By Anjana Kumar
Lower rentals have pushed occupancy levels to almost 70 per cent in Downtown Dubai, realtors said.
The Dubai Mall offers a wide choice of exclusive designer outlets. (SUPPLIED)
The Dubai Mall offers a wide choice of exclusive designer outlets. (SUPPLIED)

Deborah Staines, Residential Sales Consultant, Head Office, Better Homes, told Emirates Business: “We estimate that around 70 per cent of the apartments in Downtown Dubai are occupied, though we understand that demand exceeds supply within the development. Occupancy has definitely increased since rentals have became more affordable.”

Vineet Kumar, Head of Leasing and Sales, Asteco Property Management, said: “With the exception of recently handed over loft apartments, most of the projects are more than 70 per cent occupied.”

According to Harbor Real Estate, around 2,400 families live in the Downtown Dubai district.

“Due to the higher ratio of studios and one-bedrooms within Downtown Dubai, compared to two, three and four-bedrooms in the Downtown District, the ratio and the proximity of the Downtown Dubai district to the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the main business district of Dubai is making it ideal for single executives, couples and small families,” it said.

Staines said the Downtown Dubai district is popular due to lower rents.

“We are seeing existing occupants upgrade to larger units within the Burj Community and it has attracted those who could not previously afford to live in the area so there is a lot of activity,” she said.

Kumar addedd: “Investors have moved within one project and another with some families moving into the development as a result of falling rents.”

Mohanad Alwadiya, Managing Director, Harbor Real Estate, said the current rents for studios range between Dh70,000 and Dh110,000 per annum; one-bedroom apartments between Dh80,000 and Dh150,000 per annum and two-bedroom apartments between Dh110,000 and Dh240,000 per annum.

“From a sales perspective, average current prices for properties in Downtown Dubai is around Dh1,100 per square foot to Dh2,600 per square foot. These selling prices don’t include for Burj Khalifa, but only at the surrounding developments of the tower.”

Few studios in the market

According to Better Homes, there are very few studios in the market from a sales perspective. “A studio in ‘The Address Downtown’ is sold for Dh1.35 million while a one-bedroom apartment in Old Town is currently going for Dh1.25 million. A two-bedroom apartment in Old Town is around Dh2.3 million,” said Staines.

“Studios are currently leasing for around Dh65,000 per annum, one-bedroom apartments are leasing for around Dh85,000 per annum while two-bedroom apartments are leasing for around Dh120,000 per annum.

“The three-bedroom apartments are leasing for around Dh170,000 per annum,” she said.

According to Asteco, rents for a one-bedroom apartment is around Dh75,000 per annum to Dh95,000 per annum; rents for a two-bedroom apartment is around Dh110,00 per annum to Dh145,000 per annum and rents for a three-bedroom apartment is around Dh160,000 per annum to Dh170,000 per annum. Sale prices range from Dh1,300 per square foot to Dh1,500 per square foot. These rates have not fluctuated in the last two months,” said Kumar.

“Mostly self-employed people are buying into the development, with investment being the main intent of purchase within Downtown Dubai,” said Alwadiya.

Real estate agents said Downtown Dubai has seen a mix of buyers from investors looking for long-term investment from China, India, Pakistan and UAE nationals. “Europeans and UAE Nationals seem to be among the end-users,” said Staines.

“There does not seem to be so many investors from Europe [they don’t appear to be as cash-rich]. The residents are mostly couples, singles and young families with maybe one or two small children. There is a mix of overseas investors and investors who are residents of Dubai within the development,” she said.

Agents said Burj Khalifa has had a positive effect on Downtown Dubai and the overall property market and economy in the emirate.

Harbor believes Burj Khalifa will create job opportunities which is heavily needed after the wave of restructuring and downsising that many local and global companies went through during the past one year in Dubai.

“For example, the Armani Hotel, which is spread over 12 floors of Burj Khalifa offering 160 guest-rooms, will employ 600 staff. The early investors in Burj Khalifa and the surrounding areas have benefited from capital appreciation and gains they have made,” said Alwadiya.

He added that just a few months before the launch of Burj Khalifa, there has been a noticeable rise in the level of activity in sales and leasing transactions in and around the tower.

“This increase in activity has benefited all the stakeholders in the real estate field and generated a good positive buzz in the marketplace,” he said.

According to Better Homes, the Dubai Fountain had a more positive impact on the Downtown Dubai development as it revitalised the area and attracted more interest and created more public awareness.

“The opening of Burj Khalifa further cemented the enormous appeal of the whole project and its master plan. The result has been increased confidence and appeal from buyers and sellers holding relatively firm on their selling prices. We have seen some price increases on the high-end project such as The Address Downtown,” said Staines.

According to the agents, on an average, the maintenance charges within Downtown Dubai range between Dh22 per square foot to Dh55 per square foot.

Alwadiya said: “Service charges have fluctuated a bit during the past few months between Dh2 and Dh5 like in the Address Lake Hotel, where maintenance charges dropped from Dh47 per square foot to Dh43 per square foot.”

Staines said: “The developer, Emaar Properties, works hard to keep their service fees under control with reductions seen in the fees in 2008 and 2009.”

The components

Downtown Dubai is an urban concept with Burj Khalifa as the pivotal axis for this development. Some of the components are Dubai Fountain, Burj Khalifa, Emaar Boulevard, The Address, Burj Park Island, Emaar Square, The Residences, South Ridge, The Dubai Mall, The Old Town The Old Town Island.

(Information provided by Emaar)

The Burj Town

Burj Views: These three residential towers are only walking distance from the vibrant Burj Khalifa Boulevard, The Dubai Mall and the magical Old Town. The studio, one and two bedroom Burj Views residences range from 726 square feet to 1,400 square feet, offering a number of amenities.

The Lofts: A three-tower, high-rise residential complex on Burj Khalifa Boulevard is a component of the Downtown Dubai development. With a maximum of six one-and two-bedroom apartments on each floor, the three towers – Central, East and West – are located above the podium of The Lofts. Each tower also has a three-bedroom penthouse.

The Address Dubai Mall: With 244 signature rooms and suites offering five restaurants , shopping services and convenient business amenities, The Address Dubai Mall offers a luxurious experience.

Burj Khalifa: The world’s tallest man-made structure was completed on January 4, 2010. The tower’s dramatic rise above the Gulf horizon will yet again remind the world of Dubai’s status and ability to withstand the global economic challenges. Burj Khalifa will offer corporate offices, residential apartments, swimming pools, an observation deck and several other amenities. The Armani Hotel will occupy the first 37 floors and 700 private apartments will be allotted from floor number 45 to 108.

(Information on the projects handed over within Downtown Dubai has been provided by Harbor Real Estate)