If you're planning to buy property in Dubai, there are a series of costs that you need to take into account before taking the plunge. A good thumb rule would be to account for an approximate one time cost of 7% of the value of your property as a buffer to manage your costs (This would encompass mortgage fees, DLD registration fees, trustee fees, etc.). Besides your monthly mortgage payments (if any), you also need to take into consideration the service charges of the building which are paid on an annual basis. Here's a guide to service charges in some prominent areas & developments of Dubai to be able to better estimate your costs of purchasing a home in Dubai.
What is a Service Charge?
A service charge is the cost of maintaining your property. This charge will usually cover maintenance, cleaning, and repair work in communal areas of the property. It also may include chiller fees. The service provider for these is usually nominated by the owner's association of the development. Please note that in some cases, some apartment developments charge different rates for inclusive balconies/ terraces, which means you may be expected to pay a lower charge. In addition to this, it is important to keep in mind that the service charges for most villa communities are charged based on the plot area. Jumeirah Golf Estates is the exception in this case & charges based on the built up area.
Besides this, you will also contribute a nominal amount to a 'sinking fund'. This sinking fund is used to help maintain the yearly service charge fees and prevent any major ups and downs in service charge fees. The funds are usually utilised in major repairs, especially for those communities that have district cooling units and need chiller replacements. It will also be used in situations where elevators need to be repaired/replaced and maintenance of facade cladding.
Service charges by community
The Arabian Ranches 1 & Arabian Ranches 2 areas have a very reasonable AED 2.73 and AED 2.41 rate per square foot.
Downtown Dubai is one of the most expensive areas in terms of service charges. However, most Emaar developments have a free chiller option, which makes you not have to worry about paying separate chiller charges per month. Expect to pay more for hotel apartments. Here are some of the more prominent developments & their respective service charges:
1. Burj Khalifa - AED 72 per square foot
2. The Address Dubai Mall - AED 41.35 per square foot
3. The Address Downtown - AED 29.73 per square foot
4. 29 Boulevard - AED 18.38 per square foot
6. South Ridge - AED 15.80 per square foot
7. 8 Boulevard Walk - AED 18.50 per square foot
8. The Lofts - AED 17.80 per square foot
9. Old Town - AED 21.75 per square foot
10. Burj Views - AED 17.50 per square foot
11. Claren - AED 24.82 per square foot
12. Boulevard Central - AED 21.97 per square foot
13. Stand Point - AED 21.51 per square foot
Service charges in City Walk run up to AED 21.95 per square foot.
The service charges for apartments in Dubai Marina vary from building to building. Here are the most popular ones:
1. Marina Crown - AED 14.00/sqft
2. Marina Heights - AED 13.52 /sqft
3. Marina Arcade - AED 13.21 /sqft
4. Silverene Tower - AED 18.58 /sqft
5. Emirates Crown - AED 8.03 /sqft
6. Princess Tower - AED 16.93 /sqft
7. 23 Marina - AED 16.00 /sqft
8. Al Majara - AED 22.78/sqft
9. Al Sahab - AED 19.83 /sqft
10. Azure Residences - AED 20.10 /sqft
11. Bay Central - AED 21.56 /sqft
12. Botanica - AED 16.33 /sqft
13. Dorra Bay - AED 17.84/sqft
14. Elite Residence - AED 15.00 /sqft
15. Emaar 6 - AED 14.69 /sqft
16. Le Reve - AED 18.00 /sqft
17. Marina Promenade - AED 23.29 /sqft
18. Marina Quays - AED 22.05 /sqft
19. Park Island - AED 20.27 /sqft
20. Trident Grand - AED 20.72 /sqft
Service charges in Emirates Hills set you back AED 1.70 /sqft.
Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR)
Jumeirah Golf Estates (JGE)
The service charges for Jumeirah Golf Estates vary with each development:
1. Flame Tree Ridge - AED 5.01 /sqft
2. Hillside - AED 3.33 /sqft
3. Lime Tree Valley - AED 5.01 /sqft
4. Olive Point - AED 6.65 /sqft
5. Orange Lake - AED 5.88 /sqft
6. Redwood Avenue - AED 6.63/sqft
7. Sanctuary Falls - AED 4.56/sqft
8. Sienna Lakes - AED 4.6/ sqft
9. Sienna Views - AED 4.21 /sqft
10. Whispering Pines - AED 5.94 /sqft
11. Wildflower - AED 4.11/sqft
It is the only villa community that charges service fees based on the built up area rather than the plot size. Additional charges also include AED 10,000 per annum for the house membership as well as an additional quarterly car park service charge.
One of the most covetable locations, Palm Jumeirah's Signature villas have some of the most reasonable prices per square foot in terms of service charges. Here is a selection of developments and their corresponding service fees:
1. Marina Residences - AED 14.75 /sqft
2. Oceana - AED 24 /sqft
3. Shoreline Apartments - AED 12.29 /sqft
4. Grandeur Residences - AED 20.66 /sqft
5. Muraba - AED 17.91/sqft
6. Tiara Residences - AED 19.32/sqft.