Transactions in Qatar’s residential leasing market picked up significantly in the first three months of 2012 compared to the previous quarter as several established Qatari firms changed their housing policies to allow employees to take direct leases with landlords rather than employer-owned accommodation, a report states.
However, average rental rates for apartments and villas across all areas of the capital Doha remained unchanged, according to the first quarter report by leading Qatar real estate services firm, Asteco.
“The location most in demand was the Pearl-Qatar, which continues to be Doha’s prime development for many expatriates,” said Jed Wolfe, Asteco Qatar managing director.
“If demand continues at this level, and, assuming no new towers or phases are delivered, rental rates for the best configured apartments may witness a slight increase during the second quarter of 2012,” Wolfe said.
According to Asteco, the average rental rate for a two-bedroom apartment at the Pearl-Qatar during the first quarter was QR13,000 a month while a three-bedroom apartment was QR16,250 a month.
“The cheapest rents were found in Al Muntazah where two and three-bedroom apartments averaged QR5,000 per month and QR6,250 per month, respectively,” it said.
Rental rates for high-end four-bedroom villas in West Bay and West Bay Lagoon averaged QR22,000 a month while in Al Khertiyat they were QR9,250 a month.
The residential sales market saw improved levels of enquiries in the freehold segment during the first quarter of this year as investors, eyeing Qatar’s promising medium-to-long term capital appreciation prospects, sought alternative investment opportunities to cash reserves, Asteco said.
“With prices having remained relatively flat for 12 months, and still at a significant discount to pricing levels at the height of the market in 2008, serious investors are once again reviewing their options with regard to residential property,” Wolfe remarked.
The majority of enquiries were from local investors seeking to purchase from distressed sellers. The first three months of the year also saw an increase in the volume of land sales at the Pearl-Qatar in the freehold secondary market.
Rental rates for offices remained static during the first quarter of this year further demonstrating stability in the market, but are unlikely to rise until the beginning of 2013 at the earliest.
The majority of enquiries continued to be for office space ranging between 100 and 500 sq m on a fully fitted basis at secondary-prime rental levels.
This segment of the market is relatively under supplied compared to prime, shell and core offices of 650 to 800 sq m.
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