Location, location, location: Where to find your dream UAE home


Dubai may be associated with ‘bling’ lifestyles — but property hunters in the emirate and throughout the UAE are increasingly looking for a good deal.

Despite last year’s drop in sales and rent prices in Dubai, and with the Abu Dhabi market flat, more UAE residents are seeking out cheaper areas to live, according to Dubizzle.

The classifieds website crunched the data on millions of search requests in 2015 to find the key trends in what kind of properties people are looking for.

More affordable communities such as Jumeirah Village Circle and Dubai Sports City were last year among the top 10 most-searched communities on the website’s property pages.

Ann Boothello, product marketing manager for property at Dubizzle, said this highlights “the need for more affordable housing for both end-users and the savvy investor who sees higher rental yields coming from such areas.”

Further evidence that internet users are looking for cheaper accommodation comes with the most popular search terms used — with ‘partition’ and ‘studio’ the number one phrases on Dubizzle’s property rentals section in Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively.


Dubai is becoming more affordable

Ann Boothello, product marketing manager for property at Dubizzle, tells Benchmark about the trend of UAE residents seeking out cheaper accommodation:

“The pockets of interest in Dubai have always been the premium communities, like Dubai Marina, Jumeirah and Downtown Dubai. But what we’ve noticed over 2015 and even in late 2014 is that search volumes have [increasingly been growing in] areas like Jumeirah Village Circle and Dubai Sports City – the ones that are further away from the main artery, Sheikh Zayed Road. That goes hand-in-hand with what’s happening with the market.

“I see Dubai becoming more affordable, with more options to look at. If you don’t want to pay out one [rental] cheque in Dubai Marina for a one-bedroom apartment, there are bigger spaces available not so far off where you could possibly pay down with three to four cheques, depending on the landlord.”

Reem Island is becoming a real estate hotspot in Abu Dhabi

Ben Crompton, managing partner of Crompton Partners estate agents in Abu Dhabi, on the popular areas in the UAE capital: “Very hot at the moment is Reem Island.

“A lot of new product is coming online there and there are a lot of transactions. Al Reef and Al Raha are always steady and we’re seeing more interest in Saadiyat Beach as sellers come back to the market.”

Prime Dubai areas still offer the best capital growth prospects”

Lukman Hajje, chief commercial officer at Propertyfinder.ae, says property in prime areas of Dubai, though more expensive, has better prospects for capital growth:

“Outer areas like Dubailand, [Dubai Silicon Oasis and] Dubai Sports City offer affordable options and excellent rental yields.

“Prime areas like Downtown, Dubai Marina and The Palm however still offer the best capital growth prospects. For Abu Dhabi, Al Reem Island still heavily dominants searches on our site both in [the] buy and rent [sections], whilst Al Reef is popular as it offers excellent value for money.

“The Northern Emirates are also achieving lots of enquiries where a lot of options still exist under Dh600,000.”



Read expert advice on whether to rent or buy in the UAE property market.