When Dubai emerged from the pandemic and prices were just starting to climb, a lot of buyers found themselves in a fantastic position.
Cash buyers could pick up a brand new property for a steal, relatively speaking, and mortgage buyers enjoyed easy access to finance with low mortgage rates. While the investment potential was rife, what we found was a significant growth in the number of end-users who purchased what would be their primary residence for years to come.
Since then, we have seen a steady uptick in end users and owner occupiers moving into villa communities, and the drop in mortgage rates this year will only add to that growth.
Which communities in Dubai have seen the most interest from end-users? Activity has been fairly steady across the board, but there are a few communities in particular that I find to be notable.
Established names hold their value
Any project from a well-known developer such as Emaar or Nakheel is always going to be a popular option. They have built a strong reputation for themselves through the development of master communities across the city – Downtown Dubai, Emirates Living, Palm Jumeirah, and Jumeirah Islands, to name a few.
In what is considered to be the ‘general market’ – ranging from sub-Dh1 million to somewhere between Dh5 million to Dh7 million – Emirates Living and Jumeirah Park are highly sought-after. It should come as no surprise as these are established residential communities that offer a great selection of homes with different layout options and numerous possibilities for upgrades and renovation.
They boast a high quality of community amenities, abundant greenery and open spaces, and complete security for residents.
Many of the older homes in these communities have been snapped up by buyers who want to upgrade and add their own personal stamp to them. As a result, standard properties are starting to become rare, and we are seeing competition amongst upgraded homes coming to the market at premium prices.
Dubai Hills Estate – Still the place to be
Dubai Hills has been popular since it launched and, in the span of a few short years, has become the hottest residential community in the city. It’s no surprise to me that Dubai Hills is sought out by end-users.
It’s in a fantastic location, has some very beautiful communities, and offers an enviable assortment of amenities, from the shopping mall to the golf club.
What does surprise me, however, is that the community remains a hive of buyer activity in spite of steep price increases over the past 24 months. Maple and Sidra are in a constant cycle of sales and resales – for every buyer that finds themselves priced out of those communities, there is always another who is able to fill the gap.
And the location is such a key factor that villa buyers are willing to consider apartment options if they can’t find the right unit within their budgets. The drop in mortgage rates will only make Dubai Hills Estate a more competitive space, and I expect there to be a significant rise in activity across apartments and mid-range villas.
Mudon – A cultural shift
For luxury buyers, Mudon wasn’t really on the radar a few years ago. It was seen as an affordable community that was further out from the centre of the city – roughly an additional 15 minutes compared to Dubai Hills – and was geared towards a very different demographic. The homes in Mudon had a very traditional Arabic-inspired design, with layouts that were more suited to larger Middle Eastern and South Asian families.
The space is comparable to, or in some cases larger than, similar properties in Dubai Hills Estate, but the rooms are geared towards more privacy and they mostly have closed kitchens.
The community has witnessed more of a cultural shift of late, in part because buyers who could no longer afford to look at Dubai Hills were expanding their horizons. As a result, more British and European buyers are moving in and changing the demographic makeup of the community.
They are also applying their own style to the homes at Mudon – if you look at any of the newer homes coming to market, you will find open European-style kitchens, larger windows, and airier layouts. This renovation boom, combined with the surrounding greenery and excellent facilities, is catching the attention of buyers who want the benefits of living in a tranquil neighbourhood and don’t mind a bit of a commute.
Dubai has always been an excellent investment destination and continues to offer some of the most well-priced luxury real estate in the world. However, it has now really established itself as a haven for families, especially in the aftermath of Covid and other major global events.
I expect there to be continued growth in end user transactions across the city this year, which will have the side effect of exacerbating supply issues and driving more traffic toward communities that aren’t as prominent currently.
There are several offplan projects slated to hand over, which may sate demand temporarily within certain price and area clusters, but overall supply is still lagging well behind.
The biggest piece of advice I can give any buyers right now is – don’t wait. If you’ve found a property that you like, take the necessary steps to secure it before it’s gone.