Over 35% of UAE residents paying more for rent than a year ago – survey

Quarterly survey finds 61 per cent of the respondents are still in the same home they were in a year ago

Up to 36 per cent of UAE residents are paying more for rent than they were a year ago, according to a new survey conducted by comparison site yallacompare in Q4.

That figure is down from 47 per cent in Q3, found the yallacompare Consumer Confidence Tracker for Q4 2018, which surveyed more than 1,200 UAE residents.

Meanwhile the proportion of UAE residents paying less rent than a year ago increased 35 per cent between the third and fourth quarters of 2018.

Up to 26 per cent of those surveyed in Q4 said they’re paying less than a year ago, compared with 19 per cent in Q3.

According to Asteco, average apartment rents in Dubai were down 11 per cent year-on-year in Q3 2018, while villa rents were down 9 per cent year on year. In Abu Dhabi, apartment rents were down 11 per cent year on year and villa rates down 8 per cent.

Read: Areas in Dubai that saw the biggest rental drops in Q4

However, the survey found that only 6 per cent of respondents are paying between 5 and 10 per cent less than the year before.

While 21 per cent are paying 5-10 per cent more than a year ago, 13 per cent said they’re paying 10-20 per cent more and 10 per cent claimed they’re paying over 20 per cent more than last year.

“We have been trying to get the message out that in the current climate, tenants can negotiate with their landlords, but they must do it three months before the lease expires,” said Jonathan Rawling, CFO, yallacompare.

“The proportion benefiting from lower rents is still lower than we would like and we hope to see a further jump in those paying less than a year ago next quarter.”

The survey also found that despite the decline in rental rates, residents have not changed homes to take advantage of lower rents, or moved to a better place for the same money.

Up to 61 per cent of the respondents said that they are still in the same home they were in a year ago. While 26 per cent are in a smaller home, 13 per cent have moved to a bigger one.

Looking ahead, 69 per cent said they are not planning to move in the next year, while 21 per cent said they’ll move to a smaller home and 10 per cent to a bigger one.

“It could be the stress of moving home, or perhaps decreases in rent aren’t yet enough to make it worthwhile, but UAE residents appear to be staying put where they are,” said Rawling.

“The data also tells us that we aren’t even seeing much upscaling, where residents move to get a bigger or better place for the same money. If you are staying put, negotiate,” he added.

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