Emirates Hills has traditionally been the bastion of discerning high networth buyers seeking premium luxury properties in Dubai. But there is now a subtle shift in the landscape.
Andrew Cummings, Managing Director of luxuryproperty.com, says, “We are seeing increasing interest in some of the newer communities that are emerging to challenge the crown. District One is now bedding in as one of Dubai’s hottest communities with its Crystal Lagoon and premium location close to Downtown attracting both local and international buyers.
"We’ve recorded a great appetite in Dubai Hills as well. A spate of land sales in La Mer district has also garnered interest.”
Cummings feels the emergence of these new communities come with an abundance of future amenities from malls to golf courses, which means older ones have something to worry about.
“Emirates Hills still remains the most sought-after location with strong transaction numbers throughout 2019," Cummings added. "In 2020, the area has set a new benchmark with a sale of a Dh69 million villa by us, making it the highest recorded sale in the area for nearly 18 months.”
Options for the rich
The other areas in the luxury real estate sweepstakes include District One (recently recorded a Dh90 million transaction for a villa), Dubai Hills Estate (which had a Dh60 million deal for a villa on Hills Grove), Palm Jumeirah (a transaction of Dh51 million for a J Frond custom-made villa) and Downtown (recorded sale of a six-bed duplex in Il Primo for a sum over Dh50 million).
Creek Harbour is another area. “Although we are still at the early stages of the community, things look set to progress nicely with the Vida Hotel opening to much praise,” Cummings said.
But District One is the one to watch out for. “This area remains undervalued, with the potential for capital growth once the Meydan Mall and other amenities come online," he added. "Downtown is also hot with buyers.
"There will only ever be one Downtown - so demand has been consistent. The handover of new projects such as Address SkyView, Address Fountain Views, Vida Downtown and Boulevard Crescent have helped breathe new life into Downtown.”
Dubai Hills, incidentally, has built an active rental market as well. “We are likely to see this trend continue with ongoing handovers at this huge masterplan, which offers everything from studios through to mansions. If you are an investor or first time buyer, or indeed a global business person looking for the perfect mansion, Dubai Hills offers it all.”
La Mer is the other area that has potential to be a luxury hotspot, with Port de la Mer and plot options fulfilling the goal of many buyers to own in the heartland of Jumeirah.
Michelle Liddiard, Associate Director at Luxhabitat, says MBR (Mohamed Bin Rashid) City has obtained the highest conversion of sales compared to any other area in Dubai in the last quarter of 2019.
Liddiard says luxury buyers are now fine with looking at areas such as Downtown Dubai and Dubai Creek Harbour. “The newer off-plan projects in Downtown are simply spectacular, especially the ones located in the Opera District. They are beautifully crafted set alongside the famous fountains," said Liddiard.
Dubai Creek Harbour has been a hotspot with the Chinese. Affordable pricing and attractive payment plans from the master developer Emaar have contributed to the success.
"The Creek tower and shopping district as well as close proximity to the Airport make for a spectacular community in the making," Liddiard added. "However, this is more of a long-term project to sit on.”
According to Riyaz Merchant, CEO of Realty Force Real Estate Brokers, a lot of Chinese find value in the offerings at Dubai Creek Harbour. “They are the biggest investors in this project.”
But he feels District One in MBR City is one of the most premium destinations within the heart of the city. “Prices have been increasing steadily and all I can say buy it while you can afford it.
"Dubai Hills will see an upside, but will need time to get fully ready. Once the mall opens, it will be a definite plus.
As for the Downtown, Merchant says land there cannot be stretched any further and prices will hold firm once the zone is fully developed. And even see a price rise from the end of 2022."
“The same Dh14 million would buy you a more contemporary six-bedroom villa.”
He agrees that buyers still prefer the Emirates Hills address because it carries a lot of prestige value. “But going by market figures, you can get the same, if not a better designed villa, in District One as well as Sobha Hartland in MBR City."