Residential rents in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are set to fall this year, according to officials and experts.
"Rents are expected to drop by between 10 and 15 per cent in Abu Dhabi by mid-2009 and might fall even further during 2010," Salah Al Shamsi, Chairman of the capital's Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told Emirates Business.
He said the reduction was expected because many new units were set to appear on the market.
"A number of residential units will be delivered by Abu Dhabi's top property development companies," he added. "They are due to deliver units in mid-2009 or by October at the latest."
A study by Truth Economic Consultants said 72,285 units would enter the Abu Dhabi market during 2008 and 2009, with 37,851 available this year. Al Shamsi said rents and value of property in the capital had not been affected by the global crisis. "Prices have not fallen as in other emirates. The reason is the high demand for residential units in Abu Dhabi."
Meanwhile, experts said rental demand in Dubai would grow at a slower rate than before.
Charles Neil, Chief Financial Officer of Landmark Properties, said: "We expect rental prices to remain relatively stable in 2009, but they are likely to soften in the first and possibly second quarter."
Andrew Chambers, Managing Director of Asteco Property Management, said there was still strong demand for rental properties across all emirates including Dubai and Abu Dhabi, where there was a shortage of readily available units.
Andrew Macfarlane, research analyst at estate agent Cluttons, said: "In Dubai we forecast that rentals will continue to increase, but at a slower rate." Experts agreed the market had become more demand-driven and the key is customers' preferences.