Interest has soared for freehold areas in Abu Dhabi like Al Reef, Al Raha Beach and Masdar City, data in Bayut’s H1 Market report for 2019 has shown.

According to the Abu Dhabi Investment Office, the UAE currently ranks 27th globally for foreign direct investment. Moving into the second half of 2019, Abu Dhabi’s recent decision to open up the freehold property market has widened the pool of investors in the region.

When comparing property trends from H2 of 2018 to H1 of 2019, Bayut revealed that prime areas such as Al Reem Island, Yas Island and Saadiyat Island are firm favourites for sales while affordable suburbs such as Mohammed Bin Zayed City, Khalifa City A and Al Muroor take the lead for rentals in Abu Dhabi.

In terms of ROI, Saadiyat Island delivers the highest average rental yield at 8.7 per cent, based on the property type owned, proving to be a healthy option for investors. Real estate trends for Abu Dhabi in H1 2019 show that prices for apartments sales and rentals declined on average between 4-11 per cent.

As per Bayut’s data, Al Reem Island remains the most popular area in Abu Dhabi to buy and rent apartments, followed by Al Raha Beach for villa sales and MBZ City for villa rentals. Freehold communities such as Al Reef and Al Raha Beach have witnessed decreases in prices around the 13 per cent mark, allowing investors to buy property in these mainland areas close to Dubai at affordable price points. On the other hand, emerging areas like Al Ghadeer are seeing an uptick in prices with 2-bedroom units going up by 6.7 per cent. This can be attributed to the recent off-plan deliveries of larger units in the neighbourhood, leading to greater price fluctuations.

Meanwhile, for apartment rentals, Al Muroor has seen a decrease of 10.7 per cent for 1-bedroom units, followed by Khalifa City A, where prices for studios dropped by 9.7 per cent. For villas in Abu Dhabi, the well-connected development of Al Reef continues to be a favourite with potential investors while Mohammed Bin Zayed City leads the rental market.

“In the first half of 2019, we’ve seen Abu Dhabi take significant steps to cement its position as an attractive option for global investors by opening up its freehold market. In recent years we have seen Abu Dhabi gain more global exposure by playing host to notable international events including the Specials Olympics and the Formula One. These, I believe, will lead to an increase in expat and foreign interest in investing in Abu Dhabi real estate and prime locations like Yas Island and Saadiyat Island stand to benefit,” said Haider Ali Khan, CEO of Bayut. “The competitive pricing of the housing market, combined with ongoing development in infrastructure and tourism will not only bolster Abu Dhabi’s position as a global investment destination but also as a place for residents to establish roots.”

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