Northern Emirates offer affordable property options to tenants and buyers, report says

Attractive price drove the volume of deals higher in 2019, property portal Bayut says

In Ajman, Downtown, Al Rashidiya and Emirates City areas dominated the sales in 2019. Sarah Dea/The National

The Northern Emirates of Sharjah and Ajman remained leaders in affordable housing last year when compared to other emirates, according to a new survey.

The volume of deals also climbed in both emirates on the back of lower sales prices and rental rates. Government measures such as the roll out of long-term visas also stoked interest in the two markets, property portal Bayut said in its latest report.

“Sharjah and Ajman closely follow trends in Dubai and Abu Dhabi [property markets],” said Haider Ali Khan, Bayut’s chief executive.

“Similar results [as Dubai and Abu Dhabi] were observed throughout 2019 with [sale] prices declining in Sharjah and Ajman," he said, adding that inventory of new units also climbed in both northern emirates last year.

Nearly 61,357 transactions were recorded in Sharjah last year, a 13.4 per cent year-on-year increase, Bayut said, without providing transaction data for the Ajman market. The emirate recorded a 10 to 20 per cent drop in rental and sales prices in most of the popular communities, it added.

In Sharjah, the Al Majaz, Al Nahda and Al Taawun areas remained popular with buyers and investors with the average price per square foot ranging between Dh352 to Dh381. Rents also remained competitive in these areas, ranging between Dh17,000 to Dh20,000 for studios, Dh25,000 to Dh28,000 for one-bedroom units and Dh33,000 to Dh 37,000 for two-bedroom apartments.

In Ajman – the smallest emirate in the UAE – Downtown, Al Rashidiya and Emirates City areas dominated sales. The price per square foot to buy apartments ranged between Dh200 to Dh500, making Ajman a good budget option for customers.

Bayut said that there was a healthy increase in property handovers in Ajman and Sharjah, last year, leading to stabilisation in the market.

“There have been several handovers in both cities, including reputed projects such as Al Zahia and Nasma Residences in Sharjah and the Ajman Corniche Residence,” added Mr Khan.

Average property prices in Dubai have declined on the back of lower oil prices in recent years as developers focused on smaller, more affordable units and investor concern grew over an oversupply of units.

Average apartment prices in Dubai dropped 16.5 per cent year-on-year during the third quarter of 2019, according to Cavendish Maxwell's latest UAE Property Market report, while villa prices fell 15 per cent. Apartment rents also dropped by 15 per cent, while villas and town houses recorded a 12 per cent decline in rental values in the same period.

In Abu Dhabi, rents continued a downward trajectory for both apartments and villas and town houses in the first half of last year, according to Cavendish Maxwell.

Experts have forecast a recovery for the capital, on the back of a new immigration regime offering long-term visas for investors, the Dh50 billion Ghadan 21 stimulus and changes to the emirate's freehold property law.