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United Arab Emirates – Buying Property

Legal Restrictions on Property Ownership by Foreign Nationals in the Uinited Arab Emirates

Foreign nationals are able to buy and own property in the UAE, but there are certain restrictions. Freehold ownership of property is restricted to designated areas such as Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah, and the Emirates Hills. In other areas, foreign nationals may only purchase property with a leasehold title, with lease terms typically ranging from 25 to 99 years. In some cases, a residency visa may be required for foreign property ownership.

Average Property Prices in the UAE

Property prices in the UAE vary depending on the location and type of property. The average price for a one-bedroom apartment in Dubai is approximately AED 1 million (USD 272,000), while a similar property in Abu Dhabi may cost around AED 1.5 million (USD 408,000).

Popular Locations to Buy Property in the UAE

Dubai is the most popular location for foreign property buyers in the UAE, with areas such as Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah, and the Emirates Hills being particularly sought after. Abu Dhabi also offers a range of high-end properties, with the Corniche area being a popular choice.

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Upcoming Attractive Areas in the UAE

Dubai South, located near the Al Maktoum International Airport, is emerging as a new attractive location for property buyers. It offers a range of residential properties as well as commercial, retail and leisure options.

New Trends in the UAE Property Market

The UAE property market is seeing an increased demand for sustainable and eco-friendly developments, with developers focusing on energy-efficient and smart homes. The rental market is also becoming more flexible, with short-term rental options gaining popularity.

Is Buying Property a Good Investment in the UAE?

Buying property in the UAE can be a good investment, but it is important to consider factors such as location, market trends, and the overall economy. It is always recommended to seek professional advice before making a real estate investment.

Common Property Types in the UAE

The most common property types in the UAE are apartments, townhouses, and villas. There are also a number of luxury properties available, including penthouse apartments and large villas. Land only is also available for purchase, but it is typically limited to designated areas.

Buying Procedure in the United Arab Emirates

Once you have found a property in the United Arab Emirates, the typical house buying procedure involves several steps.

It is important to have a thorough building inspection and survey done to check for any structural issues or defects that may affect the value of the property. This is typically done by a professional surveyor or inspector.

Making an Offer:
Once you have found a property you are interested in, you will need to make an offer to the seller. This is usually done through a real estate agent, who will present your offer to the seller on your behalf. The seller will then either accept, reject, or counter your offer.

In the United Arab Emirates, a notary is not typically needed for the property buying process.

Exchange of Contracts:
After the offer has been accepted, the next step is the exchange of contracts. This typically involves the following steps:

  1. Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) – This document outlines the terms and conditions of the sale, including the purchase price and any contingencies.

  2. Payment of a deposit – The buyer typically pays a deposit of around 10% of the purchase price to the seller.

  3. Completion of due diligence – This includes checking the property’s title deeds, registering the property in the buyer’s name, and obtaining any necessary permits or approvals.

  4. Signing of the Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) – This is the final legal contract that completes the sale of the property.

  5. Payment of the remaining balance – Once the SPA has been signed, the buyer must pay the remaining balance of the purchase price to the seller.

Finding a Reputable Lawyer

When buying a property in the United Arab Emirates, it is important to find a reputable lawyer who can advise you on the legal aspects of the process. To find a reputable lawyer, you can ask for recommendations from friends or colleagues, or search online for reviews of local lawyers.

Lawyers in the United Arab Emirates typically charge an hourly rate for their services, which can vary depending on their experience and the complexity of the case. They do not need to be a member of a particular professional organization.

Pitfalls and Problems

When buying property in the United Arab Emirates, expats often encounter certain problems. Some common examples include:

  • Lack of transparency – Some real estate agents or developers may not disclose all of the information about a property or its surrounding area, which can affect the value of the property.

  • Hidden costs – There may be additional costs associated with buying a property in the United Arab Emirates, such as transfer fees or taxes, that are not disclosed upfront.

  • Legal issues – There may be legal issues with the property or its title deeds that are not discovered until after the sale has been completed.

Purchasing Property Through a Company

It is possible to purchase property through a company in the United Arab Emirates, but it is important to be aware of the legal and tax implications of doing so. In general, it may be more desirable for expats to purchase property in their own name, as it can be more straightforward and less expensive. However, it is best to consult with a lawyer or tax professional to determine the most appropriate option for your specific situation.

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