As the district is limited in size, multi-storey buildings predominate here. The most common property type in Downtown Dubai are 1-5-bedroom apartments (including serviced apartments) and penthouses. The cost of studios starts from AED 428,000 (USD 117,000), and one-room apartments cost from AED 695,000 (USD 190,000).
You can also buy or rent villas and townhouses in Downtown Dubai. There is a limited series of houses located on the runway levels of high-rise buildings. Prices for villas in Downtown Dubai start from AED 1,914,000 (USD 521,000) and for townhouses – from AED 5,100,000 (USD 1 388 000).
Another exclusive option is the purchase of a whole floor of a residential tower, which can be either a finished property or a floor in a building under construction. If it is an off-plan property, an investor can arrange the space at their own discretion. For instance, the owner could have one spacious residence or split the premises into several apartments and offices. You could live in one of these apartments yourself, and lease the rest of the premises, if buying an entire floor. The minimum price for a full floor in an apartment block in Downtown Dubai is AED 18,500 000 (USD 5,040,000).
Downtown Dubai is the tourist, cultural, business and entertainment center of the Emirate, located between old and new Dubai. Although the district has an area of only 26,909,776 sq. ft, it is home to the main sights of the city, which are recognized as the “record holders” of the world, including the tallest skyscraper on the planet, the Burj Khalifa, the world’s largest light and music fountains, The Dubai Fountain, as well as The Dubai Mall, the largest shopping and entertainment complex in the UAE.
Downtown Dubai is a mixed-use development, with Emaar Properties acting as the master developer. The district has existed for over 20 years and combines both traditional oriental architecture and ultra-modern buildings with futuristic designs, such as The Dubai Opera and the adjacent residential complex IL Primo.
The construction of the district started in 1998 and continues to this day. The area of the district includes cultural and entertainment centers, social infrastructure facilities, residential towers, luxury hotels, offices of world-famous companies, retail shops, restaurants, mosques, shopping centers and walking paths. Downtown Dubai is home to more than 140 nationalities and over 100 residential buildings, with more to come in the future.
The district remains lively throughout the whole year, as the constant flow of tourists here does not stop. It boasts a well-developed transport, social and entertainment infrastructure, as well as a luxurious lifestyle for residents and world-class amenities. All real estate in Downtown Dubai belongs to the premium sector of the real estate market. Budget real estate is virtually impossible to find here.
Along with property in the Burj Khalifa, where a studio can be rented for at least AED 70,000 (USD 19,100) per year, or a one-bedroom apartment for AED 100,000 (USD 27,500), tenants often choose other, less expensive buildings by Emaar Properties.
For example, Boulevard Heights, which is located a 20-minute walk from theBurj Khalifa and The Dubai Fountain, offers 1-4-bedroom apartments for sale. The residential complex comprises two towers – Boulevard Heights Tower 1 and Boulevard Heights Tower 2. Each unit has a balcony and a wide range of amenities within the building, including central air conditioning, a swimming pool, covered parking, fitted wardrobes and a fully-equipped kitchen. The minimum rental cost for a 1-bedroom apartment in Boulevard Heights is AED 4 150,000, USD 40,850.
A more low-budget option is to rent an apartment in the Burj Views Podium, which is part of the residential complex by Emaar Properties, and consists of three towers connected by a podium. The complex is located a 20 minute walk from the Burj Khalifa. Burj Views Podium offers studios and 1 and 2-bedroom apartments for rent. Amenities include central air conditioning, a 24-hour concierge and security services, a swimming pool, covered parking, a barbecue area and a gym. One-bedroom apartments in Burj Views Podium can be rented for AED 65,000 (USD 18,000) per year.
The convenient location of the district is set along the Sheikh Zayed Road and provides easy access to all residential and commercial areas of the city. Downtown Dubai is bordered by other popular districts, including Business Bay, Za’abeel, Al Wasl and DIFC, which are all in Dubai’s free economic zone.
The nearest airport to Downtown Dubai is Dubai International Airport (DXB), and can be reached in just 15-20 minutes, while Al Maktoum International Airport is located a 40 minute drive away. It takes 20-25 minutes to reach Dubai Marina, which is an all encompassing entertainment hub with its own marina and all kinds of water sport activities.
In Downtown Dubai, one can use any type of public transport, including the metro, bus and tram, or use the very popular taxi service.
On the border of the district is the Burj Khalifa / Dubai Mall Metro Station, which is located on the red metro line. An air-conditioned covered walkway leads from the metro station directly into The Dubai Mall. The length of the bridge is slightly more than 2,624 ft, but it is not necessary to walk along it – a horizontal escalator will take you to the iconic shopping destination.
