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What does buying real estate in the UAE give – we weigh all the Pros and Cons

Что дает покупка недвижимости в ОАЭ – взвешиваем все за и против

Many Russians buy housing abroad. One of the interesting and profitable countries for them is the Arab Emirates. To make the acquisition process easier, you need to understand what buying real estate in the UAE gives, and what features you may encounter.

Nuances when buying

There are three types of property in the UAE. It is not so easy to understand them – it is better to enlist the support of an experienced lawyer. This will help to avoid many mistakes.

Freehold – zones

The owner of the property in the Freehold zone is a full–fledged owner who disposes of his real estate as he wants. There are many such sites in Dubai, so the choice for foreigners is great.

Commonhold – zones

In the Commonhold zone, the buyer owns real estate in buildings with a large number of apartments and other objects. Here, basically, all the owners unite to take care of the common territory.

Leasehold – zones

The type of ownership of a Leasehold has a significant difference from others – the buyer receives the status of a full owner when he pays the entire amount for the object. The zone has restrictions on the period of ownership – from 20 to 99 years. All this time, the tenant is obliged to pay the rent regularly.

Pros and cons of purchasing real estate in the UAE

Pros and cons of purchasing real estate in the UAE

Before buying a house or a land plot, you need to weigh all the pros and cons.


Buying properties in the Emirates has many positive aspects.

Safe region

The Arab Emirates is considered a safe country where political unrest does not occur and public order is strictly controlled. The laws are particularly harsh – there are offenses for which they can be sentenced to death. Such strictness allows us to maintain peace and tranquility within the country. If we rely on the statistical data of a survey of local residents, then more than 90% of them are comfortable even at night.

Favorable climatic conditions

If you like a warm climate, then the country will definitely suit. The sun is here all year round. The new buildings have special equipment so that the heat does not cause discomfort.

Free ownership of real estate

By purchasing real estate in the “Freehold” zones, you can resell it, rent it out for a long or short period, or give it away. You can also be 100% sure that such an investment will be profitable and bring profit.

Private developers

The country’s market is developing rapidly. You will not face fraud, because the right to build can only be approved by a developer with a good reputation and who has a license.

Control of transactions by a government agency

The executive body of the state power is interested in foreigners buying housing and investing. Therefore, compliance with legal norms is under special control.

Purchase of real estate for obtaining a residence permit

Purchase of real estate for obtaining a residence permit

The resident’s visa was accepted in 2019. The program allows a foreigner to get an analog of a residence permit for five or ten years. “Golden visas” allow the country to cooperate profitably with visitors: the country receives financial investments, and foreigners have the opportunity to build their own business or just live in it.

The minimum investment for obtaining a visa for five years is 1.35 million dollars or 5 million AED, visas for ten years – 2.72 million dollars or 10 million AED.

The visa can be permanently extended in compliance with the laws of the country. A man or a woman can become the owner of a home. But there is a peculiarity: when registering for a man, the right of ownership will automatically pass to his wife and children, and when registering for a woman, a man and children will not receive such a right.

Possibility of loans

If a foreigner is a bona fide participant in credit relations and has a stable income, a mortgage is available to him. To get a loan, you need to provide the following documents to the bank:

  1. A visa for a resident of the United Arab Emirates.
  2. Documents confirming a good credit history.
  3. Half of the amount for the purchase of the object.
  4. Other property as collateral.

A loan in the Emirates is issued for fifteen and twenty-five years.

Real Estate Investment Opportunities

A Russian can purchase new or previously operated housing. You can also invest in buying an apartment in a residential complex that is under construction. In this case, the contract with the developer must be concluded at the initial stage of construction, so you will have to wait for its completion. But the benefit is significant, because prices are constantly rising: it will be possible to pay for the object in parts and you will not have to overpay, since there is a fixed cost.

Secondary housing is more often cheaper than objects in new buildings, and you do not have to wait for the completion of construction.

Price-quality compliance

The cost of housing depends on many factors, for example, location, novelty, area – the more, the cheaper the price per square meter. The price of an object in a residential building is at least two and a half thousand dollars, and the price of a villa is one and a half thousand dollars.

For Russians, the price may be too high, but it is worth remembering that more often ready-made high-quality repairs are made in apartments for a comfortable stay.


