(Bloomberg) -- Prices for residential real estate in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council may have bottomed and total transaction value for the year is on track to eclipse 2019 levels, Kuwait’s Kamco Investment said.

“Dubai real estate witnessed opportunistic buying from investors, especially at the higher end of the apartment and villa market,” Kamco said. “Saudi Arabia real estate prices recovered, driven by government support in the form of mortgage financing and housing initiatives.”

The GCC includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman. Transactions in the first half of 2021 reached $64.9 billion, compared to $90.5 billion for 2020 and $96.5 billion in 2019, the firm said.

A higher average value per transaction in the first six months of the year, when compared to pre-pandemic levels of the first half of 2019, indicated “the investment appetite for attractively priced real estate,” Kamco said.

Housing is riding an extended boom in markets around the world, with valuations soaring at the fastest pace since 2006, according to Knight Frank, and annual price increases in double digits. Earlier this year, HSBC Holdings Plc said a growing demand for larger homes during the pandemic would further boost Dubai’s property market, echoing analysts at Morgan Stanley who expect the rally to last for “several years.”

Kamco cautioned the potential for rate hikes in the medium term could dampen sentiment. Meanwhile, rents continued to decline year-over-year in the first half of 2021 in most markets barring Riyadh. Bahrain and Jeddah witnessed the largest declines.

“While our view on the residential real estate market in the GCC has become more constructive than from our previous update, we still require rents to move towards a late-stage recovery phase in the cycle, before establishing the segment as the clear leader,” the firm said.

For office and retail spaces, Kamco said competition could intensify and potentially pressure rents. Occupiers were likely to prefer sustainable built environments and event-specific spikes in footfall and sales conversion from events such as Expo 2020 should provide temporary respite to mall space owners, the firm said.

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