Dubai property prices remain fairly stable in first half of 2020 despite Covid-19 restrictions

Prices declined by 4% during the period compared to the second half, according to a report from Bayut and dubizzle

Property prices and rents in some of Dubai's popular communities remained fairly stable in the first half of 2020 despite movement restrictions introduced by the government to contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic, according to a report by listings portals Bayut and dubizzle.

Real estate prices declined by less than 4 per cent during the period when compared to the second half of 2019, the report showed.

Dubai’s property sector “has adapted and stayed resilient during the pandemic, with the brokerage community turning to innovative virtual tools to facilitate real estate activity and stay connected with prospective buyers and tenants,” Haider Ali Khan, chief executive of Bayut and dubizzle said in a statement on Wednesday. “The combined traffic to Bayut and dubizzle during the months of May and June were as high as 6.9 million and 7.3 million sessions respectively, pointing to growing interest in the real estate sector [after restrictions eased].”

Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai, Arabian Ranches and Palm Jumeirah were popular with buyers while tenants showed interest in renting in areas like Jumeirah Village Circle, Dubai Marina, Mirdif and Jumeirah, according to the report.

Dubai’s property market has softened amid concerns about a supply glut and a drop in oil prices that began in 2014.

The market, though, could bounce back next year on the back of increased economic activity related to Expo 2020 Dubai, Hussain Sajwani, chairman of the UAE’s third-largest listed developer Damac, said in May.

According to the Dubai Land Department, 15,897 sales transactions worth Dh32.5 billion were recorded in Dubai between January and June 2020.

The average price-per-square-foot for ready villas in Arabian Ranches registered a minor increase of 1.6 per cent in the first half of 2020, rising to Dh896.

Sale prices in Palm Jumeirah, on the other hand, remained largely unchanged, with the price per square foot averaging at Dh2,027 in the first half of 2020.

Dubai Marina continued to capture the interest of buyers on the lookout for ready properties in the first half of 2020. The average price-per-square-foot for apartments in the waterfront community saw a minor decrease of 2.2 per cent to Dh1,243.

For those looking to rent villas, Mirdif remained the most popular neighbourhood in Dubai in the first half of 2020 and for apartments, Jumeirah Village Circle has continued to be the area of choice for tenants.

Mr Khan said that both Bayut and dubizzle have registered an increased interest in villa communities.

"Right from the initial phase of the [movement] restrictions in March 2020, we noticed over 42 per cent increase in traffic for villas listed for sale on Bayut, which further increased by more than 25 per cent in April," he said.

In a separate report on Wednesday, JLL said about 5,600 and 1,200 residential units were handed over in Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively over the second quarter, which represents a “significant revision” from originally planned deliveries.

“Project handovers have expectedly experienced delays,” said Dana Salbak, head of research, JLL Mena. “An additional 38,000 units are scheduled for completion in Dubai over the remainder of the year, but financing restrictions and structural changes in the labour market are expected to delay things further.”

Despite the first half challenges, JLL said the pent-up demand is expected to reflect into figures over the second half of the year, driven by incentives from various landlords and developers, in addition to further government efforts to stimulate demand.