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It used to be the received wisdom that villas were for families and apartments for couples or the young, free and single. However with the influx of expats and their families from around the world, combined with the astonishing rate of development in Dubai over recent years, that’s no longer the case.
We take a look at the pros and cons of villas and apartments and ask which one is best for you.
Dubai is blessed with a wide range of high-end developments, from seafront villas to sophisticated urban apartments, and all offer a standard of accommodation which truly feels like it has come straight from the pages of an interior designer’s notebook. Walk-in closets, home cinemas, private Jacuzzis and personal gyms are de rigueur for today’s successful professionals searching for their dream home.
Let’s look at two examples of luxury properties, both hovering around the Dh24 million mark. One is a four bedroom/five bathroom, 740 square metre apartment in Dubai Marina; the other is a detached five bedroom 950 square metre villa in Arabian Ranches. Both are beautiful homes, designed to express the epitome of opulent living to which so many of us aspire; both are fitted with high-end, high-spec equipment and facilities and both offer an unrivalled quality of life.
But how do you choose between them?
* Clearly, one of the major factors which will influence your decision is the lifestyle you lead now, or want to lead in the future. If you have children you may need some outside space to enable them to burn off their endless energy, so a villa with a garden and even its own pool may be your priority.
If you’re a young, professional couple who enjoys the sophistication of city living and all the benefits that brings, you may opt for an apartment close to the restaurants and leisure facilities for which Dubai is renowned.
* When you live and work in Dubai, you’ll be aware that getting around by car isn’t the easiest of tasks. So, depending on where you work, you may want to live close to the office to avoid a long commute.
If you’re working Downtown or in Dubai Marina, for example, your choice of accommodation may, therefore, be limited to stylish apartments rather than independent villas. If you don’t mind the drive or work further out of town, you’ll find you have a greater choice in terms of available villas.
If it’s seaside living you’re after, there’s a great range of both apartments and villas in locations such as The Palm, for example, from which to choose.
If you have school-age children, you’ll also have to take into account where your preferred schools are located. Some people will take advantage of a school bus service while others choose to do the drop off and pick up themselves.
In either event, many parents opt to live as near to school as possible.
* Today’s modern, luxury apartments will have high standards of sound insulation to prevent disturbance from neighbours above, below or next door. However, there are bound to be times when noises intrude and if you’re in the market for an apartment home, it’s a consideration you’ll have to factor in.
Independent villas, on the other hand, benefit from the freedom from noisy neighbours, in most circumstances. In either case, it’s useful to build good relationships with your neighbours so any problems can be settled amicably.
If privacy is paramount for you, it has to be villa living. Swing into your private drive, close the gates and relax, safe and secure in the knowledge that no one will bother you unless invited to do so!
Apartment complexes, conversely, still maintain a communal vibe — with common entrances and shared areas. While some might see this as a downside, it’s actually a bonus in terms of security — some developments even offer 24 hour concierge services to avoid unwelcome visitors!
* Lush, green lawns and carefully tended flower beds may appeal but, unless you’re a keen gardener yourself, your villa garden will need a surprising amount of upkeep and maintenance which will come at a price. You’ll also have to arrange a regular swimming pool maintenance contract to avoid the dreaded green algae from taking over.
Apartments invariably have shared gardens and pools which are beautifully tended and which are paid for out of maintenance fees. In addition, most luxury apartment complexes have leisure facilities such as gyms, the cost of which is included in the fees.
* Which is your idea of a perfect view? Overlooking a carefully-tended golf course, with its rolling green acres, or casting your eyes over the constantly-changing turquoise of the Arabian Sea or even taking in the phenomenon that is the city of Dubai?
The view we see from our prospective homes can make or break a sale, so before you commit to purchasing, take a moment to consider what’s outside the window and whether you’d be happy to see that on a daily basis.
Views from the higher floors of an apartment block can be truly spectacular but, if you’re vertiginous or you prefer to see dappled sunshine through the leaves of trees, then you’re better off in a villa with your feet rooted on the ground.
Source: Greg Lewis, Special to gulfnews.com
The writer is the Head of Residential Sales at Knight Frank UAE.