How hot are the property hotspots in Dubai? Well, they do fluctuate according to market conditions, but like everywhere else in the world, it is all down to location, location, location!
The Palm Jumeirah
Let’s start at the top. If you can afford it, a villa on Palm Jumeirah has to be the pick of the locations in Dubai. You have relatively low-density housing, are right by the sea, and therefore have the benefit of a sea breeze. The villas are attractive, and by now, are well nestled into their carefully manicured landscapes. The mess and hassle of building, which began in 2001, is now over and it is all there to enjoy.
You may enjoy the chance to have famous neighbors. There is a private beach. Also, many of the top hotels in Dubai are located either on the trunk of the Palm or very nearby – for example, Atlantis, the Kempinski, the Waldof Astoria, and the one and only Royal Mirage.
What will it cost you to perch out in the Gulf? For a villa, think in the millions, say from eight to eighty million (UAE dirhams), depending on the size and position of the property. To rent, brace yourself: this is still in the AED 500K to a million range, depending on the size and position of the property.
There are also apartments, which offer you many of the advantages of the ocean views and breezes at a more affordable price. While a penthouse could be over twenty million, a more modest, two bedroom apartment could be had for 2-3 million.
A rental apartment, while likely to be over 100K a year, is unlikely to be more than 250K. They are spacious and easy to live in, but you’re right, if you can afford a villa, then you must have a villa.
I am a little biased here. I have watched this complex spring out of an unlikely patch of sand on the side of a major highway, fretted over the adequacy of the road links, and ultimately experienced living there.
It can be a bit fraught trying to get out of the Ranches first thing in the morning – at present, there are only three exits, but I have seen worse the world over.
The villas range in size and price, some with pools, some without, and all with a garden area or large courtyard. However, even the smaller villas have access – within easy walking distance – to a really lovely pool complex that serves each small community.
The care and attention given to landscaping the complex means that, despite the heat of the desert, there is always something blooming from the flame trees in early summer to the ubiquitous but exuberant bougainvillea.
There is a golf course and two good restaurants. There has been an adequate little shopping mall, but this is about to be joined by a much larger shopping complex as the development expands. This will be a great benefit to residents, as it is a relatively long way to the nearest shopping complexes of Umm Suquiem or Dubai Mall.
The cost of living here compared to the Palm is quite affordable. Purchase prices range from around 2 million and upward. Some villas, although not old nor small, have been further renovated and enlarged, making them very desirable. If you are persistent, you will find a delightful two-bedroom villa for under 200K to rent.
Meydan City is a luxury housing development very near the Meydan Race Course. It offers plenty of outdoor attractions, and is intended to cater for the more sporty or horsey among the residents of Dubai, with horse trails a part of the overall concept.
The large villas have a more modern, minimal appearance than property developments in other areas. Prices are typically around 5-10 million and above. As it is relatively new, the landscaping needs time to flourish, but it will get there as the emphasis is on the outdoor, suburban experience.
Being near the racecourse, it is a little closer to the coast (and therefore the center of Dubai) than Arabian Ranches, and this may prove to be an attraction for some people. Also, easy access to the Dubai Cup is quite a bonus.
The original concept for Dubai Marina looked outstanding at the planning stage. Even now, there are many things about the marina that are spectacular. The views of the canals or the sea from the apartments can be breathtaking.
There are lots of hotels, restaurants, shops, and other essentials such as top quality hair salons. It is certainly well developed now, having been a nightmare not many years ago when building was going on everywhere all at once. Somehow, it just does not work for me, but I hear it is a very popular with the party crowd in Dubai, so you need to think it through for yourself.
I find the roads too narrow for the density of traffic and the signage of little use if you do not know your way around. However, I imagine that fades into insignificance once you are familiar with the area.
There are some very attractive and spacious properties both to rent and for sale. As with all parts of Dubai, you can spend tens of millions or as little as 150K depending on what you are looking for, and whether you want to house a family or have a luxurious party pad. Just as Meydan is for the horse lovers, the Marina is more likely to appeal to anyone interested in boats.
The most obvious plus about the Downtown area is that it is indeed in the center of Dubai, right beside Dubai Mall and within a short distance of the Dubai Financial District.
It is also very attractive and versatile, offering a wide choice of accommodation styles and so much more. At a glance, you have all the glitz and glamour of Dubai in one area. The Burj Khalifa dominates the near and distant views, being the tallest building in the world.
Along with the high-rise apartments, there are other Arab/Moroccan style buildings with a more intimate feel and little courtyard gardens in the Old Town area. It is, in essence, an inner city development. There are hotels, restaurants, arguably the best of Dubai’s shops, and other attractions such as the Dubai Fountain – all available within walking distance at the right time of year.
There are plenty of different property types to choose from. A studio apartment at just over a million may be a great investment, but if you need more space, that is available too. A large apartment with an outstanding view can be had for around 10 million.
So there they are, my top five locations. Although I have ended with Downtown, I suspect it is the area that appeals to me the most. You need to think about your needs, family size, and budget, but take your time. Once rented, you are locked into that location for a year.