Sharjah's property market has seen softening slightly in line with the trend in other emirates with prices dropping between 5 to 7 per cent and are expected to increase as Expo 2020 approaches and population grows, industry executives said.

"The softening in Sharjah market was little bit from five to six per cent because of the number of new units in the market and also the impact of softening of the Dubai market on Sharjah. In terms of sales, we don't see any huge drop," said Farid Jamal, head of sales and marketing, AlRayyan International Real Investment.

Jamal sees the prices will continue to soften a little bit till the end of this year."We don't have too many ready projects. So, many developers have started to promote new off plan projects in Sharjah. There are few projects that are ready to move in now." Speaking on the first day of Real Estate Investment Exhibition at Sharjah Expo on Wednesday, Jamal said: "We see a lot of demand from investors and residents who are switching to owning a property by putting the down payment on their dream homes, rather than continuing paying the rental."

In general, studio and one-bed room apartments are more in demand in the northern emirate, he said. The company is also exhibiting its first ready-to-move mixed-use freehold development Al Rayyan Complex located in Sharjah's Al Nahda district.

Earlier, Sheikh Abdullah bin Salem Al Qassimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, inaugurated the Real Estate Investment Exhibition.Jamal Al Shawish, director of leasing and sales, Alef Group, said in Sharjah, historically, prices drop between five to seven per cent while in other emirates the drop is more. Prices were steady because supply matches the demand. He pointed out that sales of ready to move in property have dropped but offplan is still seeing demand. "People are shifting to offplan properties instead of ready property because it gives them an easy payment plan. So the drop in offplan property is less than the ready property prices."

Al Shawish said Alef Group has Dh4 billion worth of landbank in the area where it will develop other projects. There is an oversupply in the market but Expo 2020 is coming and that should help absorb it, he said, adding that "the whole market is not that great but we see light at the end of the tunnel."

"Many of the investors are buying properties to rent it," he said, adding that the sale of the second phase of Aelf Group's Al Mamsha project has begun.

"Al Mamsha is a 3m sqft development with 2,000 units in 33 buildings. We have sold out the phase I which houses 890 units. It will be delivered in 2019. Now, we have started selling Phase II and it will complete in September 2020. Each phase will be delivered in six-month time after the delivery of the previous phase," he added.

Khalifa Al Shaibani, director general, Tilal Properties, said: "Sharjah market is a stable. Today, the awareness of investors and knowledge is improving and that helps them make right decision.The market is stable and we are keeping the market away from inflation and that is keeping the market stable."

Tilal Properties is developing the freehold Tilal City which is spread over 25m sqft. Al Shaibani said infrastructure work on the project has been completed.

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