Nearly Dh43 billion worth of real estate transactions were made in the capital last year, Abu Dhabi Municipality announced yesterday in a statement. This included Dh3.7 billion worth of land sales as well as mortgage transactions of about Dh39 billion.
The deals are a 5 per cent increase over the Dh41 billion in real estate transactions recorded by the municipality in 2010, Adel Hussain, media consultant at the municipality, told Gulf News.
"There was increased investor confidence last year in the Abu Dhabi economy, which resulted in the high number of transactions. The municipality has also worked to simplify transaction processes," said Awaidah Al Qubaisi, acting executive director of municipal services.
According to the statement, last year's largest mortgage contract was worth about Dh367 million. In addition, land sales were the highest in December at Dh917.2 million.
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This may have been a result of the completion and delivery of a number of residential units in the city, Giyas Gokkent, group chief economist at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, said.
"In effect, real estate transactions were almost the same as in 2010. The sense we get from tracking the sector is that there is downward pressure on prices due to the increase in the supply of housing. This may be why buyers are postponing purchases till the prices fall further," Gokkent said.
In 2012, this downward pressure on real estate prices is expected to persist, in Abu Dhabi as well as in the rest of the UAE.
"A number of projects are nearing completion, so we should expect to see a fall of 10 to 20 per cent in rental prices in downtown Abu Dhabi," the economist said. He also said there was still a differential in real estate prices between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
"This means that we should be seeing more of an adjustment in Abu Dhabi real estate prices than in Dubai," he added.