Abu Dhabi’s new real estate law - which states that developers operating in Abu Dhabi must apply for a licence and register on the Real Estate Development Register no later than 31 March 2016 - should provide a stronger foundation for inward investment, according to a report from Knight Frank. However, in the short term, regional unrest and the global economic situation have reduced interest and take up from international companies looking to locate in Abu Dhabi. In the last half of 2015, with the oil price affecting market sentiment, Knight Frank witnessed a slowdown in the number of office enquiries. Engineering and construction continued to be the most active sectors in the number of enquires, which reflects the recent growth in the number of infrastructure and real estate projects under progress.
In the H2 2015 Knight Frank Abu Dhabi Office Research report, it is reported that grade A and prime supply remain subdued with the possibility of some new developments under construction being further delayed in completion. Prime office rents remained steady to AED 1,900 per sqaure metre, while rental values for Grade A shell and core office space remained steady at AED 1,300 per square metre. Buildings which do not meet occupiers' exact requirements in terms of specification, parking, access and egress will face continued voids as occupiers that do relocate will be reviewing the market more carefully.