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It is a no-contest for many Dubai residents choosing between a neighbourhood where they are likely to spend hours negotiating traffic jams and a location where they don't have to. The ranks of those making the switch are swelling.
''In certain pockets of Dubai Marina and at JBR traffic congestion has certainly been a factor in people seeking other alternative locations available in the market,'' said Paul Maisfield, CEO of MPM Properties, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB). ''Such bottlenecks are negating the whole lifestyle aspect that made these residential clusters attractive in the first place. It is a serious enough situation and one which affects individual developers and the master-developer.''
But there are no easy solutions. The city itself is going through a massive infrastructure expansion programme, there is more buoyancy in the job market than at any time in recent years, and more vehicles are on the road. Within the established freehold communities, there are always some new plots that are being added to the project pipeline, which clogs up its immediate neighbourhood. The march of progress is coming at a price, as many residents are learning. What it means is that a usual 15-minute trip from JBR, for instance, could turn into a 60-90 minute stretch during peak traffic hours.
It could be a factor that has seen JBR rentals getting eroded in the last three months by up to 5 per cent, according to data from MPM Properties. At the Downtown too, rentals might have seen a slight softening, by 3 per cent, ''following a sustained period of rising rents that resulted from the Expo 2020 announcement'', the agency adds.
Tenants are also seeking new pastures to try and meet expenses. Locations such as Jumeirah Village and Al Furjan have benefited from such relocations, but have seen their own rents up 5 per cent and 2 per cent over the last quarter.
But a long-time resident in Dubai Marina or a JBR accustomed to a certain way of living would always prefer to move to a like-for-like location (unless their budgets have gone all awry, of course.) The question is whether Dubai as of now has got those easily interchangeable residential locations.
''Sure, such residents would always prefer a certain quality, but there are options at JLT and Downtown has certainly got the quality living spaces they would want, though in short supply,'' said Maisfield. ''But in the last quarter, the market has absorbed 5,000 new units — there are options available and more are coming into the market. Dubai's residents do have a choice whether to stay put or seek better alternatives. It's up to the individual communities and their communities to convince them.''
Click on Abu Dhabi where parking and traffic problems are also faced head on
Source: Manoj Nair, Associate Editor, gulfnews.com