Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, is famous for being a quieter, more calming place to live with the family compared to Dubai or other emirates within the country. This is because Abu Dhabi places great emphasis on tradition and work-life balance. Nevertheless, Abu Dhabi is rapidly catching up with Dubai in terms of the development of iconic vacation spots, theme parks on Yas Island, as well as attractions and museums on Saadiyat Island and much more.
There is a strict legal framework and a high level of security, as well as many reputable educational and medical facilities in the capital. But when planning a move to this emirate with your family, you should definitely get acquainted beforehand with the areas of Abu Dhabi that are best suited for living with your spouse and children. In our article, we have prepared a list of the top 8 districts that are worth considering moving to and have described the amenities they offer to their residents as well as real estate prices within the area.
What are the features that make a certain neighbourhood better for living with a family? While each person will give a slightly different answer to this question, there are still several factors that are typically mentioned:
To help you make an informed choice, we’ve analyzed these aspects and other requirements and created the list below.
If you’re looking for a serene, quiet community with affordable prices and a well-developed residential infrastructure, then Khalifa City is definitely worth your attention. Khalifa City is located approximately 25 km away from Abu Dhabi, on the main highway to Dubai. Khalifa City borders on Al Raha, while Yas Island and downtown Abu Dhabi are a 10-minute drive away. The drive to Corniche Beach will take about 20 minutes.
Khalifa City has several malls (Forsan Central Mall, Al Raha Mall, Central Mall), around 15 schools and nurseries and at least five medical clinics, including SEHA. There are also parks, children’s play areas and golf courses in the area.
The neighbourhood is consistently ranked as one of Abu Dhabi’s most popular areas among renters, especially when it comes to families as it is often viewed as a place where you can get a spacious home for less cost, compared to other parts of the city.
The neighbourhood consists of villas with 4–7 bedrooms and compounds with 4–6 bedrooms. The units vary by area from around 3,000 sq. ft. to an enormous 40,000 sq. ft. A 4-bedroom villa (5,573 sq. ft.) costs from AED 4.1M (USD 1.12M) and there is also land for sale with prices starting from AED 2.5M (USD 690K) for a plot with an area of 11,128 sq. ft. To rent a 4-bedroom villa of 2,500 sq. ft. you can expect to pay from AED 100K per year (USD 28K).
For now, Khalifa City isn’t among Abu Dhabi’s investment zones with freehold properties, which means that only UAE and GCC nationals have the right to purchase real estate here on a freehold basis. Foreigners can only rent at this time.
MBZ City is another suburban villa community known for its carefully thought-out infrastructure and comparatively accessible real estate. The area is located around 15 minutes’ away from downtown Abu Dhabi and borders on the industrial district of Musaffah. MBZ City is closer to Dubai than other parts of Abu Dhabi (about a one-hour drive away).
There are four malls within the community or in close proximity to MBZ City. Families with children have around 15 schools and around 15 nurseries to choose from and healthcare is provided by around 10 medical clinics and hospitals.
All things considered, MBZ City is a great option for families that want to expand their living space without having to face a hefty price tag. The community features detached or semi-detached villas, many of them having the same design. Villas range from 5-bedroom units (5,800 sq. ft.) to mansions with areas of 35,000 sq. ft.
A 5-bedroom villa of 7,211 sq. ft. costs AED 5.7M (USD 1.56M) and there is also a range of villa compounds from AED 6.5M (USD 1.77M) which is designated for a 20,000 sq.-ft. 2 villa compound. Prices for land plots start from AED 3M (USD 820K) for a 13,875 sq.ft. plot. At the moment, MBZ City doesn’t offer any freehold properties to foreigners.
Al-Khalidia (or just Khalidia) is known as one of the cultural centers of the emirate from the property developer Aldar Properties. What makes it so appealing is its location which is in close proximity to everything downtown Abu Dhabi has to offer, from residential infrastructure to world-class attractions and of course, Corniche Beach.
