Rents for shoreline apartments on the Palm Jumeirah are down by about half since the fourth quarter of 2008.
Rents for shoreline apartments on the Palm Jumeirah are down by about half since the fourth quarter of 2008.

Price is right for Dubai dream

Aimee Queenborough Smith always wanted to live on the Palm Jumeirah's Golden Mile but never thought she could afford it. The mother of two and her entrepreneur husband looked at the rental prices when they were in a three-bedroom apartment in Dubai's Umm Suqeim district in 2008 and decided to stay where they were. Two years later, it is a different story. The steady fall in property prices in the 18 months since the economic downturn has seen rents in some areas of Dubai decline by as much as 50 per cent.

For Mrs Queenborough Smith this has been excellent news. Late last year she and her family finally moved to a stunning three-bedroom apartment on the Palm for about the same amount of money that they had paid in Umm Suqeim. The average rent for a three-bedroom apartment on the Golden Mile is now about Dh170,000 (US$46,284) a year, which is 30 per cent down from the peak price in 2008. "It's just an exciting place to be at this time," she says. "We're near the sea, there's no traffic and it's easy to get on and off the island."

Two years ago, the picture was different. Property prices in exclusive parts of Dubai were on a par with London, while even budget homes were expensive to buy or rent. At International City, a Nakheel housing development close to Dubai International Airport, a one-bedroom flat sold for about Dh670,000 at the peak of the boom in early 2008. Now a similar property will go for as little as Dh350,000, while rents are about Dh40,000 a year.

Even playgrounds previously reserved for the rich and famous, such as Nakheel's Palm Jumeirah, are becoming attractive options. Rents for villas and apartments on the island are down by about half since the fourth quarter of 2008, prompting tenants to upgrade their homes. "There has been a big increase of people moving on to the Palm; they are able to afford the things they couldn't afford before," says Clare Reymond, a consultant at Edwards and Towers, a property agency.

But while activity in the rental market is brisk, estate agents say sales are still sluggish. When the palm-shaped man-made island was launched in 2002, the price of a "signature villa" with its own beach was Dh4.1 million. By the time the development was completed six years later, that price jumped to Dh16m. But when the economic downturn hit the Dubai property market the asking price almost halved to Dh8.5m.

"January was miserable, February didn't start much better, but now we're getting busy again; I've got five clients wanting to buy. Prices are stable," says Richard Pemberton, a consultant at Edwards and Towers. Even so, declining prices have still not attracted buyers such as Clive Frost, who has been looking at villas on the Palm for a while. Mr Frost, a businessman, moved to Dubai from the UK in the late 1980s and is waiting for prices to fall further before taking the plunge.

"I do still want to buy, but prices would have to be at least another 25 per cent less. In fact, in this market, they should actually be down to the price the property was originally sold for," he says. Further inland, homes are selling close to original prices. Villas in the older areas of Dubai such as Emirates Hills, The Springs, The Lakes and Jumeirah Islands are becoming increasingly popular.

"It's as if we're going back to the old days," says Greg Antioch, a sales negotiator at Cluttons, a property consultant. "It's really the established, family communities that are doing well. Owners are relatively realistic about the prices, so they're taking the chance." Mr Antioch sold four villas last month at The Lakes, where a four-bedroom home is Dh4m compared with as much as Dh8m in late 2007. Inquiries are picking up.

"It's right next to Emirates Hills, but smaller than the Meadows. The customer profile varies; one is a company looking to buy for its director, the other is a British family and an Indian investor looking to buy to rent," Mr Antioch adds. But with bank lending still tight, today's buyers need to be cash-rich. Dilip Daswani is the director of Capitol Real Estate, a Dubai brokerage that deals mainly with rental property, and a seasoned investor. He owns a villa in Arabian Ranches and two apartments in Downtown Burj Khalifa, which he rents out. He also has an apartment in Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world, which he plans to sell when properties in the building are handed over to owners.

Right now, he is waiting before he buys more property. "At the moment, things are very cheap, but the money is still a bit of a problem and banks are still not lending properly. But by the end of this year, I see things changing," he says. "But if I was to buy now, I would buy a villa in either Jumeirah Islands or Emirates Hills, or a flat in Old Town [Downtown Burj Khalifa]." On the positive side, it has never been a better time to rent. "The people aren't new, they are just moving back to Dubai from other areas in the emirates because prices are much cheaper," Mr Daswani.

Among those people is Mrs Queenborough Smith, who has always dreamed of living by the sea. "We live somewhere that the whole world knows," she says. "It's iconic."

The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 620hp from 5,750-7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm from 3,000-5,750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh1.05 million ($286,000)


Name: PlanRadar
Started: 2013
Co-founders: Ibrahim Imam, Sander van de Rijdt, Constantin Köck, Clemens Hammerl, Domagoj Dolinsek
Based: Vienna, Austria
Sector: Construction and real estate
Current number of staff: 400+
Investment stage: Series B
Investors: Headline, Berliner Volksbank Ventures, aws Gründerfonds, Cavalry Ventures, Proptech1, Russmedia, GR Capital


Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)


Director: Ali Abbas Zafar

Starring: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Sunil Grover

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars


SolarWinds supply chain attack: Came to light in December 2020 but had taken root for several months, compromising major tech companies, governments and its entities

Microsoft Exchange server exploitation: March 2021; attackers used a vulnerability to steal emails

Kaseya attack: July 2021; ransomware hit perpetrated REvil, resulting in severe downtime for more than 1,000 companies

Log4j breach: December 2021; attackers exploited the Java-written code to inflitrate businesses and governments

German plea

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the German parliament that. Russia had erected a new wall across Europe.

