By Andy Sambidge
New Cluttons report says average rents climb 4.5% during Q1, up by 19% over the past year in Sharjah
Average residential rents in Sharjah climbed by 4.5 percent during the first quarter of 2014, leaving them 19 percent higher than this time last year, according to Cluttons.
The real estate consultancy's Spring 2014 Residential Market Outlook said rising rents in neighbouring Dubai are making Sharjah an attractive option for tenants.
The report also cited an influx of residents from troubled parts of the region as well as renewed economic activity and job creation in Sharjah as reasons for a buoyant property market in the emirate.
Cluttons said average rents in Al Qassimiya have seen the strongest gains over the past 12 months, with rents now standing 36%percent up on Q1 2013.
Villas registered a 13 percent rise in rents in the first quarter, which compares to a 25 percent increase throughout 2013, the report added.
Steve Morgan, Cluttons Middle East chief executive, said: "The strong growth in villa rates has been catalysed by rising demand for villa communities, particularly along the Sharjah Airport/Maliha Road corridor.
"This is being fuelled by a rising population, which in turn is being driven by the emirate's expanding aviation sector, a growing number of international schools and the proximity to Sharjah International Airport."
He added: "Sharjah International Airport, through the brisk expansion of Air Arabia is starting to extend its sphere of influence on surrounding areas and is emerging as another budding UAE aerotropolis, in much the same way that Al Maktoum International is spurring development in areas south of Jebel Ali."
The report also revealed that the current political instability across parts of the Middle East has caused an influx of people setting up home in Sharjah, due to largely affordable rents and its rich Islamic heritage.
Cluttons said these expatriates are flush with 'refugee capital', which is finding its way into Sharjah's off-plan residential sales market.
Cluttons also lauded moves by the Sharjah government to plough investment into the upgrading of transportation infrastructure across the city.
"The newly formed Sharjah Roads and Transport Authority is undertaking feasibility studies for new road networks, a tramway system and a metro system which could be linked with Etihad Rail, further boosting the appeal of Sharjah as a more affordable alternative to Dubai and Abu Dhabi," the report added.
According to data released by Meed Projects, Sharjah is planning a $2.3 billion investment in transport infrastructure projects over the next five years.
Morgan said: "While a Metro network in Sharjah would bring about a radical transformation in accessibility across the city, the 7 percent rise announced in Sharjah's budget for 2014/15 is set to see almost 50 percent of the AED15.4 billion budget allocated to further development of the economy.
"This will add further impetus to the rising levels of real estate activity in both the residential and commercial markets across Sharjah."For all the latest real estate news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.