Qatar has world’s highest per capita built assets while UAE fifth, new study shows

Qatar has once again topped an index ranking countries by the amount of wealth per person held in its building stock, with the UAE ranked fifth in a worldwide survey.

The Arcadis Global Built Asset Wealth Index said that Qatar had US$198,000 of built assets per person, which put it just ahead of Singapore with $192,000.

Hong Kong finished third in the Index, Japan fourth and the UAE fifth, with a built asset wealth per person of about $150,000.

“The countries at the top of this ranking are disproportionately made up of smaller nations, either by population or area, so the density of the built asset stock is much greater per resident,” the report explained.

It said that Qatar has the fastest-growing construction industry in the GCC, expanding at a rate of 18 per cent per year, with an expectation that this will continue for the next decade.

“This growth will be supported by a number of large investments in infrastructure,” it said.

“The country is expected to spend over $150 billion in the next decade with $20bn in roads, $40bn in railways, $40bn in stadiums, $8bn in ports and tens of millions in hospitality and social infrastructure,” it said.

Added to this, there are improvements major improvements of the country’s transport, water and utilities networks already underway.

Moreover, despite a slowdown elsewhere in the region, Arcadis warned that construction growth in Qatar “is subject to the supply of materials and there is a danger of substantial building material inflation if the supply chain is not properly managed”, but added that Qatar is less susceptible to falling oil prices as its main export is liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Overall, built asset wealth in emerging markets has outpaced that in developed economies. Indeed, since 2000, the growth in built asset wealth has been sharpest in Qatar (an increase of almost 700 per cent), followed by China, Saudi Arabia, India and the UAE.

Arcadis said that GCC countries had used resources to diversify their economies, moving into sectors such as tourism, financial services and education through construction of assets like museums, university campuses, skyscrapers (of which Dubai alone has built 190 since 2000) and stadiums.

Within the past year, China has overtaken the US in terms of the overall amount of built assets – at $47.6 trillion, compared to $36.8tn in the US. Since 2000, China has invested $33tn in built assets – more than every other economy combined.

“China’s heavily investment-dependent growth model means that by 2025 its built asset stock will be worth over double that of the US, and will exceed in size those of the next four economies combined,” it said.

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