It is surprising how diverse the housing market in Dubai is. Hundreds of newly constructed properties are added every year, which recreate all of the conditions for a superior standard of living and family leisure. There are a few long-established neighborhoods, however, that remain in high demand.

In this article, we will discuss the best places to live in Dubai and look at some of the property rental costs.

To choose a place to live in Dubai, you should consider where you will work and where your children will go to school and then try and find the perfect balance.

In Dubai, rentals are quoted yearly, and advance payments are required for one year upfront, and sometimes every three months. Payment options can be negotiated with your landlord, but generally, you should expect payments as outlined above. You may also have to pay agent fees if you choose to use their service.

Like any large city, Dubai is divided into districts, each of which has its own characteristics. Let's look at what are the most attractive options when it comes to choosing a property, considering the preferences of different types of people. 

Downtown Dubai

Located in the heart of Dubai, Downtown Dubai is constantly evolving at a fast pace. Featuring many landmarks and world-famous attractions, including the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall, and Dancing Fountains, this area is a hub of activity. Its prime location keeps it busy all year round.

It is easy to access other parts of the city due to the proximity of the main highway and subway line. However, keep in mind that the freeways in the Downtown area tend to be congested, causing long delays.

As well as being a famous tourist destination, Downtown Dubai offers many family-friendly amenities to residents. For example, there are many nurseries and healthcare facilities. However, it is important to keep in mind that there are no schools currently operating in the area.

Pets are welcome in this neighborhood. Burj Park offers the opportunity to walk your pets as one of its many activities.

There are different designs of apartments in Downtown Dubai, depending on the building. Among these are luxury apartments with panoramic views of the Burj Khalifa Tower located in high-rise buildings as well as apartments in the low-rise Old Town apartment complex that are designed in Arabic style and surrounded by lush gardens.

Rental prices on average:

58,000 to 70,000 AED ( ≈ $15790 to $19058) a year for a studio apartment

82,000 to 100,000 AED ( ≈ $22325 to $27226) a year for a 1 bedroom flat

121,000 to 147,000 AED ( ≈ $32944 to $40022) a year for 2 bedrooms flat

(Note* annual rent does not include water, electricity, and any other fees).

Business Bay

The heart of commerce and business in Dubai is Business Bay. Its excellent connectivity makes it an ideal area for singles and young couples. Due to its central location, it has a fast-paced and exciting vibe that attracts a large number of young working-class people from other districts, including Downtown Dubai, DIFC, and Sheikh Zayed Road.

However, you will see many families with small children living in the district. The Hummingbird Nursery and the Maple Bear Preschool are the most prominent nurseries and pre-schools in the area. A few schools in neighboring areas. There are small green strips with play areas for children at Bay Avenue Park.

Locals and expatriates mix well in this multicultural hub.

Rental prices on average:

50,000 to 62,000 AED (≈ $13613 - $16880) a year for a studio apartment

67,000 to 81,000 AED (≈ $18242 - $22053) a year for a 1 bedroom flat

96,000 to 118,000 AED (≈ $26137 - $32127) a year for 2 bedrooms flat

Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina is one of the most popular places to live in Dubai, a seafront area with many restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. There are both commercial and residential buildings in this area. You can enjoy walking, jogging, or even cycling on the pedestrian-friendly walkway in addition to dining and entertainment.

This area would be better suited to singles and couples than families with children. Several nurseries are located here. A 10-minute drive will bring you to Knowledge Village (KV), which offers a variety of school, university, and institute options. Dogs are not allowed in the area, so please be aware of that when moving there with a pet.

Dubai Marina offers a posh lifestyle and convenience for those looking for it.  The area offers several public transportation options, such as metro and tram services.

Rental prices on average:

49,000 to 59,000 AED (≈ $13340 - $16063) a year for a studio apartment

71,000 to 87,000 AED (≈ $19330 - $23687) a year for a 1 bedroom flat

Al Barsha (The Barsha Heights)

Al Barsha is a quiet residential neighborhood well known for its large Mall of the Emirates. Besides clothing chains, supermarkets, and international restaurants, the mall also has entertainment venues.

