Apartments in Dubai
Note, although this page was last updated on 12-May-2010, most information about prices, developments etc has not been properly updated since 2007 and needs more serious revision. Although as of 2009, most rental prices are close to where they were in 2006 after having doubled and halved again in 2007-2008. Mind the gap.
Middle to high end apartments in Dubai typically have a swimming pool and gym facilities. Occasionally a squash court. Rooms are usually quite spacious and most have ensuite bathrooms. Covered car parking may be insufficient for the number of apartments in a building and, in the more densely populated areas, street parking is difficult to find. Bur Dubai area has parking meters (which don't seem to make it easier to find a parking space, just more expensive).
Going down the price scale, amenities become fewer and/or less well-maintained, and bedrooms become smaller.
Most apartment buildings in Dubai will have at least a resident watchman, and the larger, more expensive buildings will have several security personnel with a 24 hour reception area.
Buying Apartments in Dubai
- See below for areas where foreigners can buy apartments in Dubai.
Numbers of apartments under construction in Dubai
- 250,000 units under construction are expected to be completed from mid 2006 to end 2007 (apartments and villas). As of January 2007, this figure is laughable - maybe 30,000-60,000 units will be completed during 2007. Almot everything residential development is delayed 6 months to 2 years. That figure is more likely to be for a total from 2007-2010.
- 40,000-45,000 apartments in Dubai Marina.
- 26,000 in Discovery Gardens.
- 21,000 in International City.
- 18,000 in Dubai Sports City.
- 15,000-18,000 apartments in Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT).
- 7,000 in Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR).
Renting Apartments in Dubai - long term
During 2006 and 2007 it was very difficult to find anything to rent, especially one bedroom apartments. Don't waste your time waiting for real estate agents to call you back if you're searching. They'll be deluged with enquiries. If you find something, don't hang about too much wondering if you'll find something better. Chances are you won't, and the one you found will have gone to someone else by the end of the day. This situation may start to ease by the end of 2008 and early 2009 as more apartments are completed.
Apartments can be rented in all styles, sizes, and prices. From cheapish studios to expensive penthouse suites. All rental estimates are given in dirhams per year. In Dubai it is normal to pay the full year's rent in advance. Sometimes you may be able to pay with 2, 3, or even 4 checks meaning you write post dated checks for the relevant amounts.
If you are looking for a studio or 1 bdrm apartment, a common alternative for singles or couples is to rent a room in a shared villa or apartment. Unmarried couples living together are breaking the law but, depending on nationality or culture, the likelihood of having a problem varies from minimal to high. Maids trying to live with boyfriends usually seem to get arrested sooner or later. Western couples will rarely get into trouble. If one partner is Muslim - especially if female - there's more chance of problems. Emirates other than Dubai are more strict in this regard, especially Sharjah. Don't annoy your neighbours.
The better apartments usually have whitegoods included (stove/cooker, probably a fridge/refrigerator, possibly a washing machine, maybe a dishwasher) even if advertised as 'unfurnished'. Apartments advertised as 'furnished' might be fully furnished or may only include white goods. Cheaper and/or older apartments are less likely to have any furniture or kitchen appliances, and if they do, it's probably junk anyway.
A rough guide to apartment rents per year in different areas of Dubai (July 2007):
- Studios from 35,000 dhs in Al Ghusais, Karama & possibly Bur Dubai. Up to 70,000+ dhs in the Greens and Dubai Marina.
- 1 bdrm from 45,000 to 85,000 dhs in Al Ghusais, Karama.
- 1 bdrm from 65,000 to 85,000 dhs in Lamcy Plaza area and Bur Dubai.
- 1 bdrm from 90,000 to 100,000 dhs in the Greens.
- 1 bdrm from 90,000 to 110,000 dhs in Dubai Marina.
- 1 bdrm from 95,000 dhs on Sheikh Zayed Road.
- 2 bdrm from 80,000 (in Al Ghusais) to 160,000 dhs (Umm Suqeim).
- 3 bdrm from 100,000 (in Al Ghusais) to 200,000 dhs (on SZR).
- Bur Dubai 2 bdrm 120,000 dhs.
