Saadiyat Lagoons at Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Despite uncertainties in the macroeconomic environment, the UAE’s real estate sector was able to negotiate a tough 2016. Developers not only shouldered and sustained these headwinds but also seemed to have instilled greater market confidence.  

Starting with the Cityscape Global exhibition held in Dubai in September, a slew of large project announcements has rejuvenated the market and inspired investors with multiple choices across size, budget, location and completion date. 

In collaboration with local experts, GN Focus picks some prime investment properties across the country, with need-to-know details. 

Emaar South, Dubai South


The seven-sq-km development near Al Maktoum International Airport will feature more than 15,000 villas, town houses and apartments, three- and four-star hotels, a golf course, community parks, retail facilities and schools. Partnered by Emaar Properties and Dubai South, the first phase of the project will take about four years to complete and is being marketed at reasonable prices. Studios at The Pulse, for instance, had launch prices of Dh280,000. 

Lukman Hajje, Chief Commercial Officer at Propertyfinder Group, recommends it for long-term investment potential. “Dubai South prices are ridiculously cheap right now, and with these kind of prices, you can expect significant capital gains and world-leading double-digit rental yields at completion.” 

Best pick A 1,205-sq-ft two-bedroom Urbana townhouse costs approximately Dh850,000.

Yas Acres, Yas Island


The Dh6-billion Yas Island golf and waterfront development offers 260 homes starting at Dh2.3 million, including duplexes, from 200-324 sq m. Yas Acres will have two schools, a golf course, yacht club, and mix of retail and restaurants. Developer Aldar has opened a third phase of sales with payment options that include a 30:70 plan. 

Andrew Covill, Director at Henry Wiltshire, says community housing developments have been badly needed in Abu Dhabi and bode well for investors. “This development not only offers products that have hitherto been limited in availability, but because completion is deferred for a few years, there is a great opportunity to ride into the next upswing in the property cycle without having to invest in the total purchase price.”

Best pick A six-bedroom, eight-bathroom villa measuring 14,141 sq ft is priced at Dh8.8 million.

Mirdif Hills, Mirdif


Although land values in Mirdif are relatively high and comparable to established Jumeirah neighbourhoods at Dh400-600 per sq ft, developer Dubai Real Estate Investment makes a strong case for budget-conscious investors at its new development. Located opposite Mushrif Park, Mirdif Hills will feature approximately 1,000 homes, retail offerings and a hotel, and is scheduled for completion by late 2019. The payment is split in two: 50 per cent during construction, and the rest upon handover. 

Hajje says that with off-plan property, it is those with long-term vision that reap the biggest rewards. “My advice for off-plan buyers is to always factor in at least a 12-month delay and ask yourself what this will mean to your individual circumstances.” 

Best pick One-bedroom apartments at Janayan Avenue start at Dh1.1 million, with a price tag of Dh1,300-1,400 per sq ft.

Dubai Wharf, Culture Village


While Dubai Properties has handed over its first property at Dubai Wharf, three more are expected to be completed this year. When ready, Dubai Wharf will feature 594 homes, 110 retail outlets and a five-star hotel spread across 310,000 sq ft. Located alongside the Manazel Al Khor cluster, also being developed by Dubai Properties, this anchors the revived Culture Village development. 

“There are plenty of bargains in Dubai’s property market just now, especially in off-plan sales,” says Mohammad Khalil, Property Consultant at Dubai-based Nex Homes. “It is now all about locale and location. Not everyone wants to live next to the metro station — some people prefer larger, more open spaces, and many others prefer waterfront living.”

Best pick A 2,054-sq-ft three-bedroom apartment with canal or creek views is priced at Dh3.6 million.

Al Zorah


Al Zorah, a 5.4 million-sq-m mixed-use and hospitality development defined by mangroves, waterfront and beaches will soon see the launch of luxury eco-destination resort, The Oberoi Al Zorah, further adding to its appeal. A wide variety of apartments and villas are selling or scheduled to be offered at communities such as Golf Estates, Golf Villas, The Fairways and Al Zorah Beach Residences. 

Best pick A 4,930-sq-ft five-bedroom Flamingo Villa is listed for sale at Dh4.3 million.

Saadiyat Lagoons, Saadiyat Island


Saadiyat Lagoons is the largest district on Saadiyat Island, and offers more than 4,000 two-, three- and four-bedroom villas and town houses in a community that features shops, play areas, mosques, a town centre, equestrian centre, as well as retail and food offerings in a waterfront village ambience.

“The likes of Saadiyat Lagoons compare favourably with some of Dubai’s premium housing developments such as those in Emirates Living,” says Covill. “The advantage that the Abu Dhabi developments have is that they are brand new, whereas some of Dubai’s most prestigious offerings are now much older. 

“Also, there is a shortage of quality housing in Abu Dhabi, and rarity value is always a key driver for capital growth.”

Best pick Three-bedroom town houses of 2,721 sq ft and 2,982 sq ft are priced at Dh2.8 million and Dh3.4 million respectively, with different views and locations on the island.