Bahrain's real estate market has bottomed out but continuing political unrest is still holding back an upturn, CB Richard Ellis has said in a new report.
The real estate firm said the residential leasing sector in most areas has now stabilised in terms of their occupancy and rate.
The report said: "Whilst it is clear that the real estate sector has 'bottomed out' in terms of rental rates and sale prices, it is also clear that huge pent-up demand is waiting to cash in on the Bahrain upturn - when it happens.
"It is unclear when this will take place, but talks between the various opposing parties in Bahrain's political landscape are key to this topic and there is little indication that agreement or even meaningful discussions will take place in the short term."
CBRE said the main expatriate areas of Amwaj Islands, Saar, Hamala and central Manama have shown little movement in the first quarter although there has been some pick-up on Reef Island.
"Residential rental rates have hit their lowest point and have been stable at these levels for several consecutive quarters," said CBRE.
It added: "Anyone wishing to upgrade, relocate or pick up a bargain would be best advised to start this process in the very short term because it seems unlikely that there will be any further downward movement in the market."
CBRE said Reef Island has proved particularly popular to new residents to Bahrain while Durrat Al Bahrain continues to act as a popular second home (weekend) destination.
It added that mortgage lenders are reporting 10 percent growth in sales prices over the past six months in Riffa Views.
Riffa Views unit prices have now risen by around 20 percent compared to 2011, driven largely by Bahraini families.
The total value of real estate transactions in Bahrain grew by 46 percent in 2012 compared to 2011.
The biggest increase came from Bahrainis and non-GCC expatriates although the increase by expatriates was more down to the delayed registration of purchases they had made in previous years than new purchases.