- Karama 2 bdrm 100,000 dhs.
- Jumeirah 2 bdrm 150,000 dhs.
- Satwa 2 bdrm 110,000 dhs.
Expect to pay 5% of the first year's rent as a commision to the real estate agent if you use one. Also 5% as a refundable bond or security deposit. And the final sting in the tail comes from Dubai Municipality who want 5% of your annual rental also - sort of like a council tax. DEWA (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) will collect it on their behalf. This is a recent development to try and get more tenants to pay since the collection rate has been very low in the past. Electricity and water may be disconnected if the DM tax isn't paid.
See where to live in Dubai for a little more information on the different areas in Dubai.
Apartments tend to be concentrated in
- Al Ghusais - almost Sharjah prices and almost Sharjah location, not very central
- Bur Dubai - good central location but with traffic problems
- Deira - cheaper location but not so easy to find a good apartment
- Dubai Marina - expensive but good location for free zones
- the Greens - also a good location for the free zones
- Karama - looks more run down than Bur Dubai but same area
- Lamcy Plaza - good location and relatively good value compared to elsewhere in Dubai
- Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim, and Mirdiff are popular areas with expats but have very few apartments.
- Sheikh Zayed Road - between the Trade Centre and Defense roundabouts are tall, expensive apartment buildings with great views.
Shared Villas and apartments in Dubai
- Some apartments are 3 and 4 bedrooms and often the main tenant or landlord will look to sublet spare rooms (if the rental contract allows this).
- Another alternative to renting your own apartment is to look for a shared villa rentals as it can work out a little cheaper than apartment renting. An advantage is that rental can sometimes be paid monthly.
- Areas such as Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim, Rashidiya, Satwa (not many) are popular choices.
- Expect to pay 3000-6000 dhs per month per room, and allow another 200-500 dhs per month for utilities.
- Villas (or houses) are usually spacious with plenty of bathrooms, there's a good chance you can find a room with an ensuite bathroom.
Key Money and Rent Caps
Supposedly illegal to ask for it, but often asked for and blatently advertised - especially in the case of commercial property. Rare or non-existent if you go through one of the more reputable real estate agents when looking for an apartment in Dubai.
Key Money has become more prevalent during 2006 with the combination of increased demand and not enough supply, and the caps on annual property rental increases.
- Abu Dhabi announced a 7% rent cap in early November 2006.
- Dubai had a 15% rent cap for 2006.
- Dubai rent cap for 2007 of 7% but if rent was increased in 2006, no increase permitted for 2007. Announced in press on 02 January 2007.
- Ras Al Khaimah announced a 15% rent cap on 15 Nov 2006. Validity period unknown at present.
Real Estate Agents fees and commissions, security deposits
- If you find an apartment from a real estate agent, the commission charged to the tenant is usually 5% of a years rent, payable at the beginning of the tenancy. You should not be charged commission when renewing a lease for the same apartment - you can complain to the Dubai Rent Committee if an agent tries to.
- A security deposit of 2-5% is also payable when you sign up to the rental contract.
- To get electricity and water connected, you'll need to visit DEWA (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) to sign up - they'll have their palms out for another 1000 dhs of your money as a deposit.
Dubai Municipality Tax or Housing Fee
- There is a 5% tax on the yearly rent payable to Dubai Municipality (DM). Although many residents have avoided paying this for a number of years (and some haven't even heard of it), the Dubai Municipality is attempting to enforce collection of the tax via an arrangement with DEWA which will automatically add it to your utilities bill.
- Residents are expected to register their rental contracts on the DM website to have the tax bill added to their DEWA bills.
- From May 2010, the DEWA has reportedly been serving notices to residents who haven't registered their tenancy agreements with the DM.
- After the second warning notice, the DM say they will use the RERA Rent Index to determine taxable amount if residents don't register their rental contracts, or if they attempt to shortchange the DM by registering a lower amount than they actually pay. And too bad if that means you end up paying more than if you'd declared the correct rent in the first place.
