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Nearly 50% residents in the region intend to move houses in next 12 months due to pandemic

Nearly 50% residents in the region intend to move houses in next 12 months due to pandemic

Apartments are the most widely adopted form of accommodation in the region

Up to 47 per cent of those residing in the Middle East region intend to move houses in the next 12 months primarily due to the Covid-19 pandemic, an online survey has revealed.

Close to 21 per cent of the respondents have indicated that they would be relocating in the next twelve months to save money, while 15 per cent would move to downsize their space and save on rent, according to the results of real estate advisor Savills’ regional Lockdown Living Survey conducted to gauge sentiments of individuals towards residential units pre and post lockdown.

Close to 68 per cent of respondents currently privately rent unfurnished accommodations in the region.

Respondents of the Savills Lockdown Living Survey largely comprised of expatriates, many of whom prefer to rent properties. Close to 89 per cent of the population in the UAE comprises of expatriates, 52 per cent in Bahrain, 44 per cent in Oman, while 33 per cent in Saudi Arabia are expats, the report suggested.

The survey revealed that apartments were the most widely adopted form of accommodation, chosen by 73 per cent residents, followed by townhouse and villa development format (25 per cent).

Collectively, the price and size of a property were the most significant factors influencing decisions while choosing for a residential space.

Richard Paul, head of professional service and consultancy at Savills Middle East, said: “After a prolonged period of confinement, people gradually emerged into a new norm of live, work and play as lockdowns eased across the region. Even though activity levels have bounced back, albeit still lower than pre-Covid levels, a general inhibition towards spending a lot of time away from the home has, in turn, led people to relook at their current residential space. In most cases, this means either relooking their current residential set-up and making necessary upgrades, or considering relocating to suit their newfound lifestyle. This has led to a marked shift in how residential spaces are perceived.”

Prior to the pandemic, cities such as Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Riyadh and Cairo were witnessing a gradual improvement in demand. In Dubai, transaction activity in Q1 2020 increased by almost 10 per cent year-on-year.

Swapnil Pillai, associate director research Middle East at Savills, said: “This has also led to healthy yield level which in turn has driven investment activity. On the other hand, for developers, it means that along with the strong investor base, there’s a substantial pool of population that can be targeted for upcoming projects. A few developers have been successful in doing the same with the launch of innovative payment plans and schemes such as ‘rent-to-own’.”

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