My Own Home: Why Dubai couple love Dh800,000 three-bed apartment in Town Square

Qasim Sharif, who moved to the UAE five years ago, aims to eventually lease out the property he shares with his wife and daughter

Powered by automated translation

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

Qasim Sharif works in finance within the hospitality industry and took the plunge to buy an apartment when asking prices became more attractive during the pandemic-induced dip.

The 48-year-old from Britain moved to the UAE five years ago and is married to Saima, 43, a public relations professional, with whom he has a daughter, 13.

A combination of factors prompted them to switch from renting a home to becoming owners, including the undesirable prospect of continuing to pay rent and a need to remove the uncertainty of cost fluctuations and eviction notices.

The family decided to buy in the popular Dubai neighbourhood of Town Square, finding greater value for money after they previously paid a premium to live closer to the coast.

Mr Sharif took The National on a tour of their modern home.

My own Dubai home:Dh880,000 for a three-bed in Town Square

My own Dubai home:Dh880,000 for a three-bed in Town Square

Tell us about the property

It is a three-bedroom apartment, with three bathrooms. We have two balconies and our double bedrooms all have fitted wardrobes. The third bedroom allows us to have guests come and stay.

Our kitchen/dining/living room is all open plan so we effectively have one living area.

We moved in April 2021 and paid Dh880,000 ($240,000).

What made you buy your property?

During the Covid-19 lockdown, I started working full time from home, so there was an opportunity to move further out where we could buy the size of home we wanted for a lower price.

We could also save money on ever-increasing rent and avoid moving house every year. Rent for a three-bedroom apartment here in Town Square now is Dh120,000 a year ($25,896).

Why choose this area to live in?

The reason to move to this side of the E611 motorway was first of all price because we wanted at least three bedrooms.

We looked at both Damac Hills 2 and Town Square and found Town Square was much better developed and relatively better linked to main roads.

We also managed to get a very good deal, which was a plus.

The current price for a three-bedroom unit is approximately Dh1.7 million, so we benefited from buying as the prices shot up over the last couple of years substantially and the rents just keep going up yearly.

How did you find the purchasing process?

It is quite different to the UK, where I already have two properties.

In some ways it was more straightforward as once you sign the MOU [memorandum of understanding] no party can come out of the contract easily, as opposed to frequent ‘gazumping’ [where a seller accepts a higher offer from a rival buyer above an already agreed price] incidents that happen in UK.

But, also unlike the UK, there is no solicitor supervision required so it leaves you without any support in case it is your first experience of buying.

I paid extra to my mortgage adviser to ‘hold my hand’ through the process, which turned out to be a good investment.

Where were you renting before?

Previously we were living in Dubai Marina, in a similar-sized apartment.

We were paying Dh160,000 a year.

What benefits do you feel from owning rather than renting?

I see a family home not just to provide a roof over our heads but also as part of my retirement planning.

Considering the good price we paid, this apartment is putting us in good stead to benefit even further as we are already thinking of buying a town house along the D54 road and renting out this apartment.

There is big confidence in the stability of the Dubai housing market compared to before.

What is frustrating is that banks in the UAE discourage you from moving mortgage or going up the property ladder since there are high ‘fines’ for even remortgaging and taking out equity.

How have you personalised your apartment?

It is a relatively new development so we never needed to do any remodelling.

We haven’t made any upgrades apart from a yearly painting of the apartment due to the discolouration that occurs. We also had a leak from upstairs so we repaired the toilet, which maintenance helped us with.

We have made the apartment more homely by putting up family photos that we brought back with us from the UK that we have had for many years and some items that we have collected since we have been here.

What advantages are there to living in your neighbourhood?

It is a very good area for families, well-developed and well-organised.

We have excellent manned security 24 hours a day who you can get on the phone any time. Maintenance are also available whenever you need them. We have a good selection of shops downstairs, a dry cleaner, barber shop, Starbucks, and a Life pharmacy.

In the vicinity you have a dog park, many good restaurants, a park and a bistro.

We are most impressed with how family-friendly the area is and how many facilities the area has. We even have a great doctor’s surgery here who we are always able to get an appointment with.

Any other community facilities?

The apartment has a ladies' and a mixed gym. On floor one we have a kids play area and a pool.

We have a small Spinneys [supermarket] downstairs and a larger one just down the road, and a Carrefour and a smaller Geant also a couple of minutes away, so the area does really cater for everyone.

For kids and adults, we have basketball courts, tennis courts, a skateboard park, table tennis, padel courts … most sports are covered.

The only downfall is the traffic in and out [of the community, on to Al Qudra Road].

Do you think you will stay in this property?

If all goes well, we will move to a town house this year.

Then, hopefully, this apartment will be a good rental earner for us.

Updated: February 14, 2024, 10:07 AM