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Can Indians buy flat in Dubai?

Dubai’s booming real estate market has attracted property buyers from around the world, including a significant number of investors from India. While there are some restrictions and requirements, it is possible for Indians to purchase residential property in Dubai.

Can Indians buy flat in Dubai?

Dubai has established itself as a global hub for business, tourism, and real estate investment. Some key factors that make Dubai property attractive include:

  • Strong economic growth – Dubai has developed rapidly into a wealthy metropolis with a diversified economy centered around sectors like financial services, tourism, logistics, and real estate. The economy continues to expand at a steady pace.
  • Business-friendly environment – The UAE offers an open and liberal business environment with low tax rates, efficient free zones, and advanced infrastructure that appeals to foreign investors.
  • Premium developments – Dubai is known for its lavish, high-end real estate featuring ultramodern architecture and amenities. Developers compete to break records for the world’s tallest, most luxurious, and innovative projects.
  • Growing population – Dubai has a large expatriate population of skilled professionals from around the world. The city’s population grew by 70% from 2007 to 2017 to over 3 million, driving continuous demand for properties.
  • Tourism appeal – Dubai welcomed 16.7 million visitors in 2019. The city offers a glamorous lifestyle and attractions that capture luxury property buyers as vacation homes and investment properties.

With its stability, global outlook, and business-friendly policies, Dubai emerged as a safe haven for real estate investment after the 2008 global financial crisis. While prices dropped sharply from 2008 to 2010, the market began recovering in 2011 and has since seen steady growth.

Dubai Property Ownership Laws for Foreigners

Foreign investment has played a major role in developing Dubai’s real estate market. To purchase property in Dubai, foreign buyers must understand the laws and regulations:

  • Foreigners are allowed to purchase and own freehold property in a number of designated areas in Dubai.
  • Outside of these designated zones, foreign buyers can purchase property under a long leasehold arrangement. The lease terms are typically 99 years.
  • Foreign buyers have the right to resell property purchased freehold or leasehold in Dubai.
  • Certain high-end developments require additional approval from the developer for foreign purchasers.
  • Foreign corporate entities can purchase property in Dubai with some added approval requirements.
  • Individual emirates in the UAE have their own property ownership rules. Dubai tend to be the most liberal for foreign buyers.

While restrictive compared to some markets, these policies have enabled foreigners to actively participate in Dubai real estate. Indians make up one of the largest groups of foreign investors in the emirate.

Requirements for Indians Purchasing Property in Dubai

Indians looking to purchase residential property like apartments and villas in Dubai must meet the following requirements:

Visa Eligibility

The buyer must hold one of the eligible types of UAE residence visas:

  • Investor Visa – For foreign nationals who have established or partnered in commercial enterprises in the UAE. Allows property purchases throughout Dubai.
  • Residence Visa – For skilled and professional workers employed by companies in the UAE. Allows home purchases in some designated areas.

Tourist visas alone are not sufficient for buying property in Dubai.

Payment Rules

  • For off-plan property purchases, a maximum of 20% can be paid before completion with the balance due at the time of possession.
  • For ready units, the full payment must be made directly to the escrow account of the Dubai Land department.
  • Foreign currencies and remittances from abroad are permitted for property payments.


  • A copy of the buyer’s passport must be notarized and attested by the UAE embassy.
  • Proof of funds must be submitted in the form of bank statements.
  • A UAE-based lawyer should be appointed to represent the buyer.

Fees and Taxes

  • Transfer fees of 2% of the property value apply. Additional fees include agents commission, processing fees, etc.
  • No personal income taxes are charged in Dubai.
  • Value Added Tax (VAT) of 5% applies on purchases.
  • Annual service charges apply for maintenance of common areas in a building.

Mortgages for Foreign Buyers

  • Foreign nationals can obtain mortgages from UAE banks towards property purchases.
  • The loan amount can cover up to 80% of the property value.
  • Mortgage interest rates are around 4-5% on average.

Meeting these requirements as an Indian national will make you eligible to buy freehold or leasehold property in Dubai.

Popular Areas for Indian Home Buyers in Dubai

Dubai offers a diverse real estate landscape. Many Indian buyers focus on areas with proximity to key business hubs and community amenities.

Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina is a prime waterfront district featuring gleaming high-rise towers, restaurants, and entertainment options. The area is close to the Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai Media City, and Internet City, making it popular with young executives. Apartments in Dubai Marina range from compact studios to spacious 3-4 bedroom units.

Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT)

JLT is a rapidly developing freehold community made up of 77 residential and commercial towers. JLT appeals to value-conscious buyers with relatively affordable high-rise apartments. It offers quick access to Dubai Marina and major highways.

International City

International City is a large development divided into country-themed residential neighborhoods like China Cluster, Persia Cluster, England Cluster, etc. It caters to middle-income expatriates with budget apartments and proximity to Dragon Mart.

