If you looking to live in the Jumeirah area, here's a bit of history you might find interesting. During the 70s and 80s, British and American oil workers dominated the area around Jumeirah and along the coast to the south of Bur Dubai. Expat “compounds”, typically eight to 10 villas enclosed around a shared pool, was born. As the number of expats grew, the area got the nickname Fareej Al Englais from the local Emirates who inhabited the hamlets along the coast, meaning The English Neighbourhood. Throughout the 90s and 2000s the area continued to develop with Umm Suqeim growing to the south, and as the Jumeirah Beach Hotel replaced the old Chicago Beach Hotel,
In more recent times Jumeirah has faced growing competition from new villa communities such as Arabian Ranches and Emirates Living which offered a mix of affordable townhouses and large independent villas with well managed community facilities. But, despite these challenges, Jumeirah remains one of the most sought-after rental communities in Dubai with expats and locals living side by side, and for many residents it still holds a charm that cannot be found anywhere else.
Properties to find
There is a real mix of villas in Jumeirah from expat compounds, independent villas and even the occasional palace! There are also of course plenty of very large luxury villas within the area to cater for those with the appropriate budget and there is normally room to park your boat on some nearby land.
As the city has grown out in to the desert and the supply of new villas increased, rents in the area have dropped approximately 50 per cent from their height. As a result, the area has become more affordable in recent years and is attracting back residents who dream of living by the beach. Many villas in the area are twenty plus years old, and while it is important to ensure a property have been well maintained, in particular the air conditioning, these homes can offer renters today tremendous value. Older three beds can be rented for between Dh95,000 – Dh110,000, with four beds available between 105,000 – 130,000. However, there are also many modern villas that continue to be built today in the area, especially in Umm Suqeim. More modern three-bed villas will rent for Dh130-Dh170,000 and four-beds typically between Dh170-Dh220,000.
In the last few years, we have seen the launch of some new communities in Jumeriah which offer resident luxury apartment living and expats the opportunity to own their own property. City Walk, Jumeirah Bay, La Mer and Madinat Jumeirah Living are all now open for foreign ownership and have proven extremely popular with local residence and international investors.
There are signs that the recent downward trend of prices for villas in Jumeirah is showing signs of reversal. The demand for villas post lockdown has been seen across Dubai as we reassess our living arrangement with the increased focus on space, homes offices and gardens. There are less "For Rent" signs visible in the community and prices have edged up slightly in the past few months. But the area remains great value at current rents, and like many people before, those who move to Jumeriah may find they never end up leaving!
-- The author is the Group Managing Director of Betterhomes
Resident speak: Why I live in Jumeirah
Danielle Wilson Naqvi has been a Jumeirah resident for two decades. "When I first met my husband we lived in a four-bedroom villa located between the beach and Safa Park. I used to love walking to Safa Park in the cooler months as I would push the twins in the pram and my eldest would walk next to me. There used to be a wonderful coffee shop in the park and as the kids got older we would ride the boats on the lake," she says.
Danielle's go to place for a treat with her kids was and still is, the Bookworm and Baskin Robbins. "I loved the fact I was also near Mercato for a cinema night or a little retail therapy. The children’s school was also very close in fact less than 10 minutes drive away. Over five years we had brought up our three children in this home and created beautiful memories. Being a family who loves the beach it was ideal for a quick swim in the sea and then once the canal finished development, the children would love to ride their bikes on the waters edge.," she says.
And when it was time to move house, the family once again settled for a home slightly bigger, but once again in the area, by Safa Park 2. "We are walking distance from the beach and Spinneys centre which has everything you need from Starbucks, the bank, sports store, Typo, Optician and now a pet store. Also close to the house is our local vet, a salon and not many people know this, but behind Safa Park 2 is a school with a horse riding centre – great for beginners," says Danielle.
The family plans to move home again soon and this time they have settled for a home right on the beach in Umm Sequim, "with a pool and the beach right on our door step". The new area will be a little busier than we are used to but we don’t mind as we can walk 10 minutes along the beach path to our favourite breakfast place or even for burgers and ice cream. "My husband and I both run on the beach most days and we enjoy as a family taking our paddle board on the sea early mornings before the beach is busy."
Jumeriah and Umm Sequim is an area I have always loved. Its warm and friendly community spirit is its greatest draw.
- As told to Esha Nag, senior editor