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Has the UAE property market bottomed out?

Has the UAE property market bottomed out?

Property site says it has seen increasing buyer interest since the start of the year

Property buyer interest in the United Arab Emirates has increased to its highest level since 2014, according to online portal propertyfinder.ae.

The company said real estate prices across the country had fallen 20 to 40 per cent over the last 18-to-24 months but qualified buyers were watching carefully to find the bottom of the market.

This could be determined by changes in the level of sales enquiries, with a noted shift since the start of the year when oil prices hit new lows, according to the site.

“Uncertainty reigned and 75 per cent of enquiries sent by users of propertyfinder.ae were for properties for rent, meaning just 25 per cent were sale enquiries,” said chief commercial officer Lukman Hajje.

“When the sales market is strong and property prices are increasing, enquiries from those looking to buy can represent up to 40 per cent of total enquiries.”

Hajje said that 28 per cent of enquiries on the site last year were for properties advertised for sale, its lowest rent to buy ratio since the property market crash in 2009 and 2010.

However, since then, the site has seen an increase in buyer interest, reaching 29 per cent of total enquiries in February and March and 31 per cent in April.

This trend has continued in May, reaching 32 per cent of enquiries so far, the highest level since mid 2014.

But he said it was too early to determine whether this was a sign the market had bottomed out.

The site’s findings follow several reports from property consultancies suggesting prices will decline further this year.

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s said last month that property prices are likely to fall another 10 per cent in 2016 with no sign of improvement on the horizon.

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