The past three months marked the fourth consecutive quarter of leasing and sales growth in Dubai\'s real estate sector, Asteco Property Management said in a study released on Sunday. Apartment prices in Dubai (2.8 million residents) grew by 12 percent in the second quarter 2013, with the year-on-year growth hitting 38 percent, while villa prices climbed 8 percent on average in the same period with the growth over the past 12 months averaged 24 percent, according to the report. John Stevens, managing director of Asteco, said the first half of 2013 did not see any slowdown in transaction volumes, either leasing or sales, while new project launches had become a weekly occurrence. Stevens added that a significant number of buyers are investors rather than residents. \"Also, improved mortgage availability and increased market confidence stimulated sales growth,\" the report added. The best performing areas for apartments were Discovery Gardens and The Gardens near Dubai\'s free port and the downtown area. As for villas, two luxurious areas, The Springs and The Meadows, witnessed above-average surges in renting rates. The annual rent for a villa in The Springs now stands at 160,000 Dirham (43,600 U. S. dollars), while a villa in The Meadows costs 240,000 Dirham (65, 500 dollars) for a one-year lease. On the outlook for the second half of 2013, Stevens said \"sales prices should continue to rise as market confidence picks up in parallel with the improving economy.\" The boom in Dubai\'s property market is also reflected in the share price of the Middle East\'s biggest developer Emaar, whose share price rose 78 percent in the last 12 months on the local stock market DFM.