Prime rents in the troubled capital of Manama in Bahrain were the worst performing in the world at the start of 2012...
...as professional expats ditch the island kingdom in favour of more stable living and working environments.
According to real estate consultancy Knight Frank, rents nose-dived in Manama by more than 16 per cent between December 2011 and March of this year - in contrast to Dubai’s slight rise that saw its market stabilise better than the likes of London, Beijing and Hong Kong.
Bahrain, a financial hub that holds a reported
$9 billion in mutual funds, has seen its real estate sector and overall economic performance suffer due to continued protests by anti-government demonstrators.
And when it comes to rents, a Manama-based real estate agent, who asked not to be named, admitted to 7DAYS yesterday: “There is no demand.” The agent added: “There’s a lot of properties on the market - but there’s no demand for them.”
Street riots and heavy unrest have seen an exodus of expats from Bahrain. Asked whether the declining rents were due to the unrest that’s happening in the country or just due to business being bad at present, the Manama-based agent replied: “Obviously what’s happening in the country.
“Summer is generally the slowest period as people leave for the summer.
“I just hope that they come back this year.” The Knight Frank Prime Global Rental Index showed that rents in Dubai rose by one per cent in the first quarter of this year.
The emirate’s real estate market was hit hard by the global economic crisis that struck in 2009. Top performer on the latest Knight Frank index out of 16 global cities analysed was the Russian capital of Moscow - which was up 6.2 per cent for the first quarter of 2012.
Nairobi in Kenya came second and bustling Shanghai in China third. On the overall picture, Kate Everett-Allen, international residential research for Knight Frank, said: “The Eurozone contagion, its impact on business confidence and the resulting dip in
corporate relocations has led to slower growth in the prime lettings market.”
In May this year, Knight Frank said Dubai was the world’s top performing real estate market in the first quarter of 2012 for growth in house prices