Abu Dhabi's land and real estate deals rise 22% to hit more than Dh19bn in first quarter

The increase comes despite the challenges faced by the emirate during the Covid-19 pandemic

Abu Dhabi, UAE - April 7, 2010 - View of Abu Dhabi skyline from the top of a man made sand dune on Lulu Island. The Island will be transformed into a multi-use island community by Surouh Real Estate. (Nicole Hill / The National)
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The total value of real estate transactions in Abu Dhabi increased by 22 per cent to reach Dh19.2 billion in the first quarter of 2020 despite the ‘exceptional circumstances’ the emirate faces in the battle against Covid-19, according to government data.

About 7,600 land and real estate deals were carried out in the first three months of this year, up 5,085 on the same period last year when the value of deals reached Dh15.8bn, according to Abu Dhabi’s Department of Municipalities and Transport.

“The increase comes despite the exceptional circumstances resulting from the spread of Covid-19 – which casts a shadow over the global economy,” DMT said in a statement on Thursday.

The high value of the emirate's real estate trading transactions comes as weeks of precautionary measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus have taken a toll on businesses and resulted in pay cuts or job losses for individuals.

There are signs, however, that restrictions may be lifted with officials in Abu Dhabi considering a staggered series of reopenings across key sectors to support local retailers and businesses.

The DMT has exempted individuals and companies from 34 real estate registration fees until the end of 2020 including a 2 per cent sale and purchase fee and a 2 per cent off-plan sale fee, as well as charges on land exchange, mortgage registration, mortgage transfer, mortgage amendments and mortgage redemption.

DMT said the value of real estate transactions amounted to about Dh8.7bn, comprising 3,613 transactions, while the value of mortgages exceeded Dh10.5bn, involving 3,943 transactions.

Real estate sales were distributed across land, buildings and units, with land transactions making up 56 per cent of the total sales during the first quarter with a value of Dh4.9bn in 1,224 transactions. Sales of real estate building and units comprised 44 per cent of the total sales value, with 2,389 transactions making Dh3.8bn.

Meanwhile, the total value of mortgages in the first quarter reached Dh10.5bn with 3,943 mortgage transactions carried out; land sales accounted for the majority of lending with a value of Dh10.3bn, making up to 98 per cent of the total value. The share of real estate loans accounted for 2 per cent, equating to around Dh200 million and 110 mortgage transactions.

"This high value of real estate trading transactions can be attributed to the direction of our wise leadership and vision to promote economic development and ensure an attractive investment environment based on the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 and the Abu Dhabi Government Accelerator's Programme 'Ghadan 21’ and the latest economic stimulus package where DMT waives various real estate transaction fees,” said Dr. Adeeb Al Afeefi, executive director of the real estate sector in the Department of Municipalities and Transport.

Al Reem Island attracted the highest value in terms of total sales at Dh2bn, followed by Saadiyat Island at Dh1.5bn, the Al Reef region at Dh911m and Yas Island at Dh837m.