Prime Abu Dhabi property prices up 8% in Q1

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Sale prices of prime Abu Dhabi residential properties rose by 8 percent in the first quarter of 2013, according to a report from Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).

The real estate services firm’s latest Abu Dhabi Market Overview Report found that average asking prices within investment areas increased to AED12,000 per sq m for villas and AED9,900 sqm for apartments.

JLL attributed the rises to improving facilities and amenities in masterplanned areas, increased job stability, government investments in infrastructure and housing, and the market’s status as a safe haven amid political unrest. It said that oversupply of housing in Abu Dhabi continued to affect the market.

“While it is encouraging to see the market moving upwards again, it is important to note that these improvements do not represent a market-wide recovery, but relate to selected high quality developments – with performance continuing to diverge between high grade and low grade product,” said David Dudley, head of Abu Dhabi office at JLL.

The report noted Abu Dhabi’s property market cycle is a time lag to that of Dubai’s, meaning the recent recovery in that emirate’s real estate sector is influencing that of the UAE capital. JLL said earlier this week that apartment prices in Dubai picked up 18 percent in the first quarter of 2013.

In Q1 2013, prime residential rents in Abu Dhabi rose by 8 percent in selected higher quality schemes, while those in secondary quality projects continued to fall, JLL said.

Overall, the office market remains over-supplied, the report added, although prime office rents have begun to stabilise over the last three quarters.

While not as severe as the property downturn witnessed in Dubai, prices in Abu Dhabi have plunged by close to 50 percent since their 2008 peak.

In recent months Abu Dhabi’s government has pledged to invest $90bn in new infrastructure and is also forcing government employees to live within the emirate’s boundaries or lose generous housing allowances. Both moves could bolster the UAE capital’s property market, analysts say.

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