Palm Jumeirah

This iconic man-made island development is one of Dubai’s most prestigious addresses. Indians buying high-end villas and apartments focus on the signature Palm Jumeirah as a trophy property.

Business Bay

Centrally located Business Bay is lined with commercial towers and luxury residences along the Dubai Canal. With metro access, Business Bay allows easy access to Downtown Dubai, DIFC, and Dubai Mall.

Cost of Buying an Apartment in Dubai for Indians

Property prices in Dubai cover a wide range based on factors like location, project type, developer brand, amenities, size, views, etc.

To buy a new 1-2 bedroom apartment as an Indian national, you can expect costs to range from:

  • Studio or 1-bed units in International City – AED 350,000 to AED 500,000
  • 1-bed apartments in JLT – AED 600,000 to AED 1,000,000
  • 2-bed units in Dubai Marina – AED 1,200,000 to AED 1,800,000
  • High-end apartments in Palm Jumeirah – AED 2,500,000+

Additional costs like transfer fees, mortgage registration, etc. will apply. Luxury properties and villas can run into many millions of dirhams.

Financing Options for Indian Property Buyers

You have several financing routes to complete your property purchase in Dubai:

  • Cash Payment – Make full payment from your own funds. Required for ready units.
  • Mortgage Loan – Borrow up to 80% value from UAE banks. Popular with professionals employed in Dubai.
  • Developer Payment Plan – Opt for installments schedule directly from the developer. Limited to off-plan properties.
  • Joint Purchase – Co-apply for financing by adding family members or business partners to the application. Distributes liability.
  • Lease-to-Own – Rent for 1-2 years then absorb rental payments towards final purchase via a bank loan.
  • Partial Equity – Obtain part-financing from an investor in exchange for sharing future equity or profits.

Speak to a mortgage consultant to identify the most suitable option based on your financial profile.

Process for Indians to Buy an Apartment in Dubai

The process for Indian nationals to purchase an apartment in Dubai includes these key steps:

  1. Hire a real estate agent – Work with a reputed local real estate agent to begin your property search. They can help negotiate better deals.
  2. Select a property – Identify and select a suitable residential unit that matches your requirements and budget.
  3. Due diligence – Conduct due diligence on the developer, project status, legal title, etc. with your agent.
  4. Make an offer – Place an offer and negotiate a purchase price with the seller.
  5. Sign MOU – Upon agreeing to a price, sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and pay a security deposit usually 10% of purchase price.
  6. Sign SPA – Appoint a lawyer to prepare the final Sale & Purchase Agreement (SPA). Sign it along with your payment cheque.
  7. Apply for mortgage – If availing a mortgage, submit your loan application to the bank at this stage.
  8. Title transfer – The Dubai Land Department will transfer title deeds to the buyer upon completion of sale.
  9. Possession – Once registered, you officially take possession of the apartment along with keys, access cards, etc.
  10. Utilities & Maintenance – Apply for utilities like electricity & water. Begin paying owner’s association charges.

The entire buying process takes 2-4 months on average with modest variations.

Benefits of Buying Property for Indians

Buying an apartment or villa in Dubai offers Indian expatriates and investors major advantages:

  • Lifestyle upgrade – Enjoy a luxury standard of living in a global city.
  • Rental income – Earn attractive rental yields ranging from 5% to 8% per year.
  • Capital appreciation – Benefit from long-term growth and value appreciation in a stable market.
  • Second home – Use it as a convenient second home or vacation home in a tourist hub.
  • Diversification – Diversify wealth by parking funds in overseas real estate.
  • Retirement plan – Retire in comfort or lease out your paid-off property for passive income.
  • Children’s education – Enroll your children in reputed international schools in Dubai.
  • Permanent residency – High-value property purchases improves prospects for long-term UAE residency visas.

While returns slowed after the 2009 crisis, the Dubai market remains lucrative for shrewd Indian investors.

Risks and Challenges for Indian Property Buyers

Indians should also weigh some of the key risks involved before buying property in Dubai:

  • Visa dependence – Your residence status depends on maintaining a valid UAE visa making you vulnerable to visa changes.
  • Mortgage risks – Carrying a large mortgage exposes you to interest rate and payment risks if your income suffers.
  • Overpayment – Excessive speculation can lead to overpaying for off-plan properties.
  • Weak legal recourse – You may have limited legal options in disputes with developers, agents, or tenants.
  • Currency volatility – Fluctuating exchange rates between INR and AED can negate profits from capital gains.
  • Oversupply – High construction levels increase the risk of an oversupplied market and falling prices.
  • Changing laws – Changes in foreign ownership laws can restrict buying, selling or inheritance rights.

