Dubai is usually associated with dizzying skyscrapers and luxury penthouses but detached houses are an equally prominent segment of the city’s premium-class real estate market. Elite mansions are often built in suburban areas and offer owners luxury and solitude. Villas usually come with a garden and a pool.
What Is a Dubai Villa?
A modern Dubai villa is usually a two or three-storey building in a gated residential complex. A villa can be purchased in a completed neighborhood or in one that is still expanding and developing.
Developers usually provide villas complete with all domestic appliances and jacuzzis. Fully furnished villas can also be purchased. Properties can be provided with a Smart House system and satellite TV. A minimum of two private parking spaces are usually provided with each villa. Some villas are sold with a private swimming pool and a garden created by a landscape designer.
The infrastructure of the residential complex may vary depending on the project. Developers sometimes provide only a swimming pool and a barbecue area. The maximum package usually looks as follows: a swimming pool, a children's playground, a restaurant or a café, a private beach, a beauty parlour, a spa, a supermarket, a tennis court, a gym, a school and a nursery school, as well as a full range of services from the management company.
The secondary housing market provides custom-made detached houses. They, too, come with garages, terraces and private grounds. Before being listed for sale, these houses often undergo modernisation, especially if they were built some time ago. Estates like these are often located in populated areas with a developed infrastructure and they have all the necessary furniture.
Property sizes in Dubai are varied. Buyers can choose between a small house with a floor area of 180 square metres or an enormous villa of up to 3000 square metres. The houses have three to 10 bedrooms, and the ground area ranges from 400 square metres to over 5000 square metres. Buyers can also purchase a villa at any stage of construction.
Where Can I Buy a Villa?
The regions with the largest number of ongoing construction projects are suburban areas and elite districts: Dubai Hills, Dubai South, Dubai South by Emaar, The Villa, Mohamed bin Rashid City, Cherry Woods, Jumeirah Golf Estate and others. These areas tend to have large-scale real estate development plans. For example, development began in Dubai Hills in 2014, as part of Mohammed bin Rashid City. Overall the goal is to build several thousand villas, tens of thousands of apartments, and office buildings, shopping malls, schools and hotels.
Therefore, a potential client must take into account that if a house they want to buy is finished within the next two or three years, it does not mean that the surrounding buildings will be finished at the same time. It is more likely that construction will continue for a few more years. Buyers also need to be aware that the suburban public transportation system is undeveloped: they might have to spend 40 to 50 minutes taking a bus to the nearest subway station.
New buildings in the UAE
How Much Will I Pay for a Villa?
The total cost of a villa in Dubai depends on its contents: the more minimalist, the lower the cost of the house. And vice versa. Here are a few examples:
- Villa with a starting price of $420,000. Such villas are found in the Dubai South district residential complex, not far from the Golf Links Villas golf course. According to the construction plan, it will consist of 195 two-storey villas with three to five bedrooms. The floor area starts from 340 square metres. In these houses, the first floor will have a fully furnished kitchen, staff room and living room and the second floor will include bedrooms with terraces. Every villa has a spacious front yard, a swimming pool and a wooden terrace around it. The complex’s territory includes a community centre, a gym, playgrounds, a grass area for picnics and barbecues. Shops and restaurants are located outside the residential complex territory.
- Villa starting at $1.6 million. This villa is part of a development project of exclusive villas, its authors drawing inspiration from the works of Gustav Klimt. The inner and outer walls of the buildings are lavishly adorned with natural patterns in rich black and golden colours. The exterior was designed by the de Grisogno jewellery house, and the interior designed by Cavalli. These villas have five to seven bedrooms with a floor area ranging from 377 to 2280 square metres in the elite Dubai Hills neighbourhood.
- Villa starting at $5.9 million. The Dubai Hills area offers five-bedroom villas with three parking slots. They come in two styles: modern and classic. Upon request, the houses may be equipped with a lift. The gated territory of the complex has a basketball court, a gym, a picnic area, a swimming pool, a playground and a yoga zone.
- Villa for $1 million. The secondary real estate market also offers luxurious options to potential buyers. One such example is a villa with five bedrooms, an office, a staff room, a laundry room and a garage for two cars. The house has an automatic lighting system and an automatic surveillance system. The beautiful garden has a barbecue area, a gazebo and a fountain.
Who buys these properties? First and foremost, UAE citizens. As for foreign citizens who come to Dubai to invest in the real estate market, these are primarily citizens of China, India, Pakistan and Arabian Gulf countries such as Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait. The market has recently seen an influx of customers from Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. According to experts, these clients now make up 30% of the total. They purchase properties for various purposes. Resort areas are mostly picked for recreation, whereas areas with well-developed infrastructure (nursery schools, schools and healthcare centres) are chosen for full-time residence.
Particularities of Buying a Villa in Dubai
A foreigner can buy a villa in Dubai at any stage of construction. But there is a condition: to buy a house in a complex that is still under construction, the future owner must acquire preliminary approval (depending on the stage of completion of the project) from the Dubai Land Department.
Developers often offer their clients the option to buy a home with a three-year instalment plan with 0% interest and an initial payment of no less than 25% of the total sum. But there are other instalment programs available. For instance, a 10% initial payment, then an additional 10% every six months and the final 20% when the project is finished. Another option: 60% of the total price over the construction period and 40% after the completion. Customarily, the buyer is charged an extra 5% of the villa cost to reserve the property.
In general, the simplest way to get a residential visa in Dubai is to buy a home. However, the validity of the visa will depend on the price of the property. For example, after purchasing an estate for 750,000 dirhams, which is approximately $205,000, the owner is eligible for a two-year residential visa. Buying a villa for 2 million dirhams or more (approximately $545,000) allows the owner to apply for a Golden Visa valid for 10 years. Both options share one condition: the investor has to buy the property with their own assets. For more expensive purchases, mortgage and instalment plans are available. However, the initial payment cannot be less than the investment threshold amount, which is 2 million dirhams.
Preferences of the Villa Owner
One of the most prominent advantages of a Dubai home for a foreign investor is that it enables the owner to obtain a Golden Visa. The bearers of this visa have the right to leave the UAE for any amount of time, without running the risk of their visa being annulled. In comparison, the holder of a residential visa valid for up to three years cannot leave the country for more than six months. Otherwise, their visa is cancelled and they need to apply for a new one.
Golden Visa holders also have the right to sponsor their spouses, unmarried daughters (no age restriction), unmarried sons under 30 years old, parents, and their housekeepers. Visa holders are given six months to obtain a new visa upon expiration of the Golden Visa.
A property owner with a Golden Visa enjoys special medical services and an insurance package, and secures the Esaad privilege card. It allows the owner to benefit from various discount programmes in education and healthcare, to get a discount in restaurants and hotels, and the discounts also cover car and real estate purchases.
In a Nutshell
The process of buying a villa in Dubai is quite similar to the process of buying an apartment. Investing in a villa grants the owner the right to obtain a Golden Visa and resident status, just like with other types of property. Prospective investors should remember that preliminary approval from the Dubai Land Department is required.
Cover photo: The Hartland Villas (Housearch)