Driven by Position and Prestige

Emirates Hills continues to be in high demand, especially among owners who crave privacy

28 Mar 2014 words by Sophie McKinley in Neighbourhoods

As with all of Dubai's prime areas, sales in Emirates Hills have been rising throughout 2012, in terms of both volume and price, with almost two dozen villas changing hands so far this year. There's also a healthy demand for rentals but very few properties available for less than AED900,000-1,000,000 per year.

It must always be remembered that Emirates Hills is unlike any other area - not only in the nature and style of the properties but the vendors that we find here and the way they like to operate. It's essential to know them well and really understand what they want. Most vendors like to be very private and some take that to the extreme of not wanting any photo- graphs taken or even any overt marketing done. While this creates a challenge, it underlines the importance of personal networks at this end of the market.

As for the properties themselves, each has been built to a specific owner's requirements as a home for his own family - or to his assumptions about what like-minded buyers may want. This means enormous variation in floor plans, build quality and aesthetics, with the result that the normal 'per square foot' pricing guides don't apply; each villa has to be priced separately.

The entry level for a home here has now risen to AED17 million for the smallest villas - these are without a golf course view and there are very few of them avail- able. The level at which we start to see a little choice is AED21-25m, while those directly fronting the golf course are a significant step up, in the AED35-50m range, with a few owners asking considerably more than that.

By comparison, signature villas on Palm Jumeirah at the middle or ends of the fronds, are now fetching prices in the AED20-30m range and asking prices at Al Barari start at AED21-15m, which remains very good value, given the quality.

That said, Emirates Hills will always have the added benefit of its convenient location close to Sheikh Zayed Road, and the presence of good schools in the immediate vicinity. Indeed, we are seeing some buyers moving here from Palm Jumeirah for that reason, as well as the fact that it feels more settled than the Palm, where quite a lot of owners use their villas only as weekend or holiday homes. And, of course, there's the prestige of the name; we can't see a time when any other UAE community will beat Emirates Hills on that score.