When considering real estate investment opportunities, people normally think of western cities like London and New York. But by dong so, they could lose out – emerging cities across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America are filled with openings that could bring great rewards.
Based on market trends, infrastructure developments and commercial, residential and industrial real estate opportunities, I consider these five cities to be the strongest contenders when deciding where to put money in property.
Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico’s government recently announced a strategy to increase the country’s competitiveness and productivity, with projects focused around six sectors, including transport, urban development and tourism.
Infrastructure changes include the development of a new airport in Mexico City, which is expected to be one of the largest in the world. Connections will suddenly improve drastically between Mexico and other countries, and this will likely lead to a sharp rise in property prices, heightened demand for residential and commercial real estate, and a rise in the urbanisation rate.
Surabaya, on the Indonesian island of Java, has a great amount of potential for real estate investors. It has a large, diverse economy, a strong retail sector, and a rapidly developing infrastructure.
The local government is working to connect the east and west sides of the city, to attract foreign investment and encourage businesses to take advantage of the city’s growing office space.
Another attractive feature Surabaya is the high level of safety there – according to Indonesia’s National Police chief, it is one of the safest cities in the country.
Nigeria is fast cementing itself as one of Africa’s powerhouses, and as the economy gets ready to take off, a large number of investment opportunities are appearing across the city.
Lagos's growing middle class, developing infrastructure and rapid urbanisation are all factors attracting interest from both multi-national corporations and exciting new startups. The number of expatriates arriving in Lagos is also driving the growth of the city’s luxury and commercial property sectors, with demand increasing for high-end accommodation, mixed-use developments and hotels.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s largest city and commercial capital is undergoing a dramatic transformation. In recent years, we’ve seen skyscrapers changing the city’s skyline as its infrastructure and economy both strengthen.
Hand-in-hand with this comes a greater pulling power on both domestic and international investors. As with Lagos, Colombo’s growth is driven by rural to urban migration, which is leading to an increase in demand for affordable, yet high-quality property.
We’re also seeing wealthy Sri Lankans returning to the country now that the civil war is over, and many of these are search of high-end accommodation. This, together with improvements to infrastructure, inner-city transportation and cross-country connections, is creating an abundance of opportunities for investors in the city.
In the coming years, rising investment, population growth and increased tourism are forecast to drive demand in the United Arab Emirates real estate market.
Dubai is, of course, at the centre of this. Figures released by the Dubai Land Department (DLD) show that about 19,848 investors from 142 countries invested in the city’s real estate sector during the first half of 2014.
Other figures from the DLD revealed that foreign investment in Dubai’s property sector reached $14.4bn in the first half of 2015. As the city continues to attract high interest from international buyers, we can be confident in the future of Dubai's real estate market.