House Hunting in … United Arab Emirates

This three-bedroom townhouse is in Montgomerie Maisonettes, one of four luxury housing communities in Emirates Hills, a gated community near the coast on the Persian Gulf in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Reached by way of a palm-tree-lined drive, Emirates Hills is a “Beverly Hills-style” community of palatial villas surrounding the 22-room Address Montgomerie hotel and golf resort, said Sally Ann Ghai, the associate director of Luxhabitat, which has the listing.

Built in 2005, this 3,150-square-foot home has a roof deck, a pool and a driveway with room for two cars. It is on a 0.12-acre lot just inside the community gate.

High-gloss mahogany floors run from the first-floor entryway through the combination living-and-dining room, which has 10-foot ceilings. Wall-to-wall bookshelves line one side of the space; two floor-to-ceiling picture windows and two sets of sliding-glass doors overlook the swimming pool and terrace.

The kitchen, reached through a pocket door off the foyer, has an integrated refrigerator and dishwasher that are indistinguishable from the glossy white cabinets. The floor is white ceramic tile. Appliances include a wine cooler, an electric oven and a cooktop, as well as a combination washer-dryer.

CreditKatarina Premfors for The New York Times

An open staircase, illuminated by a large window, rises to a spacious landing with a mirrored display case. Upstairs are three bedrooms with white carpeting. Sliding doors from the master suite and one of the other two bedrooms open to a shared balcony overlooking the backyard and golf course.

The marble master bathroom has twin ceramic farmhouse sinks, a tub, a separate shower and a bidet. The other two bedrooms share a ceramic-tiled bathroom with a tub and single vanity.

The glass-and-chrome floor of a small study on the roof level is visible from the stairwell, said Boglarka Kertesz, a friend of the owner who lives in the house. Views from the outdoor dining and lounging areas on the rooftop terrace are amplified by a wall mirror reflecting the Dubai skyline.

The pool follows the contour of the house and gardens, with a cooling and heating system to keep the water comfortable in hot or cold weather. The terrace has pockets of sunny and shady relaxing areas, and a barbecue corner.

The townhouse is about a 20-minute drive from downtown Dubai, the largest and most populous city in United Arab Emirates. Residents get a 15 percent discount on food and beverages at the Montgomerie resort’s restaurants and can use its driving range, golf course and spa facilities. A handful of nearby schools offer international baccalaureate or British curriculum. Dubai International Airport is 25 minutes away.

Dubai is known as the most expensive city in the Middle East, although its rapid expansion slowed considerably during the global recession of 2008.

During the past few years, its resale and off-plan, or under-construction, markets have experienced “a little bit of stagnation in terms of rate of transactions,” Ms. Ghai said.

There was “a lot of pent-up demand” as buyers waited for prices to drop, she added, but the last six months have seen “more movement” and “a lot more serious inquiries.”


CreditKatarina Premfors for The New York Times

“The market is stabilizing and maturing,” Ms. Ghai said. “You can cash out nicely in six years, but you can’t double your money in six months.”

Because Dubai is considered a “gateway city” to the Middle East, “there is a lot of interest in the second-home market,” said Timothy M. Kelly, the executive vice president and managing director of the Atlantis, the Palm and the Royal Atlantis resorts. Dubai, he said, has “the largest proportion of cranes in the world today, as it continues to grow and be developed.”

Both new development and supply are abundant, said Anjana Mahna, a senior global property consultant for Gulf Sotheby’s International Realty. “The prices are really low,” she said. “This correction was required to make the market affordable.”

According to the Dubai House Price Index compiled by Property Monitor, using data from Cavendish Maxwell, a residential property consultancy, housing prices declined 14.5 percent in May 2019, compared with a year earlier. The average villa or townhouse sale price decreased to 4.4 million AED (or $1.2 million), while the average apartment sale price remained stable at 1.7 million AED ($463,000). Both were about 20 percent below the market peak in 2015.

“Consumer needs are also influencing demand and fueling growth in particular communities,” said Matthew Bate, the chief executive of Engel & Völkers Dubai. His office has seen higher demand this year in communities like Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Islands, he said, “that clearly provide a high level of lifestyle value and, of course, value for money.”


CreditKatarina Premfors for The New York Times

In May, Mr. Bate said, Engel & Völkers saw 15 percent year-over-year growth in off-plan market transactions and is forecasting “steady growth” for the next two quarters, while “the resale market continued to average around 1,100 transactions per month,” with a 23 percent year-over-year growth in February.

On Palm Jumeirah, a man-made archipelago in the shape of a palm tree, with 17 fronds jutting into the Persian Gulf, the first homes — large waterfront villas with private beach access — were completed in 2007. Construction continues on the crescent, with 231 residences at the 43-story Royal Atlantis Residences expected to be completed next year. Prices range from $1.9 million for a 1,721-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment to $12 million for a 4,500-square-foot duplex with a large private garden.

Nearby, eight buildings with 104 units — ranging from 5,000 to 15,000 square feet each, and priced from 14 million to 85 million AED ($3.8 million to $23.1 million) — are expected to be ready late this year at the new W Residences Dubai, said Hala Ramzy, the development’s marketing director.

Emaar Properties, one of Dubai’s largest developers of master-planned communities, is building Dubai Creek Harbour, a 2.3-square-mile waterfront residential and retail metropolis, with housing for 200,000. Emaar is also developing Dubai Hills Estate, a golf-course community in the heart of the city, and recently began work on a maritime community, Mina Rashid, with a superyacht marina and mid-rise waterfront residences.

“The majority of people that live here” — or about 92 percent of the population — “are expats,” said Maria Morris, a partner and head of the residential team at Knight Frank Middle East. “It’s a very welcoming community, a melting pot of different communities,” she added, that includes buyers from Australia and a growing number of Americans.

Agents said that most foreign buyers are from India, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, China, Egypt, Canada and Russia.

The Emirates Hills website notes that its residents predominantly hail “from the Indian subcontinent as well as Iran and Western Europe.”


CreditKatarina Premfors for The New York Times

Foreigners have been permitted to buy freehold property in Dubai since 2002, but only in designated free zones, Mr. Bate said. The 23 free zones include sought-after communities like Palm Jumeirah, Emirates Hills, downtown Dubai, Dubai Marina, Emirates Living and Mohammed bin Rashid City.

“There are still enclaves that are restricted,” Ms. Ghai said, but “most of the luxury areas are freehold.”

Mortgages are available to nonresident buyers, Mr. Bate said. A property lawyer or conveyancer is recommended but not required to handle real estate transactions, Ms. Mahna said. Titles are checked and sales registered with the Dubai Land Department.

Arabic; United Arab Emirates dirham (1 dirham = $0.27)

The annual maintenance fee paid on this house to the developer is 11,000 AED ($2,995). The monthly government housing fee, which includes electricity and water, is 1,200 AED ($327).

The transfer fee is 4 percent of the sale price. The buyer pays a 2 percent commission to the buyer’s agent, and the seller pays a 2 percent commission to the buyer’s agent. On new construction, the developer pays the commission.

Sally Ann Ghai, Luxhabitat, 011-971-56-343-11-75;

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Published at Wed, 26 Jun 2019 13:31:26 +0000