NBK Capital: Kuwait real estate activity recovers following summer lull
Real estate sales recovered in September after experiencing slower activity during the summer months, according to a new economic update from NBK Capital.
“Total sales reached KWD 372 million, up 16 per cent year-on-year (y/y). Activity during the month was supported by a strong performance in the investment sector which recovered strongly from the slower summer months. By contrast, the residential sector remained softer. As we enter the fourth quarter of 2014, the real estate sector looks likely to end another year on a positive note.
“Sales in the residential sector remained relatively soft despite a pick-up in September. Sales amounted to KWD 147 million during the month, down by 23 per cent y/y. The number of transactions was eight per cent y/y lower. The underperformance of the sector in previous months could be attributed to the small number of available properties coming online. The government has sought to resolve the housing issue by developing new townships, which may have affected sector activity.
“Residential activity was heaviest in the Ahmadi governorate, which accounted for 63 per cent of all residential transactions during September. The Mubarak Al-Kabeer and Hawalli governorates came in second and third, accounting for 15 per cent and seven per cent of all transactions, respectively. In the residential sector, 73 per cent of all transactions involved the purchase and sale of land or vacant plots.
“Meanwhile, the investment sector continued to see strong growth in sales, as the sector offered relatively attractive returns. Sales reached KWD 207 million in September, up 73 per cent y/y. 147 transactions took place during the month, an increase of 11 per cent y/y. The average transaction size also increased, to KWD 1.4 million.
“In the investment sector, whole buildings accounted for 53 per cent of all transactions. Apartments followed, comprising 33 per cent of all transactions. The Ahmadi governorate once again witnessed the bulk of activity. The largest transaction, however, involved the sale of buildings for KWD 33 million in Salmiya. Transactions involving vacant plots accounted for 10 per cent.
“Volatile commercial sector sales rose during the month, but remained subdued compared to average activity over the last year. Total sales reached KWD 17 million. Only five transactions were recorded during the month, the largest of which was a building in Kuwait City that sold for KWD 4.6 million. Over the past two months, this sector has witnessed several transactions in Sabah Al-Ahmad Sea City, a predominantly residential area south of Kuwait City. The commercial space will most likely service residents in this new area.
“Housing loan approvals by the Kuwait Credit Bank (KCB) bounced back following a sharp decline the prior two months. The bank approved 484 loans worth approximately KWD 29.3 million in September. The number of approved loans has dropped 22 per cent y/y due to a base effect; 2013 saw the bank approve a high number of loans. Disbursed totalled KD 18 million, an increase of 11.5 per cent y/y.”