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The one-year countdown to Expo 2020 Dubai begins today. Our Group Managing Director, Richard Waind has met with Matt Gregory, the Director of Sales at Dubizzle to discuss “the world’s greatest show” and how it can influence the property market here in Dubai. Watch the full video to know more.

“There is now just a year to go before the opening of Expo 2020 and the count down has begun for The Worlds Greatest Show. There are 190 countries exhibiting and we are expecting 25million visitors for the event which will be taking place over 6 months from October 20th 2020.

So, what has been the impact on the UAE property market to date and what can we expect in the next 12 months?

When Dubai was awarded Expo 2020 in late 2013, the Dubai property market was already well on its way to recovery from the crash of 2018, and the Expo announcement further fueled a period of rapid price growth. The Expo fever of 2014 saw prices in Dubai reach a new high before changes in DLD fees and the imposition of the mortgage cap put the handbrake on the market rises. However, over the last 5 years the market has been driven by a slowdown in global demand, rising dollar value, rising interest rates and large scale delivery of new supply. Although people working on Expo has had a small impact on leasing, in a wider sense Expo has had little impact on today’s market and current prices.

We are now starting to see the build-up to Expo impact in the leasing market in a bigger way. We have recently received large requirements for multiple units from companies that will be managing aspects of the Expo site from early next year and this build-up will continue. But the big question is what is likely to happen during and after Expo?

I am personally very excited about the Expo event itself. So many people, businesses, governments and entrepreneurs from across the world coming to the UAE for a 6-month carnival. It is going to be incredible. Dubai and the UAE are investing heavily in this and I know they will do a great job. As someone who lived in London during the 2012 Olympics, I know what an event like this can do for a city and for the positive mindset of the residents.

The post Expo effect is for me the most exciting. Expo really is PR exercise to attract visitors – an estimated 25million (16million overseas) – with the hope that many will recognize what an amazing country this is to live and work, and many will decide to come here as expats. It is this population growth that is likely to be the main legacy of Expo in relation to the property market. If 1% of the 16million overseas visitors decided that they would like to stay and work in Dubai (a very conservative number considering this an expat city, unlike the previous Expo city, Milan), that would create 160,000 new residents, not counting the husbands, wives and children that would travel with them. While some Expo employees will leave after the event, the potential of population growth off the back of Expo puts today’s supply of approximately 30,000 new homes into perspective. 

One year out from Expo we are not seeing a huge impact of Expo on the current market. But expect the excitement to build in the coming months and expect to see in an influx of talent who will be working on the event. For the event itself, I think the eyes of the world will be on Dubai and I think it will be a fabulous place to be during the event, and I’ve no doubt that positivity will have a positive impact into the economy and property market in the coming months and years.”


Richard Waind

Group Managing Director

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