For investors looking for property in Dubai, there’s a breadth of choice on offer with new communities springing up every year. But where are the residential property hotspots?
Aspirational properties are usually found in the newer areas of the city. Some good examples are Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai and Emirates Hills. Newer communities boast desirable amenities and ever-better facilities, but the older residential areas still attract investment too.
CEO at Core-Savills, David Godchaux, describes some of these areas as “historically core” and where “long term investors and occupiers who are keen on the central locations are the ones holding interest”.
Outlying Areas Remain Stable
Areas that lie further out from the city centre, such as Dubai Sports City and Dubailand, have kept a stable upward momentum. Over in Discovery Gardens, ‘double dipping’ has been prevalent, with new developments reaching completion at competitive prices.
On the other hand, areas such as The Meadows and The Springs have seen a slowdown in sales, despite having led a recovery for districts that consist mainly of villas.
Core Apartment Districts
Core Savills Research has issued its Q2 2017 Dubai Residential Market Update, which shows that core apartment districts continue to show steady transaction activity. These areas include Dubai Marina, The Views, The Greens and Jumeirah Lakes Towers.
Outer areas are seeing the largest amount of supply deliveries, while just a few buildings in Dubailand, Jumeirah Village and Al Furjan gained traction for buyers looking for cheaper prices.
This reflects prices as well as the fast turnaround for properties in desirable locations. Units priced at competitive rents in these core apartment locations are only on the market for two to three weeks, clearly showing the active rental market in these areas.
Looking For Affordability
The first half of 2017 showed more sales in the non-premium end of the market, while luxury property stalled. There is a certain amount of reluctance to commit to luxury property all around the world, and this includes Dubai.
Year-on-year prices for luxury property in Burj Khalifa were down by 25%, while Palm Jumeirah Village also saw a decline of between 15 and 18%. These areas are the weakest-performing and also house the most expensive properties in Dubai.
Affordability has become the most important factor of price corrections, shown in mid-priced properties holding their values. Dubailand, which has lower entry level rents than other areas, has bucked the trend of rental softening across the board.
Huge Demand for Key Worker Accommodation
Research assessing rental performance across all price tiers for the seven years from 2010, shows a high demand for accommodation for the drivers of the economy. These key workers include hair dressers, shop assistants and many other mid-level workers.
While back in the 1950s, this kind of housing stock was built at the edge of old Dubai, it’s now in the centre of the city. People want affordable housing close to transport links and facilities.
Data supplied by Cluttons shows that areas with more affordable housing are showing fewer rental dips and spikes when compared to the average. Karama is Dubai’s first affordable housing area and currently accommodates 76,000 people, while International City has 22,000 residential units housing 60,000.
Other Desirability Measures
Supply can support stability in certain areas of Dubai. For example, in Downtown Dubai there have been no price changes for 12 months. This is due to the lack of space for new homes, and the ensuing 45% drop in launches of new units. The less chance to buy new builds, the more stable the area’s prices remain.
It’s not possible to classify and typecast the real estate market in Dubai, and investors will always have to create a strategy to deal with the sub-locations they are considering.
Trends in Residential Housing
The research from Core-Savills shows various residential trends during the first half of 2017. These include:
- Supply: More than 3,500 units were delivered in Q2. It was expected that this would slow down in Q3 and by year end pick up again. They estimate 11,200 units for the second half of the year.
- More transactions at the same value: There were 6% more transactions in Q2 compared with the same quarter last year. The total value stayed around the same.
- Off-plan sales increasing: This causes a detrimental effect in terms of secondary sales for some apartment districts.
- Softening rental market: Tenants are more conscious of market conditions and are increasingly renegotiating their contracts, or moving homes completely. Many are also choosing to buy instead of rent.
- Popular communities like The Views, The Greens and Dubai Marina are maintaining transaction activity.
The 2020 Expo Effect
There is significant investment going on due to Dubai winning the bid to host the 2020 World Expo. Areas around Al Maktoum International Airport such as Dubai South and Al Furjan are seeing a lot of development activity, including various residential projects featuring affordable housing.
These areas are now seen as new and emerging areas, and as communities are established, there will be a corresponding rise in demand. It’s expected that the Expo will herald a spike in rents and property prices in general
Dubai will host around 25 million visitors during Expo 2020, and many developers are hoping to deliver projects in 2018-2019 to cater to this massive rise in demand. There’s no doubt that the Expo will have a positive impact on the Dubai property market as a whole.