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Boegh/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Petrol prices in Qatar will fall slightly in June, the Ministry of Energy and Industry (MEI) has announced.

Premium petrol (91-octane) will continue to cost QR1.60/liter. But Super (95-octane) fuel will be QR1.65/liter, down from QR1.70 currently.

Additionally, the cost of diesel will fall five dirhams to QR1.55/liter.

Ministry of Energy and Industry

Fuel prices

Though the drop is marginal, June is the first month in 2017 that fuel prices are actually going down.

Before that, they held steady for two months, following five consecutive months of increases, from November 2016 to March 2017.

The drop will likely come as a relief to motorists.

Since Qatar first began fluctuating petrol prices a year ago, they have increased more than 30 percent.

Thoughts?

Chantelle D'Mello / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

During Ramadan, most traffic accidents in Qatar take place in the morning, not before iftar time as commonly thought.

That’s according to the Qatar Insurance Co. (QIC), which conducted an analysis of last year’s reported accidents and claims data during the fasting month.

It found that over the 30-day period, the most common timings of such incidents were between 9am and noon.

QIC

QIC Ramadan stats

This coincides with the morning weekday rush, as many people go to work later during Ramadan.

The most dangerous weekdays are Wednesdays and least dangerous are Sundays.

Older men

The analysis also found that men 40 years and older were more likely to get into traffic accidents.

They accounted for about a third of people who make claims.

Bark/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

According to QIC:

“Fasting can result in dehydration and low blood sugar, which in turn can limit our attentiveness, concentration, vision and reaction while driving.

In addition to fasting, the unusual eating and sleeping patterns can also cause fatigue, exhaustion, impatience and distraction.”

Advice

Company officials offered these pieces of advice to stay safer on the roads this month:

  • Be aware of your own limitations;
  • Be on the lookout for motorists struggling with the same issues and expect the unexpected;
  • Leave early so that you won’t be stressed out and rushing/speeding to your destination; and
  • Always wear your seat belt.

We would add get off your phone, since most accidents in Qatar are caused by motorists who are Instagramming and Whatsapping each other.

Thoughts?

Ezdan Holding Group

For illustrative purposes only.

Rents for compound villas and two-bedroom apartments in Qatar fell in the first quarter of this year, according to a new real estate report.

This was driven primarily by a slowdown in the country’s population growth and white-collar layoffs, DTZ said in its Property Times communiqué for Q1 2017.

Companies have also been looking to cut costs by providing staff with housing allowances rather instead of accommodation, it added.

DTZ

Excerpt from DTZ’s Q1 2017 Property Times report

Finally, new residential developments in central Doha districts including Al Sadd, Bin Mahmoud, Al Mirqab and Umm Ghuwailina have also increased supply in the market, particularly for two-bedroom apartments, the report said.

Falling rents

Average monthly rents for a three-bedroom apartment in the business district of Dafna/West Bay earlier this year were around QR15,000 for a three-bed apartment. Two-bedrooms went for QR12,000 and one-bedroom apartments cost about QR10,000 a month.

This is around QR1,000 a month cheaper than rates charged during the third quarter of last year.

Prices will likely continue to fall in the coming years as Qatar’s population levels off and supply keeps growing.

Gold Bay Real Estate

The Marina Twin Towers in Lusail

The number of available apartments in “prime” areas is set to more than double in the next three years. This is thanks in part to rising developments at Lusail and Msheireb.

Available flats will go from 20,000 in 2016 to more than 35,000 by 2020.

Energy sector struggling

Meanwhile, lower oil prices continues to affect Qatar’s property market, particularly for the rental of villas in compounds.

These compounds were often rented out by firms for their employees.

CodeCarvings

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

But now, many companies, particularly in the energy sector, have ended these housing contracts and are instead giving accommodation allowances to employees.

Other firms have reduced their housing allowances as a way of cutting costs.

“This has had an impact on the rents achievable for compound villas: a market that had previously been dominated by corporate leases,” DTZ said.

This softer market – which is better for tenants, but tougher for landlords – is set to continue, according to the report:

“It is unlikely there will be a return to the strong rental increases witnessed between 2011 and 2015, due to the continuing development of new residential buildings and the lower demand from higher-earning expatriate workers.”

However, an expected influx of service workers in the coming years will likely push up demand for more affordable accommodation, it added.

More offices

Under-construction developments will also have a big impact on the commercial market in the coming years.

The QP district in Dafna/West Bay is finally expected to launch this year, bringing the total supply of office space for lease in West Bay to more than 1.86 million sq meters.

And a further 134,000 sq m of commercial buildings is set to open in Lusail soon, as well as in Msheireb.

Msheireb Properties

Rendering of redeveloped Msheireb Doha Downtown

All of these factors have caused office rents in West Bay to fall by up to 20 percent in the past year, DTZ said.

The over-supply could mean that some proposed developments, particularly in Lusail “will be put on hold over the next decade,” it warned.

Cheaper hotels

Construction is also continuing apace on more hotels in Qatar.

The country is working to meet FIFA’s requirement of at least 60,000 hotel rooms before the 2022 World Cup.

Millennium Plaza Doha/Facebook

Millennium Plaza hotel in Al Sadd, which opened earlier this year

This would require tripling the current stock of nearly 23,000 rooms and apartments in the country – 87 percent of which are four- and five-star rated.

Despite a very slight increase in hotel occupancy, many operators have been forced to reduce prices to attract guests.

Average daily room rates were QR460 in February 2016 – down from QR487 in February 2015, the report said, citing government figures.

Malls galore

Qatar’s mall market is also one that has seen many changes in the past year.

According to DTZ, the shopping center building boom is creating a “two-tier” market of malls. Customers are favoring those that are easy to get to, have plenty of parking and include family entertainment.

Doha News

Main atrium at Doha Festival City

Doha Festival City, Al Hazm and Mirqab Mall have all opened this year, bringing Qatar’s retail center count to 18 so far.

Another four are set to launch this year, and two more by 2019.

Thoughts?