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There's no denying that Dubai's prime areas have become saturated and congested and the sacrifices home seekers are making to move into these neighbourhoods outweigh the advantages.
At the same time, new suburban developments are sprouting throughout eastern Dubai, from Dubailand to Meydan and Al Qudra, offering residents more value for money and investors better opportunities than areas such as Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai and Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT).
Indeed, communities like Dubai Hills, Mudon, Mira Oasis and Town Square are increasingly attracting value conscious customers looking for more space and greenery, as well as the chance to break free from rents.
Mudon, with its charming Arabian architecture, is conveniently located between Emirates Road and Shaikh Zayed Road, parallel to Arabian Ranches. A self-contained community, it has its own groceries, coffee shops, pharmacies and medical clinic, but the highlight is the 41-acre central park, featuring a 1.5km jogging track, cycling trails and sports court. These amenities offer a refreshing escape from the urban hustle and bustle.
There's more than just lifestyle luring people to Mudon. The flexible payment plan offered by developer, Dubai Properties (DP), is one of the main draws to the community's three and four bedroom town houses. Prices range from Dh1.5 million-Dh2.1 million. Buyers pay 10 per cent on booking, 5 per cent every six months and 70 per cent on handover. The average price per square foot is as low as Dh650, compared to Dh1,340 in JLT, Dh1,500 in Business Bay, Dh1,700 in Dubai Marina and Dh2,370 in Downtown Dubai.
While phase three is currently under construction, Mudon has already delivered phase one and is handing over units in phase two before the end of the year. Such tangible progress has gained the confidence of many buyers. DP says phase two or the Arabella Townhouses, sold out on the day of its launch.
Another rising star is Nshama's Town Square. Located in Al Qudra, the project has been dubbed as the UAE's biggest town square development. It will spread across 31 million sq ft to include 18,000 apartments and 3,000 town houses in four districts. Scheduled for completion by end 2017, it has impressed buyers with its high land-to-building ratio and wide green spaces.
Around 300 properties in the Zahra Townhouses — three- and four-bedroom units — were recently launched at prices starting from Dh1 million. Going the extra mile to attract its target group of middle-income earners, Nshama tied up with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Noor Bank and First Gulf Bank to offer financing options. The payment structure requires 10 per cent down payment and specific percentages to be paid during construction.
Double the space
Perhaps the biggest magnet in eastern Dubai is the sheer amount of space one gets. For instance, in Dubai Marina a price tag of about Dh2.9 million would typically suffice for a three-bedroom apartment of around 1,400 sq ft, and in Downtown a two-bedroom unit of around the same size.
The same amount in Mudon can buy a villa of nearly 3,800 sq ft, while in Nshama's Safi Apartments it can get you three properties, each with three bedrooms.
When it comes to renting, a 3,800-sq-ft four-bedroom villa in Mudon can be leased at about Dh180,000 a year, which on average would get a 2,000-sq-ft three-bedroom unit in Dubai Marina, or a 1,600-sq-ft two-bedroom apartment in Downtown.
Remraam, a master community adjacent to Mudon, is also offering ready units for as low as about Dh500,000 for a studio and nearly Dh700,000 for a one-bedroom apartment. Both Mudon and Remraam are a short drive from Golf City, Motor City and Al Maktoum International Airport and will see future expansion. Internal and external roads were finished earlier this year and a new access road will soon extend from Hessa Street to shorten the distance.
Eventually, long planned mega projects in Dubailand, including the waterfront City of Arabia, Palmarosa (the emirate's first spa lifestyle development) and Dubai Lifestyle City (designed by Beverly Hills celebrity architect Tony Ashai), will energise the area with their large scale facilities.
Not far from Mudon and Remraam, Emaar has launched three and four bedroom town houses in Mira Oasis 1 and 2, scheduled for handover by 2017 and 2018 respectively. Located in Al Reem near Arabian Ranches and anchored by a sweeping central park, properties start from Dh1.1 million and go up to Dh2.2 million.
The developer, however, has carefully distinguished the project from others with an extraordinary range of facilities, including a desert botanical park, go-karting track, skating park and outdoor cinema, in addition to several football fields and a cricket pitch.
Meanwhile, buyers on the hunt for stylish villa communities are heading to Dubai Hills Estate, a joint venture between Emaar and Meraas Holding. Located in Mohammad Bin Rashid City, it benefits from access to Meydan Street, which directly leads to Shaikh Zayed Road. Believed to be more exclusive than Emirates Hills, the development will be set around an 18-hole championship golf course and have hotels and a commercial centre.
Maple, the most recently launched project in Dubai Hills, offers three- to five bedroom town houses from 2,200-2,700 sq ft. Slated for completion in the first half of 2019, its off-plan price was a bargain at Dh1,000-Dh1,100 per square foot and Emaar said the project sold out during its launch.
It's easy to see why residents are relocating to Dubai's suburban areas and why investors are shifting their interest there too. Buyers and tenants are getting much more space, along with the serenity and greenery that overdeveloped neighbourhoods lack. The proposition is especially lucrative for families with children and those who have pets.
Sooner or later, we are bound to see a mass shift towards Dubai's eastern side, a movement that will be most pronounced in 2017 when properties in Nshama's Town Square, Golf City's Zen and Mira Oasis 1, among others, are scheduled for delivery.
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Source: Niraj Masand, Special to Property Weekly
The author is Director of Banke International Properties, a boutique real estate brokerage firm based in Dubai