properties are one of the best long-term investments when it comes to
returns on investment compared to risk level. This is particularly true of
investing in a market like the UAE, where a booming economy and constant flow
of expats fuels demand for rental properties, at the same time as being a
stable, well-run country which makes this a low-risk market for investors.
Foreign investors have been drawn to Dubai
and the UAE in general since the country opened its real estate market to
foreign buyers in 2002. Dubai continues to offer great opportunities for
foreign investors, with the extra incentive that property purchases are tax-free.
Before you rush to buy an investment property in the commercial and economic
center of the Middle East, check these top tips.
Understand the Rules and Regulations
Prior to the early 2000’s, foreign
nationals were prohibited from owning property in the UAE. This changed with
the UAE Government allowed foreigners to buy first lease-hold properties, and
then free-hold properties in 2002. Under a free-hold arrangement, foreign
investors can now buy property in Dubai and have complete ownership over the
property and the land it sits on, and can sell the property whenever they wish.
Buying property in the UAE is very easy for
foreigners compared to some countries: it is not necessary to be a resident to
buy real estate here, although owning a property means you and your family are
automatically eligible for a renewable residence visa. Despite the relatively
straightforward process of buying a property in Dubai, it is important to seek
advice from a local expert, such as a lawyer.
A Dubai-based lawyer will be able to advise
you on the local laws and regulations, to make sure that you comply with all
rules and do not leave yourself open to fines or prosecution. Also be sure to
only deal with real estate agents who are officially registered with local
authorities. In Dubai, it is forbidden to operate as an agent without being
registered with the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA).
Research Local Traditions
It is important to understand a little
traditions if you are planning to invest in the UAE. The United Arabic
Emirates has long been a melting pot for different nationalities and cultures,
but there are some quintessentially “Emirati” traditions which remain important
today. If you plan to do business in the UAE, whether as an investor or
otherwise, it is essential you understand these traditions in order to be
successful, not to mention respectful.
Traditional clothing in the Emirates is a
strong reflection of the garments worn by their Bedouin ancestors, a nomad
people who lived in the desert. Customary Emirati dress features long sleeves
and full length hemlines which evolved over time to protect the wearer from the
sun. Both men and women wear loosely fitting dresses or robes for comfort in
high temperatures. These garments of course also reflect the tenants of their
Sports are extremely popular in the
Emirates as a pastime, with traditional sports which remain popular today
including camel racing, falconry and horse racing. Traditional Emirati dance
also continues to be an important part of the culture, with the Yola or Yowla
(folk stick dances performed by men) seen everywhere from casual parties to
National Day celebrations. The traditional food in the UAE consists largely of
camel, goat and fish, served with rice or flatbread. Spices from India, brought
by traders to the region centuries ago, are also a strong feature of Emirati
Learn The Different Dubai Neighbourhoods
Dubai is a city of more than 3 million
people, and continuously growing thanks to its status as a major commercial and
business hub. The city is relatively spread out, and very diverse, with a
number of different neighbourhoods, each of them unique. Therefore, make sure
to familiarise yourself with the different neighbourhoods in order to choose
the right location for your investment.
Some of the key Dubai neighbourhoods for
1) Dubai Marina: This was the most popular
area with investors in 2018, thanks to the mix of property types (from
high-rise apartments to pavilion villas) and its high-quality retail and dining
scene, situated around a picturesque marina.
2) Palm Jumeirah: Also on the waterfront,
this high-end neighbourhood is one of the highest performing areas in Dubai in
terms of growth (more on this below).
3) Arabian Ranches: Spacious and further out
from the center, this luxurious neighbourhood features villas, a family
friendly atmosphere, and lush landscapes.
4) Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC): One of
the main strengths of this area is its location, being ideally located for easy
access to Dubai Marina, JLT and Jebel Ali, with competitive pricing for villas
In choosing the right neighbourhood, you should consider the above factors in determining the potential for long-term increases in property value, as well as for rental returns. It is also important to look at market trends. Certain areas in Dubai have experienced growth in the last few years, whereas others have plateaued or even decreased in value. For example, Dubai Marina showed steady growth throughout 2018 and this is expected to continue in 2019, with the completion of the much-anticipated Palm Beach Residences and Raffles projects.
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