The rise in rent for many apartments in Dubai and Abu Dhabi slowed to a standstill in the last three months of the year, according to a new housing report, bringing relief to some tenants after years of soaring prices.

The average cost of renting a one-bedroom flat in Dubai rose by only four per cent last year and did not rise at all in the last three months, the UAE-based property services firm Asteco said in its fourth quarter report, which will be published in full today.

In Abu Dhabi, rents for units with two or three bedrooms also levelled off, although demand for smaller, less expensive homes pushed up prices for one-bedroom flats, the company said.

After years of extreme rental inflation, where average prices climbed by more than 100 per cent, it seemed the UAE would at last enjoy a sustained period of stability, Andrew Chambers, the managing director of Asteco, said yesterday.

The National