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The International Real Estate Finance Summit '08
access to the GCC, islamic direct equity & finance

Building Bridges for Future GCC and UK Real Estate Relations

The current turmoil in the global financial markets may have dented investor confidence and precipitated investor caution in the short-term, but for the discerning, specialised and bespoke investor there are some surprisingly good deals in the global real estate market.

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Middle East investment in global real estate up 14% to $13billion

Middle East economies currently fund almost a quarter of global real estate development activities, according to Jones Lang LaSalle's latest Global Real Estate Capital Report. Middle Eastern economies remain buoyed by sustained high energy price levels and are estimated to achieve current account surpluses approaching $260bn in 2007.

Investors from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries remained strong backers of global real estate markets throughout 2006, investing US$13 billion, up by 14% year-on-year. United States, United Kingdom attract most money.

Over half of this investment was exported outside of the GCC into the US (US$7 billion), followed by the UK (US$4 billion), Germany (US$1 billion) and South Africa (US$1 billion). Major investments were also made in France and Sweden.

"GCC funds are focusing less on trophy assets and are making significant purchases in emerging markets, including the entire Cape Town waterfront development and Europe's largest shopping centre in Istanbul. As well as looking for opportunities in emerging markets, GCC funds are also looking for value added opportunities."

Tony Horrell, CEO, Jones Lang LaSalle's International Capital Group

Islamic finance poised for massive growth as London becomes key hub outside the Middle East. London is emerging as the key centre for Islamic finance outside of the Middle East as financial institutions clamber to become part of a growing market. Currently it is estimated that Islamic banking manages funds of $200 billion. It is predicted to increase by up to 15% a year and be worth a trillion dollars by 2010. Islamic finance has been boosted by a number of factors. Firstly, there are more Muslims in the world seeking mortgages, investments, bonds and specialist finance products. Secondly, economic growth in the Middle East, fuelled by high oil prices, has created an increased demand which local financial markets have been unable to keep up with. As a result Middle Eastern investors are looking for suitable alternatives.

Property Wire

"Currently, there is no downward pressure on any sovereign ratings in the Gulf... These economies are still performing strongly, with wide twin surpluses and large cushions of foreign financial assets. Out of any in the world, these countries have to be considered among the best placed to deal with the global financial turmoil, at least from a macro perspective."

Tristan Cooper, Senior Analyst, Moody's
Property Wire


The IREF conference series now in it's sixth year prides itself on bringing to you the most current real estate issues affecting both conventional and islamic finance circles. Leading institutions and influential market players have over the years addressed important issues, identified exciting opportunities and forged new business relationships at IREF.

Against the backdrop of the current global economic turmoil, IREF 2008 has assumed even greater importance as it is set to explore new avenues, and highlight the potential opportunities that exist between the GCC and key Western markets such as the UK. Clearly GCC investors armed with huge reservoirs of petrodollar liquidity can benefit not just from the abundance of opportunities currently available but also from expertise, knowledge transfer, and mutual cooperation between East and West.

GCC investors flock to UK realty sector
"Periods of negative returns are very rare in the UK and usually decades apart. Because of the enduring popularity of UK commercial property, international buyers have used these brief periods of weakness to snap up bargains as values have recovered into positive territory. Investors will have to choose carefully to reap the rewards that are undoubtedly available but there is no doubt that there good deals to be done. If you miss this opportunity, you may be waiting 15 or 20 years for the next chance to buy UK property so cheaply."

Gulf Finance House, Real Estate Asset Management Report
30, May 2008 Bahrain Tribune

Credit crisis gives Islamic finance a chance to shine
The global credit crisis presents the $1 trillion Islamic finance industry with an opportunity to expand its appeal beyond Muslim investors, as a haven from speculative excess. The message may have particular resonance in the West after the crumbling of the U.S. mortgage market left banks holding hundreds of billions of dollars of nearly worthless credit instruments tied to home loans by a web of complex structures. The jump in popularity of Islamic finance is drawing the interest of companies outside the Middle East.

August 19, 2008, Reuters

"The current global market condition has given Islamic finance a great opportunity to show what it can do - help to fill the liquidity gap"

David Testa, CEO, Gatehouse Bank


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| Conference Secretariat - IREF '08 | ICG, First Floor Albion House, 470 Church Lane, Kingsbury, London NW9 8UA, UK |
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