More than 500 new building projects were launched in Dubai during 2013 – the highest number for five years.
Regional project tracker MEED has compiled an in-depth report into the construction industry across the region which reveals $34bn worth of major contract awards.
But the figure is still down on those for the immediate pre-global recession years.
Meed said Dubai’s construction and infrastructure projects were the major drivers of UAE expansion between 2005 and 2008, with at least $20 billion worth of contracts being awarded in each of those years.
“This period was followed by a three-year slump in which the value of contracts struggled above $7 billion. Both 2012 and 2013 hit the $11 billion mark and the indications are that Dubai will average $20 billion a year for the next three years,” the report added.
The UAE economy grew in confidence during 2013, culminating in the award of Expo 2020 to Dubai in November.
“This is already translating into more announcements, more conceptual schemes and more awards” said Julian Herbert, director of MEED Projects, speaking on the eve of the Destination Dubai Conference which is taking place at the JW Marriott Marquis in Dubai.
“The two months since the Expo announcement have seen media discussion of projects like the double-decker highway on the Sheikh Zayed Road and an 11 kilometre boardwalk around the outside edge of Palm Jumeirah, unheard of since the recession. The World Islands project is also coming back to life.
“Confidence is returning particularly in the luxury residential, leisure, retail and hospitality sectors,” he added.
Between August and November last year, MEED Projects visited and recorded details of and logging every site where a new building is either being built, on hold, or planned in the UAE.
GPS co-ordinates and site photographs have been taken for more than 1,300 projects.
MEED said the programme has revealed not only that many previously on hold projects are being recovered, but that there are 300 previously unrecorded projects at an early stage.