Many of those who were eagerly waiting for Barwa Real Estate Company to unveil the allotment process for flats and shops in its upcoming housing-cum-commercial complex in Al Wakra have been left disappointed as they say they find the rents higher than expected.
Several of them The Peninsula spoke to yesterday said they were not applying for Barwa houses and would instead be looking for accommodation elsewhere as, with the rental market easing, they expected affordable housing to be available in Doha.
Businessmen were equally critical of the rents for commercial space. At QR127 per square metre, they argued the rate was equivalent to that for “some of the best business addresses in town.”
But Barwa has claimed that since it announced the allotment process it has been literally inundated with enquiries. “We were getting between 350 and 500 calls every day after the advertisements were put out in newspapers,” a senior Barwa official said.
“The apartments are really massive. The one-bedroom apartment is like a three-bedroom unit. Then, it is a compound with several amenities like a nursery, centralised cooking gas, air-conditioner and shopping complexes,” said the official. “You will have all kinds of shops close to where you stay. Over 900 shops are on offer in the complex,” he added.
An Iranian expatriate, Shekoofeh, on the contrary, said she and her husband had been waiting to apply for Barwa housing in Al Wakra but after looking at the rents they had changed their minds.
“The rents are high for that location,” she said. “For a QR3,500 rent, we can look for an apartment in the city,” added Shekoofeh.
Prominent businessman Ahmed Al Khalaf said the rents were really high considering that the original objective of the Barwa project was to accommodate residents and traders being displaced from Musheirib. “These people had residential and commercial premises at lower rents in Musheirib. They should have been offered alterative space at even lower rents,” said Al Khalaf.
And considering that rents are generally coming down, by the time Barwa hands over the shops and premises to people early next year, the rental market would have eased further, he said.
Another businessman, Abdul Hadi Al Shahwani, said he expected the rents to slide at least 20 percent more by the year-end but added that Barwa’s rents were justified due to the project’s location and amenities.
“Barwa is a state-backed company and its aim is to support the housing needs of low-income people,” said Al Khalaf. Of the shops, he said the rate of QR127 per square metre in a “remote” place like Al Wakra was not justified since in Doha’s upscale business locality the rate was QR200.
The Barwa project has studio apartments on offer for a monthly rent of QR2,500 while one-bedroom flats are being offered for QR3,000 and two-bedroom units for QR3,500.
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