The old Dubai neighbourhoods are some of the most densely populated areas in the city. Although rental rates have softened across the emirate, the areas of Bur Dubai, Karama, Mankool and Oud Metha have sustained reasonable demand.
Renting a home here has its unique charm, different from the glass zones of Dubai. These residential leasing communities are popular among expats who value comfort and the convenience of living in the heart of Dubai.
For Reshma Bhatia, who has resided in Mankhool for more than 30 years, the area offers a great sense of community. “I feel more connected. This place has been home to me since childhood. My friends and family live close by,” says Bhatia who works as a senior product manager in a global healthcare company. “We celebrate all the festivals and experience the best of Indian traditions within a more diverse international community.”
Bhatia notes that rents in the area haven’t gone down much due to high demand.
For Babitha Sudhesh, a homemaker who has been living in Karama for the last 20 years, it’s the easy access to facilities such as malls, clinic, restaurants and schools that really helps. “The rents in the place we live are pretty affordable, facilities are great, and the place gives a fantastic community feel,” she explains.
Accessibility is a primary reason why long-term tenants in these areas don’t want to move to newer locations.
“Most tenants living in these areas have served longer tenancies,” says Niral Jhaveri, head of property management at Better Homes, adding that average tenancy in the area is four to five years. “We manage some buildings in these areas where we’ve had tenants living for more than 15 years. Most of these tenants have their own businesses in the trading area nearby. The buildings in the older neighbourhoods of Dubai, such as Bur Dubai, Mankool and Oud Metha have spacious apartments, and some of them have modern amenities.”
The areas around Bur Dubai, Karama, Mankool and Oud Metha usually offer studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, while some buildings have three- and four-bedroom apartments.
“Tenants who want to upgrade within the old Dubai areas can look at apartments in Mankhool and Oud Metha,” says Jhaveri. “These communities have very good buildings with modern amenities and facilities. Some buildings have very spacious apartments. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment would be Dh75,000-Dh85,000. Modern villa compounds are very limited in this area.” He says the cost of living in old Dubai is also cheaper compared to the freehold areas. “Also, what is useful to know is that most buildings here do not charge for the chiller.”
Jafliya and Mankhool offer good villa upgrade options, says Avinash Uttamchandani, sales manager of Rocky Real Estate. “Living in Mankhool and Oud Metha are recommended for families with kids as they have schools and nurseries close by and have good connectivity via the Metro. Tenants here prefer larger living spaces. Closed kitchens and balconies are key requirements.”
Because of robust demand, house prices in these older neighbourhoods have not decreased as much as other parts of Dubai, says Uttamchandani. “Two- and three-bedroom apartments are always wanted by families who are looking to upgrade to bigger accommodations.”