After years of home rental hikes, tenants may finally be able to breathe a sigh of relief as the cost of residential accommodation flattens out for a second month.
According to newly released government figures, the price of housing, water, electricity and fuel stayed the same in May as they were in April of this year.
And in April, the Ministry of Development, Planning and Statistics (MDPS) reported a very slight decrease (0.1 percent) for rent and fuel compared to the previous month.
Though small, it was the first time in more than two years that residential rates had fallen.
The drop came amid job cuts across multiple sectors in Qatar and also as more flats and villas, especially at the luxury end of the market, are expected to come onto the market.
However, many residents are still reporting increases in their rent. And anecdotally, it appears reductions are offered more to lure new tenants than retain existing ones.
Though prices from April to last month remained steady, the overall cost of accommodation and utilities has gone up 5.2 percent since May 2015.
Still, the pace of growth appears to be starting to slow compared to April’s year-on-year figures, which stood at 5.6 percent for this category.
Overall, the cost of living went up by 2.6 percent in May compared to the same month last year. This is down from April, which saw a 3.4 percent increase, and March, when it was a 3.3 percent increase, according to Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures.
Housing aside, prices in Qatar increased slightly during May for clothing and footwear (up 0.8 percent), transport (up 0.1 percent) and for miscellaneous goods and services (up 0.6 percent).
But spending on going out went down during the month:
- Recreation and culture: down 0.7 percent;
- Food and beverages: down 0.6 percent; and
- Restaurants and hotels: down 0.2 percent.
For the six other categories measured by the MDPS – including education, housing and utilities, and health – prices remained flat compared to the previous month, the ministry said in a statement.
However, compared to May last year, prices went up across eight categories.
Education showed the biggest bump – up 7.19 percent annually, which is reflected in tuition increases for the coming school year. The others are:
- Recreation and culture: up 5.2 percent;
- Housing, water, electric and fuel: Up 5.2 percent;
- Miscellaneous goods and services: Up 2.4 percent;
- Transport: Up 1.8 percent;
- Furniture and household equipment: Up 1.1 percent;
- Clothing and footwear: Up 0.9 percent; and
- Communication – Up 0.1 percent.
While the cost of tobacco remained flat compared to last year, prices for food and drinks, health and restaurants and hotels all recorded slight decreases.
Do these figures reflect your costs? Thoughts?