The majority of units come in mid to high-rise apartment buildings, and there are also a few villas in gated communities, however the range of options available for sale is very limited. A 6-bedroom villa (4,900 sq. ft.) costs at least AED 6.5M (USD 1.77M). Land plots occasionally are offered for sale, for example, a plot with an area of 5,600 sq. ft. sells for AED 4.5M (USD 1.23M).
As for rentals, the choice is far more diverse. Renting a 3-bedroom apartment of 1,450 sq. ft. costs at least AED 58K (USD 16K) per year. Villas available for rent range from 3 to 7-bedroom units with living areas ranging from 3,000 sq. ft. to over 20,000 sq. ft. Prices start from AED 125K (USD 34K) per year for a 3-bedroom villa.
Despite its position in the city center, Al Mushrif is a quiet residential community often chosen by families with children. The neighbourhood is less than 10 minutes away from the Corniche, among other attractions and recreational areas. Abu Dhabi City Golf Club, Umm Al Emarat Park and Al Mushrif Palace are all located within the neighbourhood.
The area is known for some of the city’s most prestigious schools and is close to the hospitals in the city centre. The combination of a central location, high-end amenities and peaceful atmosphere is very rare, and it more than makes up for the rather expensive real estate prices here.
The area is built up with villas (1,500–34,000 sq. ft.), compounds (4,800–21,000 sq. ft.) and apartment blocks (units from 200 to 4,000 sq. ft.). Residential land plots that are available for sale, range from 10,500 sq. ft. to 21,000 sq. ft.
However, there aren’t many options for sale, especially when it comes to apartments. As for villas, prices start from AED 3.6M (USD 9.8M) for a 5-bedroom unit (2,858 sq. ft.) and a 2 villa compound (4,800 sq. ft.) costs from AED 5.5M (USD 1.5M). Residential plots cost from AED 5.8M (USD 1.58M) for a plot with an area size of 14,950 sq. ft.
To rent a 3-bedroom apartment (2,600 sq. ft.), you can expect to pay from AED 60K (USD 17K) a year and a 3-bedroom villa will cost from AED 80K (USD 22K) a year. Only UAE and GCC nationals are allowed to buy property in Al Mushrif on a freehold basis.
Al Karamah is a mixed-use neighbourhood combining residential, commercial, recreational and institutional areas. Located almost exactly in the center of Abu Dhabi Island, Al Karamah is within a 5-minute walk to Abu Dhabi City Golf Club and Al Mushrif Palace, while Umm Al Emarat Park is adjacent to Al Karamah Street.
In addition to schools, there are universities in close proximity to the area, including Khalifa University, Sheikh Khalifa University and Madurai Kamaraj University. Some of Abu Dhabi’s best-known medical clinics lie within 3–4 km from Al Karamah and the drive to the Corniche will take only 5 minutes.
Apartment blocks range from 5 to 20-storey buildings and feature studios and 1–3 bedroom units, with living areas ranging from 300 to 3,500 sq. ft. Villas and compounds vary by area from 2,700 sq. ft. (3 bedrooms) to 13,000 sq. ft. (10-bedroom compounds). Only a few villas are available for sale, with prices starting from AED 9M (USD 2.45M) for an 8-bedroom villa of 13,000 sq. ft. If you’re going to rent a villa here, you can expect to pay from AED 125K (USD 34K) per year for a 4-bedroom unit of 3,000 sq. ft.
The price also depends on whether the building is newly constructed or an old one – there are both types in this area. Al Karamah doesn’t offer freehold properties for sale to foreigners, only GCC and UAE nationals.
The Muroor neighbourhood occupies the area around Sultan Bin Zayed The First Street. The location in downtown Abu Dhabi promises an abundance of prestigious educational establishments, healthcare facilities and attractions and the Corniche is less than one kilometer away.
