x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

More moving to Abu Dhabi from Dubai as housing deadline nears

Removal companies and property portals are recording an increase in traffic from Dubai to Abu Dhabi ahead of a deadline for government employees to move or risk losing their housing allowance.

Abu Dhabi property views at house-hunting website propertyfinder.ae increased 125 per cent to 321,602 in June compared with the same month a year previously. Above, construction on Maryah Island and Reem Island. Silvia Razgova / The National
Abu Dhabi property views at house-hunting website propertyfinder.ae increased 125 per cent to 321,602 in June compared with the same month a year previously. Above, construction on Maryah Island and Reem Island. Silvia Razgova / The National
Removal companies say traffic from Dubai to Abu Dhabi has risen ahead of a deadline issued in the capital for government employees to move into the emirate or risk losing their housing allowance.
Circulars were issued to human resources departments in the capital's government offices last September about the Executive Council order, which gave employees one year to comply.
In the past quarter, E-Movers has noted a 10 per cent increase in the number of people moving from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.
"We only started the major increase or visible increase this year, say in the last four months," said Chirantan Joshi, the company's co-founder.
"Sometimes in a conversation we have overheard that they are moving because of the rule that they have to stay in Abu Dhabi."
The Box Self Storage Services, which carries out removals, has also experienced an increase in moves from Dubai to Abu Dhabi in recent months, said Lisa Jackson, the sales and operations manager at the company.
The Box recorded a 20 per cent increase from June last year to this June, she said.
Other companies have also noted the trend.
Propertyfinder.ae, the house-hunting website, said there had been a rise in traffic and inquiry levels about homes in the capital.
Abu Dhabi property views increased 125 per cent to 321,602 in June compared with the same month a year previously. And inquiries about housing in the capital rose by 70 per cent in the same period to 14,829.
The regulation covering government employees due to come into force in September in Abu Dhabi was just one factor in the rise, said Lukman Hajje, Propertyfinder.ae's commercial director.
"Completion of new good quality freehold developments, particularly in Al Reem Island, Saadiyat Island, Al Raha Beach, Al Raha Gardens and Al Reef, as well as the completion and handover of island buildings has dramatically increased the options and attractiveness of residing in Abu Dhabi at the middle to top end of the market," said Mr Hajje.
Consumer confidence to invest in Abu Dhabi had also received a boost with the completion and handing over of developments in the capital, Mr Hajje added.
International headlines about the growth of property prices in the UAE, particularly Dubai, has also had a knock-on effect in the capital, where prices are also rising.
But not all companies in the industry are witness to the trend that the traffic is all one-way.
Movesouq.com, a UAE-based comparison portal for people seeking removal quotes, has registered a rise in traffic in the opposite direction.
"We've actually seen an increase in moves from Abu Dhabi to Dubai recently, due to higher living costs in Abu Dhabi, quoting a couple of my customers," said Bana Shomali, the company's founder.
"That said, we are still at the start of the peak season of moves - moves are increasing on a daily basis since school terms have ended - so things may change as we move closer to the date of law change in Abu Dhabi," she added.
gduncan@thenational.ae