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77,000 flats lying vacant after departure of expats

Kuwait


Kuwait City: The exodus of expatriate workers has taken its toll on the real estate sector in Kuwait, sparking fears among landlords and investors, according to Al Anba.

According to latest statistics, up to 77,000 flats remain vacant in various parts of the country – which represents more than 23 per cent of the overall number of flats at investment residential buildings.

Figures released by the Mudon Ahlia Real Estate Company show more than 60,000 expatriate workers left Kuwait in 2017, adding to the real estate sector's woes.

“Expatriates are expected to continue leaving Kuwait at an average of 45,000 per year, exceeding an overall 200,000 by late 2020,” it said in a special periodic report.

The massive departure of expatriates plunged the real estate sector into stagnation, leaving 50,000 flats vacant, plus 27,000 other apartments which are under construction or nearing completion.

The report said that the average rents at investment residential buildings have so far dropped by more than 12pc, expecting rents to dip further in the coming period, unless effective urgent measures are taken to stimulate demand and reduce supply.

The report surveyed 12,000 investment residential buildings which target mainly expatriate communities, in addition to other properties that include 332,000 flats.

“More that 1.5 million expatriates from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, India and other Asian countries, are living in rented flats – an average of five persons per flat”, the report said.

The investment residential properties targeting expatriate communities are concentrated mainly in Hawali (42pc), Al Ahmadi (26pc), and the remaining properties are located in Kuwait City, Al Jahra’a and Mubarak Al Kabeer.

According to latest figures cited in the report, more than 75pc of the investment real estate properties are mortgaged with banks.

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