Browsing 'rental prices' News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Omar Chatriwala/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

More high-end housing options in Qatar are expected to become available in the coming year, but homes geared toward middle-class families will continue to be in short supply, real estate firm DTZ has said.

In its latest report, the firm said that more than 700 new units in Porto Arabia on the Pearl-Qatar are set to be handed over to homebuyers early this year, adding new supply to the nation’s strained housing market.

The three new towers – which DTZ said likely still need to be approved by Civil Defense before they can be occupied – are part of Qatar’s growing stock of luxury homes, which is increasing at a faster rate than the supply of mid-range residential accommodations.

These market dynamics mean middle-class tenants are likely to continue facing rent increases above the rate inflation in the coming months, DTZ said. Johnny Archer, the associate director of DTZ Qatar, added in statement:

“With Qatar’s population growth set to increase by over 7 percent per annum in the coming years, the real estate market will need to expand more quickly to keep pace and avoid overheating the market.”

More affordable homes needed

Villa

Dan A'Vard/Flickr

For illustrative purposes only

The real estate firm said developers are constructing an inadequate number of affordable homes to keep pace with demand. DTZ highlighted family accommodations – namely four and five-bedroom villas – as in particularly short supply.

The firm estimates that the number of prime residential units, such as those located in the Pearl-Qatar and West Bay/Dafna, would increase by 40 percent over the next 12 months. By comparison, the number of homes geared towards middle-income residents is anticipated to grow by 12 percent.

The DTZ report is the latest bit of grim news for tenants in Qatar who are seeing rental costs consume an ever-growing share of their monthly income.

Late last year, another real estate firm – Colliers International – found that the average expat household in Qatar is spending more than a third of its annual income on rent. That suggests that the city’s housing market is becoming unaffordable for many residents.

Like DTZ, Colliers concluded that developers are not building enough low and mid-cost housing to keep up with Qatar’s rapidly expanding population.

Barwa City

Supplied

Barwa City

Anecdotally, many residents say they are facing steep rent increases as their leases turn over. Last week, tenants in The Park Residences – a neighborhood within Barwa City – told Doha News that their rent would be going up by thousands of riyals a month as their landlord phased out the promotional rates used to attract initial residents to the new community.

And officially, government statistics show that rent rates – which are lumped in with fuel and energy prices – increased 7.3 percent year-over-year in December.

Hotels to be ‘tested’

Other highlights of DTZ’s report include:

  • The supply of office space in West Bay and Lusail is set to jump 18 percent, or 300,000 square meters, to approximately 1.94 million square meters by the end of the year. While no specific buildings were mentioned, the World Trade Center Doha – which reportedly contains nearly 142,000 square meters – appears to be nearly ready for occupancy. DTZ said that government-related entities have been responsible for most of the leasing activity over the last year and that the new supply will push vacancy rates above the current 9 percent;
  • Despite the strong performance by Qatar’s hospitality sector in 2014, local hotels will be under pressure in the coming years as some 4,000 new rooms hit the market in 2015-16. Occupancy levels are likely to be “tested” in the medium term as new hotels are constructed to meet the country’s obligations to build tens of thousands of new hotel rooms ahead of the 2022 World Cup;
  • There are nine malls currently under construction that, once completed, will nearly triple Qatar’s current supply of 590,000 square meters of retail space.

Here’s a copy of the full report:

DTZ Qatar Q4 2014 Report

Thoughts?

desert rose

Peter Kovessy

Home builders in Qatar are unable to keep pace with the country’s rapidly growing population, leading to housing shortages and rising rents, according to two new reports.

While actual prices vary depending on the size, location and quality of the unit, recent research by Qatar-based Al-Asmakh Real Estate Development found residential rents increased five to 10 percent in the first three months of the year, compared to the end of 2013.

A separate report by real estate services firm Colliers International puts the average increase slightly lower, at four percent, during the same time period.

