$450 Billion Infrastructure Pipeline to Boost GCC Property Investments

June 29, 2011


DAMAC Properties, the largest independent developer in the Middle East, is predicting that the US$452 billion of government spending on GCC infrastructure projects will begin to resonate in regional property markets within the next 12 months.

The energy producing nations of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar account for eighty per cent of the total value of investment in projects, already announced in the GCC, according to research specialists Ventures Middle East. Spending on infrastructure has been used by GCC governments as an economic instrument to diversify oil-based economies for sustainable long-term growth.

"Government spending on infrastructure has a multiplier effect on the overall economy. Major projects require an impetus of resources and skilled labour. The more money spent, the more skilled labour required to execute those projects, which attracts new people to the GCC countries, boosting demand for residential properties, both to rent and also to buy" said Niall Mc Loughlin, Senior Vice President DAMAC Properties.

While there are already more than US$450 billion worth of projects in the pipeline, rising energy prices may be a strong catalyst for regional governments to further increase expenditure on infrastructure. The crude oil price has risen to its highest level in two and a half years, and that is delivering additional revenue to the governments of oil producing nations within the GCC.

Converting surplus oil revenues into major infrastructure projects has long been a strategic objective of regional economic policy makers in the Middle East region. Investment in infrastructure can have the effect of stimulating non-oil sectors of the economy including transport and logistics, health services and education.

"Property investors should be taking note of macro-economic developments across the region for two reasons; firstly, new projects attract more labour which creates more demand for housing, and secondly government funding on public amenities such hospitals, schools and rail networks it can revitalise entire areas and leverage property values higher" Mc Loughlin commented.

Of the scheduled projects, rail infrastructure accounts for nearly a quarter of all government spending. This includes the highly anticipated Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) railway project, linking GCC member countries. The 2,117-km-long network, starting in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, is likely to take a little over five years to complete.

Qatar is also investing heavily in infrastructure following its FIFA 2022 World Cup bid. Key industry analysts are estimating that Qatar will need to invest at least $90 billion over the next decade on housing and infrastructure. The country has pledged to allocate thirty-seven per cent of its budget to major capital projects.

"We predict the wide-scale government spending on infrastructure will begin to have a significant impact on GCC property markets over the next 12 to 18 months. There is a lag-time with any fiscal stimulus, and with infrastructure projects in particular, it takes time for the injection of funds to resonate in the real economy" said Mc Loughlin.

DAMAC Properties is the largest independent developer in the Middle East, with almost 9,000 units under construction across the MENA region. The award winning developer is continuing to focus on construction and delivery of high quality developments across the region.