Want to pay less rent in Dubai? Check out our accommodation guide
Once upon a time, a real-estate bargain in Dubai was as rare as a cloudy day. During the boom years of 2007 and 2008, apartment rents rocketed to record levels, while tenants scrambled for space in even the lowest-quality buildings. Today, things have changed. As a massive oversupply of property enters the market, long gone are the days of overpriced apartments and villas, and now marks a new era of quality and affordability. If there was ever a time to get a good deal on a new apartment, it’s now.
A recent report published by UAE property group Asteco revealed how the average apartment rental rates in Dubai fell by 6 per cent between July and September, with villas falling 4 per cent – both as a result of an oversupply of property. This follows a 50 per cent decrease in rents across the board since summer last year. As a result, hundreds of people are rethinking their living arrangements. Want to do the same? We’ve done the legwork for you.
Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) Average annual rent for a one-bed apartment: Dhs81,000 Amenities: Jumeirah Beach Residence is today one of New Dubai’s most affordable and convenient living areas. Strategically located between the beach and Dubai Marina, residents have easy access to the city’s best bits. The community itself is safe, friendly and perfect for young singles, with pools, supermarkets, coffee shops and modern eateries such as Pizza Express, Starbucks and Subway. The Walk has an array of designer shops and conveniences such as a Boots pharmacy and Emirates NBD, as well as many restaurants along the seafront. Best bars include the Hilton’s beach bar and Trader Vic’s Mai-Tai Lounge in Al Fattan Towers, which serves happy-hour drinks most nights.
Drawbacks: It can be difficult to find studios and one-beds, and the lifts are regularly out of service – not great if you’re living on the 39th floor. It is also slightly more expensive than the Marina, primarily due to its location. And there is only one small gym, in Amwaj.
Residents’ tip: Girls looking for affordable beauty treatments should try Tips and Toes in Amwaj. It’s cheaper than the salons along The Walk, but offers the same quality service.
The Palm Jumeirah Average annual rent for a one-bed apartment: Dhs97,800 Amenities: The Palm Jumeirah, previously known for being overpriced, now offers a reasonably inexpensive, albeit luxurious lifestyle. As well as attracting mid- to high-income households, families and second owners, it has become increasingly popular with younger people. ‘The Palm is attracting both singles and families,’ says Jones Lang LaSalle’s Craig Plumb. Among the main advantages of living on the Palm are the high-quality residential buildings, access to remote beaches and a tranquil lifestyle away from the urban centres. ‘The Palm is relatively close to completion now,’ says Landmark Properties director of research and advisory services Jesse Downs. ‘This means tenants are able to avoid the hassle of living in a construction zone.’
Drawbacks: The downside of living on the Palm is that you are, to put it bluntly, fairly remote. For this reason, it can be difficult to find restaurants and shops locally. The Atlantis hotel offers a handful of high-end restaurants, but they tend to be expensive.
Residents’ tip: Check out Sanctuary nightclub in Atlantis for decent music and cocktails until 3am.
Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) Average annual rent for a one-bed apartment: Dhs53,000 Amenities: ‘JLT appeals to those living and working in Dubai, as well as Abu Dhabi commuters, and offers good value,’ says Downs. In terms of amenities, there is a Carrefour Express and plenty of other mini-mart-type shops, as well as cafés and beauty parlours. Public transport is also super-accessible thanks to the JLT metro station that opened just last week, in addition to the existing Marina station. For JLT dwellers who want to escape to the Marina, a passenger walkway takes you straight across Sheikh Zayed Road.
Drawbacks: JLT is not without its disadvantages. The weird, ever-changing colour of the lakes is one of them, providing a fairly unattractive view for residents. Meanwhile, the surrounding roads can be busy, with plenty of construction, potholes and cones. ‘If you want a bargain, JLT is ideal, but remember that it’s less developed, and is further from shopping malls, parks and schools,’ says Plumb.
Residents’ tip: For good-value eats, try Kas Café at the back (lake-side) of Lake Terrace Tower. Run by an Aussie expat, the food is fresh, always changing, and usually costs less than Dhs50.
The Greens and The Views Average annual rent for a one-bed apartment: Dhs52,000 (The Greens), Dhs68,000 (The Views) Amenities: The Greens is unique because it is an affordable, low-rise ‘master-planned’ community. Similarly, The Views offers high-rise condominiums that overlook the golf course. Both The Greens and The Views have allocated public space, pedestrianised precincts and green areas within the developments, making them ideal for family life. ‘Areas such as The Greens, as well as the nearby Meadows and Arabian Ranches developments, all offer a sense of community, as well as better access to schools, parks and other facilities, making them perfect for families,’ says Plumb.
