Al Reem lies on the North-West of Abu Dhabi, close to the islands of Al Saadiyat and Al Maryah. The island is just moments away from the city mainland and Abu Dhabi Downtown, yet it is set aside from the hustle and bustle of the center. Generally speaking, it is a residential neighbourhood with a nice community feel and distinctive towering buildings. Al Reem is home to the impressive Gate Towers and the Sun and Sky Towers so the area has definitely put its mark on the Abu Dhabi map.
Back in the day Abu Dhabi was not so heavily built-up with high-rise buildings like its neighboring Dubai was. In 2010 real estate agents called Al Reem’s residential projects “revolutionary” due to the strong contrast between the capital’s traditional housing on the larger part of Abu Dhabi and the brand-new towers being built. Newer buildings had much more facilities to offer its residents, like onsite swimming pools, gyms and retail stores. What is more, the type of residences came in various configurations, including studios, which particularly appealed to young professionals, singles and couples. The popularity of a new and exciting concept meant that Al Reem very quickly became one of the most popular areas in the city among expats to live.
Over the course of time, prime properties, like 5-bedroom apartments, penthouses and waterside villas received some of market share as well. As per joint statistics from two major real estate portals (Bayut and Property Finder) in the UAE, Al Reem was the top choice for buying luxury apartments in 2020 across Abu Dhabi.
The master development was conducted by three major companies: Sorough Real Estate, which has now merged with Aldar Properties, Tamouh and Reem Investments. The developers independently worked on different parts of the island throughout the period of the development being built. As of today, major communities on the island include Shams (by Aldar), Marina Square, City of Lights (by Tamouh), Najmat (by Reem Investments), which all consist of various residential complexes.
Marina Square is the first development and the second largest community on the island today. It includes 14 residential towers that house apartments along with offices, retail and hotel units. One may opt for either a studio or 1-5-bedroom residences and penthouses in this development. Potential tenants can expect to pay AED 80,000 (USD 22,000) per year to rent a 1-bed apartment in Al Durrah Tower, Marina Square. The same unit type will go for AED 78,000 (USD 21,300) per year at MAG 5. An example of the current asking price for a high-rise 1-bedroom apartment at Ocean Terrace is AED 900,000 (USD 245,000).
Shams Abu Dhabi occupies around 25% of the island area and is perceived to be the largest community. Shams’ skyline will be sure to impress anyone, thanks to the tallest tower, Sky Tower, in the vicinity of the development. Sky Tower rises to 83 floors and sits next to the imposing building of Mangroves Place, which many say is reminiscent of a ladder. Along with luxury housing, which comes in 1-4-bedroom layouts, townhouses and plots for residential construction are also available for purchase. Landlords can demand AED 48,000 (USD 13,100) for the yearly rent for a 1-bed unit at The Bridges. An apartment of the same layout at Mangroves Place is priced at AED 580,000 (USD 158,000) as a minimum selling price. Deluxe properties at The Gate Towers are more expensive than in other complexes, but they are definitely worth it. A three-bedroom townhouse here can be purchased for AED 3,900,000 (USD 1,200,000).
Al Reem is easily reachable via Hazza’ bin Zayed the First Str, which is the main travel artery linking the island to Abu Dhabi mainland. The neighbourhood is serviced by public transport and there are two main bus stations:City of Lights and Al Reem Mall. Just a 15 minute car ride will get you to Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station and Abu Dhabi Bus Station, where you can easily travel across the city and to other emirates within the UAE.
Alternatively, you can take a taxi. Several taxis are always available at Shams Boutik Mall. Online booking is possible via the TransAD Taxi app.
For those who don’t want to depend on public transport can hire a car from the local rental firms such as Indigo Rent a Car, Hertz and Thrifty Car Rental in Shams Boutik Mall.
It will take around 20-30 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport to get to the island. Corniche, a popular central district, is 20 minutes away from Al Reem and Yas Island, which is home to the famous Ferrari World and the aquatic center Yas Waterworld, can be reached within approximately half an hour. The same time is required to reach Saadiyat Island.
