Search volumes for cheap housing are surging in the UAE, leading to an increase in affordable properties to meet demand.
While the trend was reported days after the Abu Dhabi Municipality announced an initiative to offer low-income residents cheaper monthly rents, it seems it's been building for a while.
In short, properties for well under half what many of us are stumping up per year are real, and they're out there.
In fact, at this current point in time, there are about 500 homes on propertyfinder.ae with an asking price of less than Dh30,000 a year.
This accounts for one per cent of their current retail listings, but there are many signs pointing to a turning of the tides; with surges of lower and middle-class workers seeking greater value for money in the real estate sector.
On Saturday, the Abu Dhabi Municipality announced an initiative to offer low-income families and bachelors in the city access to cheaper monthly rents.
The Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport said the scheme will provide high-quality and affordable accommodations for low-income groups at rents ranging from Dh917 to Dh1,563 per month.
The initiative fits the trend of what was happening in the wider real estate sector, according to online real estate market Propertyfinder.
Search volumes for lower-priced properties are increasing, they say, and more affordable listings are coming online to meet the demand.
“The UAE has seen a change in the population's demographics in recent years with an expanding lower to middle-income sector seeking property,” says Paul Stewart Smith, chief operating officer at Propertyfinder Group.
For example, if you were to look on the website today, you'd find a 55 square-metre studio in Mohammed bin Zayed City will only set you back Dh28,000 a year. It comes with a large kitchen, split air conditioning, "fine flooring work and elegant finishing". You'll also get covered parking in a "central, family-oriented location in a gated community".
If you really want to pinch your pennies, another studio in the same suburb will set you back just Dh18,000 a year. Sure, it's small (28 square-metres), but it's got a "soaking tub and fine finishings", as well as covered parking and security
Nearby, in Khalifa City, the affordable annual sum of Dh30,000 will get you a 46 square-metre studio with separate kitchen, personal terrace and covered parking. This is located in a family villa in Khalifa City A.
Let's not forget the negotiating factor that might also play into prospective tenants getting a discount on these rates, either.
All signs point to now as being the best time to start working up a better deal with your landlord, or starting afresh somewhere new, if you're in a position to do so.