Dubai holiday homes
Current demand for Dubai holiday homes show visitors booking for an entire week at prime destinations such as the Palm, the Downtown and Dubai Marina. And many landlords are waiting for a last-minute rush too. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Property investors and landlords in Dubai who had put their faith in short-term rentals have been amply rewarded all through December, with year-on-year rate increases even touching highs of 50 per cent, according to market sources.

A significant number of these bookings are for an entire week’s worth of stay, with apartment leases averaging Dh1,500-Dh2,500 a day depending on location, scale of demand, etc. Further up the luxury chain and where the demand is to lease an entire villa, that’s where a lot of the current rate surge is happening.

And the best part? With still some last-minute bookings expected from now through to the first weekend of January 2024, those rate gains could see yet another spike. Short-stay properties in Dubai – and more so in the luxury category – have seen bookings end-to-end all this December.

On the Palm, rates of Dh4,500 a day and over are showing up in the listings, while posh two-bedroom options in the Downtown are nudging closer to Dh2,500. 

Which, sources add, is a contrast to how demand had traditionally been in the first-half of December in recent years.

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“(Early) December is normally slower as tourists don’t travel in the weeks leading up to New Year's Eve,” said Gregory Lewis, founder and Director at Dubai-based holiday home operator AirDXB. “And (many) expats return to their home countries to spend the festive season with family.

“We tend to see rates fall around 20 per cent during this period - this isn’t exclusive to short-let. This impacts the tourism sector as a whole in general.”

But this December, things sure have turned out differently. “Early December this year went against the grain and we saw rates increase up to 50% higher than the same period in previous years,” said Lewis. “The influx of visitors for COP28 (was the reason) – and which was fantastic.”

Immediate placing in Dubai's rental pool

Property investors were not willing to miss out on this bonanza. From October, many of them placed their newly handed properties immediately into the short-stay rental pool in Dubai. “Everyone knew that demand during COP28 would be big – but the eventual bookings and the rates generated were unprecedented,” said a property owner who had 5 apartments up for these leases, with 3 of them being brand new.

“Catch the December rush was what property owners wanted. And next year, they can decide whether to switch to annual rentals. But for now, everyone is thinking short stay rentals.”

Step forward Dubai Creek Harbour

The Palm, Dubai Marina, the Downtown and Business Bay will always hold sway in the city's short-stay choices, but Dubai Creek Harbour is emerging as a strong candidate in its own right.

"We see a lot of enquiries about Dubai Creek in particular as it’s home to new and modern complexes which sell well on listing platforms," said Lewis. "The location is close to the airport and Downtown Dubai, which is great for business travelers.

"It also a good location for new residents getting settled in Dubai while they figure out where they want to make their permanent location. It’s more budget-friendly than other expat dense areas. You wouldn’t see many holiday makers here - so it is a specific market, but it works."