DOHA – Qatar’s real estate price index, compiled by the Qatar Central Bank, hit the 202 level in April after four consecutive months of a downward trend. The April figure represents the index’s lowest in three years since February 2021.

Qatar-based real estate marketplace hapondo, a popular online platform for tenants and buyers, expects opportunistic investors to be on the lookout for deals in the market amid compressed property values.

“For the opportunistic buyer, this means greater leverage in negotiating for value, using strategies such as land banking and buying a portfolio of assets. Real estate is cyclical, and waiting for the right opportunity to buy and sell is key,” says Ahmad Al-Khanji, Chief Executive Officer of hapondo.

Despite the decline in the index, appetite for real estate shows little signs of slowing down.

During the first four months of 2024, the index fell from 225.12 in December 2023 to 202.43 in April 2024. During this period, the number of transactions reached 1,181 (January-April 2024) – more than the 1,104 recorded by the Ministry of Justice in the same period last year. Meanwhile, real estate trading volume reached nearly QAR 5.09 billion, only 5% shorter than the QAR 5.36 billion transacted in the same period last year.

Doha still shows strong rental yields

Asking prices of apartments in the prime residential markets have shown varying performances, according to data from hapondo.

In The Pearl, the median price for a 1BR apartment increased from QAR 1.6 million in Q3 2023 to QAR 1.62 million in Q1 2024. During the same half-year period, the median price for a 2BR in The Pearl rose from QAR 2.3 million to QAR 2.36 million.

In Lusail, the 3BR apartment median price increased from QAR 2.9 million in Q3 last year to QAR 3.02 million half a year later in Q1 2024. However, the median prices for 1BR and 2BR apartments have both slid along with all bedroom categories in West Bay.

“The dip in real estate prices is just one part of the picture, especially when looking at the residential sector. In fact, the average gross rental yield of a 1BR apartment in Qatar’s prime areas has increased from 6.6% in Q4 to 6.9% in Q1, while the 2BR category has remained stable at 6.5%, showing strong investment potential,” says Ahmad.