Affordable accommodation in Dubai - a major concern for expats

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Affordable accommodation in Dubai - a major concern for expats


Dubai has become a dream destination for expats across the globe - a melting pot of foreign and local investors and entrepreneurs which offers luxury retail and accommodation, myriad entertainment options as well as a world class infrastructure. The tax free lifestyle also adds to the attraction along with ample job and career opportunities, making it a highly desirable second home for people from all over the world. People flock to Dubai in their thousands, looking for to the opportunity of improving their standard of living and career prospects.

How Dubai has restructured its residential real estate sector

Developers have constructed a plethora of residential skyscrapers across the city to meet the demand for accommodation from the huge numbers of expats that now live in the city. One of the many advantages of these apartments is that they are custom built to meet modern standards, unlike older projects in cities across the world which may consist of sub-divided accommodation which can prove cramped and inefficient. Expats also have the opportunity to purchase these apartments as they are in freehold districts - open for foreign nationals to buy.


Neighbourhoods allowing expats to buy Dubai property with freehold ownership rights include Jebel Ali, the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina, Emirates Hills, Downtown, Arabian Ranches and Al Barsha. Besides freehold projects, Dubai also offers a huge range of super luxury options including top of the range hotel apartments, hotel resorts as well as luxury villas for sale or rent.

Popular affordable accommodation options in Dubai


The vast majority of expats who arrive in Dubai to work live at first in rented apartments, which tend to be the more affordable accommodation option because of reduced running costs compared with a villa or townhouse. They are particularly suitable for those who travel for work a lot as much less upkeep is required and they offer security as most buildings have a concierge desk or security guards. Studio apartments and hotel apartments can also be a comfortable and affordable option for expats. Affordable does not have to mean cramped or unfurnished, or lacking amenities as hotel apartments are usually furnished. Smaller apartments are frequently in buildings which offer facilities including gyms and swimming pools as well as proximity to shops and other amenities.


Going back to the fact that apartment buildings are usually custom built, even the most affordable studio apartment in Dubai is usually spacious enough for a single person to live in comfortably and many are large enough for couples. Expats who choose to bring their families to Dubai have the option of buying or renting larger apartments, from one bedroom properties to opulent five bedroom penthouses, depending on budget. It is important to think about what size property you can afford to rent before coming to Dubai and ascertaining if your budget will stretch to it.

Why is affordable accommodation such a major concern for expats?

Whether local or an expat, financial stability is the major concern for everyone living in the city. Although the Emirate is well-known for providing profitable investments and a zero tax lifestyle, the cost of living is significantly higher in Dubai than many coming to the city for the first time will be used to. Accommodation expenses occupy the lion’s share of the total cost of living for most people, which is why expats often try to find ways to reduce the costs by looking for affordable accommodation, for example by living in smaller properties than they would in their home countries.


Dubai’s recent winning bid to host Expo 2020 is said to be one of a number of factors behind significant rent increases across the city. This has resulted in large numbers of tenants considering buying property, to obtain the dual advantages of acquiring a residential asset and being protected from rent increases. Technically, tenants are protected from excessive rent increases under a Government decree which was issued last year, Decree 43 of 2013, which prevents landlords from imposing a rent increase of more than 20 per cent.

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