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Valentina Pasquali

Construction and real estate editor

Valentina Pasquali came to Dubai from Washington DC where she covered US real estate for Law360, a LexisNexis news website. She has written about global business, banking regulation, international affairs, US politics, and more for publications including Foreign Policy, the Washington Post and NPR.org

Valentina Pasquali
Rooftop dining at a luxury hotel in Doha. The city's construction costs rank second in the region, cheaper than Riyadh but higher than Dubai

Construction is ‘cheaper in Dubai than Riyadh or Doha’

Dubai is only the third most expensive construction market in the Middle East after Riyadh and Doha, research has found. A real estate boom led by the leisure, hospitality and sports sectors, combined with a “distinct shortage of skilled labour”, have driven up construction costs in the Saudi capital to an average of $2,593 per […]

Evening shoppers in downtown Riyadh. A lack of prime residential properties in the city is a growing problem

Expats scramble for housing in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia’s historic development push – and an influx of foreign professionals looking to play a part in it – is putting the spotlight on a dearth of prime residential properties in the capital Riyadh. High-quality homes are snapped up, often finding tenants before or within days of getting listed, said Sujith Chandar, Saudi-based Emea […]

Construction workers in Manama. 'There is plenty of office space in Bahrain and the occupancy rates even in the better buildings are not that high,' says one real estate expert

Extra supply casts big shadow over Bahrain’s real estate sector

The completion of a raft of developments in Bahrain has dampened hopes for strong growth in its real estate sector this year.  A flurry of activity at the end of 2023 led some analysts to predict stronger growth this year, after a period of low-single-digit increases or dips in prices, rents and deals. In 2023, […]

The Villaggio Mall in Doha. Qatar's prime malls are succeeding but others are experiencing growing vacancy rates

Premium Qatar malls thrive despite online competition

Large high-end malls in Qatar are winning the favour of consumers who still choose to shop in person amid intensifying competition from the internet. However, other shopping venues are suffering from reduced footfall and growing vacancy rates. The flagship Doha Festival City announced last month that it is fully leased after clinching its 500th retail […]

Mena construction

3D printing fails to live up to hype for Mena contractors

The Mena construction industry has been slow to adopt new technologies such as modular building, blockchain and 3D printing. The latter might be used more as a specialised tool with particular “sweet spots” than in a mass deployment, according to industry experts who spoke at the Construction Technology ConFex event in Dubai earlier this month. […]

DXB airport

The future of DXB: airport could be turned into a city

The $35 billion plan to turn Al Maktoum International into the busiest airport in the world has everyone talking about the remaking of Dubai South. Perhaps a bigger challenge is the redevelopment of the city’s main airport – Dubai International, or DXB. DXB is near some of the city’s most densely populated neighbourhoods and the […]

The total value of Qatari mortgage transactions has risen by 110 percent in two years. New regulations came into force in 2023

Qatar’s mortgage market buoyed by law reforms

Qatar’s mortgage market has been given a lift by a package of regulatory reforms, industry experts told AGBI after transactions rose sharply despite high interest rates. In the first quarter of 2024, the value of Qatari mortgage transactions was nearly 90 percent higher than in the previous three months, according to ValuStrat research. It was […]

Hotel franchising is a well established model in the West and is becoming more popular in the Gulf Video length: 07:12

Hotel franchising model takes off in the Gulf

Global hospitality brands are aggressively expanding across the Gulf, stepping up competition and giving disgruntled owners unprecedented freedom to choose how and by whom their hotels should be run. Some hotel owners are opting for franchising agreements and third-party management arrangements. “Operators have become more flexible when offering their brands under a franchise than they […]

Gulf construction client builder

Gulf construction sector rethinks contract terms as costs rise

The Gulf’s construction industry is rethinking the developer-contractor relationship, and procurement and supply chain management, to stay ahead of rising prices of materials and transport bottlenecks as a result of geopolitical volatility. “We are in a part of the world that is very conducive to finding alternatives,” Imad Itani, head of innovation at the Dubai […]

A condo terrace in Five's Dubai hospitality and residential project, Jumeirah Village

Dubai hotel developer pins success on green credentials

As protests against mass tourism sweep across Europe, the head of a Dubai-based developer with business in Ibiza said he is confident his company’s sustainability credentials can address such concerns. Kabir Mulchandani, founder and chairman of Five Holdings, believes that mounting apprehension around increasing visitor flows to the world’s most sought-after destinations is rooted in […]