Disadvantages of buying real estate in the UAE

Do not forget about the nuances of the country, which are not suitable for everyone or will become an obstacle to buying real estate.


The Emirates is a Muslim country. She has her own mentality, customs and a strict system of civil service. There is a negative attitude towards alcoholic beverages, smoking and gambling. Banned:

  • drinking alcohol on the streets;
  • cohabitation in the absence of a registered marriage;
  • homosexuality;
  • walking in revealing clothes.

If you violate the established norms, a fine may be the mildest. In more serious situations – deportation or prison.

Tax on the purchase of an object on the secondary market

Many people have the opinion that the Emirates are considered a tax-free country. There really is no need to pay VAT, income tax and most others, but there are exceptions. For example, when buying an object on the secondary market, the buyer must pay 2% of the purchase price. Additionally, you may need to pay for the services of a realtor and court costs.

The role of the intermediary in the purchase

An intermediary must take part in any real estate transaction. This ensures not only protection against fraud, but also a guarantee that all legal norms will be observed.

Housing maintenance

Each property owner must pay for its maintenance. The amount of payment is set by the management organization or the association of owners (if there is one). The payment includes the costs of cleaning, building security, infrastructure maintenance, garbage collection. On average, utility bills come out from twenty to eighty dollars per m2.

Is it worth buying real estate in the Emirates now?

At the beginning of 2022, there were positive changes in the field of real estate sales in the UAE: in January, the number of registered transactions reached 5,797. The amount was 36.69 billion dirhams. According to experts, the growth of housing prices will continue, although it will not be as fast as in the previous year. It is predicted that 38,500 apartments and 3800 villas will be sold. The main purchases will be made in Dubai: 30 thousand transactions with apartments and 3.5 thousand with villas. Some of the deals will move, as before, to 2023.

In Abu-Dhabi, they will sell approximately:

  • two thousand objects on Al Rima;
  • Four thousand on Al-Raha and Yas.

This year, they also plan to resume the construction of “frozen” projects and publish information about the construction of new houses in the capital of the Emirates.

During this year you will be able to observe the following trends:

  1. An increase in the number of buyers due to favorable mortgage rates, low prices and quick profits from real estate.
  2. Increasing demand for luxury real estate. Last year, many bought villas, the price of which increased by 16.5%. This year, the demand remains.
  3. Responsibility for environmental offenses. The government will create incentives to achieve zero emissions by 2050. Developers will also adhere to the concept of development.

Purchase process, taxes and fees

Taxes and fees in the UAE

The purchase and sale transaction procedure consists of several actions:

  1. Sign the contract.
  2. Transfer a deposit to the seller – from 10 to 50% of the total cost. The size depends on the selected object, for example, ready or off-plan, on the use of a mortgage and other nuances.
  3. Conclude a contract with the developer for housing maintenance.
  4. Register and obtain ownership rights.

Taxes and fees:

  1. Registration fee – 2%. Pay to the Land Department at the time of the transaction. It is possible, if agreed, to divide the amount between the seller and the buyer.
  2. The fee for the certificate of ownership is $ 70. The local court will prepare it in three days.
  3. Fee for renewal to a new owner. The size is set by DLD.
  4. The tax on renting real estate from the tenant is 5%. The amount will be used to pay for the maintenance of the object.
  5. Real estate agency services. As previously mentioned, the participation of intermediaries in the process of concluding a purchase and sale agreement is mandatory. If you are buying primary housing, then the seller will pay for the services of a realtor and the costs of preparing the papers. When buying a secondary one, the costs are divided in half.

As for the documents, the buyer will be required to:

  1. A copy of the passport.
  2. A copy of the bank card.
  3. Application for debiting funds for the purchased object.

The seller needs a legally correct contract with information about the property and with the prescribed rights of the owner.

Now you know what buying real estate in the UAE gives you: the right to get a resident visa, the opportunity to move and build your business in the Emirates or just stay to live.

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Vladimir Sviridov
Vladimir Sviridov
General Manager RLC Consulting
With a Postgraduate Masters in Finance from The, Moscow State University, Russia. Vladimir started his professional career as an auditor of the financial sector of EY. After that, he worked for several years in senior positions in corporate banking. In 2018-2021, he managed the finances of a large agricultural holding, and is currently responsible for strategic planning, corporate partnership and financial management in the role of General Manager of RLC Consulting GROUP in the UAE.

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