DM housing fee for empty apartments
- The DM housing fee is payable even for empty apartments, if there is a DEWA connection, even if no one is paying any rent (which is usually the case when apartments are empty). Which doesn't really make sense since DEWA already charges subscribers for the water and electricity they use, and the DM fee is supposed to be a tax on residents using DM services such as beaches and parks (which you pay to enter anyway). Roads and public transport are looked after by the RTA, rather than the DM.
- Abdullah/Abdulla Hashim Abdulghafoor/Abdulgafoor/Abdul Ghafoor, Head of Housing and Marketing Fees at the Dubai Municipality, said "Whether an apartment is rented out or remains vacant, one still has to pay the housing fee as long as he has a Dewa connection. There is no exemption. We are slowly covering all the areas - freehold and non-freehold - as per Dewa's billing cycle," (Emirates Business report 10 August 2010).
- Presumably no fee is payable if there is no DEWA connection then.
- Villas weren't mentioned in the report but the way it was written, it sounded like they were included.
- Mr Ghafoor in the same report also said "Whether you are staying in a freehold or non-freehold area is not our concern, you have to pay for infrastructure being used across Dubai," apparently indicating that he thinks empty apartments are the result of the occupants busily wearing out Dubai's infrastructure 24 hours a day instead of staying at home some of the time, so he'll get them anyway.
Apartment rentals in Dubai - short term
Apartments are available on a monthly rental basis, normally fully furnished and usually with some sort of servicing and cleaning arrangement. Cost of a studio or 1 bdrm is about 7000 to 15,000 dhs per month depending on location and quality of apartment/furnishings. For better standard (and more expensive) try Better Homes, Asteco, and/or Landmark Properties. They are the more well known and hopefully more reputable agents. Emaar has also recently (June 2006) started a property letting agency.
The most expensive way to rent an apartment is on a nightly basis which will cost about 400-800 dhs per night for a studio or 1 bdrm.
Finding a property to rent or buy and Letting Agents, Real Estate Agents
There are over 1000 real estate and letting agents in Dubai apparently. A handful of the more popular and well-known companies are:
- Asteco (website www.astecoproperty.com or www.asteco.com, with PITA flash introduction)
- Better Homes (website www.bhomes.com)
- Emaar - for Emaar properties (as of January 2007 started operating under the name Hamptons for buying, selling and renting properties - website www.hamptonsuae.com).
- Landmark Properties (website www.landmark-properties.com)
Real Estate agents publish information about current property for sale or rent, although during 2005 and 2006, the speed at which properties were snapped up meant that such publications were often out of date very quickly. They're still good sources of information and pictures for the various apartments around Dubai. Better Homes in particular have an easy to follow and comprehensive booklet.
The classified advertisements of newspapers are also good places to look. The Gulf News has large sections with apartments for sale and apartments for rent.
Supermarket noticeboards are good sources for shared villa rentals.
Internet websites are becoming more and more popular with the well-known craigslist having recently set up a Dubai section. Many of the real estate agents have comprehensive searchable databases for rentals and purchases of Dubai apartments.
- dubai.craigslist.org (not much so far - Aug 2006, thankfully TRA/Etisalat have only blocked the personals section)
- expatriates.com (was blocked by TRA/Etisalat but unrestricted access in late 2006 - oddly, even the personals section is available)
Areas where expats can buy apartments
- Al Barari - an eco-friendly community of 300+ large villas with lots of water features and trees.
- Arabian Heights
- Arabian Ranches
- Business Bay
- Central Business District
- City of Arabia
- Cultural Village
- Discovery Gardens - Cactus & Mediterranean so far
- Downtown Dubai - with the Burj Dubai tower.
- Dubai Investment Park
- Dubai Lagoon (different from The Lagoons)
- Dubai Marina
- Dubai Pearl
- Dubai Sports City
- Dubailand (or Dubai Land)
- Emirates Hills
- Fairways at the Views
- Falcon City
- Greens West
- IMPZ (International Media Production Zone - maybe)
- International City
- Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR - in Dubai Marina)
- Jumeirah Islands
- Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT - other side of Sheikh Zayed Road from Dubai Marina)
- Jumeirah Park
- Jumeirah Village
- Oasis Lagoon
- Old Town
- Silicon Oasis
- TECOM (Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone)
- The Gazelles
- The Green Community
- The Greens
- The Lagoons
- The Links
- The Meadows
- The Old Town Island
- The Palm, Deira
- The Palm, Jebel Ali
- The Palm, Jumeirah
- The Parklands
- The Springs
- The Views
- The World
- Victory Heights
Apartment areas - descriptions and more information
- Rotating Tower - Dh 175 million High Rise Real Estate development. Not all parts will rotate.
