Middle East remains stagnant on tall building completions

More buildings of 200 metres’ height or greater were completed in 2017 than in any other year, with the Middle East matching its numbers from last year with nine completions

Under-construction Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia.
Under-construction Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia.

More buildings of 200 metres’ height or greater were completed in 2017 than in any other year, with the Middle East matching its numbers from last year with nine completions.

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has released its annual 2017 Tall Building Year in Review report, as part of the Tall Buildings in Numbers data analysis series.

According to the report, this year saw a total of 144 completions, marking the fourth consecutive record-breaking year.

The Middle East saw numbers of tall buildings stagnate this year with nine completions, down one from 2016, and representing 6.3% of the global total this year.

READ: GCC fails to complete supertall buildings in 2016

"Dubai saw three completions this year, and all were supertall – the tallest of which, Marina 101, now holds the title of 18th tallest building in the world at 425 metres," said Matt Watson, public relations coordinator at the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. 

 “While the Middle East as a whole matched its 2016 numbers with nine completions of 200-metre-plus buildings, Dubai in particular made a comeback of sorts on this list.

“The [Arabian] Gulf city completed three such buildings, all of them ‘supertall,’ or buildings of 300-metres-plus in height. In 2016, Dubai only completed one 200-metres-plus building, The 118 Tower, which was 212 metres tall," he said. 

Riyadh also rose in the rankings, completing two buildings of more than 200 metres in height in 2017, up from one in 2016. While not nearly completed, the world’s future-tallest building is currently under construction in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Watson added.

Abu Dhabi matched its 2016 numbers this year with one 200-metres-plus building completion.

Steve Watts, CTBUH chariman, said: “It is tempting to speculate that we are now seeing the built results of a full-blown recovery from the 2008 economic crisis, as greater confidence in single-function programs sparks a resurgence in speculative residential development.”

Further, there’s been growing interest over the past several years in residential real-estate investment by absentee owners as a wealth management strategy. However, market dynamics vary greatly between regions, so it’s likely there are other factors to the story.”

This year was the most geographically diverse in terms of the number of cities and countries that completed 200-metre-plus buildings, with 69 cities across 23 countries represented in the data, up from 54 cities across 18 countries in 2016.

Additionally, twenty-eight of these cities and eight countries completed their tallest building this year.

Again, China completed a majority of the 200-metre-plus buildings that finished in 2017, with 76 completions for 53% of the total.

Although this is a slight decrease from 2016, when China completed 83 such buildings, or 65% of the global total, China is still by far the world leader in skyscraper construction.

Asian cities generally represent 15 of the top 20 cities for tall building construction in 2017.

The United States completed the second-greatest number of 200-metre-plus buildings of any country, with 10 buildings finished in 2017.

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