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International City: As bad as they say?

International City: As bad as they say?

Prices of units in Dubai’s International City have now dropped below their original selling points. Is it that bad, or is this just a case of poor publicity?

August 25, 2010 4:59 by

Emirates 24-7 reported this week that units in the huge International City development in Dubai are now selling for less than their launch prices. The website says that, while studios were sold for Dh220,000 and one-beds for Dh320,000 at the time of launch, property owners are now offering the units at a discount ranging from 10 to 15 percent. The current asking price for studios is between Dh190,000 and Dh210,000, while one beds are available for Dh290,000 to Dh310,000.

Few banks are providing mortgage facilities for International City purchasers, and according to the article Dubai-based Harbor Real Estate estimates that less than 60 percent of the 27,000 odd units that came on stream in 2007, 2008 and 2009 have been occupied-to-date.

International City has struggled with a poor reputation and negative press reports stemming from various issues including problems with its own sewage systems and the nearby sewage facility, access to the site, and a perceived lack of amenities. A follow-up poll from Emirates 24-7 revealed that a huge percentage – 91 percent – of readers showed “a marked aversion to investing in International City units.” A considerable 67 percent said they “would not touch the place.”
So are these sliding prices and this poor reputation justified? Or is International City just a fall guy for the unpopular Nakheel?

I lived in International City for a while, and my first-hand experience was a mixed bag. I enjoyed a large, well furnished flat in the France cluster, near to the Spinneys supermarket. Aside from a convenient shop nearby, we had a not-too-expensive gym around the corner, a launderette, a variety of takeaways and restaurants (all delivering), and a basketball court close by, too. For larger shops the Union Co near the Fruit and Vegetable market was convenient; and since then the Dragon Mart (where you can buy anything in the world, it seems) has added a supermarket in the form of Auchan. What’s more it was all very affordable – International City seemed reasonably priced when compared to the lunacy of Dubai’s other areas.

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