One can also get to Downtown Dubai by bus – the closest bus stop to the mall is The Dubai Mall (DM1), where buses No. 27, 28, 29, 50, 81, F 13 and X22 stop along their route.
A Tram station is located on Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, and is the world’s first transport of its kind with a hydrogen engine. The tram carries passengers between the different popular destinations of Downtown Dubai.
If one prefers to travel by a car or a taxi, there will be no problem parking in the area. When purchasing a property in Downtown Dubai, parking spaces are automatically provided for every residential unit. Guests of the district can use one of the numerous paid parking spots or the underground parking lots along Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard.
If expats are planning to move to Downtown Dubai with small children, they can easily find a kindergarten nearby. The most popular kindergartens are Blossom Downtown Nursery Dubai, Pinocchio Nursery and Hummingbird Nursery. The first one is located directly in Downtown Dubai, the other two are in the neighbouring areas, which are 5 minutes’ away by car.
For older children, highly-rated schools can be found near the district as well. For instance, JSS Private School is situated a 10-minute drive from Downtown Dubai, in Al Wasl (Al Safa microdistrict). The institution has received a rating of “Very Good” in the ranking of the Education and Human Development Authority of the Dubai government (The Knowledge and Human Development Authority, KHDA). The school operates according to The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) programme, developed in India. A little further, about 15-20 minutes’ from Downtown Dubai, is the famous Kings’ School Dubai. It is the only school in the Emirates to be awarded the highest “Outstanding” mark annually by the KHDA. The institution is located in Umm Suqeim and operates the British curriculum.
There are two higher education campuses within a 20-minute drive from Downtown Dubai – Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) and Dubai Knowledge Park (Dubai Knowledge Village). These areas are home to dozens of universities, colleges and innovation centers of various thematic areas.
The Dubai Mall is home to a branch of the major health center, Mediclinic. The medical facility covers an area of 69,965 square feet and is conveniently situated on the top floor of the mall, next to the car park. The clinic has a day surgery department, rooms for endoscopy, diagnostics, outpatient consultations and procedures, as well as a physiotherapy gym.
Another major hospital, the Emirates Hospital Clinics, is located in the nearby area of Business Bay, just a 5 minute drive from Downtown Dubai.
Expats, locals and visitors can also find many different branded pharmacies throughout the district, with almost all of them offering a home delivery service.
Downtown Dubai itself is home to several mosques, including the Souk Al Bahar Mosque and The Dubai Mall Mosque. Christians can drive 15-20 minutes’ to churches located in Oud Metha. Among them are St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral, St. Mark & Ava Bishoy Coptic Orthodox Church, and St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
In addition to the large-scale Waitrose supermarket in The Dubai Mall on the lower ground floor, Downtown Dubai has several other supermarkets, including Spinneys and Al Maya. Moreover, many of the residential towers are home to small grocery stores that often offer home delivery services to residents.
Downtown Dubai has entertainment for all tastes and ages, from art galleries to shopping and ice skating. The main cultural and entertainment sites in Downtown Dubai include:
The Burj Khalifa is a 160-storey skyscraper of 2,755 ft in height, with two observation decks, offering stunning views of the entire Emirate, and is one of the most iconic symbols of Dubai. The building houses the Armani Hotel Dubai, many restaurants and offices, as well as premium private real estate (some of the apartments and the penthouse are for sale).
The cost of visiting the iconic tower and taking part in a building tour starts from AED 149 (USD 40). One of the most popular events in the Burj Khalifa, which attracts tourists from all over the world, is the spectacular New Year’s light and laser show with grand fireworks.
The artificial Burj Khalifa Lake has a size of 129,166 square feet, and is located at the foot of the tower of the same name. The world’s largest singing and dancing fountain has been built in the reservoir, and a free show is held here multiple times a day.
The design includes 6,600 light sources, and the jets of water rise higher than 492 ft. During the show, up to 83 thousand liters of water simultaneously take off into the air.
The cultural center of Dubai is the Dubai Opera, a 2,000-seat musical theater. The incredible building is a glass-walled, boat-shaped building with a transformable stage structure. Theater shows, concerts, exhibitions and international shows are held here throughout the year.
The area of the world’s largest shopping center is 10,763,910 sq. ft, which is almost half of Downtown Dubai. The Dubai Mall is a kind of “city within a city”, where in addition to shopping areas, one can also find all kinds of entertainment options as well, including:
The Dubai Mall houses international, regional and local branded boutiques that cover all product lines from fashion to literature and technology. The Fashion Avenue shopping gallery sells products from Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton and probably every other luxury brand you could possibly think of!
