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Abu Dhabi real estate market experiences growth

JLL, the world's leading real estate investment and advisory firm, has released its second quarter (Q2 2014) Abu Dhabi Real Estate Overview report, whichprovides the consultancy's perspective on the latest trends in the office, residential, retail and hotel sectors in the Abu Dhabi market.

Commenting on the report, Craig Plumb, Head of Researchat JLL MENA,said: "The second quarter of 2014 continued to witness growth in the Abu Dhabi's prime residential market and little change in the office, retail and hospitality sectors.The Abu Dhabi market continues to be dominated by Government related investment with short-term demand being fuelled by investment and job growth from new major government backed construction projects, such as the Airport expansion, Etihad Rail, Saadiyat Island museums and other major infrastructure, economic and social development initiatives. A sustainable recovery requires the government to continue to implement supply controls as many developers are now reviewing schemes that had been placed on hold following the market downturn. While new supply is needed - particularly of quality residential product, supply controls are required to ensure the right product is prioritised in locations with existing infrastructure."

Sector summary highlights, Abu Dhabi Market Overview, Q2 2014:
• Residential: Around 1,750 units were completed in Reem Island, Danet Abu Dhabi and Al Reef during Q2, bringing the total stock to around 240,000 units. Sales prices for residential units increased for a sixth successive quarter, with a 7% increase in Q2 2014, bringing the average increase during the first half of 2014 to 17%. The recent removal of the rent cap in Abu Dhabi has had a major impact on rents of secondary buildings as landlords have taken the opportunity to increase previously below market rents more in line with current market levels.

• Office:Rents remained unchanged in Q2 2014 averaging AED 1,540 / sq m for Prime and AED 1,180 / sq m for secondary space. There were no major new deliveries in the office market this quarter, with the total stock remaining stable at 3.1 million sqm. With an additional 130,000 sq m expected to enter the market during 2014, there will be continued downward pressure on rents for secondary space. The vacancy rate is currently at 30% and is expected to increase as further deliveries take place in the next two years.

• Retail:Average line store retail rents for malls on Abu Dhabi Island and for malls outside Abu Dhabi remained stable this quarter at AED 3,000 / sq m per annum and AED 1,820 / sq m per annum respectively. Retail deliveries in the Nation Towers Galleria on the Corniche and Al Marasy retail component in Al Bateen, resulted in an additional 20,000 sqm of retail GLA completing in Q2, bringing the total retail stock to approximately 2.2 million sq m GLA. Over 400,000 sq m of retail GLA is expected to enter the market by the end of 2014, dominated by the delivery of Yas Mall on Yas Island. The Yas Mall will significantly improve Abu Dhabi's retail offer and will reduce the amount of retail spending that is currently lost to Dubai.

• Hotel: Occupancies in the Abu Dhabi hotel sector increased to 77% (YT May). While ADRs remain under pressure (decreasing by 8% in YT May 2014 compared to the same period in 2013), the hotel market has started to recover and is set to experience improved performance over the rest of 2014.The sector continues to witness new completions, with the opening of Ramada and Southern Sun hotels in Q2 2014.

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