My Dubai Rent: Home worker finds villa townhouse a bargain for Dh84,000 a year

Caroline clinched a good deal on a two-bed townhouse in The Springs, even as prices rise

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My Dubai Rent takes you inside a reader’s home to have a look at what they pay each month, see who they live with and find out what they do and don’t like

Eighteen months into the pandemic, Caroline Rowe had had enough of working on the sofa with her laptop.

She decided she needed somewhere larger than the one-bedroom apartment she rented in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai, for Dh40,000 ($10,891) a year.

A two-bedroom townhouse in The Springs, a few kilometres to the south, caught her eye. After striking a good deal, she moved in to her new home in December 2021.

Her villa is ideal for her large collection of souvenirs and artefacts, compiled over years of foreign travel, and her two Persian cats, and has a sizeable outside space for the keen gardener.

Rising demand for villas with gardens, competition from newly arrived residents and rising sale prices mean the Dh84,000 per year Caroline pays is good value.

The Springs, built in 2002-2004 to the south of Dubai Marina, comprises about 4,800 semi-detached villas and terraced townhouses in 14 sub-districts.

So far, I have been growing papaya, mulberry, sweet potatoes, desert grapes and watermelons in the garden. I have been able to do all this in three months
Caroline Rowe

As of March 2022, prices for two-bedroom townhouses started at Dh90,000 for homes that have not been upgraded by the owners, rising to about Dh125,000 for those with the latest mod cons. Larger semi-detached homes and those with lake views can go for much more.

Caroline, a communications consultant, was only too happy to invite The National into her new home and explain why it is so important to her.

How much do you pay in rent?

I pay Dh14,000 every two months. It works out at Dh84,000 a year, depending on how you want to look at it.

I don’t think it’s that expensive, especially considering I was paying Dh125,000 for a one-bedroom apartment when I first moved to Dubai about eight years ago.

Why did you choose to live here?

There were quite a few reasons. I needed the extra room to work from, for a start, but I also wanted somewhere with a big garden.

My two cats, Shehedha and Filfil, also needed more room – even though they don’t go too far, they still need that bit of extra space to roam about in.

Now they love to just sit at the back door and just look out at the garden. I have had them since they were kittens eight years ago. They are like children to me.

I love the community here as well. There are loads of people my own age, a lot of families and professionals who are more settled.

I also live close as well to friends who, like me, are single women.

It’s great to be so close to them and it feels like we have our own little network of friends right across the road from one another.

The Springs is pretty central, as well, so I don’t have to travel too far if I need to go anywhere.

What have you done to make the house your own?

Caroline's smartly furnished office and library. Antonie Robertson / The National

One of the first things I did was hire a landscaper to help shape the garden the way I wanted it.

I also love entertaining, so I wanted to make an outside space where I could host visitors, around a firepit.

Having that space is important because I love gardening, especially planting and growing.

So far, I have been growing papaya, mulberry, sweet potatoes, desert grapes and watermelons in the garden. I have been able to do all this in three months.

Inside the house, I’ve built a Lego room which also doubles up as a library.

I try to keep the Lego displays different and make them seasonal. Right now it has a Chinese theme.

The house also has a museum-type theme that I worked with an interior decorator to come up with.

Over the years, I have travelled a lot and lived in places like India and China, so I have picked up an awful lot of items in that time.

Before the pandemic, I would make sure I travelled to different countries almost every year.

Every single item that is on display in the house has a very personal and special meaning to me.

It is not like I just went down to a store and bought them.

I keep them in display cabinets and there is a lot of gold and bronze right through the house.

Are there any downsides to living here?

There is not really much to complain about, if I am honest.

If there was one thing, though, it would be the fact the houses here are quite old by Dubai standards.

It’s a good idea to keep the contact for the handyman close.

The problems are never anything major, but you have to accept the house might need a little maintenance, given its age.

Five areas that offer villas with gardens for under Dh100,000: in pictures

Updated: April 05, 2022, 11:16 AM