Sharjah rent still affordable

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Sharjah rent still affordable

For most people, the only quirk of being a resident in Sharjah is having to deal with the long hours of slow moving traffic while commuting towards Dubai.


Dhanusha Gokulan

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Published: Wed 20 Feb 2013, 8:48 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 9:23 AM

Despite the slow and meandering traffic, most Asian and Arab expatriates prefer the ‘cultural capital of UAE’ as a preferred place of residence for varied reasons: “You have good schools in almost every neighbourhood; there are good eateries, good public parks and libraries. But the most important fact is that rents are much lower compared to Dubai or Abu Dhabi,” said Suman Advaith, an Indian school teacher who has been residing in Sharjah for the last 14 years.

A bird’s eye view ... Al Taa’wun area in Sharjah. — KT photos by M Sajjad

With the rising costs of living and inflation, several expatriate residents who have had to cull out their house rents out of their pockets, have preferred to stay in Sharjah: “My husband and son work in Dubai but we’ve stayed here for so long, moving elsewhere is out of the question,” added Advaith.

However, in recent times, the city has been gripped with rumours of a two to five per cent increase in rents in several areas causing concern among residents. The speculation of increase has been predominant in Al Nahda, Al Taa’wun, Al Qasba, and Buhairah Corniche areas of Sharjah. But real estate agents have confirmed that the rise is sporadic and a lot of it depends on the market. Few agents have also said that there could be a case where building owners create an artificial demand.

Senior Property Manager at Asteco Property Management Ghatfan Azam said: “There might be a slight increase in a few buildings in specific areas. But in places like Jamal Abdul Nasar Street and Al Wahda Street, there is no increase at all, at least not of Asteco Properties. Newcomers might have to pay two per cent more than the original tenants. A lot of it also depends on the market.”

New Salik gates

Another deterrent for Sharjah residents commuting to Dubai is in the new Salik gates on Al Ittihad Road and Airport Tunnel Road. Though the RTA has not announced the toll for vehicles travelling on the same road, residents fear they may have to shell out extra: “If I have to take Al Ittihad road to Shaikh Zayed Road, to get to the Mall of the Emirates, I will be spending Dh16 on Salik for a one-way commute,” said Abhirati Rohan, a resident of Sharjah.

“I will have to tighten my budget by Dh300 to Dh500 per month or be forced to move to an area which is closer to Emirates road to avoid the Salik toll gate. But the traffic on the highway will continue to remain bad,” she added

Another agent who works for Al Manazil Real Estate, on condition of anonymity said: “The chances are also such that the real estate companies and leasing agents could be creating an artificial demand for newcomers into the market, especially because rents in Dubai are also on the rise. At least for now, most of it is only speculation.” He added that the hike is not prevalent in all areas: “There are to-let boards all over these buildings, which means that the supply is more than the demand. It’s only in a few buildings, but yes, newcomers will have to cough up Dh2,000 to Dh5,000 more, which is a two to five per cent increase,” he said.

The agent also added that since Sharjah Municipality has stringent rental regulations; hikes on rents for tenants can be charged only once in three years. In 2012, the Sharjah Municipality declared that tenants must give proof of their salaries and relationships to people living with them.

Jafar K, a building manager of a building in Al Qasimia area said: “See, according to the Sharjah Ministry regulations we are allowed to hike rents for a tenant only once every three years. But for new tenants who are moving in, we are taking Dh2,000 to Dh5,000 more than what the other tenants pay.”

In 2011, rents in some areas of Sharjah rose by two per cent in the last quarter, according to a report by real estate firm Asteco.

The rent for a studio in the Al Khan and Corniche areas had climbed to Dh20,000 to Dh25,000 a year, and office rents have risen by as much as five per cent. When Khaleej Times spoke to residents in these areas, they said the rents remained the same: “There is a speculation of an increase in rent, but there is nothing that is provided in writing,” added Jafar.

Junaid Hashmi, an owner of electronics store in Rolla said: “I’ve been living in Abu Shagara for seven years, in a two bedroom apartment. In 2005, I used to pay Dh26,000 and in 2006 to 07, the rents increased to Dh34,000. But in 2008, the rents came down and now; I pay Dh28,000, which I can afford. Since the building renewed the contract last year, I don’t think there will be a hike for the next two years.”

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