The Hub Report 2015: Dubai’s Emergence as a Global Hub

29 October 2015

Dubai UAE: Knight Frank

Over the last couple of decades, the growth in financial & business services, trade & logistics and tourism activity has played an important role in fuelling Dubai’s emergence as a global hub, showed Knight Frank in its inaugural report The Hub Report 2015, released today.

James Lewis, Head of Knight Frank Middle East noted: ‘‘Unsurprisingly the impact on real estate has been positive, with higher levels of occupier demand being generated across the office, industrial and hospitality sectors, respectively. Moreover the emirate has established itself as a safe, family-friendly and low tax environment – which combined with its connectivity to other global centres – has been attracting the world’s growing population of high-net-worth individuals. Naturally then, demand for luxury residential property has been gathering momentum.”

Looking forward, forecasts from the IMF suggest that the UAE’s economy will outperform the likes of the UK, US, Germany, Hong Kong and Singapore over 2015-2020. This, alongside the fact that the federation is among the easiest places to do business globally, should help to extend Dubai’s lead as a financial and business services hub in the Middle East. All else equal, this suggests that tenant demand for good quality, Grade A office space will remain healthy in the short to medium-term.

Turning to the industrial property sector, strong growth over the past decade in manufacturing and exports have been important drivers of demand for logistics facilities in and around Dubai. A number of reasons have supported this, including the excellent quality of the UAE’s transport infrastructure (it has been rated as the best in the world by the World Economic Forum) and the emirate’s strategic location between Europe, Africa and the Far East. In fact these factors have been critical in helping Jebel Ali to attain its current position as the busiest port between Singapore and Rotterdam.

Dubai continues to make strides as a tourist destination and an air travel hub. Visitors to Dubai are staying longer to enjoy the city’s attractions, with the average length of stay rising from 2.6 nights in 2004 to 3.8 nights in 2014. What’s more, Dubai International overtook London Heathrow last year to become the world’s top airport for international passenger traffic – impressive given that less than a decade earlier the former was handling around half the number of travellers compared to the latter.

Meanwhile in the residential sector, prime home prices in Dubai saw an uplift of 59% over the five years to end-2014 – a better performance than London (52%), New York (47%), Hong Kong (31%), Paris (18%), Singapore (7%) and Sydney (2%).

Khawar Khan, Research Manager at Knight Frank Middle East noted: “Admittedly, the sector has faced some headwinds over the past 12-18 months, however the wealthy continue to be attracted to Dubai due to the fact that it remains one of the safest locations in the world, with excellent connectivity, strong economic prospects, a low tax regime, and strong lifestyle factors”.

The Hub Report 2016 is published by Knight Frank and is available at

For further information, please contact:

Nicola Milton, ME Marketing and PR, +971 56 6116 368,


Notes to Editors

Knight Frank has a strong presence in the Middle East with offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Saudi Arabia. The Group advises clients ranging from individual owners and buyers to major developers, investors and corporate tenants.

Knight Frank LLP is the leading independent global property consultancy. Headquartered in London, Knight Frank and together with its New York-based global alliance partner, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, operate from over 370 offices, in 55 countries, across six continents and has over 12,000 employees. For further information about the Company, please visit or