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Best areas to live in Dubai

Dubai is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world and home to over 3 million people. While the city is well known for its man-made islands and ultra-modern architecture, Dubai also has unique neighborhoods that have transformed the city into the melting pot that it is today.

A couple moving boxes into their new home which is in the best area to live in dubai

If you are thinking of buying a property in Dubai, one factor you will have to consider early on is location. Once you have a location in mind, it’ll help you narrow down your search and give you better insights into the price you can expect to pay for the property you want. In this article, we’ve curated a list of the best areas to live in Dubai, based on your lifestyle, along with some market insights.

Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina is one of the most popular areas to live in Dubai, especially for those who’ve just arrived in the city. It is predominantly an apartment community with over 200 residential towers but there are a few villas as well. Most of these buildings have over 70 floors providing an amazing view of the Marina and surrounding areas.

Residents tend to hang out around Marina Mall, which has most of the popular restaurant chains, supermarkets, and fashion stores. Pier 7 and the Marina promenade are other popular hangout spots for Marina residents. The Dubai Marina is well connected to the city via the metro, tram, and the Sheikh Zayed highway. For those who live the luxury life, the Dubai Marina also gives you the option to park your yachts by the water.

Tip: Dubai Marina is one of the few neighborhoods that have several freehold properties, giving foreign investors full ownership of the property purchased.

On average, the price of a studio apartment starts from AED 600,000.

Business Bay

True to its name, Business Bay is home to many commercial high-rise buildings with offices, banks, hotels, and residential towers. Given the scarcity of apartments in DIFC and Downtown Dubai, Business Bay is the perfect location for city dwellers who want to live close to their workplace.

The Dubai Water Canal winds around the neighborhood creating a nice outdoor space for residents to cycle and walk whenever they want. Some of Dubai’s most iconic buildings are located in Business Bay like The Opus designed by the late architect Zaha Hadid. While there are many units ready to purchase in the area, the off-plan listings are also booming with many new developments coming up like Urban Oasis by Missoni and The Paragon by IGO.

On average, the price of a 1-bedroom apartment in Business Bay starts from AED 600,000.

Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC)

If the high-rise life doesn’t fit your style, you might want to consider Jumeirah Village Circle, a growing community that has a mix of villas, townhouses, and low-rise apartments. The community has been designed to look like an urban village connected by many parks and canals.

It is ideal for families who are looking for an affordable living option in Dubai and is very popular among real estate investors given its high rental value. Some upcoming off-plan buildings in JVC include Catch Residences and Binghatti Luna.

While the Mall of the Emirates is less than a 20-minute drive away, residents have Circle Mall located inside JVC for daily amenities like salons, cafes, a cinema, and supermarkets. Public transportation inside JVC is quite limited so it’s best if you drive. We must note that parking isn’t an issue in the area when compared to other neighborhoods in Dubai.

You can afford to buy an apartment in JVC without spending a lot of money with prices for a studio starting from approximately AED 400,000.

International City

This is one of the most affordable residential communities in Dubai. If you don’t mind a commute, International city could be a good choice for you, especially as a first-time home buyer. There are over 500 residential units in International City spread over the 10 residential clusters, named after different countries like England, France, Italy, Greece, China, and Morocco. In comparison to other communities, it also has a lot of studio and one-bedroom apartments making it popular among residents looking to live alone or with young families.

Residents in International City have easy access to Dragon Mart, the largest hub for Chinese products outside mainland China. Aside from that, the clusters are dotted with restaurants, supermarkets, and community spaces. One key perk of living in a closed community like International City is the ability to step outside your apartment and go for a walk in a tranquil environment. Apartments in other popular areas like Dubai Marina and Business Bay tend to have all the communal amenities within the building itself, making it convenient but not fun if you are someone who enjoys the outdoors and open spaces.

On average, the price of a studio apartment in these buildings start from AED 230,000.

Palm Jumeirah

If you want your future neighbors to be the likes of Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan and British power couple David and Victoria Beckham, Palm Jumeirah is your go-to neighborhood. Construction on the man-made island began in 2001, and residents began moving in around 2007.

The palm tree-shaped island is divided into three areas: The Crescent, Trunk, and Fronds. While beach-front villas are the most popular residential unit types, there are also quite a few apartment buildings located in the trunk of the palm.

The island is a popular tourist destination in Dubai so the area is filled with cafes, popular restaurant chains, beach clubs, and luxury hotels like the Atlantis, Anantara, and Waldorf Astoria, just to name a few. While the island has enough amenities for residents to never want to leave, note that Palm Jumeirah is close to other popular Dubai neighborhoods like Dubai Marina, Internet City, Al Sufouh 1, and Jumeirah Lake Towers so residents have easy access to travel in and out of the island in less than 15 minutes, if needed.

Tip: If you are house hunting, and want to have a scenic view of the island, we highly recommend hopping on the Palm Monorail, with stops at the Golden Mile Galleria, Al Ittihad Park, Nakheel Mall, The Pointe, and Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark.

If you’d like to flex that your address is on the world’s largest man-made island, prices for a one-bedroom apartment start from approximately AED 1.7 million. Prices for villas on the other hand can go up to $82.4 million, which is the record for the most expensive mansion sold in Dubai in July 2022.

Dubai Creek Harbour

And lastly, if you are looking for a new and upcoming neighborhood, don’t miss out on Dubai Creek Harbour. This waterfront community is similar to Dubai Marina but on the other end of the city.

Located right next to Ras Al Khor Wildlife sanctuary, the creek is home to many high-rise apartment buildings like the Cove, Creek Gate, and Creek Horizon. The community has been built and managed by Emaar, Dubai’s most popular developer.

Residents living in the creek can enjoy spectacular skyline views from their apartments, and walking pathways around the Marina. These buildings have units ranging from 1, 2 and 3-bedroom apartments with starting price for a 1-bedroom at approximately AED 1 million.

Wherever you choose to live in Dubai, take note that the city is highly connected with highways and public transportation making it easy to go from one end to the other in less than 30 minutes (during hours without traffic of course!). If you are keen to learn more about the home buying process in Dubai, check out our guide to learn more about the timeline for a mortgage and the documents you will need for every step of the application. "


Written by Sana Telalovic

Published on 21 November 2022

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