Thursday, June 05, 2008

Rents in Abu Dhabi to continue to soar

Rents in Abu Dhabi, although have reached their maximum best, are likely to increase further, during the next few years, in view of the worsening shortage in supply, reveal recent reports.

According to the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry The low and middle income expatriates will be the worst affected with the increase in rents, which have more than doubled during the past three years, while the salaries have remained the same.

After years of stability during 1990s and 2000, the property market in Abu Dhabi witnessed a jerk in 2006, due to the strong domestic demand, caused by an economic upsurge that shot up rents to sky-high levels, despite the introduction of rent caps by the government.

The Chamber reports that although the real estate market in the capital was more or less stabilized in 2005, with the 287,000 housing units being able to cover the domestic demand, a surge in demand during 2006, did not meet a similar supply growth. This resulted in a shortage of 3000 units. During the year 2007, the demand-supply gap was more than doubled and touched nearly 8000 and is further expected to touch 20,000 by this year.

The Chamber, in its report, states "Most housing units which will enter the market this year will cater to the hig-income sector, while the low and middle-income category will be the victims of shortage and rent increases."

"We expect a record supply shortage in housing units, which exceeds 20,000. This will aggravate the property situation in the emirate, pushing it from bad to worse, which in turn will affect the economic activities in the emirate and push inflation to new record levels," the report said.

According to property dealers, rents in the capital have increased by more than 25 percent in 2007, and by 15 percent during first quarter of this year. The increase has been attributed to the huge increase in demand and rapid growth in population, an intensifying influx of expatriate workers due to surge in projects in the Capital, failure by landlords to abide by the rent caps, and the concentration of property developers on costlier properties that caters to high-income sector.

"Buildings that are under construction in Abu Dhabi will cater to only 20 percent of the demand. This will only widen the supply shortage, and when coupled with the population growth, it will push rents to record high levels. As rents account for more than 40 percent of consumer spending, this increase will further aggravate inflation in the emirate," states the Chamber report.

Abu Dhabi has one of the highest per-capita incomes in the world, projected to touch Dh.225,000 in 2008. As per figures by the Abu Dhabi Department of Planning and Economy, population in Abu Dhabi has grown by 12.6 percent, and is likely to grow by 7.5 percent his year, which is one of the highest in the world.

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