Tibin Mathew may run a travel and tours business, but he is more than happy to stay in one place when it comes to family life in Abu Dhabi.
He is from India and lives in Madinat Zayed, one of the oldest areas in the heart of the capital, with wife Seenamol Varkey, a nurse, and their son Rishon, 11, and four-year-old daughter Angel Maria.
They pay Dh50,000 in a single cheque for their two-bedroom apartment which ― while it has no balcony ― boasts ample space.
Mr Mathew says it is a perfect neighbourhood that offers all the affordable comforts of downtown Abu Dhabi.
Why did you choose to live here?
It is a bustling area and very much in the middle of the city. We have always lived in this neighbourhood and love the amenities available around.
We have lot of friends around and we love the community here.
We moved into this building four years ago when it was newly renovated, and were paying Dh65,000 as rent.
But luckily, rents have fallen in the last two years.
Our rent came down to Dh55,000 in 2021 and I negotiated it down to Dh50,000 for a single cheque when I renewed the contract in August.
Is this your first home in Abu Dhabi?
No. When I got married and brought my wife to Abu Dhabi, in 2011, I could not afford to have an apartment. The rents in Abu Dhabi were going through the roof at that time and we had no choice but to share a house with another family.
We moved to a decent two-bedroom [apartment] after our son was born.
Madinat Zayed was our first choice because rents were comparatively affordable and we have friends and family nearby.
What are the benefits of living here?
There are plenty of benefits, the main being we are close to an NMC hospital that has a good paediatric department. When you have two small kids, it is a blessing to have a hospital at a walking distance.
There are also big supermarkets like Lulu and other amenities close-by. The kids’ school is hardly a kilometre away and I can pick and drop them daily.
My wife’s office is also less than two kilometres away. So, we are not wasting time commuting to and from school or office.
Would you consider moving to another area or building?
No. We are not considering it in the near future. We love the bustling downtown vibe with plenty of restaurants and shops.
It is crowded in the evenings but parking is not a problem. As long as the kids are going to the same school, we have no reason to move.
Would you change anything about this property?
We love this house. It is spacious, especially the bedrooms and the kitchen. The only negative is perhaps we do not have a balcony.
But we make it up for that by going for walks in the evening.