Top three real estate markets in the GCC countries

The Gulf Cooperation Council was established in Abu Dhabi on May 25, 1981, with the sole aim of strengthening each other and promoting progress in the Gulf region. GCC union comprises six countries, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman. Since 1981, all these countries have worked in harmony, each banking on its unique attributes or natural resources. But some have progressed further than others when it comes to real estate. Here we look at the top three realty markets in the GCC and discuss what makes them stand apart from the rest.

Dubai A true Middle Eastern luxury haven upholstered with state-of-the-art technology and international standard infrastructure, Dubai offers people of all economic classes something they have always dreamt of. This unique city not only offers world’s rarest luxuries in seven-star hotels, but also one of the world’s best residential localities offering quality apartments, cozy townhouses, and luxurious villas. The real estate market of Dubai has attracted and encourage foreign investments for years. Freehold areas here are favored by people from all corners of the world and that’s because of a reason. During the first quarter of the current year (Q1 2016), UAE web portal Bayut.com revealed in its market report that the emirate was offering property yields as high as 8% in certain apartment categories and 6% on average. If you compare it with London’s 4% average rental yields, you would find Dubai head and shoulders above the world’s most famous city. Dubai’s obvious charm has been further boosted by the city playing host to the next world expo in 2020. The mega event has led to a flurry of development across the city and created thousands of new jobs, attracting expat talent and helping the real estate sector with heightened demand. Another factor for the city’s thriving realty market is the growing population and the ensuing rise in population. These factors have led to a constant rise in rental and sale segments of the sector, benefiting owners with lucrative rental income as well as capital value growth.

Abu Dhabi UAE’s capital and the economic hub never backs down on its promised projects and despite the oil price crunch, work on ongoing projects goes on unabated. Abu Dhabi is one of the wealthiest cities in the entire GCC region, a fact reflected in the affluence of its residents. The city is now emerging as a popular regional tourism and business destination, giving way to new jobs and population growth. The demand for housing has naturally benefited landlords, with apartments earning their owners rental yields as high as 10%, according to Bayut.com. Abu Dhabi’s new property law, introduced in January this year, has made buying properties more transparent and secure and is likely to draw more investors to the emirate.

Doha The capital of Qatar, which is to play host to the FIFA World Cup in 2022, is a rapidly developing real estate market in the region. Doha is a city with attractive high-rises and quality residential spaces and like the UAE, Qatar also has a considerable expat population which has increased almost by 9.5% over the 12 months ending March 2015. Doha offers one of the best residential options in the Middle East, with property yields as high as 9.11% in the city center and 7.32% in the suburban localities, according to Numbeo.com. Average prices of apartments in the city center range around QR 17,843 per square meter and almost QR 15,000 per square meter in suburban localities. The country was hit by the oil-price decline, but since then it has been working hard to diversify its economy into the non-oil sectors. This is why the ruling authorities have been paying particular attention to all the real estate and infrastructure projects under development here. Recently Qatar was ranked second in the fourth annual ranking by Bloomberg Market revealing the most promising emerging markets for investment in the region. The ranking took into account various measures such as investment environment, economic growth forecasts, and ease of doing business. Qatar’s Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics has predicted the economy to grow 7.7% this year. News sources have also reported a huge growth in service and construction sectors of the country. The real estate activity is also quite high in the country. The value of real estate transactions rose by 18% to QR 36 billion ($9.8 billion) during the first half of the previous year alone.