Investing in the real estate industry is one of the most ideal for investors for a couple of good reasons. First,
real estate gives back higher returns compared to other investment portfolios. Second, real estate is not as
volatile as the stock market. The inflation in this industry is tolerable and it’s suitable for conservative
investors. Third, although real estate properties are quite expensive, the value you will get from it in the long-term is higher than what you will invest today.
In Dubai, there are things you need to consider if you want to invest in the real estate industry such as
buying an apartment villa and to purchase Dubai projects for sale. The DLD, or the Dubai Land Department,
is tasked to approve registrations of real rights over properties including usufruct, freehold title, long term
leases, and musataha in Dubai emirate. Apart from DLD, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)
has the right to impose property laws on free zone areas. Therefore, those that fall under the supervision of
DIFC maintain separate property laws than those under DLD.
Who can own a property in Dubai?
Both UAE nationals and expats can own real estate properties in Dubai. However, there are restrictions for
non-UAE nationals. As the general rule, UAE and GCC citizens and businesses incorporated in the UAE
with pure UAE or GCC national owners can own freehold title to real properties in the city. This involves all
types of properties such as mustaha, usufruct, and long term leases for a maximum period of 99 years. This
is also applicable in properties located anywhere in Dubai provided that it is in accordance with Article 4 of
the Property Ownership Law.
The exception to the general rule is for expats and companies with non-UAE national owners. If you fall
under this category, you can still buy freehold title for a maximum of 99 years in the places specifically
assigned for foreign ownership. This means that if you are an expat, you can only buy properties in the
assigned area according to the regulations promulgated by the Ruler of Dubai. DLD is also able to provide
policies that complement Article 4 of Property Ownership Law, although not yet published formally and can
be amended from time to time.
Here are some of the current policies that you should know if you are an expat planning to invest in real
properties in Dubai:
- Foreign companies offshore are not allowed to own real estate directly in the Designated Areas unless
they have done so before this policy is implemented.
- Foreign companies onshore are not allowed to own real estate directly in the Designated Areas unless
they build a business in JAFZA or other free zone areas and buy a property in the name of the free
- Companies in free zone areas that are incorporated in Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah are not allowed to
own real estate in the Designated Area unless they have done so before this policy came into effect.
Companies incorporated under DIFC can now purchase their real estate property even outside the
DIFC free zones.
Where can you own a property in Dubai?
As someone who is interested to invest in Dubai, the emirate has created rules stated in Regulation No. 3 of
2006 with regard to the Designation of Areas. This regulation states the list of areas where expats can own
villas, apartments, and real estate property projects.
Renting apartment villas for expats
When it comes to renting apartment villas, expats can easily find locations near their offices. If you think
buying real property is not something you qualify for, you can choose to rent instead. What’s good with
renting is that you can relocate with convenience without the need for a real estate agent assistant. Villas,
apartments, and condo units are the typical types of properties rented by many expats. These units come
furnished or unfurnished depending on your style, preference, and budget.