Ratings agency says real estate market set for a 'strong 2014'; some risks still remain
Dubai's real estate rebound will continue well into next year, according to a report by Fitch Ratings.
The ratings agency said the emirate's prime property sector is set up for a "strong 2014" following a vibrant 2013.
However, it added that there was still some uncertainty for the market including Middle East instability, Dubai's bid for the World Expo 2020 and the impact of major new real estate projects that are in the pipeline.
Fitch also said retail rentals and hospitality revenues have been holding up and have shown healthy performance and growth since 2011 to date and are "in a comfortable position" for another good year in 2014.
Its report added: "Additionally, residential prices and demand have shown recoveries in prime locations in Dubai, but secondary locations, including new projects will continue to be challenged over the medium term."
Fitch said the sector's stable outlook continues to be reliant on the ability of real estate companies to maintain performance in light of the increasing supply and large expansion across all segments.
Some estimates suggest that real estate prices in prime areas in Dubai have risen by up to 30 percent in 2013 to date.
Fitch said: "The sector continues to benefit from local, regional and international investors and healthy tourism. This is partly due to the turmoil affecting the main Middle East tourist destinations and the positive impact this has had on Dubai as a major Middle Eastern preferred destination.
"However, if instability in the Middle East escalated and started to reach the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), it could have a negative impact on the sector."
Fitch also noted that major new real estate projects amounting to billions of dollars have been announced in Dubai, which could put pressure on the sector if they materialise in the short to medium term.
The final decision about the venue of the World Expo 2020 for which Dubai is a candidate, will also have an impact on the medium and long-term supply and demand balance in Dubai, Fitch added.
"Another key factor for the stability of the sector continues to be leading Dubai's real estate developers with substantial debt to regain confidence by more progress in repaying and refinancing upcoming maturities in 2014 and 2015, and attracting new investment to the sector," the ratings agency said.