CBRE Fragmented Real Estate Performance in Saudi Arabia at 2022 End

CBRE releases its Saudi Arabia Real Estate Market Review Q4 2022
Staff Reporter | KSA | Real Estate

Saudi Arabia’s real estate sectors have recorded fragmented performance across cities and asset classes over 2022. Looking at Saudi Arabia’s office sector figures, occupier demand remained strong over the last quarter of 2022. This was particularly so in Riyadh, where stock levels remain anemic at best and many upcoming developments are mostly fully pre-leased.

Grade A offices in Riyadh saw average rental rates increase by 5.8% year-on-year increase in Q4 2022, while Grade B rents rose by 1.5%. As for average occupancy rates, both Grades A and B stock saw occupancy levels improve slightly to 99.2% and 98.7% in 2022, marking annual increases of 0.8 and 1.9 percentage points respectively.

In Jeddah, Grade A office rents increased by 7.4% in the 12 months to December 2022, whereas Grade B rents remained unchanged. Occupancy rates for both Grade A and Grade B offices rose to reach 90.6% and 76.0%, up from 87.8% and 74.6% in 2021. In the Eastern Province, Dammam, and Khobar’s office markets saw Grade A rents increase by 7.9% and 6.2% respectively over the year to Q4 2022, with Grade B rents remaining flat. Grade A occupancy levels in Dammam and Khobar at the end of 2022 stood at 81.2% and 78.7% respectively.

Residential transaction volumes in Saudi Arabia fell by 24.5% during 2022, compared to a year earlier. Overall, the number of residential transactions totalled 175,067 and the total value of these transactions stood at SAR 126.5 billion over this period, representing only a marginal decline of 3.7% year-on-year. On a regional level, we have seen total transaction volumes fall across the three major regions throughout 2022, where in Riyadh, Jeddah, and the Dammam Metropolitan Area (DMA) total transaction volumes fell by 33.9%, 16.2%, and 20.9% respectively.

With regards to price performance in the residential sector, average villa prices in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam increased by 6.2%, 6.7%, and 17.4% in 2022. Khobar was the only major city to record a decline in average villa prices over this period, with prices falling by 4.4%. The apartment segment of the market showcased much poorer performance in the year to Q4 2022 overall, whereas only Riyadh saw average growth in the year, with prices increasing by 17.4%. Over this period, average apartment prices contracted across Jeddah, Dammam, and Khobar by 0.2%, 1.1%, and 4.4% respectively. Given the marked increase in interest rates, increasing development costs, and uniform price growth over the last two years in all market segments mentioned above, a drop-off in demand and consequent slowdown or reversal in price growth has been expected. Looking ahead, as affordable stock matching the quality and configurations required by owner-occupiers is delivered, we expect that we will see a gradual rate of recovery in activity levels.

While the recovery has not been uniform across all of Saudi Arabia’s hospitality markets compared to 2019, we have seen a marked rate of recovery ensue at a country level during the second half of 2022. With religious tourism returning in earnest, festivals and entertainment events in full swing across the Kingdom and corporate tourism picking up, almost all KPIs registered stellar growth in 2022. Saudi Arabia’s average occupancy rate improved by 17.2 percentage points year-on-year in 2022, while the ADR increased by 17.9%. As a result, its average RevPAR recorded an increase of 67.2%. On a city level, Dammam and Al Khobar saw a softening of occupancy rates, which fell by 8.0 and 2.5 percentage points year-on-year respectively. Over this period, this negative trend extended to ADRs in Khobar which fell by 3.6%, whereas Dammam’s ADRs increased by 4.1%. Overall, in Dammam and Khobar this has resulted in RevPARs decreasing by 10.8% and 7.8% respectively. Year-on-year in 2022, the resumption of religious activities reflected positively on the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah leading to upticks in ADRs and average occupancy rates by 34.2% and 41.9% and 35.9 and 33.7 percentage points respectively. In Jeddah and Riyadh, growth in the occupancy rate and ADRs have underpinned year-on-year respective RevPAR increases of 30.4% and 32.3%.

A prominent component of Vision 2030 is to transform Saudi Arabia into one of the world’s leading industrial and logistics hubs. With the launch of the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP), changes in regulations, standards, and relocation will lead to the creation of concentrated clusters within and in close proximity to major cities for industrial and logistics-related activities and associated services. Given the level of demand for such industrial and logistics space and extremely limited levels of supply, the realisation of this aspect of Vision 2030 will be critical to several sectors. In Riyadh, average rent prices for warehouses registered an increase of 3.7% in Q4 2022 compared to the corresponding quarter in 2021. In Jeddah, average rents as of Q4 2022 stood dropped by 9.4% from a year earlier. Rental rate performance for industrial and logistics stock in Dammam and Khobar has been fragmented over the year to Q4 2022, with average rents increasing by 6.1% and declining by 21.1% respectively. Looking ahead, we expect that the industrial and logistics sector will continue to garner significant interest from both occupiers and investors alike. Subdued levels of supply and burgeoning demand will likely continue to drive performance. However, in the long run, as the sector matures and the international quality stock begins to be more readily available, we expect significant fragmentation in performance.

Taimur Khan, Head of Research – MENA at CBRE, comments: “Saudi Arabia’s real estate sector has recorded improving key performance indicators in 2022, with performance almost uniformly improving across its offices, hospitality, industrial and residential sectors. However, with quality and suitable stock in short supply and the delivery of new projects still not on the immediate horizon in most cases, we continue to see activity not reach its true potential. In its key metropolitan centres, the delivery of this stock will be key in achieving future growth, in terms of prices, rents, and transactions.”

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