Dubai is at the forefront of global trends and as the city continues to evolve, the landscape is expected to be constantly changing as well
The one constant in Dubai’s real estate market is that it is ever-changing. Over time, we have seen a shift from a purely investor-driven market to one that is more focused on buyers with long-term residence plans. In a similar vein, high-rises have been superseded by low-rise master communities with the steady growth of areas such as Arabian Ranches and Jumeirah Golf Estates. More recently, one of the prevailing trends we have started to see is a greater demand for newer and contemporary homes.
For investors, a serviced residence is a fantastic hands-off investment where the property is fully managed and all they have to do is rake in the returns.
The shift can roughly be divided along two lines – villas and apartments. For villas, we are noticing this on an aesthetic level. Dubai has, for several decades, had a love affair with Mediterranean architecture. Venture out to the more historical villa neighbourhoods in Jumeirah or Umm Suqeim, or even some of the older homes at Emirates Hills, and you will find stucco houses with gabled roofs and columned doorways. On the other hand, if you look at the newer villas being built in areas such as District One and Dubai Hills, you will find a dramatically different landscape. Sleek architectural lines, floor-to-ceiling glass framing every room and minimalist interiors focused on bold shapes and colours are fast becoming the norm when it comes to villa design. There are still Mediterranean and Arabian-style homes being built across the city, but they all have a twist in the design that incorporates the above elements to create something that is a far cry from traditional and is wholly unique.
Recent transactions help to further demonstrate the trend. A contemporary villa in Emirates Hills sold for a whopping Dh90 million in September of last year, followed by a stunning Palm Jumeirah home that went for Dh51 million. By comparison, older villas are seeing much lower transaction levels and now it is almost a given that any home will have a modern makeover before the new owners move in.
The trend is largely similar among apartments – I doubt you will find a single new project that doesn’t have a combination of glass walls and stark interiors – but from a buyer perspective, the key element is lifestyle. Serviced and branded residences have been on the rise, offering beautiful and well-designed homes that are complemented by a full suite of services comparable to those of a five-star hotel. In fact, some of the most high-profile projects that are scheduled for completion this year are being serviced by leading hotels, including W Residences (serviced by the newly opened W Dubai – The Palm), One Palm (Dorchester Collection) and Royal Atlantis Residences (Royal Atlantis Resort).
For investors, a serviced residence is a fantastic hands-off investment where the property is fully managed and all they have to do is rake in the returns. For a homeowner, this is basically a full-time resort vacation. There are different service packages available that offer everything from basic housekeeping to full concierge service, ensuring a lifestyle of convenience and complete peace of mind. As we see a growing influx of HNWIs and UHNWIs, that sort of lifestyle becomes a major selling point.
Once again, the proof is in the transactions. The W Residences have had strong sales since the opening of the hotel and One Palm made headlines in 2017 for the sale of Dubai’s most expensive penthouse at Dh102 million. This has in turn impacted previously popular developments such as Emirates Crown in Dubai Marina, where prices are on the decline. While the location is prime and the apartments themselves are beautiful, the lack of lifestyle services is a deal breaker for today’s home buyers.