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Posted On: 3 February 2010 01:52 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:10 pm

Middlemen cash in on fall in rents

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Middlemen are ruling the roost as housing units that are affordable to low and middle income people continue to be short in supply in the market, say industry experts. Those who actually benefit from the fall in rentals are not the tenants, but these agents who hire villas and residential complexes and sublet them at higher prices. “Partitioned villas” and “renovated flats” have become the norm in the market, in the segment catering to the middle income groups. Rentals of large villas and flats have come down significantly, but most people can not afford to hire such properties on their own. They have to either partner with other families or seek the service of the real estate middlemen, many of them operating illegally. “In the past old villas were being offered by such agents on a shared basis. With the availability of several new villas and large flats across the country, they have now shifted their focus,” said a resident working with a real estate company. “We have been offering a three-bed room house, with three bathrooms, for just QR6,000 per month but there are no takers. However, flats priced below QR4,500 are still short in supply in the market,” he added. Rents of big villas have seen a major fall over the past few months which has once again attracted the middlemen to the market. Brand new villas being partitioned into several small housing units have become common sight in many residential areas. The difference from the past is that quality of the houses has improved. Independent facilities are being offered in each housing unit. However, the rents have not fallen proportionate to the fall in the high-end category. However, people have no choice but to rely on these agents, going by what the tenants say. A resident said, he and his family were sharing a new villa with another seven families, with separate facilities for each family. There is an outhouse attached to the villa which is occupied by families and single workers. A single bed room facility in the villa with a hall costs QR4,000 per month while the minimum rents stand at QR2,000 for a single room.