Dubai Residents Making Noticeable Shift to the Suburbs in 2020

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: ServiceMarket, the leading digital platform in the UAE for home services such as moving, cleaning, and maintenance, recently conducted a comprehensive research on moving trends in Dubai over the past few months. The results were based on thousands of moving requests by Dubai residents booked on the ServiceMarket platform during the third quarter of 2020. The study aimed to identify the most popular move-in destinations for Dubai residents, compare them to the most popular areas in prior years, and to assess whether the COVID-19 pandemic had any effect on the moving patterns among the residents of Dubai.

The top 10 Dubai residential areas where people are moving to

The top 10 most popular residential areas in Dubai where residents moved to during Q3 2020 according to all moving requests processed on ServiceMarket’s platform during this period are:

The top 10 areas in Dubai where residents moved to in Q3 2020 comprise more than half of the total move-in requests. A closer look at the top 10 areas will show that the vast majority of the top 10 areas are in, what is known as, “New Dubai”.

Dubailand and its suburbs, comprising multiple projects such as Town Square, Mira Community, Akoya Damac, Remraam, and Arjan, came top of the list with approximately 12.1% of all moves. 

Not surprisingly, highly dense urban centers like Dubai Marina and Downtown Dubai continue to top the lists – like they do every year. The main factor contributing to their consistent position is that these are central areas of Dubai with many residential buildings, shops, and restaurants established over time. Moreover, they are in close proximity to the financial and business hubs of Dubai.

The rising popularity of Dubailand and the Suburbs

Dubailand and its suburbs are not only the most popular residential areas to move to among Dubai residents but are also the fastest-growing areas in Dubai. In comparison to last year, the number of move-in requests received for Dubailand has increased by 30%.

One of the driving forces behind this trend is the rising popularity of Town Square, which has seen thousands of residential units being handed over in late 2019. Consequently, an influx of residents made the shift to these spacious villas and high-rise apartments.

Mira Community, which is the second most popular project in Dubai’s suburbs has managed to retain its position among the top 3 most popular suburban areas. Situated just opposite Town Square, it comprises villas and townhouses giving residents the opportunity to live in spacious houses within Dubai. With several projects under its wing, the likes of Mira Oasis, and multiple sectors, Mira keeps on developing new villas to keep up with the demand for good villas at competitive rates.

Akoya Oxygen by Damac also appears to be a high contender in terms of growth as ServiceMarket has seen a significant increase in the move-in requests in one quarter alone as opposed to the whole of 2019.

It is important to note that the Academic City, Silicon Oasis and International City have also seen an increase. This change is mainly due to people moving to Dubai Silicon Oasis and International City.  

This further elevates the premise that people are moving towards the suburbs at the outskirts of the city. These communities on the outskirts of Dubai mainly target the ex-pat community, especially families with kids, promoting an improved standard of living with enough space for the kids to play and enjoy the outdoors.

Have moving trends been impacted due to COVID-19 and the drop in rental rates?

Since 2019, rental rates in Dubai have been on a downward trend due to the disparity between supply and demand as more and more projects were developed and handed over.[1] The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 exacerbated the situation and further drove down the rental rates as demand for new homes dropped.[2]

This reality could have caused the acceleration in moving requests to the outskirts of Dubai, coupled with the following potential factors:

  1. Rental rates per square foot in the suburban areas are lower as compared to other areas within the city. Rental rates of 3-bedroom villas in Akoya Oxygen are around AED 66,000 while similar sized units in areas closer to the city’s center, like Jumeirah are around AED157,000.[3]
  1. The rental costs in the suburbs are not only lower but also offer more space. Many of the suburbs offer townhouses and villas with spacious gardens and more rooms. These extra rooms can prove to be quite useful during the pandemic when most of the people are either working from home or opting for distance learning in which case they require a home office or a separate room for studying.
  1. With many people still working from home, the commute factor could be less of an issue as people don’t have to travel to work or school on a daily basis. Earlier on, when moving to a new place, the proximity to the place of work or school was an important element in determining the move. However, during the pandemic, remote working has allowed residents to move to the outskirts where they can get spacious villas/ townhouses at reasonable rates without having to worry about the daily travel to and from home.

In summary

If you had eyed a property in Dubai which you initially thought was too expensive for you, this would be the right time to check the rent of that place again and reconsider moving. With so many options to choose from amongst the newly established projects in Dubai, it is the perfect time for people who want a spacious place for good money’s worth to repack their apartment and move to a bigger place among the newer communities. If you are considering moving, ServiceMarket has sourced the best rates from vetted movers and packers in Dubai. Visit the site or download the app to get instant quotes from your move in Dubai.

About ServiceMarket

ServiceMarket is the UAE’s leading online marketplace that provides quotes and online bookings for moving, cleaning, and home maintenance services in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the rest of the UAE, through an extensive network of more than 300 licensed service providers. Founded in 2013, ServiceMarket has since grown to four cities in the Middle East, with plans to expand in the MENA region and beyond.


[1] “Revealed: Areas in Dubai that saw the biggest drop in residential rents in 2019”. Gulf Business. 2020-01-14

[2] “Dubai rental market hits ‘all-time low’, says latest JLL report”. Arabian Business. 2020-10-18..

[3] “Best villa communities in Dubai for 2020”. Bayut.com.

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