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Where To Buy In Abu Dhabi

Where To Buy In Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates in the Arabian Gulf is only a 90-minute drive from its flashier neighbour, Dubai. With an expat population of 8.4 million that is growing every year, it’s no surprise that many people choose to make the move to this beautiful city. Abu Dhabi is a laid back paradise whose economy once relied on fishing, but now gets its money from oil - leading to an ever-growing archipelago. Many couples, families and single professionals who are looking for a new adventure consider moving to enjoy the perfect combination of modernity and tradition.

If you’re thinking of hopping over to this hot capital, here’s what you need to know about emigrating to Abu Dhabi.

Why choose Abu Dhabi?

Abu Dhabi is an emirate comprising 200 islands, of which 70% is desert. However, it is also fascinatingly green with an ambitious agricultural program that means Abu Dhabi uses most of its open land to grow a wonderful range of plants. In an attempt to diversify its economy, Abu Dhabi has invested $15 billion into green ventures including alternative energy resources and energy-efficient buildings, meaning there are many potential career opportunities waiting for you.

Not only this, but Abu Dhabi has exciting art developments that hope to make the city a global cultural capital. In 2007, Abu Dhabi signed a contract with France to create a Louvre art museum in Abu Dhabi, which has been described as France’s largest cultural project abroad. Also on Al-Saadiyat Island, you’ll find the largest off-shoot of the Guggenheim - due to open in 2026.

Abu Dhabi is very accessible for those who speak English as much of the population also speak this language and Arab signs and menus carry English translations. While it is a Muslim city, alcohol and pork are available to buy and there are very few limitations on non-Muslims.

What areas should I look at?

As an expat, you can only buy property in certain places due to Law No. 19 of 2005 Concerning the Regulation of the Real Estate Sector. As of 2019 you can only buy in one of the ‘investment zones’ of Abu Dhabi.

These are:

  • Yas Island
  • Saadiyat
  • Reem
  • Mariya
  • Lulu
  • Al Raha Beach
  • Sayh Al Sedairah
  • Al Reef
  • And Masdar City

Here’s a breakdown of some of the most desirable areas.

Yas Island

Yas Island is a man-made island that hosts a whole range of exciting activities and innovative real estate. It’s an action-packed island with world-renowned theme parks, stunning waterfront properties and an abundance of shops and restaurants.

Yas Island hosts the du Arena, which boasts performances from a-list musicians, comedians and actors. It also offers Ferrari world for car lovers, Yas Waterworld - a waterpark that will blow your mind and Yas Marina Circuit - home to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Schools in the area have an excellent reputation and Yas Island is also close to Abu Dhabi international Airport. If you’re in the market for a gorgeous waterfront property with world-class amenities - then Yas Island might be for you.

Property prices

Yas Island is one of the most popular areas to buy both villas and apartments as of 2018 and provides a great opportunity for investment. If you’re looking for an apartment, the rent for a studio in Ansam, Yas Island, starts at AED 50k, whereas a 1-bedroom apartment for sale on Yas Island goes for an average of AED 1.39M.

An average 3-bedroom villa sells for around AED 3.2M and 5-bedroom properties can range up to AED 5M. Many of these villas come with a pool or pool access, a golf course on the door-step or a location that is a stone's throw from the waterfront.

Things to consider

While Yas Island provides a wonderful island metropolis, it’s worth bearing in mind that it is slightly further away from the main island and you may have a commute of 30 minutes if you plan to work in the centre. Although it is closer to newer developments in Abu Dhabi including Khalifa City A, Saadiyat Island and Al Raha Beach. It’s likely you’ll need your own vehicle to get around the island and to other areas of Abu Dhabi, however there is still public transport available.

Saadiyat Island

Saadiyat Island, also known as Jazeera Saadiyat which means ‘island of happiness’, is known for being one of the most luxurious places to live in Abu Dhabi and has a beachfront lifestyle with countless entertainment venues and urban amenities.

As one of the most exclusive addresses in the emirate, Saadiyat Island is home to the Louvre, St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort and plenty of restaurants and shops. If you’re a golfer, Saadiyat has an outstanding golf course as well as long stretches of beach, making it the best place to enjoy your weekends.

The island is connected with loads of walking and cycling paths, and once you’ve built up an appetite, you can dine at high-class restaurants that offer a variety of cuisines. You’ll also have access to plenty of grocery stores, pharmacies and good schools. If you live in one of the impressive residential communities, you’ll have access to state-of-the-art pools, gyms and play areas.

Property prices

Many of the apartments available for sale are open-plan, spacious and come with lots of attractive amenities. A luxury 1-bedroom apartment for sale in Saadiyat Island would cost AED 2M, while 2-bedroom flats for sale are available for AED 2.74M. You can expect to pay AED 4.2M for a 3-bedroom apartment, and many of these have access to private pools, sea views and basement parking.

Alternatively, for 4-bedroom villas for sale in Saadiyat Island, you may expect to pay AED 7.6M, while 5 and 6-bed villas for sale in Saadiyat Island are available for AED 11M and AED 16M, respectively.

Things to consider

While Saadiyat has almost everything you could need as expats, there are some things to consider. There are no hospitals on the island itself, however, the nearest one is only 20 minutes away. Because the island is always looking to expand and improve amenities and properties for residents, there are several construction projects underway. While some may find this a hindrance, it is only a sign of the exciting infrastructure that is to come!

Al Reem Island

A well-established central island with a vibrant community, Al Reem Island is ideal for families, couples and single professionals alike. It has a great balance of slow living, while still being close enough to the city to get to work or school easily. The centre is accessible via multiple bridges that connect Al Reem to its surrounding islands. This enviable location makes it popular among expats and residents alike.

Al Reem Island is also home to the prestigious Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, as well as an array of excellent schools and nurseries. There are plenty of attractions and amenities to keep you busy. Al Reem Central Park is popular among residents and offers skate parks, sports courts, promenades, restaurants and food trucks.

The highly anticipated Reem Mall will be opening in 2022 and is a 2.8 million square feet mall filled with entertainment and leisure, including the world's largest snow park. Many of the best apartment buildings in Al Reem Island offer access to gymnasiums, swimming pools and even dedicated barbecue and play areas. There are supermarkets dotted throughout the neighbourhood and a community mosque that can accommodate 2,500 worshippers.

Property prices

Unlike Saadiyat and Yas, Al Reem has a large portfolio of high-rise buildings, offering renters and buyers a wide array of apartments. Most apartments in Al Reem come with stunning sea views, state-of-the-art amenities and contemporary interiors.

Flats are highly sought after but the price to buy a 1-bedroom apartment in Al Reem Island is around AED 800k. You can buy 2-bedroom flats in Reem at around AED 1.2M. If you’d rather rent an apartment instead, 1 or 2-bed apartments will cost you around AED 59K and AED 84K respectively and 3-bedroom flats stand at AED 124K.

Things to consider

Because living on Al Reem Island is very popular, this means there are a large amount of families and individuals commuting to and from the island everyday. So you may occasionally meet traffic when using one of the 5 bridges that joins the island to downtown Abu Dhabi. There are also a number of construction developments on Al Reem, which may not be pleasing to everyone, however, these developments will provide more entertainment and amenities and improve the quality of life on the island.

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