Types of Residential Real Estate: What Kind of Houses and Apartments are Available in Dubai?

Types of Residential Real Estate: What Kind of Houses and Apartments are Available in Dubai?

04.20.2022 (updated 01.20.2023)

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  • Types of Residential Real Estate: What Kind of Houses and Apartments are Available in Dubai?

Dubai is an area of large-scale construction with thousands of completed and under construction projects. The housing market in the emirate is so vast that almost any type of real estate can be found here. In this article, we will discuss the most popular types of property in Dubai. The Dubai real estate market includes:

  • studios;
  • duplexes;
  • lofts;
  • penthouses;
  • townhouses;
  • villas.


What Do Apartments in Dubai Look Like?

In the Emirates, there is no concept of “apartments” as residential real estate intended for renting.

Apartments in Dubai are sold more than private homes. For example, according to the analytical service Property Monitor, in September 2021 were sold 1335 apartments and only 708 villas and townhouses. Studios are the most budget-friendly apartments, with an average cost of 1m² of 1,200 AED ($326) to 1,400 AED ($381). A studio in Dubai is a two-room apartment, with one of the rooms being a full-fledged bedroom and the other being a living room combined with a kitchen.

The most popular and often offered by sellers of residential properties in Dubai are two-bedroom apartments. Most of the apartments for sale in Dubai are between 93 and 186 sqm and cost less than AED 2.5 million ($680,500). The most spacious and expensive apartments are located in the area of Palm Jumeirah.

According to the analytical portal Property Trends, in November 2021, most apartments were sold in Dubai in two areas: Business Bay and Dubai Marina (788 and 742 transactions respectively). The average price per 1 sq.m. of an apartment here in November 2021 was 18,200 AED ($4,900) and 13,800 AED ($3,700) respectively.

Business Bay is the city’s business center, where the number of real estate transactions in 2021 doubled compared to 2020 and reached 5,059.

Dubai Marina is the coastal area of the metropolis. In 2021, 2,709 properties were sold here, with an increase of 802 transactions compared to 2020.

In addition to beaches and marinas, one of Dubai’s largest shopping malls is located here, with an area of over 36,000 m2. Local accommodations are often rented out for short-term rentals, as the area is very attractive to tourists. Crowdfunding platform SmartCrowd estimated that the average return on an apartment in Dubai Marina in 2021 was 8-9%, compared to 4-5% in other areas of the city.

The most budget apartments in the category of housing under construction (objects off-plan) in Dubai in November 2021 were offered in actively developing areas, located within half an hour from the Persian Gulf and the city center. We mean Dubailand and International City. For example, in the residential complex of medium-rise Rukan Maison (Dubailand), which will be delivered in the I quarter of 2023, now it is possible to buy housing for 11,000 AED ($ 3000) per 1 m2. The developer has planned park areas with landscaping and places for recreation, as well as swimming pools and playgrounds.

Exclusive Apartments: Duplexes, Lofts and Penthouses

Duplex, loft and penthouse are similar types of expensive apartments, which are sometimes confused. A duplex is a two-story apartment. Loft – an apartment with a second light, the space with no ceiling overlaps, due to which the room visually looks wider than it is. Here, as well as in the duplex, there is a second floor, but its area is less than the ground floor by the size of the second light. Additional windows in the attic or apartments with unusually high ceilings make the rooms lighter and visually more spacious. A penthouse in Dubai is a two-floor or overlooking apartment located on the top floor of a building, often with a terrace and a private pool. A penthouse can be one, two or even three-stories high. Usually, the penthouse area is larger than any other type of housing, even most villas.

The cost of luxury three-storey penthouses overlooking the city and the Persian Gulf can reach several tens of millions of dollars. In August 2021, for example, a three-level penthouse at The Residences Dorchester Collection in the Business Bay neighborhood was sold for AED 74.9 million ($20.4 million), while in the actively developing Dubai Sports City neighborhood a penthouse can be purchased for less than the price of a townhouse on the exclusive Palm Jumeirah. According to Gulf News, demand for penthouses has increased during 2021, so much so that they can be expected to appear on the secondary market.

