Abu Dhabi has been named the most resilient city in the Middle East in terms of city wealth (GDP), personal wealth (households with an income greater than $70,000), and demographics, according to research by Savills.
The UAE capital featured highest in the Savills Resilient Cities Index, launched as part of research which examines which cities will be able to withstand or embrace the technological, demographic, and leadership disruption facing global real estate today and in 10 years’ time.
Abu Dhabi was ranked above Dubai, Riyadh, Kuwait City and Jeddah in the regional list. It showed that investors looking for long-term returns should look to Middle East, Indian and second tier Chinese cities as the markets that are likely to grow in the face of global disruption in the coming decades, but today remain relatively untapped.
These regions are also home to the “challenger cities” identified in Savills Resilient Cities Index. The report specifically identifies Riyadh and Jeddah as among the eight that will make the biggest leaps up the ranking in the next decade, alongside the likes of Nanjing, Hangzhou, Delhi, Mumbai.
Challenger cities are poised to compete with established cities by using disruption to their advantage as they are often able to respond faster and more flexibly to swift changes in technology and society, said Savills. No contenders from either the US or Europe have been awarded challenger city status by Savills, with London and Paris the only European cities ranked within the 20 most Resilient Cities Index.
Globally, within 10 years China cities are expected to occupy 43 spots in Savills Top 100 Resilient Cities ranking while New York, Tokyo, London, and Los Angeles currently Savills top four cities most resilient to global disruption now and in 2028.
“What our eight challenger cities have in common is that they are all likely to see substantial increases in their GDP and growth in household incomes, while their dependency ratios – the proportion of people of a non-working age to those of a working age – will either fall or increase at a lower rate than other major cities between now and 2028. This indicates that they are set to be young, prosperous, and able to adapt to changes in the way the world operates at a faster pace than some better known locations,” said Sophie Chick, director in Savills world research.
Paul Tostevin, director in Savills world research, added: “All our ‘challenger city’ contenders are from China, India and the Middle East. While some of these, such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Riyadh and Jeddah are known internationally, they are generally yet to make it onto the global real estate investors’ radar.”