Abu Dhabi Villa Prices Climb for First Time in Five Years

Prices for villas in Abu Dhabi rose for the first time in five years during 2020 amid higher demand for larger properties as the coronavirus pandemic forced people to spend more time at home.

The value of single-family homes, known locally as villas, rose 2% in the richest and largest of the seven sheikhdoms that make up the United Arab Emirates, real estate consultancy Core said in a report on Monday. Villas account for nearly 30% of all housing supply there. Prices for apartments, which comprise the vast majority of residential properties, dropped 4%.

Rental rates continued to decline for both villas and apartments as the pandemic forced companies to cut jobs. Residency permits in the UAE, where expatriates make up the majority of the population, are usually tied to employment and many residents who lose their jobs leave the country.

Average rents for villas fell 3% in 2020, compared with a 5% drop on average for apartments, according to the report.

Abu Dhabi’s housing market has fared somewhat better than neighboring Dubai, where values have been hammered by a supply glut and faltering demand.

Prices in Dubai have slumped more than 30% since the market peaked seven years ago. In Abu Dhabi, prices for villas are 22% below a 2014 crest, while apartment values have dropped 30%, according to Prathyusha Gurrapu, head of research and advisory at Core.

“While Covid-19’s impact will continue to affect demand, we expect the market to show early signs of recovery in 2021 with the pace of price reductions stabilizing provided the broader economy recovers,” Gurrapu wrote in the report.

To spur demand in 2021, developers in the city offered incentives, including attractive post-handover payment plans and fee waivers, and partnered with banks to provide preferential mortgage rates, according to the report.

More than 4,500 homes were completed in Abu Dhabi in 2020 and supply is expected to rise this year to more than 7,000, according to Core.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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