Where to look for property when moving to Dubai as an expat

When relocating to a new country from the UK, finding the right property is near the top of the priority list for expats. It can be a particularly challenging task when looking for a house to suit a family, as these are more in demand.
Luckily, if you are moving to Dubai, there are an increasing number of properties to choose from, as new apartments and villas are being built rapidly. Your employer may include an allowance towards the cost of your accommodation or even provide somewhere to live, so the first stop is to check your contract to see what is or isn’t covered.

Cost of living

It is also worth bearing in mind that the cost of living in Dubai is high, especially for those with children, and accommodation is one of the largest outgoings. Rental prices are expensive and a deposit will be required. Until recently, it wasn’t uncommon to expect a full year’s rent to be payable in advance, although there are some more flexible arrangements available now. However, for a property in a desirable location, a tenant that can pay upfront will be preferred by the landlord.
Many expats choose to buy a property in Dubai and some of the newer developments are designed with the overseas buyer in mind. Always take into account additional costs, such as maintenance fees for properties within gated communities.

Best places to live

Once you have determined whether you wish to rent or buy, it’s time to look at the different areas to live in. If you are moving with family, then it’s important to look at where the schools are and bear in mind that proximity to a good international school will bump up the house prices.
Jumeirah is popular due to its beachside location. It is made up of a few smaller sub-communities and there is a wide range of property types to pick from. There are large villas, which are great for families who want lots of space, as well as smaller townhouses and apartments, often with communal gardens. There is no property available to buy in Jumeirah, so renting is the only option here. There are a lot of expats in this area and there is plenty to do in terms of entertainment and activities. There are quite a few good schools in this area, which is why it’s so popular and the prices reflect that.
Another area to look for property in Dubai is Dubai Marina, which is a mini city within a city. It is mostly made up of townhouses and residential blocks around the attractive man-made marina. It is cosmopolitan and exciting, perfect for those who want to make the most of the luxurious lifestyle, with a large expat community. It is better suited to couples and singles, rather than families, though there are some larger penthouses that can accommodate children.
If you prefer a quieter lifestyle away from the city centre, then consider Arabian Ranches, which is a quiet suburb that is popular with Western expats, making it easy to settle in. It has excellent schools within the neighbourhood, as well as shopping, medical facilities and amenities. It is a little out of the way though, so a car would be needed, but it is great for families to make a long-term purchase.
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