House hunters weigh rent and time taken to reach office

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House hunters weigh rent and time taken to reach office
By Robert Ditcham, Staff Reporter/GULF NEWS Published: August 23, 2007, 01:01

Dubai: Faced with the strenuous decision of where in the UAE to call home, most newcomers to the country factor in the rent they can afford and their travel distance to work.

It seems that, for the moment at least, the distances involved in commuting from Dubai to the northern emirates of Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain (UAQ) are mostly too lengthy for people’s liking.

Real estate brokers say the main alternatives to Dubai are still Ajman, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, where residents can enjoy lower rents and still be within touching distance of Dubai’s job scene and lifestyle options.

According to second quarter 2007 statistics by UAE-based property services company Asteco, rents for a one-bedroom apartment in Ajman are around the Dh22,000 mark. In RAK, Fujairah and UAQ a similarly sized apartment will set you back around Dh25,000.

Meanwhile, in Dubai, a one-bedroom apartment in Karama and Bur Dubai averages approximately Dh75,000, and in Dubai Marina will cost Dh135,000.

This price difference has put Dubai out of contention for many mid-income families, say property analysts.

“We are seeing a very strong trend of people moving out of Dubai, especially young, middle-income families, because rents are not affordable for them and schooling is cheaper elsewhere,” said Peter Penhall, CEO of property portal Gowealthy.com.

“Ajman has been the most viable alternative because of its short distance to Dubai.”

Roger Wilkinson, managing partner of Northern Emirates Property, a Sharjah-based property leasing and management company, described the residential real estate market in Fujairah and UAQ as “low key” compared to Ajman.

In terms of future rents, Penhall said Dubai will always command a premium because of the advanced state of its real estate sector, its wide array of lifestyle options and the quality of its projects.

However, he said despite rents being substantially lower in the northern emirates, the gap in the quality of apartments is moderate.

COSTS

Look carefully, you are saving a lot

Based on the assumption that petrol costs are Dh0.14 per km and the distance to Fujairah is 120km (round trip 240km).

Approximate petrol cost of daily round trip commute from Dubai to Fujairah: Dh34

Approximate annual petrol cost of round trip from Dubai to Fujairah: Dh12,380 (assuming that travel on weekends for Dubai-based activities)

Average annual rent of one-bedroom apartment in Karama and Bur Dubai (Dubai): Dh75,000

Average annual rent of one-bedroom apartment in Fujairah: Dh26,000

Overall saving for resident who has moved to Fujairah, but commutes daily to Dubai: Dh36,620

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