If you live in Sharjah and have to go to Dubai everyday for work, then your life must be really hard.
You may probably think of quitting your job every time you get stuck in traffic on the highly congested roads between the two emirates.
Be patient! There is hope, but be careful what you wish for!
A study by Aurecon, a Dubai-based international transport planning firm, reveals that a metro link connecting the northern Emirate of Sharjah with Dubai’s Green Line could help reduce traffic on the congested highways between the emirates by more than 30%.
According to the study, the five corridors between Dubai and Sharjah witness 900,000 vehicular trips daily, with 450,000 passing in each direction.
They have a capacity of 33,200 vehicles per hour, but 40,000 vehicles approximately use the highways per peak hour, causing delays of up to two hours and 40 minutes.
Nadeem Shakir, Technical Director at Aurecon who headed the study, said that an $820 million metro project could be built to help transport approximately 16,000 passengers per peak hour out of the 52,000 passengers who currently use private vehicles.
“We calculated the economic impact of the time and fuel lost during these delays and found that $1.18 billion is lost per year,” said Shakir.
“With this kind of money we can build a 12-km metro line per year,” he added.
Is that windfall a bad omen as well?
The value effect
According to the Roads and Transport Authority’s Strategic Planning Department, the value of commercial property and land adjacent to metro stations as well as those linked by the feeder buses increases significantly.
Dana Salbak, Associate Partner of Research at Knight Frank, was quoted as saying that the figures varied wildly from 7-34%.
“Studies have shown that purchasers of property within a ten-minute walk of metro stations in Dubai are prepared to pay a premium,” says Salbak.
“They hope to benefit both from savings on transport and time spent commuting.”
Salbak says that rents for units located close to metro stations are 13-26% more expensive.
“Because of this, there has been a surge in interest in purchasing property within these locations,” she says.
“The government’s plan to further extend the Metro by 15km from Nakheel Harbour & Tower Metro station to the World Expo 2020 site has already raised expectations that communities along the route could experience a rise in value.”
Prices in Sharjah today
Things will change by the time the metro is built, but prices of properties in Sharjah today are still affordable compared to those in Dubai.
The most popular areas for buying apartments in 2017 start with Al Nahda (Sharjah), where the average price of 2-bed flats dropped by 6% to AED 580k ($158k), according to Bayut.com property portal.
Then comes Al Khan where prices dropped across 1, 2 and 3-bed flats to AED 467k, AED 824k and AED 1M, respectively.
The prices of a one-bedroom apartment in Jumeirah Beach Residences in Dubai, one of the most popular areas in Dubai, stand at AED 1,37m and rises to AED 1.65m for a 2-bedroom apartment and AED 2.1m for a 3-bedroom apartment.
Meanwhile, Al Nahda was the most searched for neighbourhood for apartment renters, with one-bed apartments renting for AED 37k ($10k) (no change from 2016) and 2-bed apartments for AED 45k ($12.2k) (18% lower than 2016).
As for Dubai, the rent price of a one-bedroom apartment in 2017 in JBR ranges between AED 65k to AED75k, while the rent price of a two-bedroom flat is between AED85k to AED100k.