Coronavirus: Realtors say impact on UAE’s property market will be short term

Travelers wear masks as they arrive at the Dubai International Airport. (File photo: Reuters)

The coronavirus epidemic is likely to only disrupt the UAE’s real estate sector in the short-term, according to global real estate consultants Savills.

Spreading at an alarming rate, the coronavirus pandemic has pushed the property market across the world into a forceful defensive stance. In the UAE, the sector could suffer from a short-term paralysis as a result of the slowdown in economic activity and delayed business decisions.

“The exact impact of COVID-19 is unknown, but any disruption to the real estate markets is likely to be a near-term delay or a knee-jerk reaction rather than a fundamental downturn over the long term,” said Richard Paul, head of professional services and strategic consultancy for Savills Middle East.

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“There will be inevitable impacts on economic growth, tourism, high-street retail spends and so forth, but there are longer-term outtakes such as accelerating trends within flexible working, online retail and improving the supply chain,” he added.

Central Bank’s stimulus package ‘a shot-in-the-arm’

The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced a comprehensive economic scheme last week including a 100 billion dirham ($27.2 billion) economic plan aimed at containing the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Murray Strang, head of Dubai Office at Savills Middle East, said that the introduction of the stimulus package by the Central Bank will be a shot-in-the-arm to the property market in the medium-to-long term.

The History of Pandemics

The real estate sector in the country remained largely resilient during the first two months of 2020, he added.

“We have already witnessed a gradual increase in demand, especially across the residential sector in 2019 and a further relaxation in LTV ratios will encourage more investment appetite into the sector,” said Strang.

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Last Update: Monday, 23 March 2020 KSA 08:15 - GMT 05:15
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