x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Doha property gets World Cup fever

Landlords have started listing property at rates 10 to 20 per cent higher after the announcement of the World Cup bid win, but analysts say it's unsustainable.

Buoyed by Qatar's winning bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022, property sellers in Doha have begun marking up prices by up to 20 per cent to take advantage of an expected economic boom.

But analysts say the decision to raise prices is premature and could lead to rising costs for the government as it prepares Qatar for its biggest global event yet.

Mark Proudley, a senior surveyor at the Doha office of the property consultancy DTZ, said he had a businessman client ready to pounce on a one-bedroom property for a price of 1.4 million Qatari rials (Dh1.41m) two weeks ago. Late last week, he learnt the seller wanted 1.6m rials, a rise of 14.3 per cent.

"The problem is that while there is a tangible increase in optimism and expectations, there has been no fundamental change in supply and demand," said Mr Proudley.

Estate agents said this month that inquiries about buying homes in Qatar had increased after the announcement by FIFA about the 2022 competition.

Companies such as Coreo and Better Homes Qatar were preparing marketing campaigns to drum up more interest from abroad.

The announcement of Qatar's win could not have come at a more opportune time for the country's sagging property market, especially the commercial sector.

An oversupply of office space has forced the government to lease out whole buildings in the new West Bay business district, despite having needs only for a few floors, say brokers.

The current vacancy rate is about 20 per cent and with five more buildings to be completed soon, the total office space will be 1.3 million square metres, according to DTZ.