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With the city of Dubai being notoriously associated with high-end real estate developments, it isn’t the least surprising that now, more industry stakeholders are recognizing the need to provide moderate to low-cost housing options for majority of the workforce.
But before some of the relatively reasonably-priced options brought to us in areas like Dubailand and Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) came into the picture, when it comes to quality with good community information but affordable housing, it is places like Discovery Gardens and International City (IC) that come to mind.
Florence Pia Yu, an editor working in a prominent media company, was among the first few people to ‘inhabit’ IC way back in 2007. Prior to moving there, she had been a resident of Bur Dubai, Deira and Hor Al Anz.
Pia’s years of stay in Dubai – all of 11 years – taught her a few things, and being financially savvy was one of them. So when the market went on a slump, she geared up to buy her own space. She recalls, “I used to rent a shared apartment in all the other places before deciding to buy and move into my own apartment in IC. I looked at affordability, free parking space and proximity to retail centers. IC ticked all the boxes, so I did not have to look further.”
Though the area seemed pretty deserted and literally bare back then, Pia proceeded unperturbed, “I had two reasons: I hated the process of having to move houses every year because of landlords who kept on hiking up rents. I thought that if I lived in my own apartment, then I wouldn’t have that problem. I did the math and realized I was going to end up paying the same amount towards my housing rent, so I might as well invest it in property.”
Like any new development hit hard by the recession, things were slow to develop at first. Pia comments, “I got the basics, which was fair enough for the price I paid for. But it took years before the developer delivered on basic things like landscaping and pedestrian road paving.”
Although IC is not ‘officially’ a pet-friendly development, Pia has observed people walking their pets which she thinks others don’t mind as long as owners clean up after them.
Looking back, Pia considers her decision to purchase a property in IC as one of the wisest she has ever made since, according to her, she now enjoys a host of benefits. She enthuses, “I get to travel anywhere without really needing to pass through a toll gate. That’s already Dh8 in savings each day. And because there are shops in every building, I have everything I need in the neighborhood... name it, and there’s bound to be one in International City. What I really love, though, is the convenience of having anything and everything delivered to my doorstep.”
Of her cluster, Pia says, “My neighborhood is quite peaceful. There is a homeowners association, although in my experience, they are not that active. I prefer to call the developer’s hotline for maintenance or security requests.”
However, an understandable outcome of what had drawn people earlier to the place is overcrowding. Pia comments, “It is such a big issue in International City, and it has led to other problems like lack of parking spaces for homeowners. I hope the developers would be able to assign a security guard for every building 24/7 to crack down on rampant overcrowding, and vandals who try to get around the access card system by destroying the door mechanisms. I would also prefer random house inspections by the OA.”
No matter, Pia intends to stay put. And that’s to be expected.
• Lush greenery
• Complete facilities and amenities for daily living
• Highly accessible to/from key areas in Dubai
• Competitively priced units
• Rich multicultural Community
• Overcrowding and vandalism
• Need to ramp up security
• OA has to do random checks of units
Source: Claire Dangalan, Special to Freehold
The writer is a freelancer