Newer apartments so usually good standard. Not quite as expensive as other locations, close to Internet City and Mall of the Emirates. Many buildings under construction so keep looking for rentals.
Bur Dubai (foreigners cannot own property)
Established, popular area with expats, quite busy, traffic and parking a bit of a problem especially in the evenings. Handy to Bur Juman Center and Karama. Quite a few hotel apartments in this area.
- Concord - old building, no facilities.
- Golden Sands - several buildings, well known, some getting old and tired.
- Oasis Court - short term furnished lets only, good location near creek.
- Oasis Residence - large, popular, established building near Ramada Hotel.
- Silver Sands
- Victoria Residence - behind Ramada Hotel, about 50,000 dhs for 1 bdrm, good value.
Burj Al Arabi
- Translation would be something like 'The Arab Tower'.
- Designed in the shape of an Arab man in UAE national dress (Kandoora, Gutra, Dishdasha / Dishdash / Dish Dasha / Dish Dash) with a meeting room in the head.
- Location in Jumeirah Village, height 140m, 35 floors, master developer is Limitless (part of Dubai World), developer AAA Group.
- Completion date 2008 or 2009 depending on what you read. Expect it to be 2010 once usual delays are factored in.
- Some media controversy in January 2007 when press reported on design description and Limitless responded saying design had not yet been approved (above information about design in shape of Arab man subject to change then).
- Burj Al Alam - selling from 1400 dh/sq ft, 90% finance from Amlak.
City of Arabia
Cheaper part of town to find rentals (traffic jams will be irritating), more densely populated. Sort of a CBD for Dubai. Not so popular with western expats looking for rental accommodation. Will be interesting to see if/how it changes with the development of the Deira Palm Island.
- Al Nada Residence, Deira, completion 2010, developer Al Manal Development, 1, 2 , 3 bdrm apts, 16 storeys.
- Jamal Building - Naif area, small 2 bdrm rental 35,000 dhs.
- Port Saeed Building - near Maktoum Bridge, 100,000 dhs for 2 bdrm rental.
Near Ibn Battuta Mall. Large complex will stretch between Sheikh Zayed Road and the Emirates Road. First ones should be completed towards end of 2006 or early 2007.
Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)
- Sky Gardens, Park Avenue DIFC - www.skygardens-difc.com. Completion Nov 2007. Mortgages of 90% available from Tamweel and ADCB.
- Large number of studio, 1 and 2 bdrm apartments being constructed in Dubai Investment Park area next to the new airport development in Jebel Ali.
- First ones supposed to be ready by end of 2007 (unless you hear otherwise, assume at least a six month delay).
- Good payment plan for purchase. One bedrooms advertised for 540,000 dhs in Nov 2006 with 60% paid by completion and 40% financed after possession. Tel 800 524666, www.dubailagoon.com.
- January 2007 advertisements give studio prices from AED 310,000, 1 bedroom from AED 500,000, 2 bedroom from AED 940,000. Five year rental guarantee also. New tel number +971-4-3217995.
Dubai Land (Dubailand)
- Skycourts (www.skycourts.ae) - 2300 apartments in six towers, in Dubailand Residence Complex, launched by the UAE National Bonds (National Bonds Corporation) in Dec 2006 - bondholders get priority for bookings 09-15 Dec 2006 and can pledge bonds for 5% deposit instead of cash (and retain bond benefits). Launch prices from 279k (studio), 489k (1 bdrm), 679k (2 bdrm) dhs with some apartments up to 898k dhs. Twenty year Islamic finance mortgages available from Dubai Bank to bondholders with profit rate of 8.5% and maximum 80% finance, repayments can start on completion - expected in first half of 2009. Limit of 10 units per buyer. Tel 800-26637 in the UAE. Unrelated to Sky Gardens in DIFC. All 2300 residential units were sold out by 15 Dec 2006.
