World Cup demand surge sees some Qatar landlords bump rents

The residents of popular neighborhoods say they are forced to agree to rent increases of up to 40% and contract periods that extend to two years. Faced with rents they can no longer pay, some residents say they have been forced to move even after years of renting.

Many hotels have been forced to get long-term occupants to leave and make room for staff and staff, leaving residents with few options in a country that has an 88% expatriate population and low home ownership rates .

This has helped create a turnaround in the property market after more than seven years of falling demand as entire buildings became empty as new residential, commercial and hospitality supply poured into the market.

First-quarter rents rose 3.3%, helped by a recent surge in demand, according to data compiled by ValuStrat, while median prices in the Pearl, an artificial island neighborhood popular with expats white, they increased by 19%. Housing was the second biggest contributor to an inflation rate of 5.4% in June in Qatar, where costs are rising faster than in any other Arab Gulf state.

FIFA alone has reserved thousands of rooms in hotels and their attached residences for players, employees and other officials. Local organizers have also reached agreements with property owners to allocate around 60,000 apartments to fans.

Owners are eager to profit. An Airbnb search shows that most one-bedroom apartments at the Pearl are listed for more than $1,000 a night during the tournament. These apartments are currently renting for an average of 9,500 rials ($2,580) a month, according to ValuStrat, up from 8,000 rials in the fourth quarter.

A Qatari government official said the country’s real estate rental market “caters to a range of preferences and budgets” and that with “increased demand for accommodation during the World Cup, landlords and tenants they are bound by law to respect the terms and conditions of their tenancy.” agreement”.

Temporary blip

“This is, in my view, a relatively temporary blip caused by the World Cup and its related effects,” Commercial Bank of Qatar CEO Joseph Abraham said in an interview with Bloomberg TV last month. After the World Cup, “you’ll see the pressure come off rents as supply will also increase, so that component of the inflation index will come down,” he said.

Even with the recent increase, the Central Bank of Qatar’s real estate price index is 30% lower than it was in 2015. And beyond the World Cup, the future of Qatar’s economy outside of oil and gas is uncertain.

The government expects the population of low-income workers to decline after major World Cup projects are completed, but it is unclear how many white-collar residents will also leave.

A massive LNG expansion project could attract new talent, but QatarEnergy chief executive Saad Sherida Al Kaabi estimated the number of new people needed to support the project was likely to be in the tens, not hundreds or thousands

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