Dubai districts list for living and investing in 2023
Dubai is the capital of the eponymous emirate, the largest of the seven emirates of the country in terms of population. The city is home to 3.5 million people. Notably, about 85% of Dubai’s residents are expats.
From the end of 2020 to April 2022, Dubai’s population increased by 100 thousand people. Attracting new residents is one of the main goals of the emirate’s government. City officials expect that in 20 years 5.8 million people will live in Dubai. Concurrently, the expansion of the city area and the construction of new urban areas continue.
Completion in: 2025.IV Total of 13 apartments
Completion in: 2026.IV Total of 500 apartments
Downtown Dubai: the Tourist Centre
Downtown Dubai is the central area of the city, where the main attractions are located: the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall — the world's largest shopping centre, the singing fountain and the Dubai Opera. Due to so many famous places, there are always a lot of tourists in Downtown.
Downtown has a well-developed residential and transport infrastructure: there are many shops and restaurants, a metro line and bus routes. There is a small green park in the centre of the district. Urban planning and development of the area was carried out by the development company Emaar.
From Downtown, it is easy to get to the main business centres of the city: the Business Bay area, the DIFC free economic zone and the Dubai Internet City technology park. On the other hand, Downtown is located relatively far from the city beaches: at a distance of a 20-minute car drive. There are also no schools in Downtown, only kindergartens.
Property prices in Downtown are among the highest in the city. In March 2022, the cost of housing in the area was 5,920 US dollars per square metre, which is 84% higher than the city average.
Downtown is classified as a freehold zone, which means that foreigners can buy property in the area.
Completion in: 2026.II Total of 49 apartments
Completion in: 2025.IV Total of 232 apartments
Completion in: 2026.III Total of 404 apartments
Business Bay: the Business District
This area of Dubai is one of the major financial centres in the Middle East. It is located on the bank of the Dubai Canal, between the Downtown and Jumeirah areas. Most of the area's development is reserved for office and retail space. Nevertheless, there are also many residential complexes located in Business Bay.
Typically, young professionals and bachelors, office workers and entrepreneurs settle in Business Bay. Almost 18 thousand companies are registered in the region. However, there are very few parks and playgrounds here.
Business Bay has its own metro station, and many bus routes pass through the area. As well as from Downtown, from Business Bay it is easy to get to other centres of economic activity: the DIFC free economic zone and the Dubai Internet City technology park.
Occasionally young families also choose Business Bay. For them, this area is more attractive than Downtown because there are more kindergartens and primary schools here. While there are no schools for older children in the district itself, the neighbouring areas have many preparatory and secondary schools, including prestigious international schools like GEMS and Safa British School.
In 2022, the average cost of real estate in Business Bay is 3,967 US dollars per square metre.
Completion in: 2023.IV Total of 346 apartments
Completion in: 2026.II Total of 500 apartments
Built in 2019 Total of 110 apartments
Dubai Marina: a Comfortable Life in the Centre
Dubai Marina is a coastal area near a man-made bay, next to the Palm Jumeirah. This district is built up with skyscrapers, which form a recognisable silhouette of the city. Among them are the Cayan Tower, twisted by 90 degrees, and the Princess Tower.
Dubai Marina is home to a variety of residential and commercial buildings, as well as the Marina Mall and the Marina Walk — a scenic 7-kilometre-long promenade. The beach is within walking distance. There are two metro stations, bus and tram routes in the area.
This prestigious district is very convenient for living: there are supermarkets, local grocery stores, gyms, beauty salons, clinics, kindergartens — all within walking distance from any residential building.
The disadvantages of the area include the lack of schools, heavy traffic during rush hour and high noise levels. The housing prices are quite high as well. The average price per square metre in Dubai Marina is 3,748 US dollars. The median price for a one-bedroom apartment is 340,321 US dollars.
Total area 121 m² 2 bedrooms
Completion in: 2026.IV Total of 219 apartments
Built in 2021 Total of 179 apartments
Jumeirah: the Elite Coastline and Islands
Jumeirah is a coastal region best known for its artificial island of Palm Jumeirah. Hotels and private villas occupy most of the island. The famous Atlantis Hotel and a large water park are located here. However, there are few grocery stores and restaurants outside the hotels on the island; there is also no public transport other than a monorail connecting the island to the mainland.