Dubai Marina (200+ buildings, Emaar Properties development)
Big man-made hole in the ground with water and boats and the occasional whale shark (in 2005-2006 there was one), surrounded by cranes and noise. Expect it to become more and more popular as buildings are completed and facilities developed. Planned completed date supposed to be around 2008 sometime (update: no chance, and traffic has become choked up with too many cars on too few roads along with the Al Sufouh Tram construction). Some buildings already complete with rents up to 90,000 dhs per year for 1 bdrm. Corniche at the Dubai Internet City end has a bit of life now and there's a good selection of restaurants. Al Habtoor and Grosvenor House hotels newly opened in the area. Medium sized shopping mall and hotel - Dubai Marina Mall about halfway between Dubai Marina and JLT metro stations. Traffic around the JBR residence area seems to be permanently gridlocked in evenings till late.
- Al Majara 1-5 - some completed. Rental for 1 bdrm 80,000-90,000 dhs (August 2006).
- Al Mass - completed 2005, one of the original six towers, good location.
- Al Sahab 1 & 2 - completed. Rental for 1 bdrm 80,000-90,000 dhs (August 2006).
- Al Yass - completed 2005, one of the original six towers, good location.
- Anbar - completed 2005, one of the original six towers, good location.
- Fairooz - completed 2005, one of the original six towers, good location.
- Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) - 36 towers with 7000 apartments packed closely together on the beach. Ready 2005 ... 2006 ... Mar-Jun 2007 (as of Mar 2007). Developer is 'Dubai Properties'.
- La Riviera - completed early 2006, a good choice for rent or purchase (eg 2 bdrm rental 100,000 dhs).
- Lighthouse - project abandoned, investors lost deposits, and developer left Dubai according to a report in The Times of the UK dated 21 May 2006. The Times discovered that construction had stopped and the developer, Emad Ayoub, had fled to the UK - "The Sunday Times last week traced Ayoub to Earls Barton, a village in Northamptonshire. Ayoub admitted he had fled Dubai, but said he had done so because he feared he would be imprisoned after getting into financial difficulties."
- Marina Diamond I - completed March 2005, good location, better value for money.
- Marina Diamond II - should be completed towards end of 2006.
- Marina Diamond III - scheduled completion end 2006.
- Marina Heights - good location.
- Marina Homes - Trident International Holdings development.
- Marina Terrace - Damac development.
- Marinascape - Trident International Holdings development, two towers, 200 apartments.
- Mesk - completed 2005, one of the original six towers, good location.
- Murjan - completed 2005, one of the original six towers, good location.
- Ocean Heights - Damac developmet.
- Pier 8 - 40 floors, 234 apts (studio, one, two bdrms and penthouses), architect WS Atkins (of Burj Al Arab fame), developer Abyaar Real Estate (Kuwait), completion June 2008.
- The Waves - Damac, 2 buildings, 237 apts, 1 bdrm furnished rentals 100,000 dhs, completed Sep 2006.
- The Waterfront - Trident development, 20 storeys, 71 apartments, completed July 2006.
Dubai Sports City
- Canal Residence West - The Venetian (tel +971-4-3293434, www.cr.ae) - 5% down and monthly payment with Tamweel mortgage finance, studios from 380,500, 1, 2 bdrms also available , quality control by Bureau Veritas (Aug 2006).
- Red Residence -
- Royale Residence - completion June 2008? Prices good value.
Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone (TECOM)
- Madison Residency - 26 floors, completion March 2008, 161 studios, 52 1-bdrm, 99 2-bdrm apartments. Designer Kling Consult (Germany), developer Deyaar (Dubai Islamic Bank subsidiary).
The Gardens, Jebel Ali (expatriates can only rent, not buy)
- Developer Nakheel, cheap rentals (less than half the market rate in 2006). As of January 2007, a question mark hangs over their fate - could be knocked down to make way for a new highway parallel to Sheikh Zayed Road.
The Greens Apartments, Al Barsha
Emaar development - one of the first available for expat purchase. Good functional apartments but somewhat bland with all the look-alike buildings. Popular location for people working in Internet and Media City. Rents continue to rise - expect to pay 80,000 or 90,000 dhs for 1 bdrm in July 2006.
