The best neighbourhoods to buy in Dubai 2019

International investors are welcome in Dubai

Dubai is a popular place with international property investors. Indians, Chinese, and Brits are joining investors from other Gulf states to buy into Dubai developments, creating a cosmopolitan city.

The Dubai Land Bureau says Chinese investment rose to AED 1.7 billion (~$463m) in the first three quarters of 2018, and there's been a 53% increase in Chinese residents over the past five years. That makes nearly a quarter of a million Chinese living in Dubai, and Chinese corporate investment is strong, too. Meanwhile Brits are also among the top investors in Dubai with investments of AED 4.3 bn in 2018 (close to $1,171 million). That money is coming both from British expats working in Dubai, and from pure investors who are attracted by the good rental yields available.

2018 saw 22,000 new apartments and 4,400 new villas sold, according to stats from Dubai surveyors Cavendish Maxwell. The secondary market is thriving, too, so purchasers needn't fear being locked into an investment for lack of buyers.

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How much is it to buy a flat in Dubai in 2019?

House prices in the most metropoles are sky-high, nowadays it’s logical to search for a bargain property overseas – Dubai is one of the choices. While property in London sells for an average $12,315 / square meter (apartments), in the prestige area of Kensington & Chelsea prices have now reached over $19,863 / square meter. For example Shenzhen (China) has also quite high prices that reached $7,301.5 / square meter. Even sought-after Downtown properties in Dubai sell for just over $2,010 per square meter, so you'll get more for your money. Research house New World Wealth puts Dubai well behind other destinations, such as New York, Paris, Hong Kong, or San Francisco.

While Dubai had big problems at the time of the credit crunch, development is now continuing at a steady pace. There's a wide choice of different property types and locations, and neighbourhoods are becoming more sharply differentiated, with significant pricing differentials between them. There's more choice for purchasers, and more competition between developers, too. But that means you'll have to choose carefully where to buy. So where are the best neighbourhoods to look at?

Find an apartment in the most prominent areas of Dubai

The most attractive areas in Dubai

Dubai Marina (4,457 apartments, 556 villas available for sale)

Dubai Marina is a good middle range choice. It's a mature area, with a great mix of apartments and townhouses, and a huge choice of dining and retail outlets. It's also one of the most attractive areas of Dubai, with its skyscrapers lining the marina basin, and that's made it really popular with expats. It's a highly sought-after area, always in demand with both buyers and tenants, but prices remain modest compared with more upscale areas like the Palm or Downtown.

Reckon on paying around AED 5,092 ($1,386.3) per square meter here. A studio could set you back AED 837,000 ($227,873) (but the prices start at AED 450,000 which makes $122,512), a larger apartment AED 2.2m ($598,949) - that’s the average price of properties in this area.

The resale market here is the single largest secondary market within Dubai, with 1345 sales in 2018 - you'll have no problem selling if you invest here.

Palm Jumeirah (1,353 apartments, 402 villas available for sale)

The Palm is one of the most expensive at AED 6,775 ($1,844) a square meter. Prices have been highly resistant to market falls, and at nearly 600 resales in 2018 the secondary market has remained strong.

The Palm is second only to the Marina in its popularity for investment. It's an up-scale location, with good retail and excellent restaurants. The ongoing Raffles (opening 2021) and Palm Beach Residences developments will deliver further properties while maintaining that top tier atmosphere. The Palm is equally popular for both apartment and villa buyers. A studio apartment could cost AED 2.2m ($598,949), but there are some bargains from AED 900,000 ($245,025); a three bed villa starting from AED 9m ($2,450,246).

Downtown Dubai (2,615 apartments, 236 villas available for sale)

Downtown Dubai and the Burj Khalifa area narrowly pips the Palm for top spot in the price stakes, with a per square meter value of AED 7,382 ($2,010). A studio flat could cost AED 1.2m ($326,710); you could get a two bedroom apartment in Jumeirah Village Circle for that price!

But this is a really solid place to invest. The Burj Khalifa tower is one of the world's most visited tourist attractions, the secondary market is strong, and rental yields are also attractive.

Affordable areas for expats and investors

Jumeira Village Circle (4,315 apartments, 719 villas available for sale)

Jumeira Village Circle saw more than 1,000 units sold in 2018, making it one of the biggest areas of new sales in Dubai. New sales will continue apace in 2019, and with over 600 resales in 2018, the secondary market is strong, too.

JVC is a fairly new development area, and amenities aren't yet as good as in the Marina or Jumeirah Lake Towers, though they are being steadily expanded. The area is located some way from both the beach and downtown, too. On the other hand it's a bargain, with an average price of AED 2,543 ($692) a square meter making it one of the cheapest areas to buy in Dubai.

JVC is particularly popular for apartment buyers. A studio could cost around AED 450,000 ($122,512) - half the price you'd pay in the Marina - and a two bed about AED 1.1m ($272,249.5).

One of the other factors that appeals to some buyers is the diversity of property types and styles in Jumeirah Village Circle. Though Nakheel is the master developer, it has parcelled out areas of the development to other builders who can create their own designs and specifications.

Jumeirah Lake Towers (852 apartments, 367 villas available for sale)

Jumeirah Lake Towers is one of the more affordable areas of Dubai, particularly if you're looking at apartments. Average prices stand at AED 3691 ($1,005) a square meter, and with studios achieving around AED 700,000 ($190,575) and two-beds around AED 1.6m ($435,599), you'd be paying a good bit less than in the Marina, while enjoying much the same views. The amenities, too, are similar to those at the Marina, but with a lower price tag. Two Metro stations give easy access to other areas of Dubai.

The Greens and Views (543 apartments, 37 villas available for sale)

The Greens and Views are particularly popular with expats working in the nearby Internet City and Media City, and are close to many Chinese companies' headquarters. Occupancy is high, and at AED 4026 ($1,096) per square meter, property here is relatively inexpensive. However, The Greens has been one of the softer markets in Dubai, seeing prices slide 8% in 2018.

Buyers in the Greens and Views enjoy the suburban, relaxed feel of the development; the buildings overlook a series of lakes and there's a lot of greenery. Buildings are typically low-rise or mid-rise, up to seven storeys, rather than the Marina-style skyscrapers, and there's a good mix of larger (3 and 4 bed) apartments. This is a great place for families.

Dubai may look to outsiders like a single market - but it's become increasingly diverse. Choose your neighbourhood wisely to suit both your wallet and your lifestyle!