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Just 10% of Dubai residents saw rents decrease last year

Dubai property

Despite reports that residential rental rates in Dubai are falling, the vast majority of tenants in the emirate are either paying the same as or more than they were paying on rent last year, according to a survey from yallacompare.com, the Middle East’s leading comparison site.

According to the report, which surveyed over 300 people living across a range of neighbourhoods in Dubai, just 10.3% of tenants in the emirate have seen their residential rental rates decrease over the past year. Indeed, a large number of respondents (42.6%) said that their residential rates increased over the past 12 months, while 47.1% said that their rental rates stayed the same.

This flies in the face of numerous reports claiming that rents in Dubai are falling, and that the environment has swayed in tenants’ favour. A recent report from CBRE said that residential rates in Dubai fell by 1% in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the last quarter of 2016, and that the fall could be attributed to “constrained demand”.

“While we cannot say that a consultancy with such high standing has got it wrong, there does appear to be some disconnect between what market reports say about rental rates in Dubai and what people are actually seeing on the ground,” said Jonathan Rawling, CFO of yallacompare.com

“Our best explanation for this is that renters in Dubai aren’t aware that the market could now be more favourable to tenants. Several survey respondents said that they ‘hadn’t thought to ask’ their landlords about a reduction in their rental rates, highlighting the fact that many tenants simply accept their lot when it comes to renting.”

Indeed, the survey results suggest that Dubai renters assume the real estate market is continuing to heat up. Over 45% of respondents said that they expect their rental rates to increase over the next 12 months, while 38.2% said they expected their rent to stay the same. Just 16.2% expect a decrease in the next year, the survey found.

However, with so many reports claiming that, overall, rents are going down, it would appear that tenants in Dubai would do well to put the question of a reduction to their landlords, particularly with the CBRE report claiming that Dubai landlords are willing to be more flexible in order to retain existing tenants.

Of those surveyed by compareit4me who did manage to secure rental reductions, 71.4% said that they saw a discount of 5% to 10% compared to last year’s rates, while the rest saw a reduction of up to 5%.

“When you’re talking annual rental rates of AED 100,000 and above, even a 5% decrease can net you some pretty handy savings. After all, you won’t just be saving on the cost of your rent, but you’ll also see your Municipality Fees drop slightly, along with your annual agency fess. As a result, it’s worth asking your landlord for a price cut if you’re renewing soon,” explained Rawling.

All of that said, according to compareit4me’s survey, the ability to secure a rental rate cut in Dubai might very well depend on the area in which you live. In Jumeirah, for example, not a single respondent indicated that their rental rates had decreased over the past 12 months, with 40% reporting an increase and the rest explaining that their rates had stayed the same. Of those who did see their rental prices go up, half reported an increase of 5% to 10%.

In Bur Dubai, tenants are having an even harder time; according to the survey, 57.1% of people living in that area saw their rents go up in the last year. And of those, 75% saw an increase of 5% to 10%. It was the same story in Deira, where 50% of respondents said their rents had increased over the past year. Of those who did see an increase, a third claimed that their annual rents had gone up by 10% to 15%.

The areas where renters were able to secure a rate cut were limited – Al Barsha, The Palm Jumeirah and Jumeirah Lakes Towers were among the top-scoring locations for lower rental rates, with the majority (71.4%) of survey respondents living in these areas reporting a decrease of 5% to 10% compared to last year.

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