Residential rents in Qatar were “broadly stable” across all locations in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2011 while the number of transactions and enquiries increased as demand picked up, according to property consultancy Asteco. “With the exception of some marginal rises, rents are likely to remain unchanged in 2012 but demand is expected to continue rising,” Asteco said in a latest report, adding while supply was set to outstrip demand, the supply/demand gap would decrease towards the end of the year. However, the commercial office market continues to be oversupplied with several new developments approaching completion, it noted.
Rents for a two-bedroom apartment in Al Sadd and the Pearl-Qatar were on average QR6,250 and QR13,000 per month respectively in fourth quarter. There was a small decline in rents in the prime area of West Bay, but this was largely due to a small number of transactions rather than a market trend, while rents for compound villas rose slightly, with high quality luxury villas being the best performers, it said. Observing that rents for good quality villas ranged between QR23,000 and QR40,000 per month, the report said demand for prime villas that were maintained to high international standards marginally outstripped supply and “this looks set to continue”.
Demand in Qatar was generally expected to be focused on prime locations such as West Bay and might minimise the effect of increased supply, it said. There was a distinct increase in apartment sales transactions in the Pearl-Qatar over the last three months indicating that investor confidence is returning, it said, adding transactions largely occurred in the secondary market by investors looking for “distressed” sales.
Finding that enquiry levels from both nationals and expatriates for freehold apartments were “distinctively” higher than during the third quarter of 2011, which may result in a more positive sales market in 2012, Asteco said overall performance of the property market might improve this year depending on whether contracts for rail network, stadia and associated construction projects were awarded. “The performance of Qatar’s property sector is likely to be similar to 2011, with sales prices and rental rates remaining relatively flat,” said Jed Wolfe, managing director, Asteco Qatar. Bearing in mind 2011 was the third consecutive year of the global downturn experienced by the GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) markets; the Qatar real estate market performed relatively well, with pricing generally stabilising across all sectors, he said.