AJMAN // Rising rents in Ajman are stretching the finances of long-term tenants to breaking point, with many now fearing they could be priced out of living in the emirate.
Although Ajman remains far cheaper when compared with Dubai or Sharjah, prices have risen by up to 27 per cent since July last year, a report from estate agent Asteco revealed this summer.
Two-bedroom apartments have increased from Dh30,000 to Dh45,000, making life difficult for many households.
A similar-sized home costs between Dh100,000 and Dh150,000 in Dubai and Dh45,000 and Dh80,000 in Sharjah.
Egyptian personal trainer Abdelaziz Gomaa moved to Ajman Corniche four years ago from an apartment in the emirate’s Al Rumailah area and has seen large price increases.
“The apartment that we have lived in for four years is two bedrooms with a maid’s room. It was at the beginning Dh36,000 and now it is Dh45,000.”
He said similar-sized flats in the same building now cost Dh55,000, with homes commanding a sea view going for as much as Dh65,000.
The 52-year-old has considered moving to another emirate to lower his costs but his wife’s work and his daughters’ schools are in Ajman.
“My eldest daughter was helping me pay the rent but, after leaving her job, I am paying the whole amount. It is tightening me up in other outlays.”
Mohammad Oraiqat said he had seen the cost of accommodation go up every few years since he moved to the emirate 14 years ago and his family are now starting to feel the pinch.
“In 2000, my family and I lived in a two-bedroom apartment costing, at that time, Dh15,000. The rent remained fixed for five years because Ajman wasn’t as developed as it today.
“We moved to a three-bedroom and it was Dh19,000,” the 25-year-old said. “The rent increased to Dh22,000, and now it costs Dh36,000.”
The Palestinian civil engineer said his family are unable to relocate to another emirate because of even higher rents and have been forced to adjust their budget to manage the extra costs.
“When the rents started increasing, my mum decided to start working to help my dad financially, and after a few years my older brother graduated and started working to also help my parents.”
He said although there are low-cost areas, rents in some neighbourhoods, such as the Rona Roundabout and the Corniche, are increasing rapidly.
“In Ajman One Towers, two bedrooms cost Dh48,000 and three bedrooms cost Dh55,000,” Mr Oraiqat said. “Who would have expected that rent for two bedrooms in Ajman would become this price?”
He blamed the increases on the development of the emirate and the large number of expatriates moving there from other emirates.
Mohammad Shoaib, a manager at Blue Real Estate, said most new tenants in Ajman had moved from Dubai for the lower rent, despite having to commute an extra hour to work.
“Tenants coming from Dubai prefer to stay in Al Naimiya or Rashidiya areas,” Mr Shoaib said, adding that the increase in prices was down to a lack of availability because most buildings in the emirate are fully occupied.
Two and a half years ago, Majdi Al Sharabati was one of the influx of people who relocated to Ajman to get more space for his money, leaving a one-bedroom flat in Sharjah for a two-bed costing only Dh2,000 more a year.
“I am living now in Horizon Towers in a two-bedroom apartment that costs Dh38,000,” said the 41-year-old general foreman.
“The total with the bills, services and rent is Dh53,000, in addition my work is in Dubai, so I pay more for the petrol.”