People at a real estate fair in Cannes, France view a model of a proposed development in Oman

Overseas real estate talent takes on Omani bureaucracy

Oman’s bid to develop its expanse of beaches, mountains and deserts means it needs to attract overseas real-estate expertise, but recent government restrictions are hindering its ambitions. In May Club Med said it would build its first Middle Eastern resort in Musandam. Abu Dhabi developer Eagle Hills is nearing the opening of its Mandarin Oriental-flagged […]

fractional property ownership Dubai Video length: 06:12

Dubai fractional ownership is promising, but untested

Fractional ownership of property in Dubai promises to widen access to real estate investment in the emirate’s surging market. But the lack of a proven secondary market raises questions about just how much liquidity this asset class can count on in a potential crisis, experts say. Buying even small portions of one or more units […]

Offices need to offer flexibility, with a variety of spaces to allow for both collaboration and private conversations

Flexibility and amenities key to UAE office sector’s future

As workers globally grow resistant to spending all week at their desks, even the UAE’s strong-performing office sector must rethink its offering to meet shifting demand, industry professionals have told AGBI. “Since the pandemic, people have realised that the workplace has changed for ever. We are not going back to working in the office 80 […]

The UAE has bucked the trend of working-from-home that emerged in the pandemic

UAE offices in demand – in contrast to the West

Offices in the UAE are outperforming Western equivalents, with a steady influx of foreign businesses and local developers’ preference for residential projects. “The need for more Grade A office space is becoming increasingly urgent,” Behnam Bargh, managing director at real estate agency CRC, told AGBI. “Addressing this issue will be crucial for maintaining the country’s […]

Visitors admire the House of the Blackheads in Riga, which Eagle Properties hope will be 'the new centre of Europe'

Abu Dhabi developer spots opportunity in Latvia

Abu Dhabi developer Eagle Hills Properties announced a €3 billion ($3.25 billion) investment in the Latvian capital city of Riga, as the UAE continues its investment drive into Europe. Eagle Hills’ Riga Waterfront, which was unveiled on Thursday, will ultimately encompass 8,000 luxury homes for 30,000 residents on a redeveloped site along 5 kilometres at […]

A private house, on Palm Jumeirah, which was bought to rent as a holiday apartment. Demand is outstripping supply in the area

Dubai’s rich switch from home buyers to investors

Wealthy foreigners are increasingly eyeing luxury Dubai homes as investments, driven by a dearth of available real estate at the high end of the market. This is a shift from last year, when affluent buyers primarily saw purchases of homes in the emirate as main residences, or vacation or retirement homes, Knight Frank said in […]

more than 420,000sq m of new Grade A office space is expected to become available before the end of the year 2WXWXWP Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - Mar 25 2024,King Abdullah Financial District , KAFD business towers

Foreign companies push up cost of Riyadh’s scarce office space

Rental rates in Riyadh’s office sector rose by up to 36 percent in the first quarter of this year as a result of increased demand from foreign companies and occupancy rates approaching 100 percent. Three quarters of all enquiries for office space directed to the real estate company Savills in the first three months of […]

Airport, Adult, Female The Middle East served 422 million air passengers in 2023 and is expected to serve 466 million in 2024

Airport chiefs size up ways to meet GCC airspace demand

The annual number of air travellers to and from the Middle East is projected to pass the half-billion mark next year, meaning aviation authorities need to both expand and streamline use of available airspace, senior GCC airport chiefs have told AGBI. Oman is in talks with a neighbouring Gulf state to unlock a new air […]

Amit Arora the new CEO of Arada, says 'we are seeing a diverse group of investors and residents that want to buy in our communities'

Overseas buyers dominate in Sharjah’s reformed real estate

Overseas buyers in Arada’s two mega-developments in Sharjah have vastly outnumbered locals in the year-and-a-half since the emirate expanded full real estate ownership rights to non-GCC nationals. From when Aljada, Sharjah’s biggest mixed-use project, launched in 2017 until the land reform of late October 2022, Emirati nationals bought more than 63 percent of the value […]

Investors at the Dubai Financial Market. Drake & Scull was suspended from trading in 2018

Drake & Scull losses narrow before return to trading

Dubai contractor Drake & Scull International has trimmed its losses in the first quarter of this year as it nears the end of a drawn-out capital restructuring process. The Dubai-based utilities and infrastructure engineering company said in a press release accompanying disclosures to the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) that revenue jumped 55 percent year on […]