The 2005 event, to be held on September 17-19 at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre, has already expanded 150% in the floor space occupied and promises a similar level of growth in terms of participation.

Such figures are an indication of the growing interest in – and excitement about – real estate investment opportunities in this part of the world. This year’s offerings will not disappoint.

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Just when it seems as if Dubai’s developers cannot possibly come up with another eye-catching, jaw-dropping architectural wonder to top those before it, they always do. This year all the talk is about Nakheel’s Dubai Waterfront and rival Emaar’s Buri Dubai tower.

Meanwhile, Bahrain, where foreign investors are now able to invest in more types of property than ever before, offers Abraj Al-Lulu, a $250m luxury residential development, among other projects.

A year after Qatar revised its property ownership laws, apartments and villas at The Pearl-Qatar have been snapped up by eager investors and there is huge pent-up demand all around.

Saudi Arabia’s holy cities are attracting investor interest in addition to pilgrims: six new Makkah development projects, launched late last year, will include prayer facilities for 200,000 pilgrims, five-star hotels and thousands of shops.

And it is boom time in Jordan, where the ambitious Royal Metropolis project looks set to bring unprecedented Gulf investment to the Hashemite Kingdom’s property market.