Posted by: englishdubai | June 28, 2009

Three Years On

Today marks my third anniversary in Dubai. It has been a remarkable three years. Like a lot of British expats I thought I would come out for a couple of years and then head back to the the cold of the UK. Today this probably could not be further from the truth as I have realised the amazing opportunity I have with my career in this part of the world.

Dubai has changed dramatically over the last three years. We now have super fast Internet access, if you are willing to pay for it (I have a 24meg line now). There is Waitrose here. The Palm Jumeriah and the Atlantis have opened and there are even three super fast entry points into Dubai Marina.

When I arrived I clearly remember that rents were escalating on a daily basis. The competition between renters was intense and was one of the reasons I ended up buying. Despite the Government’s best efforts less than scrupulous landlords were taking advantage of the situation and hiking up rents at the end of the first year. Things are very different now.

With the slowdown in economy and real estate sector the choice for the new renter in Dubai is nearly limitless. You want a studio for less than $10k a year, no problem.  A good friend of mine rented a 2100 sqft apartment last week for less than the one bedroom apartment which is half the size he was previously in. I like hearing these type of stories because the rate of inflation was getting out of control and clearly unsustainable.

Smart people are now taking advantage of this and using the cheaper rent prices as an excuse to upgrade, moving from an apartment to a villa or something more luxurious. Overall the rental prices are below the level of three years ago. Some of my friends are claiming they are at the point of five years. So anyone out thinking of moving to Dubai – it is an excellent time to do so. The rent was always the thing I cautioned people on and it is now at a very affordable level

The building I live in is just over a year old. As people’s tenancy contracts coming up for renewal there is the natural ebb and flow of people moving into and out of the complex. I met a gent in the elevator the other day who was shifting his gear – he told me that he was downgrading from a huge villa to an apartment to reduce his outgoings. Another friend of mine moved within the complex to get a bigger apartment and those I know who brought here and staying put to try and wide out the wave of negative equity they find themselves in.

From a personal perspective I am happy. I live in what is essentially my dream apartment filled with all manner of gadgets and upgrades, I probably don’t need them but they seemed so important at the time. Most of the building teething problems have been ironed out and the place has a nice community feel to it. With the nearly completed JBR walk and Dubai Marina Mall nearby there is little for me let to wish for and it is always a pleasure to have guests over with such ammenties close by.

I look now to the future and see a lot of things to be excited about. The team I work in continues to grow and expand, bucking the current industry trends as we take the product into new markets. While it is sad to attend all the leaving parties the influx of new expats is starting to happen. Slowly but it is there.

Now with my third anniversary I have to go through a bout of renewing things like my residence visa, alcohol license and finally getting the land registry sorted out on my apartment. The good news is that the beaucracy is sped up a little as there are fewer people wanting these things right now. I however will be sure to take my iPod with me while I sit in line.


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