Key Takeaways

  • Dubai allows foreign freehold ownership and 99-year leasehold ownership for Indians in designated zones.
  • Indians require a valid UAE residence visa like investor, employment, or family visa for buying Dubai real estate.
  • Popular areas for Indian buyers include Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah, JLT, Business Bay, and International City.
  • Apartment prices range from AED 350k in International City to AED 2.5 million+ at Palm Jumeirah.
  • Mortgages, payment plans, rent-to-own, equity sharing offer financing routes for buyers.
  • Benefits include rental income, lifestyle, capital growth, risk diversification for Indians.
  • Risks include visa uncertainty, mortgage liabilities, overpaying, lack of tenant rights.


Dubai offers a unique proposition for Indian property investors looking to enter the lucrative Middle East real estate market. With some due diligence on financing, ownership laws, and risk factors, Indians can realize substantial benefits by purchasing freehold or leasehold apartments in Dubai’s best locations. While challenges remain, the overall demand dynamics, high-end offerings, and foreign buyer policies continue to favor Indian investment in Dubai real estate.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can Indian citizens buy apartments in Dubai?
    Yes, Indian passport holders are allowed to purchase properties in certain designated freehold zones in Dubai, provided they hold one of the eligible types of resident visas such as investor, employment, or family visas.
  2. What are the best areas in Dubai for Indians to buy property?
    Popular residential areas for Indians include Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Palm Jumeirah, Business Bay, Arabian Ranches, Sports City, and International City.
  3. How much deposit do Indians need to buy off plan property in Dubai?
    Indians can pay up to 20% of the property value as a deposit or down payment when purchasing off-plan units in Dubai. The remaining 80% balance is paid on completion.
  4. Can Indians get a home loan in Dubai as foreign buyers?
    Yes, leading UAE banks do offer mortgage loans to foreign buyers in Dubai, including Indians. The maximum financing limit is usually 80% of the property value.
  5. What are annual maintenance charges for a 1 bedroom apartment in Dubai?
    Annual community service charges for a 1 bedroom apartment in Dubai typically range between AED 8,000 to AED 16,000 depending on the building amenities.
  6. Can an Indian resident in Dubai rent out a property purchased there?
    Indians owning freehold property in Dubai are fully entitled to lease out their residential apartments or villas to generate rental income.
  7. Can Indian expats based in Dubai get long term residence visas?
    UAE offers 5 and 10 year long term residency visas based on criteria like substantial property ownership, business setup, specialized skills, etc.
  8. Does an Indian passport holder have to pay income tax in Dubai on rental income?
    No, Dubai does not levy any income tax on rental earnings for individuals. Only VAT at 5% applies on rental proceeds.
  9. Can NRIs freely repatriate money from property sales in Dubai?
    Yes, Dubai allows complete capital and profit repatriation for foreign investors on sale of their owned freehold properties.
  10. What are risks involved for Indians in buying Dubai properties?
    Key risks include dependence on maintaining valid UAE visa status, mortgage liabilities, currency fluctuations, oversupply in off-plan market, lack of tenant rights, and changing ownership laws.
  11. How long does it take to complete a property purchase in Dubai?
    The entire process from selecting a unit to legal transfer of ownership rights usually takes 2 to 4 months for foreigners purchasing property in Dubai.
  12. Is it compulsory to have a Dubai bank account to buy real estate there?
    No, it is not mandatory. But having a UAE bank account makes it easier to transfer the purchase payments and complete the sale process smoothly.
  13. Can Indians inherit Dubai properties from relatives?
    Inheritance of Dubai properties by Indians from family members or relatives depends on the type of ownership and is determined on a case by case basis.
  14. Are Dubai freehold properties leasehold or freehold for foreigners?
    Properties in designated freehold zones like Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai, Palm Jumeirah, etc. involve outright freehold ownership with no time limits for overseas buyers.
  15. Can Indian parents gift or co-own a flat in Dubai with their child?
    Yes, subject to visa eligibility, there are no restrictions on joint ownership or gifting properties in Dubai between Indian family members.
  16. How is VAT calculated when buying an off-plan property in Dubai?
    For off-plan purchases, Value Added Tax (VAT) of 5% is calculated on each installment payment at the time it is made to the developer.
  17. Can Indians based in India purchase Dubai properties?
    No, an Indian passport holder requires a valid UAE residence visa such as employment or investor visa to be eligible to buy Dubai real estate directly.
  18. What is DLD fee for buying apartment in Dubai?
    DLD (Dubai Land Department) fee is 4% of the property sale value. This includes 2% transfer fee and 2% registration fee applicable for all property purchases in Dubai.
  19. Can Indian developers or builders sell apartments in Dubai?
    Indian real estate developers cannot directly invest or sell properties in Dubai. However, they can collaborate with local developers on select projects.
  20. Can Indians take loan against property (LAP) in Dubai from Indian banks?
    Yes, many Indian banks provide LAP or mortgage loans to Indians in Dubai by keeping the Dubai property as collateral, subject to certain eligibility criteria.

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