Qatar set to become world’s largest real estate investor

QATAR will overtake sluggish European funds to become the largest real estate investor in the world this year, according to a report by property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle out yesterday.

The country has emerged as a global powerhouse in property, and will become the top source of overseas capital in 2010, says the report.

“Cash-rich and with a strong appetite for splashy overseas assets, Qatari vehicles have lately outshined their counterparts from the region and are projected to carry on with their rapid expansion across the real estate world” the report said.

Qatar Holding, the investment arm of the Qatari state, bought Harrods last month for £1.5bn and owns a large stake in Canary Wharf property firm Songbird. The report predicts high profile purchases across Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia.

The International Monetary Fund expects the Qatari economy to expand by 18.5 per cent this year, on the back of increased gas and oil exports. It has enjoyed average economic growth of 17.4 per cent over the last five years.

Qatar’s prominence in the property market is aided by a slowdown in real estate activity from German funds, which were among the largest global investors in 2009.

“Qatar is the epitome of energy-rich Gulf nations, with a large appetite for real estate,” the report said.