My Dubai Rent: Irish doctor pays Dh166,000 for 3-bed Damac Hills townhouse

Ed Cody, his wife and daughter swapped their coastal home near Belfast for a change of lifestyle in the UAE

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My Dubai Rent takes you inside a reader's home to have a look at what they get for their money, how much they pay in rent and asks them what they like and don't like

Family medicine consultant Ed Cody moved from Northern Ireland, where he had his own practice, to Dubai with his wife and daughter earlier this year for a change of lifestyle.

After researching potential homes they found their ideal place to rent and moved into a recently-completed three-bedroom townhouse in Damac Hills' Topanga cluster.

Having left a large family home by the coast they were keen to have open space and good facilities, including nearby nurseries.

Dr Cody, 37, has a short drive to his workplace, Parkview Hospital, while his wife works in sports marketing and events in The Greens. They have a live-in nanny.

Dr Cody took The National on a tour of his family's first UAE home.

My Dubai Rent: Couple pay Dh160,000 for three-bedroom villa in Damac Hills

My Dubai Rent: Couple pay Dh160,000 for three-bedroom villa in Damac Hills

How would you describe the property?

It’s a new three-bedroom townhouse and we are the first occupants.

We have a moderate-sized, semi-closed kitchen downstairs. It has a bar area which leads out to the main dining and living areas.

There is a downstairs bathroom, as well as two big cupboards for storage and the washing machine.

Upstairs we have three bedrooms, including the master bedroom which has an ensuite. All have built-in storage.

We've got two balconies, a main family bathroom and a small garden and patio area. We also have a driveway with room for two cars under a pergola-type cover.

The house is about 1,500sq ft in total, and we have a neighbour each side.

We pay Dh166,000, in five cheques.

Where did you live before?

Just outside Belfast, a place called Holywood, which is famous because of [golfer] Rory McIlroy, who comes from there.

I moved over in February. Kate, my wife, moved in March and we have a two-year-old daughter, Jessica.

We were in temporary accommodation, a hotel apartment in Dubai Production City, for about a month and then we leased here.

Why did you choose this district?

It backs on to the main parkland of Damac Hills – that is what sold it to us. The parkland is incredible; it looks computer-generated, it's that perfect looking.

We did some initial research when we were back in Northern Ireland and Kate identified that maybe The Springs was a nice place to live. We had a look at a few houses there and the area seemed really nice.

But we decided Damac Hills was going to be an easier move for our first house here because it was brand new and there hopefully weren't going to be many teething problems.

It's also close to work and takes me around 15 to 20 minutes but that depends on the time. I'm on a bit of a health kick so I leave quite early in the morning and head to the gym on the way to work.

Traffic can be congested on the way home, depending on how you hit the lights, but usually it takes around 20 to 25 minutes.

Kate works in The Greens, so she leaves early to go to the gym in the morning. It takes her around 40 to 45 minutes to get to work.

What facilities do you have nearby?

We've our garden and the parkland, and loads of community swimming pools that we have access to.

The showpiece of Damac Hills is the big beach-like swimming pool called Malibu Bay. It's brilliant for our toddler who loves to run in and out of the shallow water. It's a very enjoyable way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

The nearby Trump golf course also has a few good bars and restaurants, and a great swimming pool. Sometimes Kate and I go around the par-three course, which is floodlit, in the evening.

They also recently opened Damac Hills Mall, which has a big Spinneys supermarket and new shops opening every day.

Is it a sociable neighbourhood?

Very much so.

When we first moved in we were essentially the only people in our entire row of very nearly completed houses. But over the last few months, everyone has been moving in.

I’ve got some colleagues who are neighbours and we’ve met other Brits and Irish folk around the place. Some days we’ll meet our neighbours at the community pools.

Have you personalised the townhouse?

We had to buy all new furniture because we were fully relocating. We shipped over maybe eight cardboard boxes on a plane and that was it.

Because we’re still new here we haven’t personalised it maybe quite as much as we would like to.

We’ve put a few pictures and paintings from home up on the wall. We’ve made Jessica’s room into her little haven with soft lighting.

A lot of homes here have tiled floors and a lot of hard furnishings, so we've tried to soften that with rugs and cushions.

Anything you would you change?

The house doesn’t have a maid’s room. When we chose it, we assumed that we wouldn’t have a live-in nanny, but then when Kate got a job …

So ideally, if we were doing it again, we would have a three-bed plus a maid’s room. That was a learning point.

We would maybe like the kitchen to be more a part of the living area. Apart from that, everything is nice.

Do you think living here offers value?

I think so. We have to live somewhere, we have chosen the standard of living that we need, and this matches that.

We’re very happy we’ve made our home here, it’s a mini version of our house back in Belfast, it’s got a similar atmosphere.

Given the current market conditions, we feel we’re probably getting value for money.

How does it compare to back home?

This is our first time moving abroad.

We still have a five-bedroom house back in Holywood. It’s in the most affluent area in Northern Ireland, on the beach, it’s lovely. The price that we are renting that out for, we’re getting a three-bedroom townhouse here.

Obviously, there’s no comparison because they’re different places, different markets, but we’re basically cost-neutral.

We had done our research, so we knew what we were getting into. But there’s more to life than looking at the cost of your rental property, because the facilities that we have are brilliant.

Do you plan to remain in the property?

Our aim is to stay here for a few years while we’re setting up a deposit for our own house. Who knows what the Dubai property market is going to do?

This is our first house that we’ve been tenants in; we’ve always owned our houses. So it’s a bit unusual not being able to just change a door because we want to, stuff like that.

We’re still in the honeymoon phase where we’re exploring Dubai, but we love life here.

Updated: November 27, 2023, 6:31 AM