"It's not a Berlin Wall -- it is a Wall in central Europe between freedom and bondage and this Wall is growing bigger with every bomb" dropped on Ukraine, Zelenskyy told MPs.

Mr Zelenskyy was applauded by MPs in the Bundestag as he addressed Chancellor Olaf Scholz directly.

"Dear Mr Scholz, tear down this Wall," he said, evoking US President Ronald Reagan's 1987 appeal to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate.

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Zombieland: Double Tap

Director: Ruben Fleischer

Stars: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone

Four out of five stars 

Expert input

If you had all the money in the world, what’s the one sneaker you would buy or create?

“There are a few shoes that have ‘grail’ status for me. But the one I have always wanted is the Nike x Patta x Parra Air Max 1 - Cherrywood. To get a pair in my size brand new is would cost me between Dh8,000 and Dh 10,000.” Jack Brett

“If I had all the money, I would approach Nike and ask them to do my own Air Force 1, that’s one of my dreams.” Yaseen Benchouche

“There’s nothing out there yet that I’d pay an insane amount for, but I’d love to create my own shoe with Tinker Hatfield and Jordan.” Joshua Cox

“I think I’d buy a defunct footwear brand; I’d like the challenge of reinterpreting a brand’s history and changing options.” Kris Balerite

 “I’d stir up a creative collaboration with designers Martin Margiela of the mixed patchwork sneakers, and Yohji Yamamoto.” Hussain Moloobhoy

“If I had all the money in the world, I’d live somewhere where I’d never have to wear shoes again.” Raj Malhotra


Uefa Champions League quarter-final, second leg (first-leg score):

Manchester City (0) v Tottenham Hotspur (1), Wednesday, 11pm UAE

Match is on BeIN Sports


Director: Tamer Ruggli

Starring: Nadine Labaki, Fanny Ardant

Rating: 3.5/5

Libya's Gold

UN Panel of Experts found regime secretly sold a fifth of the country's gold reserves.

The panel’s 2017 report followed a trail to West Africa where large sums of cash and gold were hidden by Abdullah Al Senussi, Qaddafi’s former intelligence chief, in 2011.

Cases filled with cash that was said to amount to $560m in 100 dollar notes, that was kept by a group of Libyans in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

A second stash was said to have been held in Accra, Ghana, inside boxes at the local offices of an international human rights organisation based in France.

Where to donate in the UAE

The Emirates Charity Portal

You can donate to several registered charities through a “donation catalogue”. The use of the donation is quite specific, such as buying a fan for a poor family in Niger for Dh130.

The General Authority of Islamic Affairs & Endowments

The site has an e-donation service accepting debit card, credit card or e-Dirham, an electronic payment tool developed by the Ministry of Finance and First Abu Dhabi Bank.

Al Noor Special Needs Centre

You can donate online or order Smiles n’ Stuff products handcrafted by Al Noor students. The centre publishes a wish list of extras needed, starting at Dh500.

Beit Al Khair Society

Beit Al Khair Society has the motto “From – and to – the UAE,” with donations going towards the neediest in the country. Its website has a list of physical donation sites, but people can also contribute money by SMS, bank transfer and through the hotline 800-22554.

Dar Al Ber Society

Dar Al Ber Society, which has charity projects in 39 countries, accept cash payments, money transfers or SMS donations. Its donation hotline is 800-79.

Dubai Cares

Dubai Cares provides several options for individuals and companies to donate, including online, through banks, at retail outlets, via phone and by purchasing Dubai Cares branded merchandise. It is currently running a campaign called Bookings 2030, which allows people to help change the future of six underprivileged children and young people.

Emirates Airline Foundation

Those who travel on Emirates have undoubtedly seen the little donation envelopes in the seat pockets. But the foundation also accepts donations online and in the form of Skywards Miles. Donated miles are used to sponsor travel for doctors, surgeons, engineers and other professionals volunteering on humanitarian missions around the world.

Emirates Red Crescent

On the Emirates Red Crescent website you can choose between 35 different purposes for your donation, such as providing food for fasters, supporting debtors and contributing to a refugee women fund. It also has a list of bank accounts for each donation type.

Gulf for Good

Gulf for Good raises funds for partner charity projects through challenges, like climbing Kilimanjaro and cycling through Thailand. This year’s projects are in partnership with Street Child Nepal, Larchfield Kids, the Foundation for African Empowerment and SOS Children's Villages. Since 2001, the organisation has raised more than $3.5 million (Dh12.8m) in support of over 50 children’s charities.

Noor Dubai Foundation

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the Noor Dubai Foundation a decade ago with the aim of eliminating all forms of preventable blindness globally. You can donate Dh50 to support mobile eye camps by texting the word “Noor” to 4565 (Etisalat) or 4849 (du).

Traits of Chinese zodiac animals

Tiger:independent, successful, volatile
Rat:witty, creative, charming
Ox:diligent, perseverent, conservative
Rabbit:gracious, considerate, sensitive
Dragon:prosperous, brave, rash
Snake:calm, thoughtful, stubborn
Horse:faithful, energetic, carefree
Sheep:easy-going, peacemaker, curious
Monkey:family-orientated, clever, playful
Rooster:honest, confident, pompous
Dog:loyal, kind, perfectionist
Boar:loving, tolerant, indulgent  

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