Bahrain's real estate transactions totalled 6,336 during the first quarter, up 14.5% when compared to the same perod last year as well as a 12% jump over the previous quarter, according to a report by leading property expert CBRE.
The trading value, however, is reported at being BD243 million ($640 million), down 17% over last year, it stated, citing SLRB data.
Looking at Bahrain’s office sector, total tracked supply of office stock in Q1 was recorded at 1.36 million sq m, across all grades. Compared with the same period last year, average rental rates recorded in Q1 have remained stable at BD5.25 per sq m per month.
If all planned projects are completed as scheduled, we expect an increase of 2.5% in total supply over the next 12 months, with the majority of development activity centred in Bahrain Bay, Bahrain Financial Harbour and Seef District, stated CBRE in its report.
In the residential sector, both average quoted apartment sales and rental rates increased by 3.6% and 2.3% respectively from Q4 2022 to Q1 2023. When compared with the same period in 2022, apartment rental rates grew by 1.7%, whereas sales rates fell marginally by 2.7%.
In terms of new additions to the market this year, the current pipeline of projects should lead to a 15.9% increase in the total number of apartments in 2023, with the new units located mainly in the Capital, followed by the Muharraq Governorate.
On the hospitality sector, CBRE said the montjh of March saw Bahrain host the Formula 1’s 2023 season opening Grand Prix. The event recorded its highest attendance in its 19-year history, with 36,000 visitors on the main race day and 99,500 over the full weekend.
In addition, the King Fahd Causeway witnessed a record-breaking number of crossings in a single day, with 136,498 passengers travelling across from Saudi Arabia.
Bahrain International Airport announced that it welcomed close to seven million passengers in 2022, signifying a 127.5% jump in airport traffic compared to 2021. As a result, hotel occupancy in Manama has increased by 6 percentage points YoY in the year to March 2023, and 4.6 percentage points QoQ.
ADRs increased at similar rates both YoY and QoQ, at 6.6% and 6.2% respectively, whilst RevPARs increased 19.6% compared to the same period in 2022 and 16.1% compared to Q4, stated the report.
On the retail sector, CBRE said the supply of super regional and regional malls in Bahrain in Q1 sat at approximately 927,000 sq m on a Gross Leasable Area (GLA) basis.
Development in the kingdom’s retail sector continues to progress, with destination malls projecting opening dates in 2023 and 2024. Key additions to retail stock include The Avenues Phase 2 in the Capital and Marassi Galleria in Diyar Al Muharraq.
The latter will add approximately 116,000 sq ms of GLA and significantly increase the Muharraq Governorate’s share of total stock, which currently sits at 19% - set to rise to 30% of total stock.
Rental rates remained stable moving in to Q1 2023 QoQ. However, CBRE is closely monitoring this indicator, as pipeline supply comes on stream, applying further pressure to average achieved rents and occupancy rates, it added.
Heather Longden, Director - Advisory & Transactions, at CBRE in Bahrain, said: "Bahrain kicked of 2023 with an increase in recorded transactions from the same period in 2022. CBRE has noted an uptick in commercial office enquiries, both in the number of requirements and the amount of space sought by organisations which should have a positive impact on the occupancy rates, particularly in quality buildings that meet the modern occupier expectations."
"The hospitality sector experienced a boost in Q1 2023, with improvement across all key performance indicators during the Grand Prix period," noted Longden.
"The retail sector has remained stable in terms of rents, however with significant pipeline supply increasing GLA per capita in 2023 – 2024, we would anticipate further pressure on achievable rates and overall absorption," she added.-TradeArabia News Service