Al Muroor has been consequently ranked among the three most popular areas to rent apartments in the capital. The neighbourhood features mid and high-rise residential towers, typically positioned along the roads, and villa clusters. The list of options for sale includes villas, compounds, land plots and whole buildings.
The villas range from 3-bedroom units with an area of 3,000 sq. ft. to spacious 8-bedroom mansions of 12,000 sq. ft. For a 5-bedroom villa (3000 sq. ft.), you can expect to pay from AED 3.6M (USD 9.8M) and a 3-villa compound with an area of 11,440 sq. ft. costs at least AED 7.5M (USD 2.05M). The land plots currently available to buy range from 3,000 sq. ft. to 10,000 sq. ft. with prices starting from AED 3M (USD 800K). The area of whole buildings on offer varies from 3,200 to 52,000 sq. ft. with the minimum price being AED 13M (USD 3.54M).
If you want to rent a villa, you can expect to pay from AED 75K (USD 20K) per year for a 3-bedroom villa (3,500 sq. ft.) and a 3-bedroom apartment of 1,500 sq. ft. costs from AED 53K (USD 15K) per year. Freehold properties in the Muroor area can only be purchased by UAE and GCC nationals.
Yas Island is one of the very few areas in Abu Dhabi where foreigners are allowed to purchase freehold property. The area around the waterpark of Yas Waterworld has many attractions for visitors and residents. The theme parks Warner Bros. World and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi are each less than one kilometre away. The list of places to visit on Yas Island is huge and includes well-known destinations such as SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Beach and the golf course Yas Links, just to name just a few.
Residential property near Yas Waterworld on Yas Island is limited and very sought-after. Some of the neighbourhoods located within a reasonable distance are Ansam, West Yas, Zone K and Yas Acres.
Ansam, the closest neighbourhood (300-500m away from Yas Waterworld), comprises 12 Andalusian-style apartment buildings of 6–8-storeys high. The range of units includes studios to 3-bed apartments. A 3-bedroom apartment (2,255 sq. ft.) costs from AED 2.3M (USD 630K). To rent a similar apartment, you can expect to pay at least AED 170K (USD 47K) a year.
West Yas features 4–5-bedroom villas with their sizing varying from 4,110 sq. ft. to 46,277 sq. ft. Prices for these types of villas start from AED 5.5M (USD 1.5M). Zone K (3 km from Yas Waterworld) has been designed as a gated community featuring contemporary 4 and 5-bedroom villas.
Yas Acres (2 km from Yas Waterworld) is a community of 2–4-bedroom townhouses and 2–6-bedroom villas. Land plots in this area cost from AED 1.3M (USD 360K) for a 5,487sq.ft. plot. For a 3-bedroom townhouse (2,830 sq. ft.) you can expect to pay from AED 3.2M (USD 880K) and rent prices for a similar townhouse start from AED 200K (USD 55K). As Yas Island is primarily a tourist destination, the number of malls, healthcare and educational facilities is smaller than in a typical residential area.
Another freehold area, Saadiyat Island is an attraction in itself. Being the city’s cultural centre, the area features several museums, including the Zayed National Museum and Louvre Abu Dhabi among them. It is also only a 15-minute drive away from downtown Abu Dhabi and Yas Island with their many legendary attractions as well. There are about five schools and nurseries to choose from within the island which makes it great for families.
The area features apartment towers, duplexes and townhouses with a 3-bedroom apartment (2,432 sq. ft.) costing from AED 3.5M (USD 953K). To rent a similar apartment costs from AED 290K (USD 80K) a year. The price of a 16,630sq. ft. penthouse with a full sea view starts from AED 19.4M (USD 5.3M). There are also luxurious townhouses available for sale, with prices starting from AED 4.85M (USD 1.32M) for a 3-bedroom unit with an area of 3,284 sq. ft. The rental price for a similar townhouse starts at AED 290K (USD 80K) per year.
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