As mega development projects worth USD 30 bn are waiting to be launched in Qatar in the second half of this year, the population will breach the two million mark well before 2014.
A major influx of foreign workers is expected in the months to come to engage in these projects. No wonder, then, that rising demand for housing driven by the surging population is already pushing rents up, real estate sources said. The population figure touched 1.96 million in May 2013.
According to those in the know, population figures for June, July and even August, 2013 are unlikely to reflect the influx of freshly-arriving workers. This is because the population is calculated based on the number of people present in the country (including nationals and expatriates) at the end of every month.
In June, people begin to travel overseas at the onset of the long summer break. In July, the exodus is even heavier since most educational institutions and government offices are closed. They reopen only by early September and people start returning from their vacations by then. The population figure by September-end that would likely be announced in October should then reflect the actual size. “We should not be surprised if that figure is already over two million,” a real estate market source told bqdoha.com.
According to media reports, contracts for some 35 mega projects were awarded in the first six months of 2013 with their worth projected at USD 27.5 bn. These projects alone were worth 30 percent more in value than all contracts awarded in the whole of 2012. These awards were mostly related to transportation and construction, including tunnelling for the Doha Metro and Barwa’s real estate development in Al Khor. Nearly half the value of the contracts awarded in the first half of 2013 involved just the tunnelling work (USD 12.3 bn).
Media reports suggest the value of contracts to be awarded in the current half (July to December) of this year may be closer to USD 30 bn. These contracts might predominantly include mega civic projects like building and major repair of sewage systems and road networks. Experts believe another USD 60 bn may be spent in the next phase of development projects in 2014 and 2015 that would take total spending on infrastructure development in the country in the three years (2013, 2014 and 2015) to more than a whooping USD 115 bn.