It was once the case that buying residential property in Dubai was the preserve of local Emirati citizens, but, nowadays, much of the Emirate’s property is available for purchase by foreign nationals.
First, the bad news - if you are not an Emirati citizen and you want to buy property, you can forget about Jumeirah. It is one of the most high profile areas, only open to nationals to purchase, and, although it is a shame to miss out on owning one of the beautiful villas in the district, it would be inaccessible to many as prices are among the highest in the Emirate. However, you will find properties for sale in many other freehold areas which are available to foreign nationals.
When it comes to where to buy, as with anywhere in the world, it depends on your requirements and budget. If you are looking for an investment rather than a place to live, it could be a wise choice to join the ranks of thousands buying apartments in Dubai. In terms of what you should rent and what you should buy, there is a relatively little difference in this part of the world, so, check out our information on renting which gives a guide to different areas in Dubai. Click here (will lead through to renting in Dubai page).
One of the advantages of the large numbers of apartments for sale in Dubai is that you will often see studio apartments offered for sale, which can be a boon for those who are used to sharing accommodation but want to experience the freedom of having their own space. Studios are also useful for those who have regular business in Dubai but live elsewhere, as they require relatively little upkeep in your absence and can be rented out to those in a similar situation if required.
However, high demand for family homes and a transient population in Dubai means that buying villas, townhouses, bungalows and even mansions can be excellent investments as demand for rental homes is often high. Or, you could combine the two factors - buy a property to live in with the intention of leasing it should you decide to leave Dubai or move to a different part of the Emirate.
The Dubai market is fast moving and ever changing, and it is sometimes the case that there are more homes available for sale than there are for rent. Many residents prefer the security of buying property because they are protected from rent increases and have the right of ownership of their property, meaning they can customise it according to their needs.
Once you have made your decision on where you want to live, an important factor is doing your research. Check that the property you want to purchase is definitely a freehold. Your agent can advise you on this. Freehold areas where you will find apartments for sale include Dubai Marina, Downtown, Business Bay, Discovery Gardens, International City, The Greens and The Palm Jumeirah. More developments are announced on a regular basis. One of the most popular places to find villas for sale is Arabian Ranches, an out-of-town development that is regularly expanded by developer Emaar to include more homes.
If you are an investor or have decided to settle in Dubai for a long period of time, it can be much cheaper over the long-term to buy property off plan. However, many developers require a substantial cash deposit up front, which can be a challenge for those wanting to invest in the most popular projects, as they can sell out very quickly.