Property Market Mixed Around The World

In the last of the property series, Meghna Pant, features editor of Gulf Business, examines the real estate performance of the Middle East and global markets.

Much like the Christian Louboutin shoes that I eye from a distance but never dare approach, I observe property trends “for fun” if you’d believe it. My real hopes are that one day, if I get the timing right – you know, buy at a dip, sell at the peak – I’ll somehow be transported to a retirement beach home in Mauritius where I’d write articles like this “for leisure” from my Macbook Air.

So while I’ve been talking about Dubai’s property market over the last week, I think it’s important to also understand what’s going on with our local, regional and international neighbours.

For one thing, the real estate story is quite different for our Northern Emirates neighbours. According to Asteco, in Sharjah rents have dropped six per cent due to stricter tenancy rules, and therefore a 3-bedroom villa can cost you around Dhs70,000, whereas a studio will be Dhs22,000 on average. Ajman has also seen a six per cent dip, as have Ras Al Khaimah and Al Ain, whereas Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain have remained the same.

In Abu Dhabi, property is showing mixed signals. The UAE capital’s residents are swopping old for new, with community-led developments, such as Raha Beach and Marina Square gaining popularity. Old city areas, such as Khalifa City, have seen rents drop 3-14 per cent. On average though a studio is Dhs42,000 per annum, a one-bedroom  Dhs64,000, a two-bedroom Dhs92,000  and a three-bedroom is cheaper than Dubai at Dhs117,000.

Around the region, we’re seeing Qatar prices head northwards by eight per cent for two-three bedrooms and four per cent for villas. On the other hand, prices in Jordan have shown minimal movement, though particular areas have increased by 2-3 per cent due to limited supply.

But around the rest of the world, only one third of countries have seen price gains in the first quarter of 2012, while the rest have dropped, according to a Global Property Market report.

Countries like India, Brazil and Phillipines saw home prices rise in Q1 2012. Elsewhere in Asia, Singapore, Indonesia and Japan prices softened.

China’s property market that fell almost four per cent in Q1, is on the rebound again even as the government frantically tries to plug a belligerent bubble with property tightening measures such as a pilot property tax scheme, tighter bank lending and higher down payments for second-home buyers.

In Australia, prices fell for a fifth straight quarter, the longest downturn for a decade. Whereas, in the US prices rose modestly to 0.48 per cent year-on-year, with a quarterly rise of 0.55 per cent, an improvement from last year’s 7.44 per cent price decline.

In Europe there’s mixed momentum. The PIGS are in decline. Ireland’s price-declines have, in fact, been catastrophic. Prices fell 18.95 per cent year-on-year, due to tough credit conditions, oversupply of housing and weak domestic demand. UK, Poland, Finland, Ukraine and Crotia are also declining. There are some strong housing markets though, such as Switzerland, Norway, Russia, Austria and Iceland that saw an uptick between 2-8 per cent.