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All about Buying an Apartment in Dubai

Dubai is home to some of the most unique addresses in the world. The emirate’s prospering property market is popular with both investors and renters. This fast-growing city is also known to be one of the most desired places to live in the world due to its reasonably priced accommodation, access to premium facilities and quality of life in terms of personal and financial safety. Another reason Dubai is a popular location to invest in is due to the high return on investment (ROI) provided from an apartment for sale in Dubai. These are some of the reasons why the city attracts millions of visitors annually and is home to residents of over 200 nationalities. Those looking to invest in Dubai can see the city has much to offer when it comes to the real estate industry, especially from its world-record breaking skyscrapers. 

Apartments for sale in DubaiFreehold vs Leasehold Property in Dubai 

Dubai’s freehold market is divided into two categories, based on whether it is freehold property exclusively for UAE or GCC Nationals or if it is a freehold property which can also be purchased by an expat or foreign investor. With the freehold law being passed in 2002, expats and foreign investors can buy property in Dubai in designated freehold areas. A freehold property refers to a purchase agreement where an investor owns the property and the land it stands on. 

Flats for sale in Dubai are generally sold as commonhold properties. A commonhold property is when multiple investors own different flats in a building and collectively pay fees for maintaining common areas. These fees are known as service charges and are usually collected by the building owner/developer. Commonhold properties are similar to freehold properties where you can rent, sell and inherit a commonhold apartment in Dubai. 

Popular freehold areas for expats looking for apartments in Dubai for sale include Palm Jumeirah, Downtown Dubai and Dubai Marina. Those looking for affordable freehold apartments in Dubai can find them in Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC), Town Square, International City and Liwan. Freehold areas popular with GCC and UAE Nationals include Deira, Al Qusais, Al Nahda and Dubai Silicon Oasis. 

Leasehold properties, also referred to as long term lease or usufruct properties, are those sold on a leasehold basis, which is where the investor will be granted the rights of a property for a fixed term ranging from 10 to 99 years. Leasehold properties cannot be bought outright and must be leased from a UAE or GCC National landlord. When the lease expires for leasehold property, the ownership of the purchased property is reverted back to the freeholder. Most areas which offer leasehold properties for expat ownership are those set up to be freehold areas for GCC and UAE Nationals only such as Deira and Dubai Silicon Oasis. 

Leasehold and freehold areas are determined by the government and are subject to change.  

Types of Apartments in Dubai 

When it comes to the available inventory of flats for sale in Dubai, there are many different options to consider. While tenants generally choose from commonly available properties, investors have more options when it comes to properties available for sale, including duplexes, lofts and penthouse units. 

While these are all ready to move into properties, investors can also choose to look at off-plan flats in Dubai. Off-plan units are generally sold directly from the developer before they are even built, typically on a payment plan. This makes the price for these apartments much more affordable compared to ready properties especially since the downpayment is much lower than the 20% average common in the secondary market. Popular areas with off-plan properties include Downtown Dubai, Akoya Oxygen, Meydan City and Mohammed Bin Rashid City. 

FAQ's - Apartments in Dubai 

1. Can foreigners buy apartments in Dubai?
Yes, foreign nationals, which includes both expatriate residents and non-resident investors, can purchase property in Dubai on a freehold basis. This allows foreign nationals to buy, sell or lease their property.

2. Is it profitable to buy apartment in Dubai?
In the first half of 2019, Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) offered the highest gross returns of 9.5% for apartments. New communities, Meydan and DAMAC Hills closely followed, offering gross rental yields of 9.3% and 8.9% respectfully, again for apartments.

3. Can anyone buy an apartment in Dubai?
In Dubai, foreign ownership is permitted in areas designated as freehold. Foreigners (who don't live in the UAE) and expatriate residents may acquire freehold ownership rights over property without restriction, usufruct rights, or leasehold rights for up to 99 years.

4.Is it worth buying a flat in Dubai?
income is and low mortgage registration fees are amongst the reasons for purchasing property in Dubai for residential as well as investment purpose. Dubai also continues to be one of the top cities to visit as well as live in.

5. Can I live in Dubai permanently?
You may obtain a standard resident visa in the UAE under the following circumstances: Purchasing real estate: If you buy a residential property in Dubai or any other Emirate worth at least one million Dirhams, you can obtain a UAE residence visa valid for two years.

6. Can you live in Dubai if you own a property?
Purchasing real estate in Dubai may grant the buyer a residence permit. According to the UAE investor visa program, the property must be completed upon the purchase and its value must be of at least AED 1 million. Holders of residence visas through real estate purchase may also sponsor their dependents.