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Jumeirah Village and Dubai South will keep Dubai’s property pipeline buzzing with new home handovers. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: There are more indications of rents starting to make further gains in more locations across Dubai – but for those tenants wanting to keep tight control on their rental expenses, there are still a few options to choose from.

A one-bedroom apartment in Sports City rents for an average Dh40,000 a year, and unchanged from the 2020 rates. Rents at that location had been as high as Dh74,000 in 2015. Same is the case with Jumeirah Village, where one-bedroom leases are being signed for Dh40,000 on average, according to a new market update from Asteco, the property services company. In 2015, which was the last market peak for property values and rents, a one-bedroom was going for Dh73,000.

So, anyone wanting to shift before summer does have a few options – but keep one thing in mind. Aim for locations where they are sure of more buildings being delivered, which is quite the case with Jumeirah Village and Sports City. For that matter, at Dubai South too.

Landlords are starting to ask for more, whether it’s the Downtown and Dubai Marina, Greens or the Springs,” said one estate agent.

- An estate agent

Last year, city-wide apartment rents were up 10 per cent, while villa rates continued their surge from second-half 2020 to rise by 24 per cent. Even then, Astec estimates that rents in Dubai are still some 40 per cent below the peak in 2014. This applies to locations that had seen rents surge, especially in upscale destinations such as the Palm.

Jumeirah Village Circle in Dubai. Dubai should see another 30,000 new homes to be delivered this year, adding to the near 40,000 units handed in during 2021.

A one-bedroom apartment on the Palm would be about Dh95,000 on average, the report finds, against 2014’s Dh150,000 and Dh135,000 a year later. “Landlords are starting to ask for more, whether it’s the Downtown and Dubai Marina, Greens or the Springs,” said one estate agent. “What’s clear is that the bargains are no longer there, at least in the high-demand locations. Even landlord incentives are coming down.”

Adding more homes

Dubai should see another 30,000 new homes to be delivered this year, adding to the near 40,000 units handed in during 2021. Again much of this will be at Jumeirah Village and Dubai South, which will by the end of this year will also host ‘District 2020’, which will be the re-purposed post-Expo location. District 2020 will bring its own living options to add to the extensive office and commercial property options available in that self-contained ‘smart district’.

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Villas and the bigger apartments in Dubai are where demand continues to scale higher. Plus, anything with a water body has its unique set of charms as well.

Villa rents stick to soaring

With finding a villa to move into itself becoming quite an effort, prospective tenants will have to keep paying a stiff premium to find one that fits all their requirements. (At the very top end of the residential villa rental space, there are even deals being struck for Dh7 million.)

A Palm location means spending Dh270,000 for a three-bedroom unit, and up from Dh200,000 in 2020. But such is the demand for whatever is available on the Palm that sometime this year average three-bed rentals could match the 2014 peak of Dh350,000.

Springs costs Dh150,000 to rent for a three-bed unit, while a similarly sized home in Umm Suqeim could be netting the landlord about Dh160,000.

“It is on the villas that you find landlords having to put in minimal effort to rent out – as long as the taps are working and the property is in reasonable condition, it will find a tenant,” said an estate agent. (There is also now a growing opportunity for property firms to engage in large-scale villa renovation or restoration. More firms are entering this space.)

Sharjah relocations

In Sharjah, landlords will have some respite – Asteco report notes that the emirate will see a slowdown in relocations of tenants to Dubai as rents in the latter firm up further. Sharjah residential rents as well as those in Ajman and Fujairah dropped by 1-2 per cent during 2021. “The dynamics in the northern emirates were more or less in line with previous years,” the report adds.

At the Sharjah Corniche, a one-bedroom apartment could be rented for just over Dh24,000, according to Asteco data, against a peak Dh48,000 in 2014. Al Nahda one-bedroom units is listing at Dh22.5 for a one-bed, and way below the Dh30,000 plus from the peak years.

While landlords in the emirate can get some breathing space if relocations do slowdown, they will still have to account for more freehold homes being delivered in the emirate this year. Arada, the Sharjah master-developer, will be playing a leading role in this, adding more completed homes at Nasma and at its Dh20 billion plus Aljada project.