More than 500 new projects were launched in Dubai during 2013, the highest number for five years, according to new data.
The UAE projects market exceeded expectations last year, hitting $34 billion worth of major contract awards, said regional project tracker MEED Projects.
While some way off the levels seen between 2006 and 2010, when between $42 billion and $62 billion worth of contracts were awarded annually, forecasts suggest that the UAE projects market could return to levels above $40 billion over the next two or three years.
The resurgence of positive sentiment returned to the UAE economy during 2013, culminating in the award of Expo 2020 to Dubai in November.
“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 undertook a programme of visiting and logging every single site where a new building is planned, on hold or under execution in the UAE.
Details, including GPS co-ordinates and site photographs have been captured for more than 1,300 projects worth $10 million and above.
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.