Dubai gears up for suburban living boom in 2023

Shift from city apartments to townhouses and villas in family-friendly neighbourhoods

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Demand for townhouse and villa communities will continue to rise next year, as families laying down roots in the emirate opt for the trappings of suburban life, say experts.

Properties in new developments are expected to be highly sought-after, but will not be cheap, as property prices in Dubai soar to well above pre-pandemic levels.

The National spoke to property experts about what they expect to be the hottest communities coming to market next year.

The popularity of neighbourhoods in the city's suburbs is in keeping with a migration from apartment living in the centre of Dubai, which began during the pandemic.

What are the most eagerly awaited property developments coming to Dubai in 2023?

“The two most noteworthy master communities to be handed over in 2023 are Arabian Ranches 3, from Emaar, and Tilal Al Ghaf, from Majid Al Futtaim,” said Lewis Allsopp, chief executive of Allsopp and Allsopp real estate.

“The first phases are to be handed over in quarter one and two in both communities and are three and four-bedroom townhouses in Sun [Arabian Ranches] and Elan [Tilal Al Ghaf].

“Another townhouse community we expect to hand over in quarter two of 2023 is Cherrywoods by Meraas, which is located along Al Qudra Road, adjacent to Mira Oasis and opposite Nshama's Town Square.

“Towards the end of 2023, it is expected that the Harmony 1 Villas, with four, five and six bedrooms, will also hand over.”

The Harmony 1 project has already made such an impression on the market that there has been capital appreciation of 30 to 35 per cent, according to Mr Allsopp.

In terms of what people can expect to pay in rent, he suggests looking at comparable areas near by as a guide.

“We would expect the three beds in Ranches 3 to rent between Dh140,000 and D150,000 ($38,000-$41,000) and sell for between Dh1.85 million and Dh2.1 million,” he said.

“For Elan, we’d estimate a three-bed at around the Dh2 million mark with a rent of Dh150,000 and then with Harmony, we anticipate an approximate sales price for the four beds of Dh4.5 million and a rental of Dh290,000 plus.”

The National reported in November how demand was growing for properties in the nearby Mira and Town Square communities, which will be home to 85,000 people when expansions are complete.

Why are these communities creating such a fuss?

“Prior to the pandemic, we already witnessed a migration from apartment living to townhouse and villa communities,” said Mr Allsopp.

“This is a sign of a maturing market, where people were staying longer in Dubai than previously with a view to settling here longer.

“This trend accelerated post-lockdown and demand for townhouses and villas has been at an all-time high.”

He gave the example of Dubai Hills, a popular development renowned for its green spaces.

“Availability here is scarce and prices have risen significantly, forcing more people to move further out between the 311 and 611 roads,” he said.

“Townhouse and villa communities appeal largely to families, especially in areas where there are a host of amenities and a vast range of international schools within close range.

“We are also seeing younger couples moving into these communities, especially people who work from home or in a hybrid role, where they go to the office two or three times per week.”

What kind of impact will these new properties have on the Dubai market?

The new developments will go some way to reducing the pressure on the property market in the emirate, according to Mr Allsopp.

“I expect them to reignite movement from apartment living to townhouse/villa communities not only for tenants but also for buyers looking, especially for vacant on transfer, which is currently an ongoing challenge in this segment,” he said.

“Many of these buyers will be mortgage buyers who would have liked to buy sooner but the payment plans, especially the cash required for an off-plan resale, were previously not feasible.”

Another property expert said the new developments would offer more choice on the market but to expect demand to continue to outstrip supply in 2023.

“Demand during 2023 is expected to far exceed the supply about to hit the market, with most of the developments launched post-Covid not expected to hand over until late 2024 or beyond,” said Simon Baker, managing director of Haus & Haus Real Estate.

“However, the new townhouses will really appeal to young families looking for extra space and the parks, pools and amenities that come along with quality community living.”

Updated: December 27, 2022, 8:39 AM