Qatar's lack of affordable housing a prevalent issue as rental costs escalate

Published March 17th, 2016 - 06:00 GMT
New supply of housing in Qatar has been typically oriented towards mid-high and high end properties. (Al Huda Engineering)
New supply of housing in Qatar has been typically oriented towards mid-high and high end properties. (Al Huda Engineering)

A slowing economy hasn’t had any sort of impact on Qatar’s residential rental market, with a 7 per cent gain last year following on from the 14 per cent annual growth experienced in 2014. But rental growth numbers are starting to pick up some slack, according to a CBRE report.

Growth “during the second half of the year was around 5 per cent”, and slipped further to just 1 per cent in the fourth quarter. “Smaller apartment units, particularly those within central locations, remained in high demand, although rental growth was actually most evident for secondary and more affordable locations,” the report adds.

Since 2014, the government has had a rental freeze for most commercial properties, though none exists for residential properties.

For tenants, the rental hikes are exacting a price. Reports of relocations and tenants opting to resize are gaining traction. Those who can afford it are preferring options in locations such as Al Sadd, West Bay Lagoon and the Pearl Qatar.

Typical monthly rents for one- and two-bedroom apartments in Al Sadd range from 8,000—14,000 Qatari riyals, while those for West Bay Lagoon and Pearl Qatar homes range from 14,000-20,000 riyals.

“The lack of affordable housing options has become an increasingly prevalent issue over the past two years amid escalating rental costs,” CBRE reports. “The issue of affordability is further highlighted by the estimated 55,000 housing units which are currently being used for shared housing accommodation across the country.”

As is the case in Dubai, despite the significant growth in residential inventory, “budget homes remain relatively scarce, with new supply typically orientated towards mid-high and high end properties. Analysis of the future development pipeline highlights that a significant majority (80 per cent) will cater to upper mid — high income segments, with estimated rental levels in excess of QR7,500 a month, meaning a minimum household monthly income of around QR25,000 a month would be required.”


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