Increasing demand for affordable housing in Dubai


Dubai’s real estate market is witnessing a shift in expatriate housing preferences towards more affordable areas, especially for those no longer able to afford apartments in the city’s central districts.

Areas such as JLT, Business Bay and Marina were once seen as comfortable options for expats working in Dubai’s business districts, but the steady increase in rental prices and the plateau in salary ranges is forcing these expats to less central areas, or even to neighboring emirates like Ajman and Sharjah.

Demand for affordable housing

Some western expats might enjoy seven-figure salaries, but other expats often make between 10,000AED and 30,000AED a month, which adds to the difficulty of renting affordable apartments in the centre of Dubai.

This year developers have launched new projects totalling 19,500 homes, of which only an estimated 22% would meet the city’s definition of affordable for the middle-income bracket.

Some residents choose the daily commute from Ajman and Sharjah over having to spend a large portion of their income on rent. Property prices in neighboring emirates are less than half those in Dubai.

Ownership challenges

Rent prices are not the only issue Dubai expats are facing. The dream of owning properties in the city is becoming more and more difficult to reach as the UAE has raised the minimum mortgage deposit to 25% over the past two years, aiming to deter speculative buyers.


It might seem like a reasonable solution to the affordable housing problem, but moving to neighboring emirates is not a good idea. The commute itself is exhausting, and more money will be spent on petrol, car maintenance, and eventually the health problems which arise from long hours behind the wheel.

The demand for affordable housing is increasing, but so are the efforts of the Dubai government to offer more affordable housing blocks in preparations for Expo 2020.

Plenty of residential areas in Dubai offer apartments at affordable rates:

Listings in International City starting from 35,000AED 

Listings in Dubai Silicon Oasis starting from 45,000AED

Listings in Dubai Land starting from 40,000AED

Listings in IMPZ starting from 38,000AED

Listings in Discovery Gardens starting from 45,000AED

Listings in Remraam starting from 42,000AED

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