Rising rents have been driving legions of Dubai residents to move to the outskirts of the city.
One of the areas that benefits most from the migration right now is Jumeirah Village Circle.
The community is booming with a growing population and properties available for significantly less rent than that in other areas of the city.
“There’s a real neighbourhood feel to JVC,” said John Podaras, from Greece, who works in the hospitality industry and recently moved to the area.
“There are a lot of little shops and supermarkets that are high quality and the staff is very friendly.
“They are all within a five-minute walking distance from where I live in District 14.
“I also love the mixed use nature of the place. You have young trendies in their first foray as expats as well as young families living in larger places with their children.”
He did have some gripes, though, mostly about the traffic.
Renting and buying in Jumeirah Village - at a glance
According to the property search website Propertyfinder.ae, these are the average rents in the neighbourhood. The price depends on the building finish, location, high or low floor and the view.
- Studio - Dh40,000
- One bedroom - Dh60,000
- Two bedrooms - Dh83,000
- Three bedrooms - Dh120,000
- Three bedrooms - Dh130,000
- Four bedrooms - Dh155,000
“The worst thing about it by a long way is the traffic. They could really do with more access locations as it gets jammed up in rush hour,” he said.
“There are also lots of lads who love revving up their engines late at night as they travel 100 yards to the next red light.”
One of Dubai’s leading estate agents said, in addition to the affordability, a significant reason for JVC’s popularity is its growing maturity as a suburb.
“JVC is in high demand because it offers fantastic value for money and it’s a developing area that is improving all the time,” said Simon Baker, managing director of real estate firm Haus & Haus.
“There are some nice parks and green spaces and every week there are more food and beverage outlets opening.
“There are only a few remaining empty plots and the whole place is becoming much more lived-in and more complete, which makes it nicer for residents.”
JVC was the second most sought-after location in Dubai last month, according to Dubai Land Department with sales totalling more than Dh500 million.
The only area with higher demand was Business Bay in the heart of the city centre.
According to the latest figures from the Property Monitor website, the average rent for a studio apartment in JVC is Dh46,500 while a one-bedroom costs about Dh68,000 and a two-bedroom Dh103,000.
One problem that many residents have about the area is the level of traffic, especially when accessing the nearby Hessa Street.
However, Mr Baker believes the situation is not necessarily that bad, especially compared to other parts of the emirate.
“Any city centre location is going to have traffic and the road infrastructure is getting better and better in JVC,” he said.
“Yes there is some traffic but the entry and exit roads really do provide good access.”
Kate Mullen, from England, has lived in JVC for the past eight years and said the community’s expansion has made life better for residents.
“It’s great value for money and it’s in proximity to so many places in Dubai,” said Ms Mullen, who works in the PR industry, and pays Dh36,000 in rent for a one-bed apartment.
“When I first moved there was nothing but now we’ve got a major mall (Circle Mall), supermarkets, bars and restaurants.
“It’s getting better all the time.”
However, she did say life in the area was not completely perfect.
“A lot of houses now have multiple occupants, which makes it very built up. The street lighting isn’t great in a lot of areas either,” she said.
“That means, as a single female I don’t always feel safe walking home late at night.
“I haven’t heard of any incidents of anyone getting hurt though.”
When French landscape architect Ludivine Marie was looking for a home after moving to the emirate last year, she looked at areas like Dubai Hills first.
“It was lovely but then I realised I could get a two-bedroom apartment for the price of a one-bedroom here,” said the 45-year-old.
“That was a big, big carrot to entice me to move here.”
She said the level of traffic was a hot topic of conversation among residents.
“I’ve heard about the traffic issues but it’s not so much a problem for me because I work from home a lot,” said Ms Marie, who pays Dh110,000 for a two-bedroom apartment.
“I work for myself and often start late and work until late so I don’t see the worst of it.”
Jarryd Van Eeden, 26, from South Africa lives in JVC with his wife after moving there last year. He said the advantages of living there far outweigh the negatives.
“I work in Motor City so it’s only a stone’s throw away from my work,” he said.
“It’s also pretty close to other locations such as Dubai Marina or the Palm.
“It has everything you could need in terms of shops as well.”
However, Mr Van Eeden, who works in the property sector, said the community was not without its disadvantages.
“The worst thing I can say about JVC is that it can seem like a bit of a construction site will all the work that’s going on,” he said.
“There are a lot of new developments. I understand why; it’s because of the area’s popularity.”