Another iconic mall in Downtown Dubai is the Souk Al Bahar. This is a small shopping mall with the unique design of an oriental bazaar (its name is translated from Arabic as “sailors’ market”). There are about 100 small shops, including local perfumes, spices and dried fruits, as well as over 20 restaurants. The newly opened Time Out Dubai is also located here, where many local F&B outlets from around the city deliver their own pop-up style dining experience all within the same venue.
Downtown Dubai is located to the east of Sheikh Zayed Road, which separates it from the Persian Gulf. Because of the highway, it’s impossible to reach the sea on foot, although the distance between the border of the district and the coast is less than two miles.
One can get to popular public beaches, such as Jumeirah Beach, in just 15-20 minutes by car or in 45 minutes by bus #81. A trip to the Open Beach by car or taxi will take 15 minutes’, and by bus #81 – less than 40 minutes. In addition, there are many swimming pools in Downtown Dubai, which can be found in almost every residential complex in the area.
Burj Park is a small park where one can go jogging or for a simple walk, even with a pet. For active residents, Downtown Dubai has a bike rental system, where you can take a bike at one station and leave it at the next station. There are also several fitness centers in the area, including the popular Fitness First Al Manzil Platinum, Fitness 360 and Flywheel Sports Dubai.
The developers of Downtown Dubai call the area “The Center of Now”, as it constantly attracts tourists from all over the world, and houses the most visited attractions of Dubai; The Dubai Fountain and The Dubai Mall.
Due to its central location, well-developed infrastructure and a continuous flow of tourists, which ensures a high demand for short-term rental housing, the district is of great interest to investors. In addition, Downtown Dubai has many offices, which guarantees the demand for apartment rentals from expat workers.
Downtown Dubai belongs to one of the freehold zones, which means foreigners can buy real estate with full ownership. In 2019, the district became the second most trending area in Dubai (Business Bay is the first one) by the number of real estate transactions. In 2020, Downtown Dubai became the Emirate’s leader in luxury apartment sales.
At the end of 2020, the highest ROI in the district of 5.9% was recorded for studio apartments, as this is the type of accommodation preferred by young expats to rent. The average ROI for one-bedroom apartments is 5.1%, two and four-bedroom apartments have a return rate of 4.7%, and three-bedroom apartments bring in 4.3%.
However, for those renting out apartments to tourists on a short term basis, ROI can be much higher – from 10% per year. A good option for an investor in this case could be hotel apartments. In fact, it is more like a hotel room, in which the company that works with the operating hotel will help to rent out the apartment. The tenants will be provided with the same service as all hotel guests, and owners will be able to receive income from the rental on a permanent basis.
Among the finished real estate in the district is the Burj Khalifa, which is in particularly high demand among investors. In addition to the unique views that can be seen from the apartments, residents of the world’s tallest tower have access to all kinds of amenities, including private and communal swimming pools, a sauna and jacuzzi, 24-hour concierge services, laundry services, a central air conditioning system, children’s playground, on-site restaurants and underground parking with valet parking. All apartments and penthouses feature modern interior design, with residences having wooden floors, fitted wardrobes and fully-equipped kitchens. Prices for one-bedroom apartments in the Burj Khalifa start at AED 1,750,000 (USD 476,000).
Foreign investors often choose off-plan projects, so Downtown Views II and Il Primo are the perfect, off-plan options in this district.
IL Primo is a residential tower by Emaar located in the Opera District, just a 5-minute walk from the Burj Khalifa and a couple of minutes’ from the Singing Fountains and The Dubai Opera. The tower has 77 storeys and offers luxury 4-6-bedroom apartments and penthouses for sale. One can also buy a whole floor within the tower as well. Apartments with spacious terraces and panoramic windows are equipped with a smart home system and audio equipment that is synced with the dancing fountains. Other amenities for residents include indoor and outdoor pools for adults and children, a cigar lounge, a cinema, a library, restaurants, a spa, gyms and a golf course. Retail shops will also be located on the lower floors of the tower. The minimum cost of a four-bedroom apartment in IL Primo is AED 16,295,000 (USD 4,436,000). The construction of the tower is nearing completion.
Downtown Views II is a new residential complex from Emaar, which consists of three multi-storeyed towers. The buildings offer luxury apartments with 1-4-bedrooms, as well as penthouses and entire floors. The residences feature a contemporary design and panoramic windows that provide natural light and overlook the stunning Burj Khalifa, the singing fountains and the city’s skyline. Numerous amenities are available to residents of the complex, including adult and children’s heated pools, a fitness club, a spa, a playground for kids, recreation and barbecue areas, central air conditioning, concierge services and 24-hour security. The minimum cost of a one-bedroom apartment here is AED 1,300,000 (USD 354,000).
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