ESG & HI-TECH TO TRANSFORM QATAR’S REAL
ESTATE LANDSCAPE, SAYS QATAR’S CITYSCAPE TALKS EXPERT 

Cityscape Talks Series To Home In On ‘Sustainable, Resilient, Affordable and Liveable’ Real Estate

Qatar’s real estate sector will undergo an operational transformation in the coming years as investors adopt more robust approaches to sustainability-related risks as demand for hi-tech and environmental, social and governance (ESG) solutions increases, according to an industry expert.

Speaking ahead of the Cityscape Talks conference, which runs at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC) from June 20-22, Johnny Archer, Head of Consulting & Research at global real estate advisory firm Cushman & Wakefield in Qatar, said the emergence of ESG and new technologies are evolving the sector and will increasingly impact the way it does business.

“ESG is playing an increasing role in real estate development in Qatar. Msheireb Downtown has been developed to be a global leader in sustainability, with each building gaining a gold or platinum LEED certification. Minimum environmental standards and LEED certifications are also required in the construction of new buildings in Lusail. The increasing demand for energy efficiency in real estate is likely to see ESG play a greater role in any future development proposals throughout the country,” he said.

The impact of new technology on the market will be explored by Eng. Aya Nafi, an architect and urban planner with Qatar-based architecture and engineering firm Jacobs. Her  presentation will focus on the future of smart homes, which he believes will undergo a seismic shift.

“I will be stressing the importance of planning smart homes as our future homes. There will be a new shift in this direction with the technological renaissance brought on by the global pandemic, which will see the emergence of new real estate concepts over the next five years,” she said.

Aligned with Qatar’s National Vision 2030 the conference – the 10th in the Cityscape Qatar series -   will feature speakers from both government entities and key real estate leaders and will explore the current state of the local and regional market, demand prior, during and post the FIFA World Cup 2022 and its sector impact.

“The industry – both professionals working within it and the investors who turn to it – need to know prospects for market performance once the initial World Cup demand is over and what future drivers will be,” explained Chris Speller, Vice President of the Cityscape portfolio at event organiser Informa Markets, which co-organises Cityscape Qatar with long-standing local partner Elan Events.

“This year’s Cityscape Talks Qatar will therefore be vital to the future strategy planning of all local and regional sector players who will require post-pandemic insights and factor in landscape changes such as hybrid working, which impacts commercial offerings, tourism prospects and Qatar’s introduction of investment free zones for ownership of properties by foreigners.”

Cityscape Talks Qatar will also address investment prospects outside of the country with Fahd Abu Aisha of Regal London, one of the UK capital’s leading residential-led mixed-used developers, examining opportunities, including new residential sites in the east of the city.

Abu Aisha said the UK capital’s market remains “resilient and robust.” He commented: “Asking prices in London rose at the highest rate of growth in Q1 2022, in the six years since the Brexit vote. The capital saw the biggest jump in home buyers of any UK region as the average price tag rose 7.3 per cent on a year ago, according to Rightmove’s monthly house price data, and the key drivers for this demand are shortage of prime stock, rising wages and accrued savings from lockdowns, flexible working patterns and the appeal of property as an inflation hedge.”

Abu Aisha said Regal had witnessed exceptional sales rates since the start of the year, highlighting continued strong demand in the London residential market “whether buyers are buying just to invest or have other motivations such as buying for their children studying at university or having a pied-a-terre.” At Cityscape Qatar 2022 Regal is planning to launch a new development at London Fields in Hackney and unveil a new City of London tower due on the market in June.

Meanwhile, Cityscape Qatar 2022 is scheduled to host a range of project developments including new residential and retail developments in Lusail, upcoming residential projects in Al Sadd and Marina districts, as well as UK and Spanish properties to be presented by Mirage International Property Consultants. Its spokesperson Veruschkha Van Dijk said while the Qatar market remains largely dominated by local and expatriate buyers, the FIFA World Cup 2022 could prove to be a sector game-changer.

“With such a high-profile event coming to Qatar, predictions show many new jobs are being generated in the country, particularly in the field of construction and hospitality. For the long term, tourism, which traditionally has not been associated with Qatar, will undoubtedly benefit from the rise in its status which will deliver sustainableeconomic benefits and with the tournament being a hub for facilitating the country’s international profile,” she said.