International investors are welcome in Dubai

Dubai is a popular place with international property investors. Indians, Chinese, Brits and now Russians and Israelis are joining investors from other Gulf states to buy into Dubai developments, creating a cosmopolitan city.

In the first five months of 2021, Indians topped the list of foreign investors with investments of AED 6.07 billion followed by Brits at AED 2.99 billion. That money is coming both from expats working in Dubai, and from pure investors who are attracted by the good rental yields available.

2021 has been an exceptional year for Dubai real estate, with over 52,000 apartment and villa transactions valued at AED 114.2 billion. According to consultancy Knight Frank, 2021 also saw the sale of a record 93 ultra-prime properties in Dubai – homes priced at over $10 million. The secondary market is thriving, too, so purchasers needn't fear being locked into an investment for lack of buyers.

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How much is it to buy a flat in Dubai ?

House prices in the most metropoles are sky-high, nowadays it’s logical to search for a bargain property overseas – Dubai is one of the choices. While property in London sells for an average $16,939 / square meter (apartments), in the prestige area of Kensington & Chelsea prices have now reached over $25,000 / square meter. In Shenzhen (China), prices have reached $18,212 / square meter. Even sought-after Downtown properties in Dubai sell for just over $4,880 per square meter, so you'll get more for your money. Research house New World Wealth puts Dubai well behind other destinations, such as New York, Paris, Hong Kong, or San Francisco.

While Dubai had big problems at the time of the credit crunch, development is now continuing at a steady pace. There's a wide choice of different property types and locations, and neighbourhoods are becoming more sharply differentiated, with significant pricing differentials between them. There's more choice for purchasers, and more competition between developers, too. But that means you'll have to choose carefully where to buy. So where are the best neighbourhoods to look at?

Find an apartment in the most prominent areas of Dubai

The most attractive areas in Dubai

Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina is a good middle range choice. It's a mature area, with a great mix of apartments and townhouses, and a huge choice of dining and retail outlets. It's also one of the most attractive areas of Dubai, with its skyscrapers lining the marina basin, and that's made it really popular with expats. It's a highly sought-after area, always in demand with both buyers and tenants, but prices remain modest compared with more upscale areas like the Palm or Downtown.

Reckon on paying around AED 13,885 ($3,783) per square meter here. A studio could set you back AED 837,000 ($227,873) (but the prices start at AED 450,000 which makes $122,512), a larger apartment AED 2.2m ($598,949) - that’s the average price of properties in this area.

The resale market here is very promising. Dubai Marina is the top area of interest when it comes to apartments in Dubai – you'll have no problem selling if you invest here.

Palm Jumeirah

The Palm is one of the most expensive with villas at an average AED 32,259 ($8,790) a square meter. Prices are getting closer to an all-time record high at Palm Jumeirah, no doubt fuelled by the post-pandemic preference for spacious villas and the rising demand for ultra-prime homes.

The Palm is second only to the Marina in its popularity for investment. It's an up-scale location, with good retail and excellent restaurants. The ongoing Palm Beach Residences development will deliver further properties while maintaining that top tier atmosphere. The Palm is equally popular for both apartment and villa buyers. A studio apartment could cost AED 1.8m ($490,062), but there are some bargains from AED 950,000 ($258,855); a three bed villa starts from AED 12.5m ($3,403,212).

Downtown Dubai

Downtown Dubai and the Burj Khalifa area narrowly pips the Palm for top spot in the price stakes, with a per square meter value of AED 17,911 ($4,880) for apartments. A studio flat could cost AED 965,500 ($263,079); you could get a two bedroom apartment in Jumeirah Village Circle for that price!

But this is a really solid place to invest. The Burj Khalifa tower is one of the world's most visited tourist attractions, the secondary market is strong, and rental yields are also attractive.

Find an apartment at a reasonable price in Dubai

Affordable areas for expats and investors

Jumeira Village Circle

Jumeira Village Circle is a fairly new development area, and amenities aren't yet as good as in the Marina or Jumeirah Lake Towers, though they are being steadily expanded. The area is located some way from both the beach and downtown, too. On the other hand it's a bargain, with apartments at an average price of AED 9,407 ($2,563) a square meter making it one of the cheaper and more popular areas to buy in Dubai.

JVC is particularly popular for apartment buyers. A studio could cost around AED 450,000 ($122,512) - half the price you'd pay in the Marina - and a two bed about AED 1.1m ($272,249).

One of the other factors that appeals to some buyers is the diversity of property types and styles in Jumeirah Village Circle. Though Nakheel is the master developer, it has parcelled out areas of the development to other builders who can create their own designs and specifications.

Jumeirah Lake Towers

Jumeirah Lake Towers is one of the more affordable areas of Dubai, particularly if you're looking at apartments. Average prices stand at AED 11,033 ($3,006) a square meter, and with studios achieving around AED 425,000 ($115,803) and two-beds around AED 1.6m ($435,599), you'd be paying a good bit less than in the Marina, while enjoying much the same views. The amenities, too, are similar to those at the Marina, but with a lower price tag. Two Metro stations give easy access to other areas of Dubai.

The Greens and Views

The Greens and Views are particularly popular with expats working in the nearby Internet City and Media City, and are close to many Chinese companies' headquarters. Occupancy is high, and at AED 11,280 ($3,073) per square meter, property here is relatively affordable. While The Greens has been one of the softer markets in Dubai, prices have gained steadily in recent months, a result of the ongoing real estate boom.

Buyers in the Greens and Views enjoy the suburban, relaxed feel of the development; the buildings overlook a series of lakes and there's a lot of greenery. Buildings are typically low-rise or mid-rise, up to seven storeys, rather than the Marina-style skyscrapers, and there's a good mix of larger (3 and 4 bed) apartments. This is a great place for families.

Dubai may look to outsiders like a single market - but it's become increasingly diverse. Choose your neighbourhood wisely to suit both your wallet and your lifestyle!