Life in the main part of the Jumeirah region looks completely different. The prevalent buildings of the district’s continental part are low-rise villas. Families often choose to settle here. Jumeirah has a well-developed residential infrastructure with many supermarkets, schools and clinics. Large green parks are located in this area: Safa Park and Jumeirah Beach Park. In close proximity is the Persian Gulf coast with its city beaches and water sports opportunities.
The easiest way to get around the district is by taxi or your own car. The nearest metro station is far from the coast, near Sheikh Zayed Road.
Jumeirah is considered an elite area and real estate prices reflect that. The average price per square metre here is 8,912 US dollars. It should be noted that the average cost of housing is so high due to the extremely expensive high-end villas on the coastline. The median price for a one-bedroom apartment in Jumeirah is 191,668 US dollars.
Part of Jumeirah is classified as a freehold zone. Therefore, there are certain locations where foreigners can buy housing in this district, such as Jumeirah Heights and Jumeirah Lake Towers.
Total area 1,245 m² 5 bedrooms
Total area 314 m² 5 bedrooms
MBR City: “a City Within a City” on the Lagoon
Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City (also known as MBR City) is named after the current Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates. It is a 12–15 minute drive from Downtown.
MBR City is an ambitious city-within-a-city project that has everything you need for a comfortable living. Several large green parks, a shopping mall, an amusement park, a golf club, and a racing club are located here. There are also two international British schools in the district.
MBR City has a relatively low building density for Dubai and so it has enough space left for parks, gardens and courtyards, which is rare in Dubai. In the centre of the district there is a man-made lagoon with a 14-kilometre-long embankment, with jogging and cycling paths.
Many buildings in MBR City are still under construction, so it can be difficult to move into a finished apartment quickly. There is no metro line in the area yet, but there are bus routes. MBR city is located close to the main streets of Dubai: Sheikh Zayed Road and Al Khail Highway.
MBR City is one of the largest freehold zones in Dubai, which means real estate is available for purchase by foreigners.
Total area 597 m² 4 bedrooms
Dubai Creek Harbour: a New Symbol of the City
On the bank of the Dubai Creek there is another massive project: a 550-hectare area called Dubai Creek Harbour.
The developers of the district have tried to arrange a very comfortable life for both singles and families with children. There are numerous parks and gardens, swimming pools, gyms, playgrounds, nurseries and kindergartens in the area. The prevalent development here consists of modern skyscrapers.
It takes 10–15 minutes to reach Downtown from Dubai Creek Harbour by car.
The symbol of the area is the white Dubai Creek Tower, which is inspired by the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. It was supposed to be completed in 2022, but due to the COVID–19 pandemic, its construction was temporarily put on hold. A shopping mall larger than the Dubai Mall, hotels, restaurants and a marina with a yacht club will be built near the Tower in the future.
The builders of the Tower see it as a new symbol of the city and compare it to the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Foreigners are allowed to buy residential property in Dubai Creek Harbour.
Built in 2022 Total of 240 apartments
Built in 2022 Total of 450 apartments
Deira: a Historic District
Deira is located in the east of Dubai, next to the neighbouring city of Sharjah. Previously, before the start of large-scale construction in Dubai, Deira was the business centre of the city.
There are a lot of historical sights in Deira, for example, the Heritage House — one of the oldest buildings in the UAE, which was built in 1890. There are also many traditional oriental bazaars in the area.
Families with children most often settle in this district, so there are many clinics, kindergartens and schools in Deira. There are three metro stations here as well, and at one of them the Red and Green metro lines intersect.
Deira is considered one of the areas with the most affordable prices for living. However, this district does not classify as a freehold zone, so foreigners cannot buy housing here.
Completion in: 2026.I Total of 171 apartments
Completion in: 2026.II Total of 348 apartments
Completion in: 2027.IV Total of 1767 apartments