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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Dubai and Abu Dhabi rents in Q3 2018: All you need to know

Find out where rents have risen and fallen during the past quarter

Dubai villa rates for Q3, 2018. Courtesy Asteco
Dubai villa rates for Q3, 2018. Courtesy Asteco

What was the general market movement in Q3?

Rents have been falling for a while now and that trend continued between June and September, although the outlook is likely to improve.

In Dubai, average apartment rents were down 3 per cent in the third quarter (11 per cent year-on-year), while villa rents were down 2 per cent (9 per cent year-on-year), according to property services company Asteco.

In Abu Dhabi, average apartment rents were also down 3 per cent during the quarter (again, 11 per cent on the same period last year), while villa rates fell 1 per cent (8 per cent year-on-year).

Many residents in Dubai were said to be "downsizing or seeking value-for-money properties in less established areas", while others took advantage of the falling rents to move to bigger and more upmarket properties, said Asteco.

Subdued levels of demand in the capital led to an increase in vacancy rates, "particularly in buildings with lower quality specifications", it said.

Dubai apartment rates for Q3, 2018. Courtesy Asteco
Dubai apartment rates for Q3, 2018. Courtesy Asteco

Were all property brokers in agreement on the trend?

Yes. Reidin’s Residential Property Rental Price Index for both Dubai and Abu Dhabi showed similar data with widespread rental falls, while Dubizzle recently reported softening sales prices across the board.

The decline in rents during the past few years coincided with falling oil prices, and although those have improved this year - reaching $80 a barrel - rising housing supply has kept rents in check amid subdued economic growth.

However, there is renewed optimism in Abu Dhabi after the announcement of the Ghadan 21 government programme, which is expected to boost the economy with 10-year visas for select expatriates and 100 per cent foreign ownership in certain companies located outside of free zones. JLL said in its Q3 market report that it "anticipates a healthier market in the long run".

Abu Dhabi villa rental rates for Q3, 2018. Courtesy Asteco
Abu Dhabi villa rental rates for Q3, 2018. Courtesy Asteco

Any rental bargains to be had?

A two-bedroom property on Palm Jumeirah for Dh100,000 a year? That would have been hard to come by in the past. Similarly, a two-bedroom in Dubai Marina now start from Dh65,000, while a three-bed in Downtown Dubai starts from Dh130,000 after 12 per cent average falls year-on-year in the area.

In Abu Dhabi, residents are taking advantage of double-digit falls on Reem Island, and Saadiyat Island has become more affordable.

The Marina Square area of Reem Island. Sammy Dallal / The National
The Marina Square area of Reem Island. Sammy Dallal / The National

What is the supply situation?

The total anticipated delivery for Dubai is now 16,750 units for the year - a decline on previous projections. During third quarter, 3,850 apartments were completed and 570 villas with a similar amount are expected in the final quarter of the year.

JLL said the majority of completions during the third quarter were apartments, with the largest including Burj Vista (640 units) in Downtown, Damac Heights (640 units) in Dubai Marina, Glitz 3 (350 units) in Studio City and Al Zahra apartments (300 units) in Townsquare by Nshama.

Completions expected before the end of the year are at Al Khail Heights, Hayat townhouses in Townsquare and apartment buildings on Bluewater Island.

In Abu Dhabi, 2,150 units were delivered in the third quarter with the majority at Reem Island, Al Raha Beach and Yas Island. Asteco noted several buildings in the Rawdhat district were also completed. Another 3,100 units are expected before the end of the year, mainly in the investment zones.

Abu Dhabi apartment rates for Q3, 2018. Courtesy Asteco
Abu Dhabi apartment rates for Q3, 2018. Courtesy Asteco

Cityscape took place in September - any big announcements?

There were two announcements the day before the event started in Dubai.

Firstly, there was Abu Dhabi-based Imkan’s Dh15 billion Riviera of the Emirates project, which is aimed at people looking to buy a second home and holiday makers. The project will occupy 370 hectares of land in Abu Dhabi’s Ghantoot nature reserve, close to the Dubai border and is scheduled to be completed by 2021.

Then there was Union Properties’ Dh2.5bn Avenue District - part of its Dubai Motor City master-plan.

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