Issue No 263 - 01 April 2008
  Kuwait's real estate sales rise 15pc

Kuwait's real estate sales rose 15.5 percent year-on-year for much of February, government data showed, despite vows by the Gulf Arab state to bring down property prices, a main contributor to inflation.

Kuwait's inflation was 6.7 percent in November, driven by a 12.6 percent jump in housing prices.

The value of all real estate deals including residential, investment and commercial property rose to around 156 million dinars ($585 million) from February 3-21 compared to 135.1 million dinars in the same period a year ago.

The figure covers direct real estate sales registered with authorities, excluding deals arranged by agents and lawyers. The number of real estate deals jumped to 839 last month from 460 a year ago, according to the data.

Sales of residential properties, the biggest part of the real estate business, rose to 96.62 million dinars in the February period compared to 75.42 million dinars a year ago.

Sales of commercial property doubled to 12.5 million dinars, while investment property fell around 12 percent to 46.9 million dinars.

But Ghazi Abdul-Rahim, senior manager of economic research at National Bank of Kuwait, said he expected real estate prices to fall 10-20 percent in 2008 as a new law had been approved to prevent commercial firms from trading in residential property.

"Commercial firms were a big player in the market," he said. The government said last month it had raised subsidies on building materials such as steel and cement to counter inflation. More than 90 percent of land is owned by the government.

Source: Trade Arabia News

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