In this part of town, you'll find democratic hotels, residential buildings, and business centers. Just a few kilometers away from here lies the Barsha South area with its modern apartments and offices, as well as compact shopping complexes.

The schools in Al Barsha 1 and Al Barsha South make life ideal for families. A few notable schools in Al Barsha are the GEMS Dubai American Academy, the American School of Dubai, the GEMS World Academy. The area is also close to Dubai Knowledge Park, which is home to several universities. There is a wide range of properties in Al Barsha to suit people of all budgets.

Rental prices on average:

39,000 to 47,000 AED (≈ $10618 - $12796) a year for a studio apartment

54,000 to 66,000 AED (≈ $14702 - $17969) a year for a 1 bedroom flat

77,000 to 94,000 AED (≈ $20965 - $25593) a year for 2 bedrooms flat

Jumeirah Lake Towers

Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) is a sprawling residential district, located along the shores of three man-made lakes, including Lake Almas East, Lake Almas West, and JLT Lake. The district offers comfort, luxury, and stunning views of Dubai and the lakes.

There are 26 clusters of these tower complexes, which are named from A to Z and are composed of three towers each. The towers are distinguished by their unique designs and architecture.

Renters in JLT will enjoy the convenience of living in a community where all essential amenities and facilities are easily accessible. At the base of several tower clusters, you will find supermarkets, convenience stores, healthcare facilities, and restaurants. In addition, there are two universities offering higher education programs.

JLT has an expansive green park of 55,000 square meters. As well as basketball courts and playgrounds for kids, the park houses a police station, a fire station, and a hospital. Public transport connectivity is also available, with the DMCC metro station on the Red Line and Jumeirah Lake Towers Tram station being the closest.

Rental prices on average:

43,000 to 53,000 AED (≈ $11707 - $14430) a year for a studio apartment

62,000 to 76,000 AED (≈ $16880 - $20692) a year for a 1 bedroom flat

111,000 to 135,000 AED (≈ $30221 - $36755) a year for 3 bedrooms flat

Arabian Ranches

Arabian Ranches is a luxury desert-themed neighborhood just minutes from Dubai's city center. It contains villas, schools, golf clubs, polo clubs, spas, a shopping mall, and restaurants. In this vast desert expanse, expats can live life at their own pace away from the monotony of city living.

Families love it as it provides peace and tranquility, as well as pleasure. There are a number of freehold villas and townhomes in the area, ranging from two to six bedrooms, to suit the needs of small and large families alike.

Rental prices on average:

113,000 to 138,000 AED (≈ $30765 - $37573) a year for 2 bedrooms villa

194,000 to 235,000 AED (≈ $52819 - $63982) a year for 4 bedrooms villa

Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR)

Jumeirah Beach Residence Dubai is the most luxurious residential neighborhood in Dubai, offering sumptuous homes and apartments. This is a place where the city meets the beach, offering residents and visitors the finest of both worlds. JBR Dubai is only minutes away from JBR Walk, a popular spot for residents and visitors alike at Jumeirah Beach. The residential area is conveniently located near two tram stations ("Jumeirah Beach Residences - Stations 1 and 2").

The housing estate consists of six blocks. Each of them represents one of the elements of the seashore: sun, sand, waves, sea, and coral reef. In each block, there are 5-6 buildings linked by a common podium, with parking inside and a courtyard on the surface.

It is a suitable place for families. There are several nurseries in this area, including Monroe, British Orchard Nursery, and Kidville. A series of fun and family-friendly events take place in the area throughout the year, including street markets.

Rental prices on average:

61,000 to 75,000 AED (≈ $16608 - $20419) a year for a studio apartment

81,000 to 99,000 AED (≈ $22053 - $26954) a year for a 1 bedroom flat

102,000 to 124,000 AED (≈ $30221 - $36755) a year for 2 bedrooms flat

Emirates Hills

Emirates Hills is a gated community that offers luxurious amenities and an array of recreational facilities for individuals who love the finer things in life.

Living in Emirates Hills is a dream come true for nature lovers, with its impressive golf courses, beautiful landscaping, and sparkling lakes.

