The real estate sector in Dubai experienced softer overall property market conditions in June, with just over half (52 per cent) of the agents reporting a drop in average sold prices while 23 per cent noted a rise in property values over the past three months, according to the latest survey Emirates NBD Dubai Real Estate Tracker.
Looking ahead, just over half of Dubai real estate agents, who took part in the survey, expect a fall in property values over the next 12 months, while only 30 per cent foresee a rise. This contrasted with positive sentiment for year-ahead property values among Dubai households, a report on the survey results showed.
However, a survey by Core Savills, a leading realty company, said declining apartment and villas prices in Dubai would stabilise during 2016 and return to growth later in the year or in 2017. According to Core Savills, recent data suggests that Dubai's real estate market peaked in October 2014 at levels higher than those achieved in August 2008, and that Dubai's residential sales market has softened steadily by a compounded average of 1.2 per cent per month for apartments, and 0.7 per cent for villas since then.
According to Emirates NBD Dubai Real EstateTracker, new buyer enquiries also decreased during the latest survey period, driven in part by an expected slowdown ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, but some real estate agents also cited reduced risk appetite among investors and more subdued underlying international demand than earlier in 2015.
The survey, sponsored by Emirates NBD and produced by Markit, contains original data compiled from a representative panel of Dubai real estate agents, alongside original survey data collected from a representative sample of households living in Dubai. Khatija Haque, head of Middle East and North Africa Research at Emirates NBD, said the findings of the survey were consistent with weaker sales price data that we have seen in second quarter this year. "As the Real Estate Tracker is not seasonally adjusted, slower activity as we head into the summer holidays was to be expected. However, the underlying data suggests that the market is more evenly balanced than the headline indices suggest, and all indicators for the rental sector suggest that the population dynamics remain supportive of the real estate market in Dubai."
Real estate agents in Dubai who participated in the survey indicate that average sold prices declined through second quarter while new lettings continued to increase sharply, reflecting strong rental demand. Households' expectations of rising property values contrasted with cautious outlook among agents, the survey report said. While real estate agents pointed to a downward correction in property prices over the three months to June, households in Dubai remained highly upbeat about both their current and future property values. Around two-thirds of Dubai households (66 per cent) anticipate a rise in their property value over the next 12 months, compared with just 17 per cent that anticipate a reduction.
On the rentals side of the market, both real estate agents and households in Dubai reported higher average prices over the three months to June. Moreover, real estate agents pointed to robust increases in letting activity (50 per cent indicated an upturn and just under 14 per cent suggested a fall) and a sharp increase in new rental enquiries, especially for apartments. "More than twice as many Dubai real estate agents (52 per cent) reported a drop in property values as those that noted a rise during the three months to June (23 per cent). As a result, the headline Emirates NBD Dubai Average Sold Prices Index registered 35.4 in June, down from 52.0 in April and below the neutral 50.0 threshold. Moreover, the index signalled that falling sold prices in June contrasted with a modest increase over the three months to April. By property type, the index measuring sold prices for villas (32.6) was lower than that for apartments in Dubai (35.9)," said the report.
"Anecdotal evidence suggested that softer investment sentiment and more subdued underlying market conditions had contributed to a drop in overall property prices in June. Mirroring the trend for overall new buyer enquiries, latest data also pointed to a fall in international new buyer enquiries (41 per cent of agents saw a decline, and only 27 per cent reported a rise).