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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Paying too much rent in Dubai? It's far cheaper than a decade ago

A look at historical data shows residents are getting a comparable bargain

Dubai apartment rents. Courtesy Asteco
Dubai apartment rents. Courtesy Asteco

Rents in the top cities around the world hit residents in the pocket - and Dubai is no different.

With its location by the Arabian Gulf, entertainment, futuristic vibe, tax-free income status and safety record, property prices are naturally going to be on the higher side, and this is passed on to the rental market.

But while those just arriving in the emirate may take a deep breath when they see how much it costs to rent a home for a year, they should maybe count themselves fortunate that rates have fallen significantly compared with a decade ago.

Data released by the property services company Asteco shows that renting a three-bedroom villa in the Jumeirah area would have set you back by Dh325,000 in 2008, while the average cost in 2017 was Dh175,000.

Similarly, a five-bedroom villa on Palm Jumeirah (for those living the dream), would have set you back on average Dh800,000 in 2008, but is now at a level of Dh500,000.

A one-bedroom apartment in Dubai Marina meanwhile is now at almost half the cost of what it was in 2008, as is a three-bedroom apartment on Sheikh Zayed Road.

Dubai villa rents. Courtesy Asteco
Dubai villa rents. Courtesy Asteco

The data shows the property market journey, from the global financial crisis after 2008 which saw rents plummet, to the rise in rents from 2012 to 2014, when the local economy recovered and market confidence returned with Dubai winning the right to host Expo 2020. Asteco said the market peaked in the second quarter of 2014.

Rents then started dipping again after 2015 due to the strength of the US dollar, low oil price and rising supply in the Dubai market.

"2016 saw a significant amount of new project launches and deliveries, resulting in moderate but steady declines in sales prices and rental rates," it said in a report.

Mario Volpi advises on the latest property issues in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National
Rents in Dubai fell throughout 2017. Pawan Singh / The National

For 2018, it expects rental rates to "continue to come under pressure" as a result of the amount of supply projected for delivery this year, which currently stands at 23,000 apartments and 8,500 villas.

A report released on Monday by broker JLL Mena said the introduction of VAT in the UAE will bring volatility and uncertainty to the property market this year, despite the 5 per cent levy not applying to residential rents and first supply of new homes.

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