Abu Dhabi, 03 May 2023 – According to the Asteco Q1 2023 report, the rental and sales rates in Abu Dhabi and Dubai continued to increase, indicating a robust real estate market in the UAE. The optimistic market sentiment can be attributed to the influence of new government programmes and wider economic growth, creating a positive market outlook.
Abu Dhabi Residential and Office Market
The report indicates that the Abu Dhabi market recorded the delivery of approximately 1,600 residential units in Q1 2023, largely distributed across the established International Investment Zones of Al Raha Beach, Al Reem Island and Saadiyat Island.
In addition, a number of noteworthy projects were also launched in Q1 2023 spread across Yas, Al Reem and Saadiyat Islands. Furthermore, with several new projects currently in the planning & design stage and anticipated to launch over the year, Abu Dhabi’s development pipeline throughout the rest of 2023 shows no signs of slowing down.
While apartment rental rates show stability, prime and high-quality apartment developments registered an average rental increase of 2% in Q1 2023. However, these increases were generally limited to new tenants. The villa rental market continued its upward trajectory in Q1 2023, with an average quarterly increase of 2%. Prime villa communities saw the largest increases of up to 5%. The market also saw strong demand for office space in Abu Dhabi, particularly for Grade A / B+, predominantly in prime locations.
Sales prices for completed residential apartment and villa developments were broadly flat over Q1 albeit the average increase over the past 12 months was registered at 2.0%.
While sales rates for the off plan prime and high-quality projects segment have surged recently, it is worth highlighting that they remain at a steep discount to comparable properties in Dubai and represent exceptionally good value.
The sales volumes in both the off-plan and completed categories remain robust weighted towards end-users. The former continues to perform strongly, with all noteworthy launches well received and the volume of transactions increasing 47% Y-o-Y. The numbers are similarly matched for completed stock, with sales volumes 50% higher Y-o-Y.
Dubai Residential and Office Market
In the Dubai rental market, there has inevitably been a growing gap between landlord and tenant expectations. After burdening years of decreasing rent, many landlords have sought to benefit from favourable market conditions. This has resulted in attempts to secure significant rental increases at lease renewal.
In Q1 2023, the Dubai market recorded a delivery of approximately 7,600 units matching the volume registered in the final quarters of 2022. The villa supply picked up significantly with approximately 2,150 units handed over, representing more than double (circa 1,000 units) in the previous quarter.
Despite ambitious development plans, project handover delays are likely to limit full-year apartment and villa completions to 35,000 and 6,800, respectively. While the updated 2023 projections represent a decline on earlier forecasts, it is worth noting that the supply of new villas represents a significant increase over the previous year with a total of 27,000 apartments and 3,930 villas handed over.
Although there is growing concern over the volume of future supply, with 27,400 apartments and 4,650 villas expected to be completed by the end of 2023, the appetite for new project launches continues to be well received by investors and end-users.
Villas continued to be the predominant focus of demand translated into higher rental and occupancy rates. The average apartment and villa rental rates continued to record strong growth in Q1 2023, particularly in higher-quality developments, with quarterly increases of 4% and 7%, respectively. The annual rental growth in the villa segment was significant, at 25%, while average apartment and office rental rates rose by 19%.
Office rental rates also grew on average by 6% over the last three months, although net effective rents may have been influenced by additional incentives. Annual rental increases stood at 21%.
The annual increase for apartments and villas grew at a robust 17% Y-o-Y, nevertheless, the price increase over the quarter still stood at a relatively strong 3% and 5% for apartments and villas, respectively.
With so many forces at play, Asteco anticipates momentum to continue throughout 2023 albeit at a more sustainable rate than 2022.
Al Ain and Northern Emirates Market
According to the Sharjah Real Estate Registration Directorate (SRERD), the real estate sector recorded 8,592 transactions in the first 3 months of 2023. With a total value of AED 5.9 billion.
The Sharjah apartment market recorded similar levels of growth in Q1 with rental rates increasing 2% albeit only 2% annually. Sharjah office rental rates also continued their upward trajectory with average growth of 2% over the last three months and a noteworthy 10% compared to the same period last year.
Apartment sales prices in Sharjah have also registered robust levels of growth, recording a 2% increase over the quarter and by 9% Y-o-Y.
In Al Ain, rental rates in Al Ain across all asset classes remained broadly unchanged over Q1 2023. However, the general sentiment is positive and improving.
The office rental market also remains stable, with no change recorded over Q1 2023. However, in tandem with growing business confidence, Asteco has registered a renewed level of interest across various districts of the city.