Prime real estate prices in Dubai and Manama will finish the year up to five percent down on the start of 2011, Knight Frank has said in a new report.

The real estate consultancy added that the decline in prices in the Bahraini capital are set to drop faster in 2012.

In its forecast for next year, Knight Frank said Manama house prices were likely to fall by between 5-10 percent. It said it did not have the data to forecast Dubai prices for 2012.

Dubai home prices have dropped 64 percent from their peak in mid-2008 after the global credit crisis caused mortgage lending to dry up and drove speculators from the market.

Of the cities covered in the forecast, 32 percent are expected to see luxury house prices fall in 2011, 25 percent are tipped to remain unchanged, and the remaining 43 percent are set to see prices end the year higher than they started.

Jakarta and Nairobi are forecast to be the strongest performers in 2011, with prices rising by up to 20 percent over the year, Knight Frank said.

Kate Everett-Allen, of Knight Frank’s international residential research unit, said: “Positive price movements this year can largely be attributed to rising cross-border demand from wealthy individual investors (especially in London and Paris), a lack of new supply (Moscow) and strong growth in domestic wealth (Beijing).

“For those cities where prices are falling this year, weaker economic activity is a contributoryfactor in the majority of cases (Geneva, HongKong and Sydney), but weakening demand in the Middle East (Manama) and monetary tightening (Mumbai) also feature.”

On the forecast for 2012, Liam Bailey, head of residential research, added: “Growing global uncertainty and government intervention in the property market, especially in Asia, will weigh on prices in some areas.

“But some cities, such as Moscow and Bangkok, will shrug off these concerns to register growth of between 10 and 20 percent in 2012. Paris, Kiev and St Petersburg are all expected to rise by 5 to 10 percent, with London slotting in next with a rise of 5 percent.”
However, he said that Shanghai, Mumbai, Manama, Hong Kong and Geneva are tipped to fall by up to 10 percent.

Knight Frank added that political and security issues are of greatest concern to forecasts for Dubai and Manama, as well as Moscow, where the 2012 presidential election has the potential toprovide a destabilising effect.

In September, Knight Frank said Dubai’s real estate market was the nine worst performing market in the world for the year to June.

Ireland was named in the report as the worst performing real estate market, with house prices declining 12.9 percent in the 12 months to June 2011 while Dubai showed a decline of 4.7 percent.

Also in September, Jones Lang LaSalle said Dubai villa and apartment prices may soon bottom out as political turmoil elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa prompts buyers to look for less-risky investments.

It said apartment prices in most parts of the city were stabilising or declining slightly, “indicating that the market might be very near its bottom”.