New expats boost Bahrain property market
Bahrain's real estate market is showing signs of recovery, thanks to new expats moving to the kingdom in the past few months, an international firm said.
Cluttons reported an upturn in the number of foreign workers arriving in Bahrain since January, especially in the oil and gas industry - prompting the residential property market to bounce back.
In its first quarter report on Bahrain's residential market, details of which were released yesterday, the company said private schools were again reporting waiting lists for places.
'It is understood international schools have waiting lists again, not seen since the beginning of last year,' said the report.
'The demand is not as strong as it was pre-2011 and rents are only being kept flat due to the lack of new properties coming to the market, with many of the larger projects being delayed or put on hold.'
A number of expats left Bahrain in the wake of anti-government protests last year, reducing demand for housing and school places - and affecting the retail market.
However, Cluttons said there was some price stability in areas such as Amwaj Islands, Jasra, Hamala, Saar and Janabiya, including well-maintained compounds with good facilities and security.
'Companies are taking advantage of the situation and are taking on multiple villas within compounds further driving down prices,' it said.
However, it added some apartments in even the most popular areas had experienced rent reductions of 6.25 per cent compared with 2010.
'Other areas have suffered more significant losses due to their close proximity to perceived areas of unrest,' the report added. 'The sales market is quiet, with the majority of sellers refusing to realise a loss - thus keeping their properties on the market for longer periods.'
It said the majority of property sales involved forced sellers, who were taking a loss on the original price.
'Most sales take place in Riffa Views or Amwaj Islands,' Cluttons added.
The real estate specialist predicted that over the next six months, the performance of the market would remain very area-specific - with the majority of areas experiencing flat to low rental growth.
Cluttons research also indicated the economy performed better than expected considering the ongoing political tensions.
According to the Economic Development Board, Bahrain's economy grew by about 2pc last year despite the global economic and regional challenges, and is forecast to expand at around 4pc this year.
Nearly 20 international businesses from around the world brought in about $300 million of investment to Bahrain.
The Central Bank of Bahrain issued 13 new licences to financial services businesses - taking the total from 401 to 414, according to government figures.