x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Dubizzle identifies UAE property market pick-up

With graphic: The website is releasing its quarterly numbers to help identify trends in the property market.

The Palm Jumeirah is just one location that Dubizzle has recorded rises in rental costs. Pawan Singh / The National
The Palm Jumeirah is just one location that Dubizzle has recorded rises in rental costs. Pawan Singh / The National

DUBAI // Advertisements for properties worth a total of Dh132 billion have featured on website Dubizzle.com in the past three months.

The website is releasing statistics for the almost 300,000 advertisements posted in the first quarter of this year to help identify trends in the property market.

"We want to improve transparency in the market and empower our users," said Ann Boothello, a marketing specialist for property at Dubizzle.

"We've decided that we want to put out these stats every quarter, because we have such a large sample size that we can provide trend indicators."

The first quarterly analytics document will be available from next week.

In Dubai, the value of rent advertisements was Dh18.24bn, and sale was Dh114bn. In Abu Dhabi, the value of rent ads was Dh3.26bn, while sale was Dh2.6bn.

Ms Boothello said the company had about 500 brokers who typically posted about 1,000 to 2,000 advertisements on the site every quarter.

"Our numbers have been going up," she said. "It's not really surprising though, as the real estate market in Dubai has also been picking up."

The statistics also provide a close analysis of quarter-by-quarter sales and rent trends for different areas in Dubai.

Across the board, prices tended to be on the rise, although the largest gains were in Palm Jumeirah and Downtown Dubai.

Rent for a one bedroom on the Palm increased from Dh125,000 per year to Dh130,000, while in Downtown, rent for a same-sized property rose from Dh90,000 to Dh100,000.

Mario Volpi, head of sales and leasing at Cluttons property consultants, said tenants needed to bear in mind when renewing their contracts that there was a cap that prevents landlords from upping the annual rents beyond a variable fixed percentage.

"I would advise tenants when renewing their contracts not to panic and to negotiate with their landlord," he said.

"People will always try their luck, but they should be aware that the law is on the tenant's side."

Mr Volpi said that the Dubizzle statistics should not be considered 100 per cent accurate, since there was the possibility of a single property being listed multiple times, at different prices and by different agents.

"It's a powerful tool and a lot of people use Dubizzle, but it's certainly not a source of reliable statistics," he said.

"Any information is useful, but if you're looking to make analytical reports or to see accurately where the market is, I wouldn't necessarily use Dubizzle. There could be information on there that's muddying the waters."

Ms Boothello said that the Real Estate Regulatory Authority was preparing a ruling that meant a single listing could only be given to three agents. But until that time, repeat listings were inevitable, she said.

"At the moment, this is something we can't control, because there is no rule that helps us control it," Ms Boothello said.

"At lot of owners would rather give it to five brokers and see who gives the best value."