Residents of Sharjah will see in the New Year with worries of rent hikes hanging over them, with speculation rife that further increases are to come in the emirate which has already seen big changes.
Realtors and residents say two reasons could contribute to rents being hiked in Sharjah: One, Dubai residents may move to Sharjah to take advantage of the comparatively low rent rates, and two, the influx of Syrian refugees into the Emirates. Residents say they expect rent hikes of up to 25 per cent, or even more in some cases. Real estate agents and landlords say that the hike rates will be clear only in the first quarter of next year.
In July, Sharjah’s residential rental market recorded an average growth of 16 per cent, according to a study by real estate firm Asteco. At the time, experts had suggested that the growth was a direct result of rent increases across Dubai.
Real estate agent, Ghafoor Kutti operating in Al Qasimia area, told Khaleej Times: “Rents in Dubai are on the rise and it is the border areas of Al Nahda, Al Khan and Sharjah Corniche that have higher rent rises. But if you look at places like Rolla, where residents are currently enjoying rents like Dh24,000 for a two-bedroom house, the hikes could be a little over 45 per cent.” In July 2013, Asteco had suggested that Al Nahda apartments led demand with average annual rents jumping 27 per cent from the second quarter of 2012 to the same period in 2013 — with two-bedroom apartments rents rising to Dh40,000 — followed by Al Majaz with a 24 per cent increase and two-bedroom units reaching Dh35,000.
The rents in these areas will rise by almost 25 per cent. “It will be hard for those residents who have completed the three-year tenure. Sharjah Municipality clearly states that landlords can hike rents once in three years,” added Ghafoor.
There was a 22 per cent increase in Al Wahda, with the going rental rate for a two-bedroom apartment reaching Dh32,000. Demand for villas is also on the rise, with rental rates following suit. Asteco’s survey in July recorded average increments of 12 per cent for villas located in Al Khan, Sharqan and Al Quz due to shortage of quality stock and growth in demand.
“One of the reasons I moved to Sharjah in 2008 was because the rents in Dubai had become unaffordable. Now if you are telling me that rents are going to get equally expensive in Sharjah, it does not sound like good news. Of late, I have noticed that there has been an increase in traffic as well,” complained Ayush Paul, a resident of Abu Shagarah. He lives in a two bedroom apartment in Abu Shagarah, paying a rent of Dh26,000.
“My renewal is due in March 2014 and I am not looking forward to it,” he added.
In areas such as Rolla, Butina and Al Nabba, one-bedroom apartments are in the market for between Dh20,000 and Dh26,000 a year, depending on the age and condition of the building.
A Pakistani national, Junaid Ashraf, said: “I have been living in a three bedroom apartment in a building near Sahara Centre in Sharjah for eight years now. My rent, when I moved in, was Dh40,000. Now it is Dh42,000. In 2008, I paid close to Dh50,000, which was really hard for me and my family. We want to continue living here, but if there are such big hikes, then I might just have to send my family back to my home country.”