Qatari Diar, a realty giant that has exposure to as many as 27 countries, has so far invested $60bn locally and globally and is open to investing in Ukraine, according to its top official.
Addressing the first Qatar Real Estate Forum, organised by the Ministry of Municipality, Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, chief executive officer of Qatari Diar, also said the domestic market has become a fertile ground for real estate investments and that smart cities, like Lusail, are fast becoming an integral part of the modern economies.
"We have invested in more than 27 countries and have gained experiences. Our total investments (domestic and international) are (to the tune of) $60bn," he said, adding the company's guiding principle has always been profitability and transformation when it carries out projects, which positively affect the economy and environment.
In this regard, he highlighted the investment in Washington City Centre project, which marks Qatari Diar’s first significant investment in the US.
He said initially Qatari Diar was apprehensive of the project because the crime rate in the region but after its completion, the project made positive impact in the neighbouring areas.
Its other projects in the US include Conrad Hotel, Washington DC and The Jacx in New Yok; while its Americas portfolio has also Panama Pacifico.
Its UK portfolio include Chelsea Barracks, East Village, Elephant and Castle, Lewisham Gateway, Southbank Palace and The Chancery Rosewood in London; New Maker Yards in Manchester; and projects in Leeds and Glasgow.
The African investments include Citygate (Egypt), Newgiza (Egypt), The St Regis Cairo (Egypt), Al Houara Resort (Morocco), and Mushaireb (Khartoum, Sudan).
Highlighting that Qatar, Egypt, the US and UK formed a major part of its portfolio; he said it was open to any regions that offered potential.
"In Ukraine, there is an opportunity and we can benefit from that," al-Attiyah said.
On the domestic front, he said Qatar tries to attract investors and real estate developers through a wide range of legislative, tax and infrastructure facilitations, along with free ownership assurances and others. Infrastructure in Qatar has been designed to accommodate 5mn people but the current size is 2.7mn; implying the growth potential,
He highlighted the country's direct support to the real estate sector such as incentive packages, laws that allow non-Qataris to own real estate, according to the Cabinet Resolution No 28 of 2020.
It was announced that 25 areas would be allocated, where non-Qataris would be allowed to own property under the usufruct system, and nine other areas where free ownership would be allowed.
Regarding the legacy of World Cup's contribution to improving the sector's revenues and returns, there has been "remarkable" rise in occupancy rates of real estate units, including hotels, thus contributing to the recovery of the sector.
On the future of real sector in Qatar, al-Attiyah said the country has a promising potential in view of the investment friendly environment, safety and security; and economic stability.
Asserting that hosting the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 was the beginning for Qatar but not the end, adding that the tournament revealed that Qatar is a secure and perfect family place for people to live and invest in, and the country has been working for the future and not for the tournament only, the Qatar News Agency reported.
Al-Attiyah noted that the tournament was a big challenge and motive for Diar to prove that Lusail City, which was implemented by the company, was ready for the tournament in record time. He said the city is designed to accommodate 450,000 people, and its population has increased by more than 5% compared to the same period last year, which underscores the substantial growth Lusail is witnessing. Its infrastructure has been connected with public utilities by leveraging cutting-edge technology, he added.
Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah at the Qatar Real Estate Forum Sunday. PICTURE: Thajudheen