UAE and Saudi Arabian property markets still lead the way

The UAE and Saudi Arabia still have the most favourable property markets within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), new research has concluded.

According to Global Investment House's GCC Real Estate Quarterly report, places like Dubai are proving to be increasingly popular among investors.

Unsurprisingly, the emirate continued to outperform Abu Dhabi in the first quarter of 2013, with rental rates in the city rising by ten per cent when compared with the final three months of 2012. Landlords in Abu Dhabi were able to boost their rental demands by eight per cent over the same period.

The study also confirmed the UAE's hospitality sector is in rude health, as hotel occupancy levels increased by two per cent in Dubai and eight per cent in Abu Dhabi.

In addition to this, the commercial property industry went from strength to strength, with more companies choosing to set up a new base in the Middle Eastern country.

Office rental rates went up by ten per cent in the first three months of 2013, although they remained largely flat in Abu Dhabi.

There has been a common trend in the UAE in recent months whereby prime properties have sold incredibly well, while low-key developments in less prestigious regions have not been as popular.

The Global Investment House study revealed that although the property sectors in Kuwait and Bahrain have stabilised of late, they are still a long way behind the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Like most other parts of the world, activity in the UAE's real estate market hit the brakes when the global economy took a turn for the worse in 2008-09, but destinations like Dubai have recovered remarkably well.

Director general of Dubai Customs Ahmed Butti recently told the Financial Times the city's strong property sector has had a positive impact on the wider economy.

Indeed, he said foreign trade has improved and this could help the nation's gross domestic product expand by up to 15 per cent by the end of the year.

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