Townhouses and Villas: What is the Difference?

A townhouse is a low-rise house divided into several multi-level apartments, each has its own entrance and terrace. This is a great option for those who want to enjoy the benefits of having their own home in a well-situated complex, but do not want to overpay.

A villa is a comfortable private house for a single-family residence, often with a garden and swimming pool on its territory. Villas in Dubai are more common than townhouses.

The average price of 1 m2 of a villa in Dubai at the end of 2021 was AED 10,500 ($2,800).

Townhouse offerings represent 13% of the total offerings in the Dubai real estate market. Usually, the area of a townhouse with two or three bedrooms is equal to the area of a villa with the same number of bedrooms, while the cost of a townhouse is lower.

The Emaar Beachfront and Dubai Harbour communities were the leaders in the autumn 2021 primary housing market. On the secondary market for villas and townhouses, the most popular communities were Damac Hills and Damac Hills 2, as well as Al Furjan. The average price of a 1 m2 villa in Damac Hills was about 12,800 AED ($3500), and in Al Furjan, it was about 9200 AED ($ 2500). These communities are mainly built with townhouses and villas.

Al Furjan, which has a private subway station and two major shopping malls, is one of the communities in Dubai where active construction continues. In May 2021, developer Nakheel announced the construction of the new Murooj Al Furjan neighborhood, consisting of 418 villas, after which 217 properties were sold within four hours.

The Damac Hills community is located in the heart of the Dubailand neighborhood. The neighborhood was originally built around the Trump International Golf Club. In 2021, Damac revised its master plan and announced a decision to develop part of the golf club’s courses with residential buildings and occupy the remainder with soccer, basketball and cricket fields.

The Tilal Al Ghaf, Arabian Ranches 3, and The Valley communities, located in the Dubailand area, are leaders in the sales of detached houses in the under-construction housing market.

The average cost per meter squared of townhouses under construction as of early 2022 is:

  • From 7,750 AED ($2,110) in The Valley;
  • From 7,780 AED ($2,120) in Al Furjan;
  • From 8,811 AED ($2,399) in Tilal Al Ghaf;
  • From 10,832 AED ($2,949) at Arabian Ranches 3.

The Valley is a gated luxury community from developer Emaar, with a private beach and parks. Off-plan townhouses, now available for purchase, will be delivered in late 2024. Tilal Al Ghaf is a community by developer Majid Al Futtaim. In November 2021 the master plan of the community was updated and the lagoon area was increased by 50%, the green area by 20%, and the building density was significantly reduced. In the Arabian Ranches 3 community, developer Emaar is offering townhouses with one common wall, as well as detached villas. Spacious lounge terraces and gardens will be arranged on some of the roofs. Several of the properties for sale are scheduled for completion in early 2023.

According to the report of the web portal, Compare The Market, in 2021 Dubai was placed in the top five cities in the world to buy a holiday home.

Most Popular Residential Complexes in Dubai

A residential complex differs from individual buildings by its general architectural concept, thought out by the developer. This concept combines one or more residential buildings, functionally related infrastructure facilities, as well as the planned landscaping of the surrounding area. For example, in the gated Emaar Beachfront complex, the following features are planned and their implementation has begun:

  • lighthouse with observation deck;
  • clean sandy beach, 1.5 km in length;
  • yacht club with a pier for 1400 berths.

Care of the common areas of the residential complex (access paths, greenery, swimming pools, playgrounds) is the responsibility of the management company.

The most popular apartments on the Dubai market in November 2021 were in the following residential complexes:

  • Five Luxe at Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR);
  • BV Residences 2 in Jumeirah Bay Island;
  • Five Palm Jumeirah Dubai in Palm Jumeirah;
  • One-Palm in Palm Jumeirah;
  • Banyan Tree Residences Hillside Dubai in JLT.

Professional Assistance for Buying Property in Dubai

AX CAPITAL, a real estate agency in Dubai, advises you on all aspects of buying, selling and renting a property in the UAE. Our qualified specialists will help you with mortgages in the UAE, insurance and after-sales service. Specific options for all types of apartments and private houses available for sale can be viewed on the website.

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