The best neighbourhoods to buy in Dubai 2019

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

Meanwhile Brits are among the top investors in Dubai with investments of AED 4.3 bn in 2018 (close to £1 million). That money is coming both from British expats working in Dubai, and from pure investors who are attracted by the good rental yields available. You're going to have a great expat community indeed.

2018 saw 22,000 new apartments and 4,400 new villas sold, according to stats from Dubai surveyors Cavendish Maxwell. The secondary market is thriving, too, so purchasers needn't fear being locked into an investment for lack of buyers.

International investors are welcome in Dubai

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

The Dubai Land Bureau says Chinese investment rose to AED 1.7 billion (~$463m) in the first three quarters of 2018, and there's been a 53% increase in Chinese residents over the past five years. That makes nearly a quarter of a million Chinese living in Dubai, and Chinese corporate investment is strong, too. Meanwhile Brits are also among the top investors in Dubai with investments of AED 4.3 bn in 2018 (close to $1,171 million). That money is coming both from British expats working in Dubai, and from pure investors who are attracted by the good rental yields available.

2018 saw 22,000 new apartments and 4,400 new villas sold, according to stats from Dubai surveyors Cavendish Maxwell. 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 in 2019?

As for prices, while Dubai isn't a bargain basement market, prices do seem very reasonable compared with, say, London. While property in London sells for an average £868 / square foot (apartments), in the prestige area of Kensington & Chelsea prices have now reached over £1,400 / square foot. Even sought-after Downtown properties in Dubai sell for just over £400 / square foot, 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 (607 flats, 102 houses for sale)

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 up scale areas like the Palm or Downtown.

Reckon on paying around AED 1552 (£322) per square foot here. A studio could set you back AED 837,000 (£172,066), a two-bed apartment AED 2.2m (£452,266). The resale market here is the single largest secondary market within Dubai, with 1345 sales in 2018 - you'll have no problem selling if you invest here.

Palm Jumeirah (347 flats, 68 houses for sale)

While Jumeirah Village Circle is one of the cheapest areas in Dubai, the Palm is one of the most expensive at AED 2065 (£429) a square foot. Prices have been highly resistant to market falls, and at nearly 600 resales in 2018 the secondary market has remained strong.

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 Raffles (opening 2021) and Palm Beach Residences developments 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 2.2 (£452,266); a three bed villa, AED 9m (£1.85m).

Downtown Dubai (9077 flats, 4655 houses for sale)

Downtown Dubai and the Burj Khalifa area narrowly pips the Palm for top spot in the price stakes, with a per square foot value of AED 2250 (£467). A studio flat could cost AED 1.2m (£246,690); 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 (999 flats, 181 houses for sale)

Jumeira Village Circle saw more than 1,000 units sold in 2018, making it one of the biggest areas of new sales in Dubai. New sales will continue apace in 2019, and with over 600 resales in 2018, the secondary market is strong, too.

JVC 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 an average price of AED 775 (£161) a square foot making it one of the cheapest areas to buy in Dubai.

JVC is particularly popular for apartment buyers. A studio could cost around AED 450,000 (£92,509) - half the price you'd pay in the Marina - and a two bed about AED 1.1m (£226,133).

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 (488 flats, 104 houses for sale)

Jumeirah Lake Towers is one of the more affordable areas of Dubai, particularly if you're looking at apartments. Average prices stand at AED 1125 (£233) a square foot, and with studios achieving around AED 700,000 (£143,902) and two-beds around AED 1.6m (£328,921), 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 (104 flats, 58 houses for sale)

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 1227 (£255) per square foot, property here is relatively inexpensive. However, The Greens has been one of the softer markets in Dubai, seeing prices slide 8% in 2018. 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!