Property Finder released its fifth edition of Trends report, which gives readers an informed picture of how the Qatar real estate market performed in 2020, and projections for the year ahead. The report includes insights on the latest price trends, top searched areas, and articles from industry experts on market dynamics.
The goal of the report is to educate property seekers about the market, so that they are able to make well-informed decisions, and to use the wealth of quantitative information and vast data sets available from Property Finder, to create solutions and insights for all stakeholders in the market. Just like previous issues, Volume 5 of Property Finder’s Trends report covers the market in terms of supplying data on price trends, demand data, and our contributors section, which includes articles from market leaders who continue to use Trends as a platform to voice their opinions on the industry.
With so many factors affecting the industry, it was very difficult for prices to see a stable trend, across all markets and sectors, according the report. The impact of COVID-19 stands at the pinnacle of these price shifts, as the entire world struggled to find normalcy in such difficult and unprecedented times. The same trend that has been witnessed and reported over the past three years continued into 2020, and demand for affordable units is on the rise. With the financial impact of COVID-19, this has also been the case this year, and has created a shift in prices across Qatar. According to advertised prices on www.propertyfinder.qa a decrease in rental unit prices was recorded across all major municipalities in Qatar in 2020. The real estate market has been affected, as with all others sectors, by restrictions caused by the pandemic, and it is clear to see that there has been a major impact on price for the rental market. Subsequently, a 12 percent drop in overall advertised prices for rental units was recorded for Doha, when comparing 2019 with 2020. The strain of the pandemic also affected the sale market in Qatar, as prices per SQFT dropped across the country in 2020, with the exception of Lusail, which recorded no change in advertised sale prices when comparing 2019 with 2020. Qatar was already on its way to becoming a more mature and transparent buyer’s market, as opposed to a market that is focused heavily on rentals. One of the patterns that has been reported in 2020 is an increased interest in the sales sector. More often than not, downward price trends usually attract first time buyers, as prices become more affordable and within reach for first time investors. And with external investment not possible, purchasers within Qatar, both nationals and expats, were able to take advantage of this downward price trajectory, with some securing their first local real estate investment. Overall, 2021 will be a year where economies will return to growth, especially as Qatar resumes normal operations once again. As the 2022 FIFA World Cup inches closer, and with a calmer regional situation, as well as the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, more lenient foreign ownership laws and winning the bid for hosting the 2030 Asian Games, investment in Qatar is expected to grow, on both the residential and commercial segments.
It is clear that there has been an overall downward price trend in apartment rental prices when comparing 2019 and 2020, which does not come as a surprise, given the overall market status. However, the market continues to record transactions, with tenants looking for more affordable units, while others, seizing the opportunity of decreasing prices, are able to look for larger more affluent accommodations. In order to keep demand alive, areas such as Fereej Abdul Aziz and Al Ghanim had to further reduce rentals, with advertised prices on www.propertyfinder.qa dropping from QR 5,000 to QR 4,500 and QR 4,500 to QR 4,250 respectively. Despite a reported increase in supply in a number of areas, no change was recorded in advertised average prices in areas such as Ain Khaled, Al Aziziyah and Al Muntazah, among others. Landlords and owners are using other tactics and promotions to attract the attention of renters, especially with methods of “free months” and “utilities included” which essentially would lower transacted prices, and not advertised prices.
The villa rental sector also recorded a general downward price trajectory when comparing 2019 and 2020. While villas in Qatar remain popular, but when compared to the number of apartments available, supply of villas remains more subdued, which is why price fluctuations are more on the stable side. Here, the effects of the pandemic play a major role in price drops, as salary cuts and layoffs have forced tenants to either downgrade homes, or negotiate for lower prices, which highly affected areas in terms of advertised prices, such as Abu Hamour and Ain Khaled, which recorded a price decrease from QR 12,500 to QR 11,550 and QR 13,000 and QR 12,000 respectively on www.propertyfinder.qa when comparing 2019 and 2020. In Al Kheesa, an area in Qatar known for offering luxurious and affluent villas, price strategies needed to be revisited, in order to keep demand high and to entice renters to continue occupying these units.
Reports indicate that interest in the sale market is increasing, and as more lenient real estate investment laws were announced, as well as more regulations in place and planned for the near future, prices have continued to fluctuate for this sector. Of course, this is in addition to the effects of COVID-19, which has also put a strain on unit prices. However, prices for the sale market prior to the pandemic were also fluctuating, as the market continues to seek a more transparent and mature pricing strategy.
Buyers who had the means to invest during 2020, were eager to take advantage of decreased prices in the market, with first-time buyers also jumping on the wagon. While advertised prices for apartments for sale have decreased in many areas, demand for units in Lusail’s various neighbourhoods is still high, which is one of the only cities to record an increase in prices.
Offering modern and new units, prices still remain on the higher side, with Al Erkyah City, Qatar Entertainment City, The Waterfront and Lusail City all recording an increase in advertised price per SQFT when comparing 2019 and 2020. This is also due to a number of new units being handed over in the past year. Prices on www.propertyfinder.qa for apartments for sale in The Pearl, which remains the number one searched area for apartments for sale, dropped from QR 14,414 per SQFT to QR 13,942 per SQFT in the same time frame. This is mainly due to the effects of the pandemic, and in order to keep transactions surging in the man-made island.
The addition of a number of locations that allow for foreign real estate ownership has rejuvenated the villa sale market, as the majority of stock in areas prior to these laws included mostly apartments. Nevertheless, we can now see an increased interest in villas for sale in Qatar, with prices starting to find more of a stable trend. Al Waab, known for its high stock of units, recorded a price decrease from QAR14,138 per SQFT to QAR11,506 per SQFT for units available on www.propertyfinder.qa as owners and developers began to shift their price strategies in order to keep investors interested. Alternatively, new units being handed over in areas such Al Wakrah, The Pearl, West Bay Lagoon and Umm Qarn has boosted prices per SQFT for villas for sale.
According the report, The Pearl remains the top searched area when it comes to apartment rentals in Qatar on www.propertyfinder.qa, especially as more units become available, and prices continue to drop. As one of the most in-demand areas in the country, it has dominated almost 27 percent of all searches for apartment rentals in 2020. Different neighbourhoods in Lusail have also gained popularity, with Fox Hills, Lusail City and Marina District all gaining traction. When it comes to villas rentals, Al Waab continues to be the top searched area for this category accounting for almost 15 percent of all searches for villa rentals in 2020 on www.propertyfinder.qa
Al Gharrafa and Ain Khaled have moved up to take the second and third spots, which is most likely due to an influx of new units in both areas, which are also very popular with families.
The Pearl tops the list for most searched areas when it comes to apartments for sale, on www.propertyfinder.qa, registering over 60 percent of searches in 2020. While West Bay also remains a popular area for those looking to invest in apartments, districts in Lusail are quickly gaining popularity. Fereej Bin Mahmoud is a new addition to this list, and this is a direct result of the new property ownership laws, which include this area.
The massive interest in properties in The Pearl also applies to villas for sale, which is why the man-made island also commands the top spot for villa sale searches on the website. Al Waab was the second most searched area for villa sale searches in 2020, overtaking Al Thumama. Interest in villa sale searches has increased over the last year, with the introduction of the new property ownership laws.
When it comes to office rentals, West Bay and Al Sadd remain the top searched areas when it comes to office rentals throughout 2020 on www.propertyfinder.qa accounting for almost 42 percent of all searches. Marina District and Lusail City are two areas that are quickly gaining popularity, as more units become available in Lusail, which is also becoming a top choice location for office rentals.
Source: Property Finder Press Release
Cover image credit: Property Finder
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