by Arab News
Dubai Marina was one of Dubai’s busiest districts for real estate transactions in the first quarter. Reuters
Dubai real estate transactions appeared to drop sharply in the first quarter of the year according to data released Saturday. The Dubai Land Department (DLD) said that real estate transactions totalled 58 billion dirhams ($15.78 billion) for the three months to the end of March. While the DLD did not release comparative figures, the figure represents a 25 percent fall from the 77 billion dirhams of transactions recorded in the same period a year earlier, according to data released at the time. The number of transactions also fell to 13,759 from around 20,000 last year. Property prices in Dubai have been falling for the past three years as lower oil prices impacted economic growth, as the steady release of new residential developments has seen supply increase. Cavendish Maxwell last week said that average residential property prices dropped 2 percent year on year during the three months to the end of March, with the drop in prices particularly pronounced in areas such as Jumeirah Islands, Jumeirah Beach Residence, and Dubai Silicon Oasis. The DLD did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the data. DLD director general Sultan Butti bin Mejren said the first quarter figures showed “strong momentum in the real estate sector.” He predicted a pickup in activity ahead of Dubai Expo 2020. “Analysts and experts predict an upsurge as we enter 2019 with unprecedented strength, as many strategic infrastructure projects are due to be completed in Dubai in preparation for Expo 2020,” he added. More than two thirds of estate agents surveyed by Cavendish Maxwell expect residential property prices and rents to continue falling during the coming quarter. Business Bay saw the greatest number of transactions during the first quarter, according to the DLD, with 973 deals worth 2 billion dirhams. Dubai Marina and Al Barsha South Fourth were the next most popular areas, with 1.4 billion dirhams and 1.1 billion dirhams worth of transactions. UAE nationals accounted for 1,587 transactions worth 4 billion dirhams the department said, followed by 1,550 transactions worth 3 billion dirhams from Indian nationals. Nationals from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the UK were the next biggest investors in the emirate’s property market, the department said.