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News Release

Middle East

JLL Reveals 2015 City Momentum Index of Most Dynamic Cities ​​

Dubai remains the major global market in the ME

​​​​​​​JLL, the world's leading real estate investment and advisory firm, today released its second annual City Momentum Index (CMI), ranking global cities on real estate and socio-economic factors. The Index provides a new view into what makes cities dynamic, sustainable for future opportunities and tracks the speed of change of a city's economic base and its commercial real estate market. 

London, San Jose, Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai lead the 2015 CMI, which also features six new cities in the top 20:    Ho Chi Minh City (6) Sydney (11), Bangalore (12), Dublin (14), Nairobi (15), Melbourne (16) and Nanjing (20). The CMI goes beyond traditional static economic rankings by delving into the undunderlying drivers that keep cities competitive and dynamic, as well as identifying signals for change that will impact their future.

Commenting on the CMI 2015, Craig Plumb, Head of Research, JLL MENA, said: “Dubai remains in the Top 20 global cities in terms of dynamism and pace of change, although its rank has dropped as growth in residential real estate prices moderates to more sustainable levels. We have witnessed some new cities within the broader region, such as Nairobi and Bangalore making their debut to the top 20. Both are experiencing high levels of property construction, its rental markets are buoyant a​nd real estate transparency is improving. "

The list of top 20 cities reveals major trends and changes driving global momentum:

  • Dubai remains in the Top 20, although its rank has dropped as growth in commercial real estate prices moderates to more sustainable levels. Momentum is expected to continue with activity bolstered by major project spending relating to Dubai hosting the World Expo 2020.
  • Technology-rich cities dominate the CMI. Several of the world's most tech-rich cities maintained a position in the top 20, including London (1), San Jose (2), Boston (7) and San Francisco (9). Newcomers to the top 20, thanks to the technology sector, include Sydney (11), Dublin (14), Melbourne (15), Bangalore (12) and Nairobi (15).
  • Sub-Saharan Africa makes its debut in the Top 20, represented by Nairobi. As a regional base for global corporations expanding into Africa and as the continent's top technology city ('Silicon Savannah'), Nairobi is witnessing high levels of property construction, its rental markets are buoyant and real estate transparency is improving. The city has also emerged as an important hub for the continent's rapidly growing air transport network.
  • Bangalore (Bengaluru) provides India's first appearance in the Top 20. Robust demand for commercial space from the technology sector and associated IT-enabled services is boosting office rents. While outside the Top 20, Delhi and Mumbai are beginning to see an increase in momentum as economic growth picks up and demand for prime office space strengthens.

While six new cities entered the 2015 CMI, established tech and creative hubs, such as Austin, Los Angeles and Seattle, dropped to just outside the top 20. Hong Kong and Tokyo fell outside this year's top 20 due to a temporary loss of impetus, but nonetheless have strong long term fundamentals. For the first time, cities in India and Sub-Saharan Africa were represented in the CMI due to the robust demand for office space from technology companies (Bangalore, 12) and MNC expansion (Nairobi, 15).

The City Momentum Index, the most downloaded report from JLL's Cities Research Center, assesses 120 cities with a weighted overall score based on 37 short-term and longer term variables.

Short-term socio-economic momentum variables (40 percent of the model) include recent and projected changes in GDP and population, air passenger traffic, corporate headquarter presence and recent levels of foreign direct investment as a proportion of a city's economy.

Short-term commercial real estate momentum variables (30 percent of the model) include recent and projected percentage changes in office net absorption, office construction, office rents, shopping mall construction and retail rents, direct commercial real estate investment volumes and real estate transparency.

Longer term variables (30 percent of the model) that are likely to determine future economic strength and real estate momentum include high-value incubator indicators such as university presence and educational infrastructure, innovation capability, international patent applications and presence of technology and venture capital firms.