Selling prices in July 2006 are about 550,000 dhs for studios up to 1.5+ million dhs for 3 bdrms with study.
Green Community, Jebel Ali
Very popular apartment rentals (because they're cheap) with long waiting lists to get in. Forget it unless you know someone moving out.
An 800 hectare Nakheel development in the Al Warsan area of Dubai (at the junction of the Dubai-Hatta Road and Emirates Road, near Dragon Mart). First apartments handed over in October 2006, 75% by end of 2006 and the remainder by mid-2007. Cheaper rentals, probably attractive to those living in Sharjah who are commuting to Dubai. Limited facilities (no underground parking, swimming pools etc) for most buildings. Five districts - The Central District, Dragon Mart (Dragonmart), The Forbidden City, The Lake District, and The Residential District. The residential area has clusters of buildings named after countries or regions - China, England, France, Greece, Indonesia, Italy, Morocco, Persia, Russia, Spain, Thailand - with the architecture and style of that region incorporated into the design of the International City apartments.
Jumeirah Lake Towers (80 buildings, Nakheel Properties development)
Large apartment tower development across Sheikh Zayed Road from Dubai Marina. Has 4 big puddles or ponds. Some buildings are expected to be completed towards the end of 2006 and early 2007 with most supposed to be ready during 2007 and 2008. Also has offices and retail space. Residents will probably not be able to move in before mid 2007 (entire development was originally scheduled for completion by end of 2006).
- Arabian Crowne - in City of Arabia development.
- DAMAC - developer of several towers, delays?
- Dubai Star - may be a dubious proposition, investigate thoroughly before signing up.
- Falcon Tower - not the same as Falcon Tower on Sheikh Zayed Road.
- Fortune Tower - a dark day for Dubai on 18 Jan 2007 when there was a fire on the upper levels of the building under construction. Four workers died and over sixty were injured.
- Kensington Royale - problems?
- Lake View (developer) - problems?
- Lake View Tower (developer is Damac).
- MAG 214 Tower -
- Reef Tower - from 960 dhs/sq ft, developed by Reef Real Estate Investment Co LLC, reefrealestate.net, design architects KEO
- Saba Tower 1 - freehold office tower, complete before end 2006.
- Saba Twin Towers - two residential towers, probably complete by early 2007.
- Supreme Tower - not begun?
- Windsor Place - problems?
- Wind Towers - some rumours this development is in trouble, delayed. Check.
- The Lawns II - launch prices AED 243,000-882,000 for studios to 3 bdrms. Developer Dheeraj & East Coast LLC.
Jumeirah, Umm Suqiem (rentals only except for UAE nationals)
- Al Maskan, Jumeira 1.
- La Plage, Jumeirah Beach Road - good location, sometimes a long waiting list, 1-2 bdrms 80,000-120,000 dhs rental.
Karama (only rental properties except for UAE citizens)
- Cheaper older apartments, central location in Bur Dubai. Popular with Indian and Asian community. Traffic usually a bit choked up.
Lamcy Plaza Area (only rental property for foreigners)
- Good location, reasonable value for money.
A little out of town but some people like that. On the airport flight path so can be noisy. Apartments as such not really available but a large number of smaller 2 bdrm terraced houses are something to consider as an alternative.
- Uptown Mirdif is a Union Properties development which will have apartments available for rent and purchase.
Sheikh Zayed Road (Trade Center to Defence Roundabout)
Noisy on lower floors with SZR traffic but good location. Expensive.
- Al Murooj building near the Defence Roundabout is a fairly new development that is quite popular.
- The Summit - 700m dhs, 38 storey, ETA Star development. Commercial, not residential. Completion date unknown.
- Trade Center Apartments - almost counts as historical buildings in Dubai, luxury accommodation when first completed. Still good enough but plenty of other apartments on Sheikh Zayed road now. Handy location to World Trade Center metro station, and the World Trade Centre and Dubai Exhibition Halls area.
Note that the information on this page is for a small representative sample of the apartment buildings in Dubai.
Last update Sunday 02-Feb-2014