Abu Dhabi records $19.4bn in property transactions in 2021

The UAE's real estate market has rebounded strongly from the pandemic-induced slowdown

Yas Island and Reem Island (pictured) were among the best-performing areas in 2021. Ravindranath K / The National
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Abu Dhabi registered real estate transactions worth Dh71.5 billion ($19.4bn) in 2021, as the UAE's property market continues to rebound from the coronavirus-induced slowdown.

The total number of transactions across sales and mortgage deals reached 14,958 last year, Abu Dhabi's Department of Municipalities and Transport said in a report.

Yas Island topped the list of best-performing areas, registering Dh4.1bn in deals, followed by Reem Island (Dh3.2bn) and Saadiyat Island (Dh2.5bn).

“The new results reflect Abu Dhabi’s sustainable real estate development and ongoing attractiveness as a leading city for investment and living,” said Adeeb Alafeefi, executive director of real estate at the department.

The UAE's property market has made a strong recovery from the Covid-19 slowdown on the back of government reforms such as the new residency visa programme for retirees and the golden visa initiative, revised laws on business ownership and changes to the labour law.

Pent-up demand and improved investor sentiment have also helped to drive up property sales amid the pick-up in economic activity.

“The changes are being well received, a trend that is expected to continue in the short-to-medium term [in Abu Dhabi]," a report by real estate company Asteco said.

Villas, in particular, enjoyed strong demand in 2021, with sales prices recording an average annual growth of 14 per cent last year, driven by existing communities on Saadiyat Island and Yas Island.

“The lack of high-quality completed villas available for sale in the market has helped boost sales prices. New off-plan villa projects and completed villas continued to be well received, with an emphasis on the popular high-quality villa communities,” Asteco said.

Apartment sales also rose, mainly during the second half of the year, with average prices up 2 per cent a year, it said.

The capital values of villas and apartments in Abu Dhabi rose to their highest level in five years in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to property consultancy ValuStrat.

The ValuStrat Price Index (VPI) for Abu Dhabi, which monitored five villa communities and five apartment areas in the emirate, jumped 11 per cent on an annual basis to 70.2 points in December.

About 7,300 residential units, including 7,000 apartments and 300 villas, were handed over in the capital last year, according to Asteco. Most of this supply was delivered in Al Raha Beach and on Yas Island and Reem Island.

To cater to growing demand, close to 8,500 apartments and 300 villas are expected to be ready this year, it said.

“Several new project announcements are expected in 2022,” the report said.

Updated: February 18, 2022, 9:25 AM