Doha property sales fall 2% in Q1, says Asteco

Real estate firm also says off-plan sales are undergoing small revival in Qatari capital

Overall property sales activity in Doha during the first quarter of 2013 fell two percent compared to the previous quarter, according to a new report by Asteco.

The real estate consultancy said the value of total transactions rose two percent despite the dip in sales volume.

Asteco said villa sales performed marginally better, with Qatar Ministry of Justice data revealing a six percent increase in total transaction value and an eight percent growth in the number of villa transactions compared to Q4.

But it added that the total value of transactions for apartments fell by 56 percent in Q1 versus the final quarter of last year.

Primary market prices per square metre in popular areas such as Porto Arabia-Pearl and Lagoon Plaza were QR13,500 and QR12,500 respectively, mirroring Q4 2012 prices.

The report also said off-plan sales are also undergoing a small revival, with some developers selling units on a payment plan in towers under construction.

Doha's villa rental market continued to outperform the apartment market in premium locations, with small rental increases recorded due to shortage of villas in prime waterfront locations, the report added.

Rents for five-bedroom villas in West Bay Lagoon stood at QR27,500 per month.

Asteco said there has been little change in the office market over the last quarter, with rents remaining static in Q1 as issues of oversupply affect rates, forcing building owners to become more flexible in their leasing terms.

Jed Wolfe, managing director, Asteco Qatar, said: "While the market is showing no real movement in terms of sales activity, we are seeing a noticeable increase in the number of feasibility studies and valuations being conducted for development and finance, which is a clear indicator of increased market confidence as developers look to restart or commence construction in the coming months."

This is supported by news that a number of key infrastructure projects are moving into the early phases of tangible development, including the Doha Metro, the Doha Expressway, and the Lusail Expressway.

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