Drawbacks: According to residents, parking in The Greens can be difficult if you have more than one car. Also, its fairly quiet location means it’s perhaps not the best area for young singles.
Residents’ tip: Make the most of the barbecue facilities in each complex and enjoy dinner with friends outside.
Downtown Dubai Average annual rent for a one-bed apartment: Dhs81,000 (excluding Burj Khalifa) Amenities: As an urban centre with a residential atmosphere, Downtown Dubai provides the best of both worlds in terms of community and city living. Centrally located, residents can access the old town (Bur Dubai, Satwa and Deira) easily, as well as the new town, with the Marina and Jumeirah Beach Park just a short drive or metro ride away, and Sheikh Zayed Road on the doorstep. The fact that the residential space is within a well-designed master community means tenants are guaranteed to get quality apartments, with extensive retail offerings (such as The Dubai Mall) and views of the Burj Khalifa.
Drawbacks: The Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall tend to draw in crowds and traffic, especially on the weekends, which means the area lacks the tranquil atmosphere of the Palm Jumeirah.
Residents’ tip: Love Thai food? Visit Mango Tree in Souk Al Bahar to enjoy a tasty dinner while watching the impressive fountain show.
Dubai Marina Average annual rent for a one-bed apartment: Dhs61,000 Amenities: Dubai Marina, in the heart of the wealthy quarter, has long been associated with high rents and buying prices. Today, it is more affordable than JBR, but is still just a few minutes’ walk from the beach while offering spectacular views of the docks. Along the pedestrianised Marina Walk, residents can try Thai, Lebanese and Indian restaurants, with both Spinneys and Al Maya supermarkets close by. As for shopping, tenants can either visit Dubai Marina Mall, which houses a gaggle of high-street shops and a cinema, or other nearby malls such as Mall of the Emirates and Ibn Battuta. Public transport is easily accessible thanks to the Marina metro station, and for those who enjoy happy hour in a classy bar with a phenomenal view, Dubai Marina Yacht Club is a popular choice. Finally, Dhs60 will get you a ride in a traditional abra from Marina Walk to Jumeirah and back, with views of the Burj Al Arab and Barasti on the way.
Drawbacks: It’s difficult to walk from place to place in the Marina because it’s criss-crossed by busy main roads, and there’s a lot of construction going on. New buildings, when they are finished, may also block existing residents’ views of the Marina and beach.
Residents’ tip: Stay away from buildings with badly finished interiors. Chances are they don’t have a proper facilities management company maintaining these buildings and they won’t last long.
International City Average annual rent for a one-bed apartment: Dhs30,000 Amenities: With studios renting for as little as Dhs18,000 a year, International City is very affordable to many more of Dubai’s expat workers, and has been attracting Dubai commuters from areas such as Al Qusais and Sharjah. While it may not have the best reputation in the city (in fact, perhaps it has the worst), it does maintain a certain charm, appealing to those who like independent restaurants and spas and specialist supermarkets. It’s also very safe, and boasts a community vibe with various basketball courts and grassy areas.
Drawbacks: As mentioned, it has a terrible rep, mainly to do with the sewage problems it has suffered in the past, not to mention rumours of its odour due to its location next to a sewage plant (which was recently awarded a contract for expansion). Residents, however, will tell you this has passed. It also has an unfortunate location, rather far out of town.
Residents’ tip: Prospective tenants should look for buildings offering good security and high-quality maintenance services.
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Jonathan Jun 10, 2011 12:27 pm
Sorry this tell me nothing about getting rent or price ? im looking currently and its difficult ! :-(
Sobia Sarmad Nov 09, 2010 07:52 am
The topic doesnt really match the content. Pay less rent?? and then explaining different things... I thought in Marina they will tell which building is offering affordable rents... didnt like it.
Dg rocks Nov 09, 2010 07:06 am
i have been living in discovery gardens and this place is a small community with plenty of garden landscape and play area only pools not provided but there is tennis court and basketball court .. would have been an excellent affordable location if they had 2 or 3 bedrooms irrespective of 1 and studios also lots of outlets and home delivery easily done ..
Wendy Nov 07, 2010 08:21 am
I have been living in the JLT for over an year now and regular at KAS cafe. Ever since they have opened, its become a dream come true, as their food is very fresh and cooked in front of you, my faourites are their pizzas, sandwiches, coffee and cakes. I would highly recommend Kas cafe to everyone who is living in and around JLT, oh yeah a defenete value for money and staff are very friendly.