Qatar’s rental market stabilising on expat outflow

As Qatar's construction sector slows with lay-offs and expats leaving the country, high-end rentals are becoming increasingly reasonable as landlords try to lure tenants

Richard Rayner is senior surveyor and valuation advisory at DTZ Qatar.
Richard Rayner is senior surveyor and valuation advisory at DTZ Qatar.

On the back of a slowed construction sector, project stalling and lay-offs throughout the industry, white collar expats are leaving Qatar in droves.

In its Q2 2016 Qatar Real Estate Market report, DTZ outlined that the outflow of expats from Qatar is creating a price drop in high-end real estate rental prices.

Richard Rayner, senior surveyor and valuation advisory, DTZ Qatar told Construction Week Qatar in early July: “The increase in vacancy levels has resulted in rents for prime apartments and villas stabilising, providing respite to tenants who had experienced strong rental growth in recent years.

"This has impacted on the cost of high-end rentals, with an increasing number becoming available as landlords do their best to lure potential tenants.

"While there has been little evidence of reduced rents on the back of the increase in vacancy levels, landlords however have been increasingly willing to grant incentives such as rent-free periods for properties that have been vacant for an extended period, or for properties in which they wish to increase occupancy levels quickly.”

Despite the white collar exodus, population growth has however been off-set by an influx of labourers, with the overall population increasing by about 9% over the past 12 months.

Speaking to Doha News, Johnny Archer, associate director of research and consulting, observed that whether rents fall in the overall market in the coming years “will depend on the amount of new demand created by Qatar’s economic growth, and the demographic of new arrivals to the country”.

According to Qatar Economic Outlook 2016–2018 put out by the Ministy of Planning Development and Statistics (MPDS), construction is expected to lead growth in 2016 and is projected to expand by 9.9%.

The report said that 'athough it will continue expanding through 2017 and 2018, its pace of growth will slow, with the emphasis moving to completing existing investments rather than starting to build new assets'.

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