A Complete Guide to Buying Real Estate in Dubai: From Choosing the Property to Moving In

A Complete Guide to Buying Real Estate in Dubai: From Choosing the Property to Moving In

More and more foreigners are buying real estate in Dubai: some for personal use, others for the opportunity to make money from letting or reselling the property. Demand is high and the market has been growing for three years in a row. Investors are attracted to the wide range of prices and large selection of properties: villas, flats, penthouses, townhouses, projects by famous designers. Take a look at our step-by-step guide and learn how a foreigner can buy a house or a flat in Dubai.

Why Foreigners Buy Real Estate in Dubai

Life and holiday in Dubai tend to be associated with luxury owing to the fantastic and extravagant skyscrapers, luxurious villas, and sandy beaches right in the city. In reality Dubai is becoming more affordable for middle-income residents with every passing year. You can find housing on the outskirts of the city and in the suburbs which is cheaper than in the world’s major cities. However, this is far from the only attraction for expats.

Stability and Growth

The incredible growth of the real estate market in Dubai from 2021 to this day is attributable to several factors. Firstly, the UAE authorities managed to rapidly vaccinate the population against Covid-19 and were among the first in the world to reopen their borders to tourists and expats.

Secondly, economic instability in Europe and other geopolitical events have made the remoteness of Dubai attractive to investment, thereby further boosting the market. In 2022 the Dubai real estate market achieved its best results in 12 years, with over 86,000 deals concluded, an increase of 61% on 2021. In 2023 analysts expect an increase in investments from China. China only lifted coronavirus restrictions in January 2023. Now its citizens can now travel to other countries.

Creek Views (Housearch)


In Dubai, as well as in the UAE in general, there are no taxes on real estate, luxury, inheritance. In addition, there is no income tax. As a result, you do not have to pay anything to the state for letting a flat or house. That is why real estate investments are so popular. In 2022, the flat rental yield reached 7%, while forecasts for 2023 predict a rise in prices. The tax policy also attracts foreign job seekers, in particular, as there are special visas for talented professionals.


As the laws in the UAE are very strict, the crime rate is low. According to various estimates, Dubai ranks from 35th to 5th in the rankings of the world’s safest cities. Police cameras are installed on almost every street. The safety of women on public transport is ensured by women-only zones. Many expats freely admit to supporting the restrictions on the incitement of ethnic and political disputes in public places.

Where Can Foreigners Buy Property in Dubai

Only citizens of the UAE or Gulf Cooperation Council countries can buy real estate in any area of Dubai. Certain restrictions are in place for all other foreigners: they can only buy real estate only in designated freehold zones. There are several dozen freehold zones in Dubai, including many well-known areas: Downtown, Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Village Circle, Palm Jumeirah, and others.

The Most Expensive Housing in Dubai

Every year, the consulting community documents records set in Dubai in this regard. Leading economic media cover sales of the most expensive villas. In 2022 Bloomberg reported that an Irish broker Conor McKay sold a ten-bedroom mansion on Palm Jumeirah for USD 80 million. Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani was revealed as the mystery buyer. The house has its own spa and several pools and has a total area of over 3,000 square metres. This record was beaten in October of the same year. The media discussed the sale of the Casa Del Sole villa for USD 82 million. The mansion developed by Alpago Properties is located in the same part of the “palm” as the previous record holder. The four-level villa with eight bedrooms has a bowling alley, cinema and spa. The buyer’s name has not been disclosed.

 Virtually nothing is known about the sale of the most expensive villa in 2022, other than the amount of the deal: it exceeded USD 163 million. Mukesh Ambani is again credited with the purchase, but there has been no official confirmation.

Not everyone prefers to live in houses - some people like flats more.. At the beginning of 2023, the first record price was set for a flat: a nine-bedroom penthouse in the elite Bulgari Lighthouse tower on Jumeirah Bay was sold for USD 112 million. The flat has three floors, a spa centre and gym. The building is still under construction. Completion is scheduled for 2027.

Elite property hunters should turn their attention to several respectable areas of Dubai: Palm Jumeirah, Al Barari, Emirates Hills, Jumeirah Island, Jumeirah and Meadows.

Address Beach Resort (Housearch)

The Cheapest Housing in Dubai

People with different incomes can find housing in Dubai. For example, you can buy a one-bedroom flat in a guarded residential complex by DAMAC or Emaar Properties for USD 160,000. You will also have access to a gym and a swimming pool.

Flats from less-known developers can cost even less, with prices starting at USD 70,000. Moreover, this may be a flat in a new building or a property on the secondary market  in one of the attractive areas of the city.

You can find cheap housing in Dubai Sports City, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Business Bay and JVC.

Top Developers in Dubai

More than 1,300 real estate developers operate in Dubai. As competition is tough, everyone is trying to attract buyers with something special: the original construction of the building, state-of-the-art or luxurious design, the actual contents of the residential complex or the views from the windows. It goes without saying that there are developers in the UAE whose names stand out in particular. Let's talk about some of them.

Emaar Properties

This is the oldest construction company in Dubai. It was Emaar which erected the symbol of the city, the world's tallest tower, Burj Khalifa. It also built Dubai Mall, the world's largest shopping centre. Emaar has developed premium areas of Dubai Marina, Arabian Ranches, and Dubai Hills Estate.

Emaar Properties is not stopping there and plans to outdo its own achievements. A new project, Dubai Creek Tower, is expected to be 100 metres taller than Burj Khalifa and become a new tourist attraction. Luxury housing is being developed in the area around the tower, Dubai Creek Harbour.

Nakheel Properties

The company is known as the developer of Palm Jumeirah and other islands of the city. On the “palm”, the company built both blocks of flats and luxury villas. In 2022, Nakheel announced plans to relaunch the Palm Deira project, which was put on hold in 2008. It is expected to house 80 hotels in the coming years.

Bay by Cavalli (Housearch)

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