Buying property in Dubai guide - A step-by-step guide to buying property in Dubai

Buying a Home in UAE2023-11-16T11:18:30+00:00

Two basic options for potential home owners in the UAE


Freehold Properties
The freeholder of a property owns it outright, including the land it’s built on. If you buy a freehold, you’re responsible for maintaining your property and land, so you’ll need to budget for these costs. Most houses are freehold but some might be leasehold – usually through shared-ownership schemes.
Ready & Off-Plan Purchase from the Developer

Leasehold Properties

A leasehold means that you just have a lease from the freeholder (sometimes called the landlord) to use the home for a number of years. The leases are usually long-term – often 90 years or 120 years and as high as 999 years – but can be short, such as 40 years.

Rules for buying a property in the UAE for foreigners

The UAE property market is one of the most regulated and transparent in the region. Be it tax-free rental yields, lifestyle investments or healthy capital gains, the UAE real estate market presents a wealth of opportunity for property investments. Recent changes in property ownership rules for foreigners have opened up the market furthermore for overseas investors.

Those interested in purchasing real estate as expat or overseas investors must keep in mind that the rules for property ownership differ for them. What are the restrictions for non-UAE residents for acquiring mortgages to purchase property in the country? What is freehold property in Dubai and what are the conditions for buying real estate for expats? Before you commit to buying a villa, apartment or any other type of real estate in the UAE, it’s important to consider these property ownership rules for foreigners.

Property in Abu Dhabi

Property in Abu Dhabi

According to the laws concerning the regulation of the real estate sector in Abu Dhabi, expatriates are currently allowed to own property only in the form of apartments and villas. There are four main systems that govern buying real estate in the country’s capital. These include Musataha, Ownership Deeds, Long-term lease, Usufruct

Property in Dubai

Foreign property ownership is permitted in areas that are designated freehold in Dubai. What this basically means is that expats and foreign buyers (who don’t live in the UAE) may acquire freehold ownership rights without leasehold rights, usufruct rights and restrictions for up to 99 years. Furthermore:  Title deeds are issued by the Dubai Land Department, There is no age limit to property ownership

Property in Sharjah

Property in Sharjah

According to laws governing the usufruct of real estate properties in Sharjah, foreign nationals in the UAE do not have the right to own freehold property in the emirate. However, they do have the right of usufruct for a maximum of 100 years after registering with the Sharjah Real Estate Registration Department (SRERD).

Can expats get a mortgage to
purchase a property in the UAE?

Expatriates can get a mortgage from lenders operating in the UAE, but conditions may apply. For example, expat investors can be expected to pay a minimum down payment of 20% to 25% of the mortgage value in addition to associated costs.

That’s all for our guide for property ownership rules for foreigners in the UAE. If you have already bought a property in Dubai, but don’t live in the UAE, our guide for property management for overseas investors in Dubai can help you manage your investment remotely. If you are a first-time investor, make sure that you are also aware of the legalities around Freezone and freehold properties in Dubai.

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