Sharjah rents sizzle; Ajman, RAK follow

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Apartment rents in Sharjah jumped 33 per cent year-on-year while Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah witnessed respective 23 per cent and 18 per cent hikes in 2013.

Despite a three-year freeze on hikes, residential rents recorded steep increases in Sharjah in 2013, in line with a general upswing felt across a resurgent UAE leasing market.

Apartment rents in Sharjah jumped 33 per cent year-on-year while Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah witnessed respective 23 per cent and 18 per cent hikes in 2013 amid vivid signs of a long-awaited resilience in the property sector, said analysts at Asteco, a real estate consultancy.

“Our research shows that the rental law that was created to protect tenants from steep annual rent increases, is being circumvented by some landlords asking for additional fees for maintenance and extra parking spaces, to compensate for the three-year rent freeze stipulated in the rent law,” said John Stevens, managing director Asteco.

In March 2013, the Sharjah Municipality warned landlords not to hike rents before the completion of three years in line with the tenancy law. In Sharjah’s popular Al Majaz, Al Qasimia, Al Nahda and Al Wahda areas, residential rents rose nearly 38 per cent in 2013, Asteco said. “Rental rates throughout Sharjah increased, on average, by eight per cent in the last quarter alone. A two-bedroom apartment in Corniche now rents for up to Dh70,000 per annum,” it said in a report.

Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman and Fujairah also witnessed a fourth-quarter growth of up to six per cent. While the annual rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Ras Al Khaimah has gone up to Dh50,000 per annum, the cost of a similar property in either Fujairah or Ajman is up to Dh45,000.

The steepest increases of 2013 were recorded in Dubai with rents on average surging to between 50 and 60 per cent across all residential apartments and villas. While Dubai’s apartment rents jumped by almost 50 per cent, villa rents rose by 20 per cent, Asteco said.

Prices of Dubai property also rose by up to 60 per cent in prime residential developments, but current price level is still 21 per cent lower than 2008 peak, Asteco said.

However, in 2014, Dubai is forecast to witness slower growth in residential rental rates with the addition of 25,000 new units.

The International Monetary Fund, raising its 2014 economic growth forecast for the UAE to 4.5 per cent, has observed a steep recovery in 2013 in real estate sector, with home prices in Dubai having increased rapidly in some areas.

Knight Frank said in its Prime Global Forecast that Dubai’s real estate market would be the world’s top performer in 2014, building on the previous year’s rapid price growth. It predicted a price growth of between 10 and 15 per cent this year in Dubai.

In Abu Dhabi, prime residential rents rose on average by 17 per cent during 2013 amid an eight per cent surge in the last quarter, partly driven by the removal of the five per cent annual rent cap.

According to Jones Lang LaSalle, property prices in Abu Dhabi rose by up to 25 per cent last year but the significant gains were limited to prime projects.

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