Dubai: Bur Dubai apartments have always carried a premium in the Dubai rental market, given their central location and proximity to key amenities in the city.
When the Dubai Metro was launched in 2009, rents in neighbourhoods around stations like Burjuman and ADCB shot up higher, forcing some tenants to look for cheaper options in Sharjah.
A two bedroom flat in Bur Dubai, you would have paid a rent of Dh85,000 to Dh100,000 a year ago, has come down to Dh65,000 to Dh80,000.
Ten years on, however, a drop in prices is prompting an increasing number of people to return to Dubai, with areas like Bur Dubai and Karama being the hot spots, local real estate agents said.
“We are getting so many people moving back to Bur Dubai and Karama, especially from Sharjah,” said Pavan, from a leading real estate firm.
“Every month, at least four or five clients from Sharjah are coming to Bur Dubai and Karama,” he noted, adding that rental prices in these areas had dropped by 20-25 per cent, compared to last year.
Mohammad Sharzad from Sharjah’s Discount Movers and Packers removal company agreed: “We are seeing three or four customers a month moving from Sharjah back into Bur Dubai and Karama and that number is only increasing.”
Raul of Al Jumairi Real Estate said: “For a two-bedroom flat in Bur Dubai, you would have paid a rent of Dh85,000 to Dh100,000 a year ago, but now that’s come down to Dh65,000 to Dh80,000, with a five to 10 per cent vacancy rate.
Wonderful time to move
Mazen Othman of United Arab Agencies said: “It’s a wonderful time to move to Bur Dubai or Karama, with prices starting from Dh50,000 to Dh60,000 for a one bedroom flat.”
For those working in Dubai, the long commute from Sharjah is one of the key reasons for the shift to Old Dubai, whose districts are centrally located with bustling markets, restaurants and public transport connectivity.
Pavan said tenants may not get as much floor space as they would in Sharjah, but most aren’t worried about that as the convenience factor makes up for that.
“It’s more convenient, the Metro is there. Also, there are more restaurants and amenities close-by like parks and malls.”
Asked why rents were falling in these areas, Pavan said: “It’s more to do with oversupply.”
Pooja Gosalia, a 31-year-old teacher originally from Mumbai, India, who works in Dubai first came to the UAE with her husband Kunal five years ago and lived in a sublet room in Bur Dubai for around Dh47,000 a year.
After the birth of their daughter Henisha two years later, they needed to upgrade to a one bedroom, so they moved to Sharjah, where they were paying Dh40,000 a year.
But now they are back in Bur Dubai where they were able to get a one bedroom for Dh58,000.
“We moved to Sharjah because it was a bigger accommodation and cheaper, but now my daughter will soon join school and we wanted to be in Dubai as we could save on travelling time,” said Pooja, adding that the sense of community in Bur Dubai and its lively markets only reinforced their decision to move.
Another resident who did not want to be named said he moved from a one-bedroom flat in Sharjah to a smaller one bed in Mankhool because he wanted to be in the centre of Dubai.
“I could not afford the high rents here earlier, but now they are within my reach. I work in Dubai Media City and I would spend hours on the road travelling back and forth from my office. But now, I just take the Metro and life has become so much easier.”