Riding the Metro wave


As population demographics shift, residents and real estate gravitate towards the Metro

Reasons like mobility and accessibility have been cited by residents who have decided to live close to a Metro station. Despite pricier rents and sales prices, communities around the Dubai Metro will continue to attract more people and consequently encourage more developers to build around these areas, according to analysts.

Rents in residential buildings within a five- to 15-minute walk to a Metro station increased by 1.8 percent on average from Q1 2014 to Q1 2018, according to Knight Frank. Rents in these areas have also outperformed most other locations, despite overall rents falling by 11 percent during the same period.

Meanwhile, sales prices of residential units within a five-minute walk of a Metro station have increased by 51 percent on average from Q1 2010 to Q1 2018. Units within a 10-minute walk have enjoyed a price growth of 58 percent, while those within a 15-minute walk saw prices rise by 33 percent.

“The impact of accessibility through the Metro on property value in Dubai can be specified since we have seen a rise in the middle-income class; they take into account factors like accessibility to public transport and time savings when it comes to commuting,” said Fadi Nwilati, CEO of Kaizen Asset Management Services. “Overall we have seen people pay premium rates to be close to the Metro in areas like Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai Marina and Business Bay.”

While properties in central locations close to a Metro are enjoying a premium, even more remote areas have also felt the boost. “There are locations such as Jebel Ali where there aren’t many residential buildings and predominantly consist of commercial warehousing assets. However, a Metro station adds value to the location and residential buildings, as it provides tenants with greater mobility and efficient access,” said Abdul Kadir Faizal, co-founder of Smart Crowd, a digital real estate investment platform.

Sachin Holden, who has lived near the Sharaf DG Metro station for four years, said he immediately moved to his current residence as soon as the station opened. “Once the Dubai Metro was operational, I vacated my place and shifted into a building right next to the Metro so I could use it as my primary mode of transport,” said Holden.

A real estate broker, Holden said the Metro has been key to his mobility with many of the major real estate companies and developers having offices close to a station. “Cityscape and every international exhibition and conference at Dubai World Trade Centre is available for my consideration because I don’t have to even think about parking or traffic,” he said.

He’s also had more time to read and has even developed his photography skills by traveling via the Metro. “My phone photography and videography improved with experiments with hyper lapses, time lapses and slower shutter speeds. I have finished reading more books on the Metro.”

Maya Itani-Abu Hassan doesn’t use the Metro as often, but living close to it has delivered other benefits. “The Metro makes us feel connected to the whole city,” said Abu Hassan, who lives near the DIFC Metro station with her husband. “It makes it easier for our out-of-town guests to be self-sufficient and for our nanny to be mobile on her weekends. We personally don’t use it too often, but when we do it’s for recreation.”

According to Knight Frank, a change in Dubai’s population demographics has been a major factor in a shift in residential preferences. According to its recent report, there has been a substantial increase in Dubai’s middle-class over the past 10 years to 2017. “Currently, households earning up to $150,000 [Dh550,500] per annum make up 60 percent of households, up from 40 percent a decade earlier. This has meant that there has been a strong level of demand in the affordable to mainstream segments of the market,” Knight Frank stated, noting how a big chunk of residents will gravitate towards more affordable areas close to the Metro.


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Published by Gulf News | December 18, 2018