealth funds fell to $3.2 billion in the first half of 2015, from $4.7 billion a year earlier, according to Reuters calculations based on CBRE data.


Saudi Arabia’s Jabal Omar Development Company returns to profit

Updated 44 min 41 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s Jabal Omar Development Company returns to profit

  • Developer launches roadshow to promote 'Address' brand
  • Taps into rising occupancy rates in holy city

LONDON: The Saudi developer behind the transformation of the center of Makkah — Jabal Omar Development Company — has returned to profit in the third quarter after a string of losses over the last year.
The change in fortune will be welcomed by the Tadawul-listed company as it pushes forward with its luxury hotel, residential and retail developments being built to meet the anticipated growth in demand from visitors and pilgrims to the holy city.
Net profit — minus Zakat and tax — reached SR469.62 million ($125.13 million) for the three months ending Sept. 30 in a Saudi exchange filing on Tuesday. This compared to a loss of SR593.97 million recorded in the same quarter last year.
Jabal Omar said the improved profits were due to increased revenue from sales of residential units.
Third-quarter revenue reached SR1.32 billion compared to revenue of SR45.52 million in the same time period the previous year.
The developer also cited a “positive performance” within its commercial sector as well as a reduction in some of the company’s financial burdens.
The results come in the same month Jabal Omar launched a three-day roadshow on Oct. 8 to market its new “Address“-branded Makkah luxury hotel development.
It is a project being managed by Dubai-based Emaar Hospitality Group — the company behind the high-end “Address” hotel brand. Jabal Omar said is looking to sell 741 freehold units.
The project marks the first time Emaar’s ‘Address Hotels and Resorts’ brand has expanded into Saudi Arabia. It is scheduled to open in 2019 and it will be just a few steps away from the Grand Mosque.
Market commentators say they expect demand for luxury hotels and other residential projects in Makkah to continue to be “strong” in the coming year — something Jabal Omar Development Co. will be keen to capitalize on.
“Makkah is a unique market and there is strong demand for luxury hotels throughout the year. A large proportion of demand for luxury hotels come from wealthy GCC travelers, who are largely repeat visitors to the Holy City,” said Rashid Aboobacker, director at the Dubai-based tourism consultancy, TRI Consulting.
“There has always been high demand for luxury residences in Makkah close to the Haram, driven by the prestige and special status of the location as well as the limited supply,” he said.
“Once the ongoing expansion works are complete, the visitor numbers are set to increase substantially. Consequently, we do not foresee any risk of overcapacity in Makkah in the foreseeable future,” he added.
He added that alongside the growth in luxury developments, there is also a “growing need” for midscale and economy hotels and apartments.
“We believe that there is also need for upgrade of the existing stock as a large proportion of them do not fully conform to international quality standards and guest requirements,” he said.
Christopher Lund, head of hotels, Mena, at the consultancy Colliers International, noted that the luxury sector tends to perform better than other parts of the Makkah hospitality market.
“The 5-star upper-upscale and luxury hotels in Makkah have outperformed the overall market, achieving a 12 percent higher occupancy level year-to-date September 2018, which is primarily due to the fact that the 5-star hotels are located in the most prime locations in the central area,” he said.
“So far in 2018, hotels in the central area have achieved a 49 percent higher RevPar (revenue per available room than the overall Makkah quality hotel market.”