Quarterly Report Qatar Q1 2023: Residential Market Overview
Apartment rents start to fall in February and March, following the strong increases in 2022
Hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022 resulted in a temporary shortage of available accommodation in Qatar over the past year, which saw rents spike throughout the market – particularly in the apartment sector.
The early months of 2023 have seen a return to the market conditions of 2020 and 2021, with a significant increase in the number of apartments available to lease.
Despite predictions of apartment rents falling significantly in January, there was little evidence of softening rents until mid-February. Apartment rents have, by and large, started to return to pre-2022 levels, with incentives such as one-month rent-free periods and all-inclusive deals now commonplace once again. Without an increase in new demand in the coming months, apartment rents should continue to soften throughout the year.
Supply has been boosted in Q1 by developments reserved for the World Cup, which have now been released to the market. The Madinatna development on G-Ring Road between Doha and Al Wakra has increased supply in the area by almost 7,000 units. It will provide direct competition to Ezdan Oasis and Mesaimeer City. Furnished apartments have also been released in Msheireb Downtown Doha, with strong take-up over the first three months of the year. On the Pearl-Qatar, UDC and other private developers have released a major development of apartment towers and villas at Floresta Gardens, with strong take-up reported in recent months.
While vacancy rates have increased in the apartment sector, there is limited availability by comparison in the villa market – particularly in prime compounds.
Villa rents typically increased by 3% – 8% last year; however, there have been no signs of significant rental reductions in Q1 due to high occupancy rates being maintained. Therefore, we expect current rents to be sustained over the coming months until there is a change in supply and demand dynamics.
According to the latest statistics released by the Planning and Statistics Authority, the number of residential sales transactions fell by 25.5% in 2022 compared to 2021. This trend continued in Q1 2023, with the number of residential sales transactions falling by 34% in January and February compared to the corresponding months last year. These statistics confirm that the pace of residential property sales has slowed since an initial surge in activity following the introduction of Law No.16 of 2018, which saw non-Qataris take advantage of the changes to ownership laws in areas such as Lusail.
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