Despite these increases, average rental rates are still below the peaks reached in 2008, which was followed by several years of declines before the market began heating up again in 2012.

Rental costs by area

Currently, high-end three and four-bedroom villas in Onaiza and Al Waab currently cost renters roughly QR18,000 a month, according Al-Asmakh.

Similar sized villas in Madinat Khalifa, Gharrafa, and Al Hilal are slightly less expensive, at QR13,000 to QR15,000 per month.

The firm found that average rental rates for two-bedroom apartments, meanwhile, stand at QR15,500 in the Pearl-Qatar and QR14,500 in West Bay.

However, Colliers’ estimates for two-bedroom apartments in those two neighborhoods are marginally lower, and its report adds that two-bedroom units average QR8,000 in Al Saad and roughly QR7,500 in Old Airport.

Outlook

According to the two companies, market forces are set to put further upward pressure on rents in the coming years as demand for housing greatly outstrips supply.

Colliers estimates 22,000 new homes will be constructed by 2018, adding to Qatar’s existing housing stock of 122,000 units. However, demand for housing is set to reach 266,000 units – excluding labor camps – during the same time frame, the company estimates.

“Doha’s residential real estate market will continue to remain significantly under-supplied over the next five years,” Colliers says.

Meanwhile, a government crackdown on illegally partitioned villas is likely to exacerbate the shortage. Inspectors are stepping up their enforcement of laws prohibiting unauthorized modifications of homes.

Many middle-income expats rent rooms within divided villas to lower their housing costs and live closer to their workplaces.

The government says that these illegal alterations pose a safety hazard, but expats living in them say that they are the only kinds of housing they can afford.

Labor camps

Al-Asmakh’s report also raises questions over whether there are enough accommodations for low-income expats, despite a recent spurt of new projects.

The infrastructure building boom underway in advance of the 2022 World Cup is expected to require a massive influx of foreign labor.

Government estimates suggest the country’s population will surge 15 percent this year alone to reach 2.4 million residents.

Al-Asmakh estimates Qatar needs to recruit another half-million blue-collar workers to construct the buildings and infrastructure projects that have already been publicly announced.

However, by its calculations, the labor camps planned and under construction can only accommodate 100,000 additional individuals.

Those figures include Barwa’s massive “Worker’s City” in the Industrial Area – formally known as Barwa Al Baraha – which is scheduled to see its first residents early next month.

Furthermore, tightening living standards for workers mean labor camp landlords will be limited in how many individuals can be accommodated in each unit.

Standards for contractors working on World Cup or Qatar Foundation projects ban companies from installing bunk beds and can only house up to four workers in a room.

Additionally, government officials promised unspecified universal rules for workers’ accommodations as part of proposed reforms to Qatar’s kafala, or sponsorship, system announced last month.

This, Al-Asmakh says, combined with the forced exodus of laborers from residential areas and the growing population, will only add to the demand for new labor camps:

“As per our estimate nearly 500,000 to 800,000 new beds would be required to accommodate the inflow of new workers to the country and existing laborers which would need to be migrated from housing units and poorly managed labor camps.”

Thoughts?

image

The rising cost of accommodation in Doha is a hot topic. After a three-year lull, house rents have begun to rise due to higher demand, and will continue to do so in the months to come, according to the Qatar Economic Outlook 2012-2013.

But not all increases are created equal, or are even legal. To get a better handle on how rental prices are changing in Qatar, we’re launching the Doha News Housing Survey, and aim to make it an annual assessment.

The short, anonymous questionnaire asks Qatar residents for basic information about how much they are paying for rent, and whether accommodation allowances provided by employers are keeping pace with price increases.

We’re also interested to hear how your rents and allowances (if any) have changed over the last few years.

To participate, click here.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you, and please do share this with your friends who live in Qatar.

Has your rent gone up this year? Are you able to afford it?

Credit: Photo by Ishane