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Sharjah real estate sales surge from Dubai spillover

Arada Sharjah Masaar Arada
Following progress on site: Sharjah's forested Masaar development represents half of Arada's real estate sales in the emirate in the past six months
  • Properties up to 28% cheaper in Sharjah
  • 1,616 homes worth $1.16bn were sold in first half of this year
  • 90% of its 1.8m residents are expats

The loosening of buying rules and a steady spillover of tenants from Dubai has boosted real estate sales in its neighbouring emirate Sharjah.

Arada, a master developer in the emirate, has reported a 186 percent increase in sales during the first half of this year.

It sold a total of 1,616 homes worth a total of AED4.26 billion ($1.16 billion) across its communities in the first six months of 2023. This was an increase of 23 percent in volume and 186 percent in monetary value terms.

Its most popular community was Masaar, a forested megaproject based in the Suyoh district of Sharjah, which sold 813 homes valued at AED2.34 billion. 

The emirate allowed non-Arabs to start buying real estate in 2014. Late last year freehold ownership was extended to all nationalities in certain areas. 

Shimmy Mathew, group chief financial officer at Arada, said this was “a sea-change” for the emirate’s property market.

A report by consultancy firm CBRE this week said that Dubai’s market in June grew at its fastest pace since 2014, with average residential real estate prices rising by 16.9 percent year on year.

Sharjah is one of seven emirates that makes up the UAE, with a population of 1.8 million. About 90 percent of its residents are expats. Dubai has a population of 3.5 million.

Data from Expatistan, a platform that measures and compares hundreds of different price points across global cities, found that Sharjah is on average 20 percent cheaper than Dubai, with housing 28 percent less expensive for residents.

Traditionally, some Dubai workers opt to live in Sharjah and commute to their workplace, especially as the cost of living and rental rates continue to soar in Dubai.

Matthew said: “Based on the discussions our leasing team has had with prospective tenants, over the last year we’ve seen a steady increase in enquiries from tenants from not only Dubai but also the other Northern Emirates.”

Another demographic looking to Sharjah is those with a seven-digit bank balance. Last year the emirate recorded the second-largest increase in millionaires in the first half of 2022.

“It’s growing from a much lower base than Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but Sharjah is working hard to make itself an attractive destination,” Andrew Amoils, who heads up research at New World Wealth, told AGBI.

“The UAE is now trying to push the growth of some of the other emirates.”

Arada said that around 90 percent of its buyers were Emiratis when it launched its first projects in early 2017. By the end of 2021 the composition has changed to a respective 51/49 percentage split between UAE/non-UAE nationalities.

Arada’s goal is to hit a 30/70 percentage of UAE/non-UAE nationality buyer composition by 2026, it said.

Sharjah living costs
ItemSharjah cost: AEDDubai cost: AEDDifference
Basic lunch meal374823%
Combo fast food meal243017%
Monthly rent for 85 sq m furnished home3.0764,13526%
Hourly rate for a cleaner283520%
VW Golf car85,660111,14423%
1 litre of petrol2.373.4732%
Movie tickets7310631%
Monthly gym membership19131840%
Source: Expatistan

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