It's a sellers' market in the UAE right now with property transactions and prices increasing on the back of higher demand from buyers, industry experts say.
The value of properties sold in the third quarter was Dh97.6 billion ($26.6 billion), a 40 per cent increase on the same period last year, Dubai Land Department data shows. There were 31,216 transactions, a 22 per cent annual increase.
“The UAE is currently witnessing a sellers’ market as real estate prices in general are on the rise, returns on property investments are good, people are optimistic about the future and overall there is a positive sentiment in the market,” says Ayman Youssef, managing director of real estate company Coldwell Banker.
“This holds true for both ready and off-plan transactions in the residential markets.”
The UAE’s property market has made a strong rebound from the coronavirus-induced slowdown due to government initiatives such as residency permits for retired and remote workers, and the expansion of the 10-year golden visa programme.
The economic gains generated by Expo 2020 Dubai and higher oil prices also supported property market growth momentum.
In Dubai, residential prices rose by 19.6 per cent annually in the three-month period, with average apartment and villa prices increasing by 19.7 per cent and 18.9 per cent respectively, consultancy CBRE said in a report last week.
There were a total of 87,163 residential transactions from January to September, which is “the highest figure ever recorded over this period”, the report added.
Average apartment prices in Abu Dhabi were up 0.9 per cent on an annual basis while average villa prices dropped marginally by 0.1 per cent during the three-month period, CBRE said.
Real estate agencies are endorsing the increase in buyer demand.
Buyers registering their interest with real estate broker Allsopp & Allsopp surged by 72 per cent in the third quarter, while listings have only increased by 18 per cent, says Paul Kelly, its director of operations.
These figures reflect a high demand for properties and a limited supply, which contributes to a sellers’ market, he says.
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Similarly, real estate broker Betterhomes said the proportion of buyers identifying themselves as end users in the third quarter of 2023 was the highest since early 2021, at the height of the pandemic.
“We witnessed a marked shift towards domestic demand in the third quarter, as the summer months kept some international investors at bay, while residents searched out villas and town houses in greater numbers in the face of rising rental costs,” says Liam Dawett, sales manager at Betterhomes.
“However, there were some signs in the past month that buyers were less willing to chase double-digit price increases, with the rate of growth in new memorandums of understanding signed in September falling below previous months’ highs.”
We asked experts for strategies sellers could use to make their properties more marketable and improve their chances of a successful sale.
Price the property fairly
This is crucial to attract potential buyers, say experts.
It is common for sellers to think they can list their property at a high price and reduce later if they don’t get the expected offers, Mr Youssef from Coldwell Banker says.
But buyers are very knowledgeable and have many options, he warns. Sellers may lose out on good offers if the buyers view the price reduction negatively, he adds.
“Research the market thoroughly to understand comparable property prices and set a competitive asking price,” Allsopp & Allsopp’s Mr Kelly suggests.
“Utilise data-driven insights. Overpricing can deter buyers, while underpricing may result in missed opportunities.”
A strategic pricing approach can generate more interest and faster offers, according to Betterhomes’ Mr Dawett.
Presenting your property in the best light is crucial. Professional staging helps accentuate its key features and creates an inviting atmosphere, Mr Dawett recommends.
“Ensure clutter-free, well-lit spaces and consider minor touch-ups or enhancements to increase appeal,” he says.
“Highlighting the property’s unique selling points through appealing visuals is essential for attracting potential buyers.”
Fresh paint and landscaping improvements can enhance the property’s appeal and leave a positive impression on prospective buyers, he adds.
“Visually appealing properties are often perceived as having higher value,” according to Mr Youssef.
“A buyer is usually looking for properties that will require little to no work. This will lead to a faster sale process and reduced waiting time.”
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Bring a vacant property to the market
This will almost always lead to more interest, more viewings, more offers and quicker selling time, according to Mr Kelly.
Secondary market buyers are more often looking for a home to move into, which leads to vacant properties commanding a premium position in the market, he recommends.
Flexible viewing schedules
“Flexibility in scheduling appointments allows a broader range of potential buyers to visit the property,” Mr Dawett says.
“Consider hosting open houses or offering virtual tours to accommodate those with varied schedules or those living outside the region.”
Deal with an exclusive estate agent
An exclusive agent will work in your best interests; they can focus on your property’s unique selling points, provide personalised marketing, and negotiate on your behalf, according to Mr Kelly.
Collaboration with a single agent will significantly increase the chance of a quicker sale at a better price, he believes.
“Ensure you opt for a reputed agency. Do a background check, ask for references and select an agency with a strong track record and expertise in your specific type of property,” Mr Youssef says.
“It is always advisable to list your property exclusively with one agent as you are likely to lose control when you list with multiple agents. Overexposure never works in favour of the property.”
A skilled agent understands market dynamics, has a network of potential buyers, and can guide sellers through the entire selling process, Mr Dawett says.
Their expertise in negotiation, marketing strategies and legal aspects can significantly enhance the chances of selling the property swiftly and at a good price, he says.
Stay informed about market conditions
Staying up-to-date about market conditions and buyer preferences, both through your own due diligence and through your broker, is essential, Mr Kelly says.
“Regularly monitor the market trends, local developments, and other factors that may affect property sales. This knowledge will help you make informed decisions and adapt your strategy as needed,” he explains.
Utilise marketing channels to maximise exposure, engage professional photographers and use high-quality images in online listings, Mr Dawett recommends.
Leverage social media, portals, and targeted advertising to reach a wider audience. Consider virtual tours or videos to give potential buyers a comprehensive view of the property, he advises.
“Promote the property to the right audience through the right channels,” Mr Youssef says.
“Today with the number of options available, it is important to ensure you are using the right marketing tools to reach the right audience for your property.”