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Abu Dhabi residential sales buoyed by off-plan purchases

Properties under construction accounted for three quarters of the 11,200 transactions last year in Abu Dhabi off-plan property sales residential sales real estate Pavel Danilyuk/Pexels
Properties under construction accounted for three quarters of the 11,200 transactions last year in Abu Dhabi
  • Residential sales up 83% in 2023
  • More than 8,000 units in Abu Dhabi
  • Under-construction sales strong

Property sales in Abu Dhabi’s residential sector were up 83 percent year on year in 2023 as a raft of new launches enticed buyers to the off-plan market.

There were more than 8,000 units introduced to meet growing demand in the UAE capital, with under-construction properties accounting for three quarters of the 11,200 transactions last year, the latest research from Savills Middle East found.

“Developers have been tapping into the buoyant market by launching new projects,” the report said.

Of the 4,800 villa and townhouse sales last year, more than 4,000 were off-plan, with just over half the demand centred on projects on Saadiyat Island, Yas Island and Al Reem Island.

Of the 6,400 apartments bought in 2023, more than two thirds, or around 4,300, were off-plan.

Nearly 3,400 apartment units were launched in the year, of which just over half were on Yas Island and Saadiyat Island.

The average capital value for villas and apartments in the city grew by 6 percent year on year. Dubai, for comparison, had annual value growth for apartments of 9 percent, and 14 percent for villas and townhouses.

Aldar Properties opened 700 units on Saadiyat Island in projects such as the Nobu Residence, Manarat Living and The Source. 

New project launches on Al Reem Island were limited compared to Yas Island and Saadiyat, with only 256 units added, by Tiger Properties, as part of the Renad Tower project.

Other notable launches during the year include those by Aldar Properties at Al Shamkha, Casares at Bloom Living by Bloom Properties, Marsa Al Jubail, Jubail Terraces at Jubail Island and the Royal Park development at Masdar City by Reportage Real Estate.

While there has been double-digit growth in rents across many parts of Dubai, increases have been more modest for Abu Dhabi tenants.

The listing website Dubizzle reported that Al Reem Island was the most popular location for luxury apartments, but rents only increased just over 5 percent year on year in 2023.

Al Raha Gardens was the most sought after location for luxury villas, where prices fell by 3 percent compared to 2022.

Influx of wealth

In 2022, 5,200 millionaires moved to the UAE, with a further 4,500 high-net-worth individuals forecast to relocate to the country last year, according to the Henley Private Wealth Migration Report.

Abu Dhabi has benefited from a string of international hedge funds choosing to open operations in the Abu Dhabi Global Market, including Brevan Howard from Jersey, and Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest hedge funds, plus Blackstone and OneIM.

“The market benefitted from a growth in investments from foreign nationals and sustained demand levels from the Emirati population,” the Savills report said.

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