Dubai Real Estate Market Overview – Q1 2012

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Latest research report by  Jones Lang LaSalle called ‘Dubai Real Estate Market Overview – Q1 2012’ covers the current developments within the Dubai office, residential, retail and hospitality market segments.

Highlights of the overview:

• The Dubai Department of Economic Development suggests the local economy grew by around 3.0% in real terms in 2011, driven by increases in growth in the trade, tourism, retail and hospitality sectors. Real GDP growth is forecast to increase at between 4.5% and 5.0% in 2012.

• Signs of investor confidence have returned and the Dubai investment market continues to witness strong interest for high quality, well located, income producing assets. Two major real estate transactions have already occurred in 2012, one of which was the sale of Building 6 in Gate Precinct, DIFC. The other was a debt to equity swap of office and residential space in Index Tower and Limestone House in DIFC between Emirates NBD and Union Properties for a value of AED 1.1 billion (USD 299 million).

• There has been limited new office supply entering the market over the first quarter of the year. As a consequence, asking rents for prime office space remained flat in Q1. Occupier consolidation remains a key focus and in line with global trends, portfolio optimisation has been noticeable in Dubai during the first quarter. Larger companies continue to show interest in upgrading premises with more flexibility in their leases.

• The overall residential market is seeing a positive trend with the villa market continuing to outperform the apartment sector in 2012. Prime residential buildings in well established locations continue to see improved performance, but secondary locations are still suffering from rental and pricing declines.

• Due to buoyant demand and limited retail supply entering the market in Q1 the overall average city-wide rent remained stable over the quarter at AED 1,885 per sq m. However the retail market is becoming increasingly two-tier and older, less popular malls are seeing weakened demand from consumers and retailers. Increasingly, mall owners are needing to consider new marketing techniques and product positioning.

• The recovery of the hotel sector witnessed during 2011 has continued further over the first quarter 2012, with occupancy levels increasing to 86%, which is similar to the levels experienced in 2007 / 2008. While 2011 witnessed an increase in occupancies, average room rates continued to fall. The strengthening recovery in the hotel markets is reflected in an increase in ADR’s over the first quarter of 2012.

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