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Over 105K apartments lie vacant, Real estate facing tough time

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‘Hawalli Governorate tops list of empty apartments’

KUWAIT CITY, July 1: Real estate statistics show more than 105,000 apartments lie vacant in various regions of the country, most of which are in the Hawalli Governorate. The statistics issued by the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI), a copy of which has been obtained by the Al-Seyassah daily show the total number of apartments in all governorates is about 346,752, of which 105,897 were believed to be vacant until the end of December 2020, which means that about a third of the country’s apartments are uninhabited.

According to the statistics, the Hawalli Governorate tops the list of empty apartment among all governorates in terms of the number of residential apartments with a total of 142,951, including 40,514 vacant apartments, while the Ahmadi governorate is ranked second in terms of the number of inhabited or vacant apartments, with a total of about 89,000. The Farwaniya governorate came in third place with a total of 82,293 apartments, of which 18,990 are vacant; in fourth place is the Capital governorate with a total of 15,303, including 4,755 vacant apartments.

In the penultimate position, is the Mubarak Al-Kabeer Governorate with 9,287 apartments, of which 6,404 are empty, and finally, the Jahra Governorate, with a total of 7,763 apartments, including 1,517 empty. The increase in the number of vacant apartments in Kuwait coincides with the actual application of the policy of adjusting the demographics, which began a few years ago and the situation worsened with the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the departure of hundreds of families from Kuwait, which hit badly the real estate owners. At least one third of the apartments in the various governorates are empty, which has forced many residential property owners to reduce rents by 15 and 25 percent in some areas, especially since most of the owners have to commit to their obligations to the banks. Commenting on the developments of the file of vacant apartments, Secretary of the Kuwaiti Real Estate Union, Qais Al- Ghanim, stated the increase in the number of vacant apartments is “a natural matter, as a result of the state’s implementation of the policy of adjusting the demographic structure.”

He explained the coming years will see more vacant apartments, especially since most of the expatriate workers who live with their families will leave for their home countries for vacation and most of them will return without their families and this is not only negatively reflected on the real estate market, but also on all other markets, including the foodstuffs, clothes and cars. Al-Ghanim said the Real Estate Owners Association does not exert any pressure on real estate owners, especially since each real estate owner has his own circumstances. Al-Ghanim stated that it is difficult to determine the rate of decline in housing rents, but what can be mentioned is that the real estate market will continue to witness further decline in the coming years with the continuation of the policy of adjusting the demographic structure, indicating that the current real estate market crisis forced a number of landlords to submit some offers to attract residents including a month or two for free, especially in the tenth district housing.

By Najeh Bilal Al-Seyassah, Arab Times Staff

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