UAE properties continued to provide high rental yields despite sales prices and rents softening in the first half of the year, according to a report by real estate listings portal Property Finder.
Dubai properties consistently offer rental yields of more than 7 percent on average, which compares favourably with other major cities. Average rental yields in New York stand at 2.9 per cent, London 2.7 per cent, Singapore 2.5 per cent and Hong Kong 2.4 per cent.
“Despite a sustained contraction in prices, Dubai still holds its own as an investment hot spot with attractive yields and new legislative initiatives to further entice investors and companies,” Lynnette Abad, director of data & research at Property Finder, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Since the change in UAE regulations regarding short-term lettings, we have seen a rapid increase in popularity with single and portfolio landlords alike," said Nick Witty, managing director of Chestertons Mena.
"With increasing demand for short-term lets and holiday homes, particularly in the run up to Expo 2020, these types of lets are achieving between 25 per cent and 40 per cent higher returns when compared with traditional longer-term leases."
Craig Plumb, head of research, Mena at JLL said residential yields in Dubai have remained largely unchanged at 6.5 per cent to 7 per cent over the past 12 months.
"The higher yields in Dubai compared to more established markets such as London, New York and Singapore reflects the additional risks involved in Dubai, where vacancies levels are higher," he told The National.
Dubai Silicon Oasis apartments provided the highest gross rental returns in Dubai at 9.5 per cent in the first half of the year, compared to 9.2 per cent a year ago.
New communities such as Meydan and Damac Hills also offered gross rental yields at 9.3 per cent and 8.9 per cent, respectively.
Rental yields are calculated by taking a property's rental income and dividing it by the purchase price. Landlords usually achieve higher rental yields from apartments than villas and make more profit by renting studios than large apartments.
Established communities that continue to offer compelling returns for buyers include International City and Dubai Sports City, both of which offer gross rental yields of 8.4 per cent, and International Media Production City and Arjan, both at 7.6 per cent, the report said.
Among villa and townhouse communities in Dubai, Town Square offered the highest gross returns followed by The Springs Reem – Mira, among others.
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In Abu Dhabi, Al Reef leads in terms of gross rental yields for both apartments and villas or townhouses – at 8.5 per cent and 6.7 per cent, respectively.
Apartments in Al Ghadeer come second, with rental yields of 8.3 per cent , and Al Raha Beach at 7.2 per cent. Villas and townhouses in Al Raha Gardens, as well as Golf Gardens, are also popular with those looking to secure rental income.
The report also highlighted rental returns in Northern Emirates, with apartments in Ajman's Emirates City providing the UAE's best gross rental yield at 11 per cent and Ajman Downtown offering 8 per cent. Al Hamra Village in Ras Al Khaimah also provided apartment buyers with robust rental returns at 9 per cent, the report said.
The UAE property market has slowed in the wake of a drop in oil prices, as well as ongoing concerns about an oversupply of properties. Experts have forecast a recovery in Abu Dhabi, however, on the back of a new immigration regime offering long term visa for investors, the Dh50 billion Ghadan 21 initiative and changes to the emirate's freehold property law.