What was the general market movement in Abu Dhabi in the first quarter?
The Abu Dhabi rental market remained strong in the first three months of the year amid government initiatives and economic growth, according to brokers.
Property consultancy Asteco said the villa rental market continued to achieve good levels of demand across the board, particularly for the well-developed villa communities on Saadiyat and Yas Islands. Average villa rents rose 2 per cent in the first quarter and 5 per cent annually.
"However, there are still some discrepancies in the apartment market with positive and negative rental growth for various buildings within communities and across different areas, depending on the building’s age and quality," it said.
Apartment rents were flat during the quarter and down 1 per cent year-on-year, according to Asteco. Although new leases in various good quality developments are currently being offered at higher rates.
The coronavirus pandemic brought a desire for space, which resulted in many tenants moving throughout the city into larger properties and established communities, Kika Pavese, managing director at MD Real Estate in Abu Dhabi, told The National.
She said that with the demand for larger properties and established communities increasing, some areas in Abu Dhabi have registered an increase in rentals and some felt a slight fall. In general the market is stable, she added.
"Abu Dhabi is a family-oriented city that offers long-term stability," she said. "The best deals in terms of prices are still in Al Reem Island, where the supply is higher than the demand. The oversupply created a competition among landlords who had to adjust to the market through incentives such as free rental periods and multiple cheques.
"On another level, Yas Island’s plans are incredible and remarkable. Here, demand is higher than supply, which creates more desire and higher rental rates. Finding a property on Yas Island can also be considered an incredible deal due to the lack of supply."
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The UAE’s non-oil economy expanded an annual 7.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2021, driven by easing of pandemic-related restrictions and travel curbs, which boosted local and global demand, the latest figures from the Central Bank of the UAE show.
Government initiatives — such as residency permits for those who have retired and remote workers, in addition to the expansion of the 10-year golden visa programme — helped to improve property market sentiment.
What about supply of new units?
About 3,800 units were delivered in the first three months of 2022, according to Asteco.
These were spread across different areas of Abu Dhabi, including Al Raha Beach, Reem Island, Yas Island and Saadiyat Island.
CBRE reported an additional 9,588 units are scheduled to be delivered over the course of the year. Of this, 71.1 per cent of scheduled deliveries are in Al Raha Beach, Al Maryah Island or Reem Island.
How did Abu Dhabi's sales prices perform?
Average residential property prices in Abu Dhabi increased by 1.5 per cent in the 12 months to March 2022, CBRE reported in its Q1 market review.
It said average apartment prices increased by 1.6 per cent to reach Dh10,904 per square metre and average villa prices increased by 1.1 per cent to reach Dh8,850 per square metre.
Asteco, meanwhile, described the sales market as continuing "on a strong footing", with high levels of demand for new off-plan villa projects, as well as completed villas, particularly within well-developed communities.
"Sales prices for high-quality villas on Saadiyat Island and Yas Island increased by up to 4 per cent to 7 per cent over the quarter, and up to 15 per cent compared to the same period last year," it said. "Apartment sales prices rose marginally by 2 per cent in Q1 2022 and 4 per cent annually."
Abu Dhabi recorded 3,304 real estate deals worth Dh11.3 billion ($3bn) in the first quarter of this year, the emirate’s Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) said.