Real estate reports sow confusion

November 14, 2010 - 3:06:03 am

DOHA: Ever since Qatar faced an acute housing shortage during 2006-08, it has become a trend with some local and regional real estate companies to periodically release “analytical reports” on the country’s property market projecting supply and demand.

There have been enough reports since the housing shortfall began easing in early 2009 suggesting that rents have been falling as a result of supply exceeding demand.

These reports profusely quote so-called real estate experts who make statements estimating supply and demand. Some even make projections and give exact estimates of the housing units available and those required over a period of time.

Some reports have suggested that rents have come down by as much as 40 percent since the shortage peaked, while others have put the percentage at half that level.

In the end they create confusion, claim real estate agencies, which say they have first-hand experience of the market as they deal directly with property owners and house-hunters.

Real estate agents hardly lend an ear to these so-called analytical reports and say they feel much of what is said is armchair thinking.

Examples of such “confusing” reports are galore, these agencies claim. Century 21 Real Estate Company, for instance, recently reported that housing supplies were so abundant that if Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid succeeded rents wouldn’t go up suddenly as existing stocks would take time to be exhausted.

On the contrary, Arabian, in its latest article on Qatar quoted property analysts Colliers International as saying there was a lot of scope (for contractors) in the residential and retail sectors.

“One area of demand is the housing sector,” J P Grobbelaar, director of development for the firm’s consultancy arm, was quoted as saying by Arabian

“Current demand is 142,000 units, but existing supply is only around 102,000, which means the market is under-supplied by as much as 40,000 units,” the official was further quoted as saying.

Real estate market sources question the above figures. “Where does the figure come from… Go around Doha and you see hundreds of newly-constructed buildings which remain unoccupied, so where is the shortage,” asked a source.

Rents wouldn’t have come down if there was a shortage, he argued. Such reports created confusion, he said.

If there is a shortage, why are housing complexes in the heart of Doha advertising six months’ free rent for a yearly tenancy contract, he asked.

Market sources claim there is neither oversupply nor is the demand very low or high, and that is why rents have come down only to some extent.