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Josine Heijmans, Exhibition Director, International Property Show Dubai
On 5 February, the 11th edition of the International Property Show was presented in Barcelona. This fair, considered one of the most important real estate exhibitions held in the Middle East, will take place in Dubai from 30 March to 1 April, 2015. Josine Heijmans is the director of the fair. 

What is the International Property Show exactly and which markets does it focus in?
International Property Show (IPS) is a pioneering event held annually in Dubai for international and local companies involved in the sales and promotion of real estate to individual and institutional investors.

Accredited by the Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA), IPS offers a perfect platform for both international and local real estate markets to showcase their residential, commercial and mixed-use products and to conduct serious transactional business. IPS provides consumers and real estate professionals from around the world with a one-stop shop opportunity to explore, investand benefitfrom the best property deals locally and internationally. 

The exhibiting companies will present the latest and hottest local and international real estate projects from amongst others the USA, Canada, UK, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus and Spain.  Catering to wealthy GCC Nationals as well as the Expat Communities living in the Middle East, IPS offers a great platform for local and overseas real estate investment opportunities and finding a second-home abroad.

Specifically, what type of investor is the event geared towards and what type of products does it feature?
IPS provides a platform for selling properties directly to institutions and individuals. The show has been positioned as a powerful retail platform targeting all types of potential buyers who wish to buy units on the spot. The event is designed to help promote the sector to international and regional investors, decision makers, trade and retail visitors coming from across the globe.

IPS offers a great opportunity to promote and sell your properties to key expatriate groups living in the Middle East having a strong interest in Spanish real estate, such as the Britons, French and Russians all earning tax free salaries and looking for attractive investment opportunities.  Also Arab Investors show an increasing appetite for European Real Estate. According to CBRE, Arab investors are expected to invest US$60bn in European property markets as France, Germany, Italy and Spain over the next decade.  Similarly, we see interest in Spanish citizenship and immigration through the investor visa scheme, allowing residency for anyone investing over 500,000 Euros in a property in Spain.

In addition to the individual investors attending IPS, the co-location with AIM also brings many institutional investors to the show and offers a perfect opportunity for Barcelona-Catalonia to promote the region to overseas governments, businesses, corporates and investors from across the globe.

For you, what are the main arguments in favor of attending and what sets the Dubai fair apart from the rest?
The event is privileged with many advantages that sets it apart from the rest. To name a few, International Property Show has been in the market for more than a decade now, a pioneer on its business concept and the leading property sales event accessible to both consumers and business professionals.

Moreover International Property Show is held in conjunction with the prestigious Annual Investment Meeting (AIM), under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and the Ruler of Dubai.  AIM focuses on global investment opportunities and attracts a mix of high profile investors from around the world.  In 2014, international Property Show and AIM gathered 58 Ministers, Government officials, Business Representatives and Investors from 112 Countries.

You’ve come to Barcelona to present this fair, what were your aims and what sort of relation did you get as a result of?
The main aim was to promote IPS and Annual Investment Meeting to the key investment regions in Spain, with Barcelona-Catalonia being one of them. Also we have seen an increasing interest in potential property investment in Spain. Apart from the increasing investment interest in Spain, from both Arab Nationals and expatriates we also noticed an increasing participation interest from Spanish exhibitors in the show. The number and space occupied by exhibitors from Spain has drastically increased this year.

The presentation in Barcelona had a good turnout of attendees, and definitely further triggered an interest of the Spanish real estate sector to explore Dubai and IPS as promotion and sales platform to attract overseas investors to Spain. And even though not all attendees might consider exhibiting this first time it would be our great pleasure to welcome many Spanish industry professionals to the show as visitors.

How would you assess the current presence of Barcelona and Catalonia at the top international real estate fairs?

Barcelona and Catalonia have their presence already in the big European real estate events, but with the growing investment potential from the Middle East and Asian countries, IPS and Dubai should definitely be added to the promotion tour. Especially the co-location of IPS with AIM will bring strong additional value here, as the show combination attracts investors from the Middle East and North African region as well across the globe. In 2014, the shows had big delegations coming from amongst others China, Russia, Malaysia, India as well the various African Countries.

Finally, how would you characterize the current international real estate panorama and what challenges will it face in the future?
Overall, the real estate sector has assumed greater prominence. Having attained maturity, it is attracting huge investments, especially Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Each market has its own unique differentials.

Dubai for example has established itself as a prime global destination for real estate following its success in consolidating a number of factors that attract investors. The real estate market in the Emirate is unique and offers a flurry of products and services presenting vast opportunities for large and small investors with a good Return on Investment.

The Spanish property market on the other end expanded last year for the first time since 2010, in a sign that the slump in home sales might have finally come to an end. Hence it is expected to stabilize during this year. The attractive relatively low pricing of Spanish properties has led to more interest from amongst others the Arab world, a trend which is expected to continue in the coming years.


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