My Own Home: Dubai family's Dh2.1m town house doubles in value

Mahy Moustafa and family are reaping the benefits of laying down roots in Dubai Hills

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My Own Home takes you inside a reader-owned property to ask how much they paid, why they decided to buy and what they have done with it since moving in

Business owner Mahy Moustafa bought a home in Dubai Hills to accommodate her growing family and provide herself with a room from which to run her business.

The Egyptian citizen was born and raised in Abu Dhabi and moved to Dubai seven years ago, after returning from studying human resources at university in Cairo.

She switched career paths to follow her passion, launching Makeup By Mahy.

She secured her current property off-plan in 2017 before moving in three years later.

Ms Moustafa, 34, lives in the Maple 3 cluster with her husband, a strategy consultant, and their children, Lara, six, and Youssef, five.

She showed The National around her town house.

My own Dubai home: Dh2.1 million for a three-bedroom villa in Dubai Hills Estate

My own Dubai home: Dh2.1 million for a three-bedroom villa in Dubai Hills Estate

What can you reveal about your home?

It is a town house with parking for two cars and a back garden.

It has three bedrooms, plus maid’s room and three bathrooms.

We bought off-plan at Dh2.1 million ($570,000). Handover was in 2020 – we were one of the very first residents in Maple 3.

The value of the house now is Dh4.4 million.

What prompted you to buy?

We were tired of renting and spending too much money on something we were not owning. We were also getting random, last-minute rent increases making us unable to predict our expenses.

We wanted to invest in Dubai’s growing real estate market as the market was booming.

We rented in Springs for four years. Emaar had a new development similar to Springs, Meadows and Lakes called Dubai Hills. The price for a three-bedroom townhouse looked very attractive.

How was the buying process?

It was super hassle-free – directly from Emaar.

Costs were always very clear as I was aware of all the additional costs such as DLD (the Dubai Land Department percentage fee), et cetera.

We didn’t need any mortgage given there was a three-year payment plan and we had already saved for the deposit, which was around 20 per cent of the property value.

We were also among the very first people to buy [on the estate], so were able to get a unit very close to the pool, the park area, and north-facing.

What made you select this area?

We needed a bigger house. One of the reasons is we are using one of the rooms for my make-up business, which I started seven years ago. I’m fully certified and I do make-up either at the customer’s location or they can visit me.

The area where we live is very well-located, right on Al Khail and Umm Suqeim Street, close to my husband’s workplace in Internet City.

The kids go to the school right next door, Kings Al Barsha – one of the top schools in Dubai. Most of the kids in my son's and daughter’s classes live in the neighbourhood, so we often have play dates and share car lifts, which is very convenient.

It has a good-sized gym for me to work out and a mega mall is nearby, Dubai Hills Mall – similar to Mall of the Emirates and Dubai Mall.

It is one of the Dubai communities that is closest to anywhere, compared to Mira, Mudon and Arabian Ranches further out.

Have you made any upgrades?

We did some work in the garden to create a BBQ area with a bar and a place for a pizza oven – we love to cook and have people over.

Nothing else has been done for now.

We set a budget of Dh200,000 for renovating the house, given we have now lived here for almost four years.

We are also thinking of extending the main bedroom to include the balcony area, given that it is rarely used. And at some point I might extend the kitchen, but that is a big project.

What financial advantage is there to owning over renting?

We bought at Dh2.1 million, now it’s worth Dh4.4 million, so we made a lot of money. Plus we saved on all those rent payments. To rent the equivalent villa here would be Dh240,000 a year.

We feel comfortable in case we lose our jobs, that we still have a place to stay without spending much [and have] more of a sense of freedom to make any changes and renovations.

Once we plan to leave the country, we will rent it out and get a stable monthly income, given Dubai is a growing country with a booming economy for the foreseeable future.

What are your costs?

Bills are very efficient; we pay around Dh1,000-1,500 monthly for Dewa and municipality fees. For gas we pay around Dh150 monthly and around Dh250 for a gardener and car cleaner.

And annual charges are minimal. Having the villa is better than an apartment, given the annual community service charges are much less – around Dh5,000-6,000. For a similar-sized apartment, that would go up to Dh30,000-40,000.

Thus, the villa return on investment is better than an apartment, from my point of view.

Do you plan to stay where you are?

We may have to find a larger house, given that my kids are growing and will need an additional room.

In that case I will rent this one out. I’m not planning to ever sell, given that its monthly rental yield will be very high and is growing.

Do you plan to buy more property?

I already have five studios in International City that are investment units.

Those are yielding very good returns and are very liquid, in case I want to sell them. Renting them out is also very easy and hassle free.

I’m always on the lookout for good buying opportunities [but] the market now is very high and the future is not very clear, whether that will continue or stabilise a little.

So, for now I’m waiting to see how things pan out.

Updated: December 13, 2023, 4:20 AM