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Abu Dhabi - Accommodation & Property
The housing crunch in Abu Dhabi has caused property rates to escalate far beyond the rental and purchase prices in Dubai. The average rent per sq m is $430 in 2008 as against $272 in 2007, which translates to a growth of 58%. Purchase prices saw a spurt of 61% over the same period. Prices of residential property are expected to be around 28,000 Dhs by the end of 2008.
Abu Dhabi's vast expat population is spread across the city, in apartments, low rises and villas. The Corniche and Zayed 2nd Street are preferred locations, with 20 storey buildings skirting the shoreline. Manasir and Karama are favored neighborhoods too, as are Bateen and Khalidia, where independent homes can be located. Villas can be looked up between 24th Street and 34th Street.
Low rises and villas dominate the residential blocks between Airport Road and 30th Street, while high rise apartments are characteristic of the Al Wahda neighbourhood between 2nd and 4th Street
The upcoming suburbs of Khalifa A and Khalifa B offer more affordable housing. A studio apartment is available on rent at Dhs 50,000 while a single bedroom unit would be around Dhs 120,000. Rental on a 2 bedroom apartment is around Dhs 160, 000. Further away from the airport at Al Samha, 2 bedroom apartments can be rented at Dhs 80,000.
Abu Dhabi Marine, Arabian Ranches and Emirate Hills, Al Raha and the Tourist Club area are other popular residential areas sought after by expats.
Abu Dhabi is expanding fast with sophisticated projects at Saadiyaat and Al Reem Island setting new trends in living.
Apartments in Abu Dhabi generally come unfurnished, and tenants have to arrange for their own furniture, including wardrobes. In case you have a pet, you need to find out if your condominium allows you to keep one in your apartment.
Expatriates in Abu Dhabi can avail the services of brokerage firms to find rented property in Abu Dhabi, or post their requirements on any of the websites dedicated to accommodation for expatriates in Abu Dhabi.
Brokerage services entail a fee of 5% and a deposit. The landlord has to be paid 6 months' rent in advance for an apartment, and a year's rent in case of a villa.
Expatriates from non-GCC countries can purchase properties on a 99 year lease in designated "Investment Areas", as per a policy outlined in 2005. These areas include Al Reem, Saadiyat Island and Al Raha beach. A down-payment of 10% and service charges would secure your purchase of your property in Abu Dhabi. This apart, registration fees of 2% on the sale price of the property, and 1% on leased property are to be paid. Owning a property in Abu Dhabi does not entitle expatriates to a permanent residence status.
Expatriates can avail mortgages of up to 90% of the property value. There are no corporation/ municipal taxes to be paid in Abu Dhabi
Domestic help can be hired on a part-time or a full-time basis in Abu Dhabi. Expatriate labour from the Indian subcontinent and the Philippines forms the bulk of the domestic help in Abu Dhabi. As per law, full-timers have to be sponsored by their employers. So apart from providing accommodation at the servant's quarters at your apartment or villa and a monthly wage of Dhs 800 to Dhs 2000, expats have to bear the cost of repatriation till the time they are employed in Abu Dhabi. The sponsorship costs around Dhs 5200 per year.
To renew the residence visa for domestic helpers in Abu Dhabi, the following documents would be required: Residence form filled in Arabic and English; a no-objection from your sponsor, 4 copies of the helper's photographs, yours and the helper's passport, helper's labour card and medical certificate. Along with the fee of Dhs 5200, the documents have to be submitted at the Immigration Department.
A housemaid's visa can be cancelled by submitting the visa cancellation form along with a photocopy of your passport, maid's labour car and a one-way ticket to her home country at the Immigration counter at the airport
Part time help has to be paid by the hour or the month, depending on the job. Sponsorship is not required for part-timers who charge Dhs 8 to Dhs 12 per hour. Cleaning services run by privately owned service providers are also available at rates of Dhs 20 per hour.
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