Rent in Abu Dhabi falling faster than Dubai

The average price of luxury real estate dropped harder in Abu Dhabi than the combined falls in Dubai and Riyadh.

Luxury rental prices in Abu Dhabi recorded a 10% decline in 2017.
Luxury rental prices in Abu Dhabi recorded a 10% decline in 2017.

The average price of  luxury real estate in Abu Dhabi  dropped faster than in Dubai and Riyadh combined, according to Knight Frank’s Prime International Residential Index (PIRI 100).

Luxury residential prices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai dropped by 10% and 3.5% respectively between 2016 and 2017, real estate consultancy Knight Frank said. In Riyadh, prices declined by 5%.

Knight Frank’s PIRI 100 tracks the annual change in the price of luxury residential units in the world’s top 100 cities. And prices dropped across the Middle East, while average prices in Guangzhou (27.4%), Cape Town (19.9%), and Aspen, US, (19%) increased the most year-on-year.

READ: UAE, Saudi Arabia to lead GCC's luxury hotel market

Out of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Riyadh, luxury rental value declined the most in the UAE’s capital city.

“Abu Dhabi’s economy is more exposed to oil price fluctuations compared to Dubai’s and, as oil prices have remained relatively low compared to pre-2014 prices, we have seen subdued economic activity impacting demand and ultimately prices,” said Knight Frank’s senior analyst, Taimur Khan.

Downward pressure on rent in Abu Dhabi and Dubai is well-known, but Khan suggested the decline in Dubai could be coming to an end.

“Dubai’s residential market has moved through a number of phases over the past five years. Strong price growth was replaced by price falls [between 2016 and 2017], but the latest data points to a recovery in demand and the beginning of a new pricing cycle.”

Evidence supports this claim. There were tentative signs of recovery in Dubai’s prime market last year, with transaction volumes in Q2 and Q3 2017 rising by 6.6% and 5.7% respectively, according to Khan.

And growth in the second and third quarters of 2017 was the first time since 2013 that transaction volumes increased quarter-to-quarter, Khan said, who add this indicated “an uptick in demand.”

Explaining the new price cycle, Khan said: “Price performance will be increasingly fragmented across Dubai. However, we expect that properties in the prime areas of Dubai - where there is limited supply due to the high quality of product on offer combined, with the availability of world-class amenities - will mean they continue to attract strong local and foreign demand.”

Knight Frank also researched how much space $1m can buy you in the world’s 20 top global cites. You can buy 138m² of premier residential space in Dubai – that’s more than eight times the space the same amount of money will buy you in Monaco, the most expensive city in which to buy luxury property.

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