Emirates Hills has a large number of gorgeous villas throughout Montgomerie Hills, Dyaar Al Hambra, Montgomerie Maisonettes, and Signature Villas. All units have spacious living rooms, master bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, large roof terraces, lounge areas, fully-equipped kitchens. During the winter months, Emirates Hills residents love spending their evenings relaxing on the patio with gardens.

Families will find it convenient to live here. There are several popular schools in the community, such as Dubai British School, Emirates International School, Regent International School, and many others.

If you choose this place as your home, you should consider the cons. Like many other villa communities in Dubai, Emirates Hills is not located near a metro station. Without a car, getting around in the community can be challenging.

The affordability of Emirates Hills isn't really one of the perks of living there. This is popularly known as the "Beverly Hills" of Dubai.

Rental prices on average:

593,000 to 725,000 AED (≈ $161452 - $197391) a year for 5 bedrooms villa

728,000 to 890,000 AED (≈ $198208 - $242315) a year for 6 bedrooms villa

Palm Jumeirah Island

Palm Jumeirah, one of the largest man-made projects in Dubai, is often described as the eighth wonder of the world. Residents of Palm Jumeirah simply refer to the property as “The Palm”, which embodies an extraordinary waterfront lifestyle transformed into an experience of luxury and comfort.

There are a variety of residential units in Palm Jumeirah for rent and sale. These units are suited for both young professionals and families, all offering waterfront living and access to the finest amenities and facilities. Here, you will find everything from swanky apartments to spacious villas perfectly suited to suburban living.

As the entire development is away from busy cities, it is extremely peaceful and is perfect for those who prefer not to be surrounded by the noise of major urban developments.

On Palm Jumeirah, you will find nurseries, hospitals, supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, and more spread out throughout the island. It is like a small city in itself. It is also close to Dubai Media City and Dubai Marina, which are major business hubs in the region.

Considering that you will be living in one of the most prestigious developments in Dubai, you should be prepared to pay a tidy sum. It is more expensive to rent on Palm Jumeirah than in other parts of Dubai, but you get a lifestyle that is unlike any in the world.

Rental prices on average:

260,000 to 318,000 AED (≈ $70784 - $86575) a year for 3 bedrooms villa

369,000 to 451,000 AED (≈ $100460 - $122784) a year for 5 bedrooms villa

Discovery Gardens

Tenants and investors have been attracted to Discovery Gardens because of its affordability. Discovery Gardens offers well-lit, spacious apartments with high-quality finishing at a lower price. That's why Discovery Gardens isn't just a family neighborhood.

It is convenient to get everyday essentials in Discovery Gardens, as the community is close to everything residents need. The residential complex is the nearby Ibn Battuta Mall with supermarkets, a cinema, a food court, and dozens of retail shops.

In addition to swimming pools, play areas, and jogging paths, residents can also enjoy lush landscaped gardens. Families living in the Discovery Gardens area will also benefit from the proximity of schools, including Arbor School and Winchester School.

Those who don't own a car will find Discovery Gardens Dubai to be an excellent option since public transportation is easily accessible. There are a number of bus stops throughout the community, and finding a taxi is easy. Dubai Metro can also be relied upon to get around the emirate.

Rental prices on average:

32,000 to 40,000 AED (≈ $8712 - $10890) a year for a studio apartment

49,000 to 59,000 AED (≈ $13340 - $16063) a year for a 1 bedroom flat

68,000 to 84,000 AED (≈ $18512 - $22868) a year for 2 bedrooms flat

Most new expats from the West will settle in new Dubai - Dubai Marina, Arabian Ranches, JLT, JBR, Palm Jumeirah, The Greens, etc. Many from the East prefer older Dubai, not only because it tends to be cheaper, but also because it is where the communities are located. Bur Dubai is a popular location for Indian expats, for example.

It is our hope that this article helped you narrow your search as you consider where you would like to live in Dubai. You can find more information about Dubai's utility costs or how to get a DEWA (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) utility account in our article, "How much does it cost to rent an apartment in Dubai as an expat?".

Whether you are looking to buy or rent a property, Make Fortune can help. We only work with independent realtors who can give you the most suitable options and handle all the paperwork quickly.

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