Al Reem Island has a fairly well-developed infrastructure. There are many centers providing medical care as well as educational institutions, places to shop, dine out and to unwind. What’s more, community management organizes festivals and occasional events on weekends, so living in any part of Al Reem’s residential complexes is anything but dull.
Shams Boutik Mall is not as large as the neighbouring Yas Mall but is well suited for community needs. It houses Waitrose supermarket, specialized stores, a beauty salon, several eateries including Nando’s and Subway and more. Apart from Waitrose, there are a number of other supermarkets, including the chains Carrefour and Lulu, scattered across the residential quarters of the island.
Al Reem has a good food scene and offers an array of cafes, bistros and restaurants. Currently, the venues are all located in residential towers. Probably, the most popular are: Smoking Doll at Boutik Mall, First Clique Marina Square Café & Restaurant, Arabisk Restaurant in the City of Lights, Rosanna Al Reem Restaurant & Cafe, Asha’s (which serves Indian cuisine) and The Chippy, famed for its fish & chips.
There is a great outdoor park on the island – Al Reem Central Park which is sandwiched between the sea and the water canal. This is a great opportunity for visitors to have a go at trying some water sports. The park offers canoeing, along with volleyball and other court sports which are dotted around. There are also children’s playgrounds and a skate park as well. Alfresco dining and leisurely strolls along the waterfront promenade will be excellent on a nice day or a cool evening. During the evenings, after 7 pm there are light and water shows at the dancing fountain which draw a crowd of both adults and children. An alternative place to spend outdoors on the island is Gateway Park.
Al Reem Beach lies on the Northern part of the island, where the brand-new Cove Beach is located in the Makers District, facing Saadiyat Island. Cove Beach houses a licensed restaurant and a bar, private beach and a pool and is definitely the place to be seen on the weekends.
Wandering around the island is convenient since its canals and beaches are all connected via trails with the entire length of the route being a little more than 3 miles long. As residents can admit, the neighbourhood is pet-friendly and there is plenty of space to walk them. One may take an electric scooter for a more dynamic travelling option to get around the area. Rental scooters are placed in several spots across the island and can be activated via the Circ app.
There are a few more healthcare options available on Al Reem now than there were a couple of years ago. Reem Hospital, Burjeel Day Surgery Center, physical therapy clinic Perfect Balance Rehabilitation and the wellness club, Illuminations Well-Being Center or all located on the island as well as several pharmacies. There is also a veterinary as well.
Sorbonne Abu Dhabi, a reputable institution for higher education, is located in the heart of Al Reem. The University offers graduate and post-graduate programs with English and French classes. One of the best private schools in Abu Dhabi – Repton School is based here too. Junior children may attend Mosaic Nursery in Shams Boutik Mall, Hummingbird Nursery or Playhouse Nursery in Marina Square.
Undeniably, Al Reem is one of the most popular and well-established residential neighbourhoods in Abu Dhabi. There are still vast amounts of undeveloped areas on the island with thousands more residences to come and take their places. The current population is approximately 20,000, but the island has a projected capacity of 280,000. As with all parts of the world; supply increases demand significantly but can also suppress real estate price growth. On the one hand, this is an advantage for renters, however, on the other – it is not such good news for a would-be investor, who may not want to wait for a fast appreciation on their property.
It should be mentioned that the coefficient return-on-investment for Al Reem homes achieve a very decent 6.20% (for a studio) – 7.5% (for a 3-bed apartment ) on average, which is a good rate in current realia. ROI for the most in-demand property type of a 1-bed apartment is estimated at 7%, based on the average rate for the last 3 months (according to Propertyfinder’s data as of June 2021).
The average asking price for a 1-bedroom apartment is around AED 800,000 (USD 218,000), but prices can start from AED 570,000 (USD 154,200). It is worth noting that the purchase price of these properties have remained unchanged since 2020, with only a small insignificant decline of 2% in July, August and September 2020.
Rental for 1-bed units reaches AED 56,000 (USD 15,300) on average, with starting prices from AED 36,000 (USD 9,800).
Al Reem neighbourhood is consistently developing. As its residents have witnessed, many improvements have taken place over the last ten years. Still, Al Reem is awaiting a number of projects to be completed that will offer a more exquisite lifestyle to its residents and guests. The most remarkable of them include:
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